Toy Tonics label heads Mathias Munk Modica and Kapote present “Teutonik Disaster”, a very special compilation with 8 edits and reworks of rare German New Wave Funk and Disco Punk from 1979 to 1983.
There have been millions of typical disco edits in the last years. But there is so much more interesting music from the late 1970s and early 80s yet to bubble its way to the surface. One of those lesser explored fields is the crazy funky side of Germany’s underground disco and new wave from that period. At the time, many German bands were trying to make their own version of English and American styles. After Kraftwerk and Can had started to use the German language in a cool, new way, many bands that followed in their steps experimented with German new wave. Most of these bands didn’t reach a bigger audience. Their records never got pressed to more than 300 – 500 copies as they were a number of years ahead of the huge commercial explosion of German pop in 1984: The NDW aka “Neue Deutsche Welle”, with Nena’s humongous hit 99 Red Balloons. The bands featured on the compilation released their music before the NDW hype and later broke up. Plenty of these early bands are best forgotten but if you dig deeper you’ll find the gems, bursting with style and attitude. And that’s just what Toy Tonics heads Mathias Munk Modica & Kapote did. They hit gold.
Most of these tracks have already been released on the original “Teutonik Disaster” compilation in 2003 on Gomma Records. Gomma was the label that Mathias Munk Modica started before Toy Tonics 15 years ago, where he released records with James Murphy, WhoMadeWho, Asia Argento… Gomma is not active anymore, but it felt like the right time to re-release this compilation in 2019. Munk and Toy Tonics partner Kapote made new versions of these rare songs, adding drum machines and extended them. The result is unbelievable music, heavy funk basslines, soulful vibes, cool vocals that you would be hard pressed to expect from Germans and a vibe that slots in perfectly in 2019’s post-techno and post-deep house scenario.
Camilla Motor, Die Heteros and Exkurs: These bands were inspired by New York’s proto disco bands like ESG or Liquid Liquid. Basslines that could come from a 1975 disco dancefloor and white boy funk drums which would bring to mind the music released on ZE Records during that period. Exkurs’ “Fakten sind Terror” was discovered by Munk in an old vintage shop in Munich. It was first released on Gomma’s original compilation in 2003, then re-released on Optimo’s JD Twitch compilation “Kreaturen der Nacht” on Strut in 2018. Most of these musicians had connections to art academies in Cologne, Mannheim and Hamburg. They would often be dilettantes with their instruments, but with an unfailable passion for black music and new wave as well as dadaistic, ironic and scandalous lyrics: Take for example Die Heteros: “Monogamy, cannibalism of our days!” from the album “Romantik Ist Tot” (Cologne 1982). The title says it all.
Carmen’s “Schlaraffenland”, like most of these songs this track also came out in 1982. Two years before the commercially successful Neue Deutsche Welle exploded. Carmen’s amazingly sensual German vocals stand out and the groove could easily have been on a Blondie or Talking Heads album. It’s certain that these musicians tried to imitated the New York art funk vibe. The song was co-produced by Piet Klocke, who was part of another white boy funk group called Die Tanzdiele and later became a comedy star on German TV.
Die Chefs’ “Frauenkörper” is a track from a band that deliberately flirted with controversy during its existence. Released in 1982, their album was took off the market by their label and their concerts were cancelled after protests. The track itself sounds like it could have been on a Prince record, with a weirdly funky beat and pan-asian indebted synth melodies
Roter Mund and B.B.B. are straight up disco vibes with German dada slogans, cold new wave drums but with a funky feel underpinning everything. You’re guaranteed to rock any forward thinking disco dancefloor of 2019 with these. The two guys behind Hamburg’s Roter Mund where inspired by American breakdance music when producing their debut LP in 1982. They pose with old school sneakers and imitate NY breakers poses on the back cover of the album. Later the guys became successful producers of German schlager (Germany’s answer to mainstream pop). Munk & Kapote changed quite a bit here from the original versions, adding bass drums and hi hats, cutting out and repeating certain parts to make it sound fresher. The same process happened with B.B.B. where large sections of the original track were edited out.
Explorer’s track comes from an album that was originally sonic experiments with early sequencers and synthesizers by Tony Carey, a legendary Californian musician who was part of Rainbow. He later moved to Germany where he worked with Peter Hauke but ended up producing schlager, TV commercials and pop. But his first album “Yellow Power” is cult. It’s crazy to hear how these jams sound like early proto techno or electro funk. They could have been made in Detroit 15 years later. The original LP was cult between the late 80ies Cosmic and balearic scene. This is Robotic Funk.