Din A Testbild – Programme Zwei (Mannequin, June 2016)

Mannequin boss Alessandro Adriani is at it again, partying with German legends. His move from Rome to Berlin a few years ago has clearly served the label’s focus well. After a recent, enchanting forage through GDR tape music on Klangfabre, Mannequin now turn their attentions to one of the brightest projects to have come out of that primordial soup that was early ‘80s Berlin, notably that slice of scene that coagulated around the lady of situations Gudrun Gut. Din A Testbild was founded by Gut, a ‘band’ that featured several important faces from the NDW, and released a whole series of Programme over two decades, many of them on the Innovative Communications label run by Klaus Schulze.

Innovative communications indeed. Programm Zwei (but equally Ein, let’s be clear) is an electronic exhaust pipe of everything looming over the early 1980s: the decline of industry, the silly whims of neo-liberalism, the anguishes of cyberspace, the lot. All the tracks on Programm Zwei are noteworthy for their own reasons. Be it the tense sequencing and poem of horror-modernity on“Satisfactory” (listen pitched down for added thrills) to the piss-take jazzy samba with bewildered vocoder of “Tight Pants”, right down to the crazed modulated filth of one my long term favourites, “Logischer Gefrierpunkt”. It’s stuff that’s musically insanely exploratory yet all of it rewarding and pleasurable, bursting with irony and glamour. Upon hearing of this I asked why not Programm Drei, why not the rare Din A Testbild album? But I was told that Drei – and a delicious something else – can be expected soon. Spray your ears with latex in anticipation.

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