mittageisenmital-U indie-label

reviews

1981-1986 2CD
mittageisen 1981-1986
mittageisen 1981-1986
2CD review
album review
album review
album review
album review
album review
recensione del disco
DarkEntries (B), April 2013
DARKLIFE (CH), December 2009
Alone Music (I), September 2009
Chain D.L.K. (US), December 08
Suburbia (I), 22/09/00
The original sin (B), 25/99
Sordid magAZine (EI), Feb 1999
Nightshade Magazine (D), Jan 1999
Chain D.L.K. (US), July/Aug 1998
Rockerilla (I), April 1984
> deutschsprachige Rezensionen

1981-1986 2CD

DarkEntries (B), April 2013
Wanneer ik u vraag om 3 Zwitserse wave-groepen op te noemen dan zullen de meesten niet veel verder geraken dan Grauzone en Lacrimosa (The Blockheads kon ook nog)... Vanaf nu mag u daar trots Mittageisen aan toevoegen. Velen zullen Mittageisen (nog) kennen als een single uit 1979 van Siouxsie and the Banshees, de duitstalige versie van Metal Postcard. Het is niet onterecht te veronderstellen dat dit deze groep enige inspiratie opleverde voor zijn naam (net zoals bij Dark Entries en Bauhaus het geval is: iedereen weet ondertussen dat Murphy & Co een single genoemd hebben ter ere van een toen nog toekomstig musiczine). Laten we in het geval van Mittageisen echter niet vergeten dat de referentie naar de Siouxsie-single alléén niet voldoende is. We zijn hier wel degelijk in het land waar Zürich tijdens het Interbellum de thuisbasis was van de Club Dada en het Cabaret Voltaire, Eén van deze Dadaïsten, John Heartfield (Johann Herzfelde), maakte in 1935 een fotocollage van een ijzervretende familie, dit als reactie op Göring's opmerking dat boter een volk vet maakt, ijzer een volk sterk... Slim van Mittageisen om zich in één ruk door te verbinden met de vaderlandse geschiedenis én met een toen zeer actuele en gerespecteerde (post) punkgroep.
 
Dat is niet het enige dat ik slim vind aan Mittageisen. Zo zijn de teksten (ja, u bent allen snugger genoeg om iets uit dat Duits op te maken) van een meer dan behoorlijke kwaliteit, donker-poëtisch, (toen) eigentijds jong en in het geval van 237 Tage wordt gebruik gemaakt van een tekst geschreven door Ulrike Meinhoff, duitse linkse journaliste, lid van de terroristische Rote Armee Fraktion en sinds haar dood in 1976 martelares van militant links. De teksten ademen in hun algemene sfeer Zeitgeist en Weltschmerz uit, precies zoals u het verwacht van Post Punk uit de eerste helft van de 80's. Ook de muziek van het hier integraal aanwezige debuutalbum is helemaal mee met die Zeitgeist: trage ritmebox, ijle ondersteunde synths en snerpende gitaren die eerder droevig en beklemmend dan agressief zijn. Liefhebbers van Siglo XX, iemand...? Wel: dat album van Mittageisen uit 1983 is minstens even goed, zoniet béter... Ook Zeitgeist: de getekende cover, waarop een drietal nachtbrakers, overduidelijk behorend tot de zwarte scène. Bijna even evident als de Brusselse personages uit Hulet's striptrilogie 'Macabere Sfeer' ('L'Etât Morbide', zich afspelend rond 1985). Slim van Mittageisen om het album instrumentaal te openen en af te sluiten, met Anfang en Danach... Daartussen struikelen we over de puike nummers, met een absolute favorietenrol voor Persistance de la Mémoire en Wir.
 
