Der Musikant – Musikantenmusik 1980-1984 (Vinyl on Demand, April 2016)

Trust Vinyl on Demand to once more do all the dirty work for us, and put out material so intrinsically important yet ever so painfully rare. You might have never heard of Der Musikant, but you know the thing we call minimal synth? This really is it; Der Musikant is exemplary minimal synth. Because classic minimal synth has something rusty and broken about it, and something typically Mitteleuropean folk about it, and something angsty in a fuzzed out, gagged punk way, and this fine cut of Musikantenmusik is exactly that. This is music for cold yet immense interiors (“Rumbum”, for example), music for barking dogs (“Fernsehen”), music where fuzzy drum machines dream of distant neon discos (“Tanz 2”), but also a music with a fundamental, central tenderness beating at its core, a smallness if you will. The knowledge of its smallness, of its own domesticity, of its own disproportionately passionate understatement (“Wir sehen Kühe”).

I struggle to give an overview here, for these are 51 tracks of emotional yet sparse, sophisticated yet scruffy, irritated yet charming bare room synthesis. Up there with the likes of Max Guld and Guyer Connection’s Portrait, to name some recently reissued similarly canonical stuff, your heart will beat for this Musikant if unassuming electric loners keep your world turning. And in classic “on demand” fashion (because everybody knows that it’s supply that dictates desire), VOD also release the record as part of their equally extraordinary Bu/Bu-Musikverbreitung Recordings 1980-1985 box. But that’s another story…