Even schrikken dan wanneer we de tweede CD opleggen, met het materiaal uit 1985-86. Velen zullen nog wel mee zijn met de electro-disco van Automaten (voorwaar mede dankzij enige airplay van John Peel een bescheiden indie-hitje), maar ik had toch liever het vroegere materiaal. Op één of andere manier meen ik ook te denken dat het oudere nummer Dunkelheit een soort van oerversie van Automaten geweest moet zijn, maar ik kan er ook dik naast zitten. Beständigkeit der Erinnerung is dan weer duidelijk wél een herwerkte versie van Persistance de la Mémoire, maar deze keer zonder de warmere sound en de emotionelere stem. Bijna al de andere nummers op deze CD zijn instrumentaaltjes, jammer... Mittageisen zou deze meer elektronische sound doortrekken naar hun reïncarnatie (of reanimatie) als Mittageisen V2, maar da's een ander geval...
 
In ieder geval: de eerste CD met het debuutalbum maakt een aankoop meer dan gerechtvaardigd; deze keer niét als archiefmateriaal maar als muziek die zeker regelmatig gehoord mag worden...!
Jan Denolet

mittageisen 1981-1986

DARKLIFE (CH), December 09
mittageisen is the brainchild of Bruno W who has been a pivotal figure in the Swiss punk and post-punk scene. The project ran in its original form for a mere five years and that lifespan is covered on this double-CD comprising 19 song for close to one and a half hour of minimal dark electronic wave.
mittageisen spell nostalgia, for a time when records had life and vibrancy and each of them had the possibility of accidentally change your life, and hopefully for the best. Back in 1981, bands from 40 years earlier were not reforming and cropping up at every festival in every city known to the music multi-national greedy organisations (companies?). Life was simpler, and simplistically more enjoyable, if you lived in the right side of the world. mittageisen, and I, did. Music was simpler, but let's put it like this: music was technically simpler and more straightforward, but much more complex in its way to filter in the listener mind and hit the right nerve when it found one. mittageisen are a prototype of this cultural trend. Their tracks are minimalist in their arrangements, using primordial drum-machines, seminal post-punk guitar work, linear and shaky enough to transmit emotional drama, no basslines (or at least none that can be heard in all but a couple of them), and obscure synth lines to complete an implementation of the dark side of music that can easily result in goose bumps, track after track. Vocals. A talented vocalist is half of the game if one plans to have an audience and Bruno W fulfills this role impeccably, even if his performance is little more than monotonic narration. The tonal character is just one of those you can hardly forget and sits so well over the minimal musical on-goings, providing interest and focus to the tracks, up to the point where guitars take over and carry on creating emotion over emotion with genial chord progressions and melodies moving in all the right places of your brain. All in glorious lo-fi, splendidly maintained even through the re-mastering work done on the tracks featured.
In a way it's ironic that 'automaten', their most famous track, appears to be the only one to feature a more in deep production process, or a bassline for that matter. Being the hymn it is, I wonder what could have been of this band should they have stuck together rather than splitting on some dark 1986 day. It's hard to hide that I'm in love with the primordiality of the mittageisen production, possibly due to the nostalgia factor, but in all truth, I rarely look at the past with all that fondness, so in this case I must conclude that mittageisen early-day experimentation in electronic-cum-guitar moodiness is what fascinates me and will work equally well for anyone who has (had) an interest in any aspect of new-wave and/or post-punk, as they shaped a generation of dreamers and continue to do so very much in the future (except the dreams are gone!).
Gianfri

mittageisen 1981-1986

Alone Music (I), September 09
I mittageisen sono un trio svizzero nato agli inizi degli anni '80. Il curioso nome 'mittageisen' è stato ispirato da un fotomontaggio fatto dal dadaista John Heartfield nel 1934 intitolato 'Hurrah, the butter is out!', nel quale erano rappresentate delle persone che mangiavano oggetti di metallo. La stessa foto è stata ripresa come copertina del loro primo disco.
Questo doppio digipack il cui nome è semplicemente '1981-1986' non è altro che la rimasterizzazione delle diciannove canzoni riprese dai loro dischi; una commemorazione se vogliamo, della breve vita della band, che ha comunque riscosso un notevole successo in quegli anni. I mittageisen hanno sperimentato i primi momenti della Darkwave e l'influenza Post Punk introdotta dal primo componente, nonchè creatore del gruppo Bruno W. Le caratteristiche elettroniche di quel periodo si sentono vivamente, come i primi suoni sintetizzati mischiati a semplici chitarre distorte; la progressione e la velocità dei ritmi non era ancora stata sperimentata. Tra i due dischi non c'è molta differenza stilistica, i suoni rimangono sempre minimali e semplici, le tracce per lo più strumentali, come 'Anfang', oppure cantate sottovoce come 'Wir'; fino ad arrivare alla deleteria '237 Tage'. Solo nel secondo disco vi è una canzone più ritmata ed elettronica intitolata 'automaten', una delle più interessanti dell'album. La visione futuristica e metropolitana dei ragazzi viene saggiamente rappresentata dalle loro tracks, le quali, trasmettono una sensazione piuttosto metallica e urbana. Anche se molto semplici queste songs, rendono l'ascolto del disco piacevole e interessante, senza avere il bisogno di suoni e ritmi troppo rimbombanti. L'aspetto retrò e vintage dal carattere punkeggiante è dato anche dalla copertina, che raffigura una pittura in stile impressionista.
'1981 -1986' è un interessante ritorno al passato, che segna l'anno di svolta e di esordio di molte band Synth Pop e Darkwave come i famosi Depeche Mode e i Grauzone, con i quali attualmente lavora Bruno. '1981-1986' fa ricordare com'era il sound di quel tempo in uno spazio di una ventina di canzoni.
Shifter

2CD review

Chain D.L.K. (US), December 08
Well, here’s a new one on me, I thought I’d at least heard OF most all the early goth type new wave bands of the 1980’s even if I hadn’t heard them, but the Swiss outfit mittageisen somehow eluded me. Eldergoths might be familiar with the name 'mittageisen' as a track from the first Siouxsie & the Banshees album. I’m sure this group was far more known in Europe than they ever were in America; but a remastered retrospective of their music 20 years later is an interesting document of a band that seemed to have a lot going for it. There are 19 tracks on this two CD set, 6 of which are previously unreleased.
So what is mittageisen’s sound? Well, kind of a blend of what was happening at the time – guitars and synths, Bauhaus, The Cure, Brian Eno, Kraftwerk, Wall of Voodoo, Ultravox, that kind of thing. The rhythm comes courtesy of a drum machine. Maybe one thing that held them back from becoming a known entity in the U.S. is that they only sing in their native tongue, not English. Apparently they were said to have very expressive lyrics, but that’s lost on most of the American music-buying public, our phobia of foreign language being what it is.
For the most part, the music is set in a dark pop song format. Some tracks exhibit a more experimental tone than others, veering off into oblique sonic terrain. Considering what kind of music was happening at the time, this is pretty interesting stuff. Not earthshaking, but eclectic nonetheless. Very minimal-expressionistic and underground. The kind of cult band that would have been great live on a double bill with a group like Cabaret Voltaire. Apparently in their time they received a fair amount of radio play in Europe, European radio being far more progressive than what it is in the U.S. They even had a dance hit with a song called 'automaten' which is on this compilation. (You’ll be reminded of SNL’s 'Sprockets'.)
I don’t know if there’s any U.S. distribution for this 2 CD set but it’s well worth checking out. The 2CD set comes in a tri-fold digipack with a 24 page booklet, band info and photographs as well as song lyrics in German. Nice quirky cover illustration too. Your best bet is to visit the label website (mital-U) and order a copy. When music from a 'lost' cult band like this comes along you owe it to yourself to scoop it up as quick as you can because you never know how long it will be around for. Even though you can find the video for 'automaten' on YouTube, you’re not going to find this CD on iTunes. Recommended.
Steve Mecca

album review

Suburbia (I), 22/09/00
Ascoltare questo '... alles ist anders ... nichts hat sich geändert ...' è stato come tuffarsi nel passato, e precisamente nella scena tedesca dei primi '80. La raccolta infatti ripercorre i passi della band dal 1982 al 1985, ed il loro sound risulta essere il tipico esempio (ben riuscito) di elettronica minimale tedesca. Parti più malinconiche con una chitarra 'disperata' si alternano a momenti più sperimentali che coinvolgono l'ascoltatore nella tristezza che fu. 'automaten' ed il suo essere quasi new wave, 'Erinnerung', '237 Tage' che si avvicina al rumorismo dei primi Neubauten, o la dolcissima 'Danach' ci riportano ad un suono che di questi tempi non è molto alla moda.
Quindi se per una volta avete voglia di lasciare l'E.B.M. ipertecnologico dei vari Apoptygma, VNV Nation etc., questi mittageisen nella loro sincerità potrebbero farvi assaporare delle vecchie emozioni dimenticate. Da riscoprire.
Federico Tozzi

album review

The original sin (B), 25/99
Can somebody help me??? I'm a child of the 80's and my fave genre of music must be the so called dark-wave bands. I'm not going to pretend to say I'm a specialist but since years I try to hear every band from the 80's who are inspired by the desperate sounds from Joy Division, Clan of Xymox or The Cure. Say what you want, but this is the type of music that means the most to me. Throughout this discovery (for some records you have to search years!) I thought I knew every band in this genre that meant something. And now out of sudden I receive a compilation-CD from a Swiss band called mittageisen, a collection of songs made between 1981 and 1986 and I only have one question in mind when hearing this: 'Why I haven't I heard before???' I'm not going to bore you with obscure bands from the 80's, but for those who know what good records from the 80's were like ... think of bands like Mekanik Kommando, Mecano and Die Partei and that's the atmosphere mittageisen are operating under. But to come with more known bands ... take the cold guitars from early Cure, the simple (but magical) keyboard-sounds from Joy Division and a very dark voice! Some will say this is dated, but this is music with passion ... this is not music made to pretend you're a good musician, but this is made because there is passion in them!!! Maybe this is the surprise of the year for me! A real classic and I didn't knew this ... sorry, mittageisen!!!
Didier Becu

album review

Sorted magAZine (EI), Feb 1999
The mittageisen CD is a compilation of material, mainly from a three-year period, by one of the earliest darkwave/electro Goth bands. These tracks were mostly recorded from '82 to '85 (seven of them in '82 when Depeche Mode still couldn't get enough), mixing the emerging Gothic sounds of the Banshees (from whom their name comes in part), Bauhaus and the Cure with the sparse electro of Kraftwerk. In general, it's slow, dark and morose with droning guitars and vocals, under-pinned by a sharp electro beat. In other ones, they are one of the archetypal darkwave bands who were releasing albums when the Sisters were only working on their early EPs. There is, however, a very simple and obvious reason why this band do not occupy the same privileged position as the classic Goth bands - they didn't sing in English. Most of the tracks are in German, with one, 'persistance de la mémoire', in French. It's the kind of music you hear as the soundtrack for oppressive, dark German sci-fi films. The sound does not stay the same all the way through, 'Automaten', which is here in two versions, is a fairly upbeat, electro piece. Others are more sound-scapey; droning pieces that evoke factory work. This CD is more than an historical oddity, it is a must for fans of early Sisters stuff, or the Cure's dark period which culminated in the oppressive 'Pornography'.
Donnacha DeLong

album review

Nightshade Magazine (D), Jan 1999
A long time ago I got these CD's and unfortunately I start with reviewing them now and not some weeks earlier (sorry Bruno, you know the reasons !) but I think this shouldn't prevent you from reading a review about a band that sounds just like most parts of the 80's have sounded : MITTAGEISEN.
Sounding like a mixture of German gods KRAFTWERK, very early THE CURE or early DEPECHE MODE and adding the typical 80's synthesizer-work we all know to the songs the compositions of MITTAGEISEN haven't lost anything of their original fascination - even from the point of view that these songs were originally created years ago . . .
 
Focusing on the first release I've got from MITTAGEISEN's label, '... alles ist anders ... nichts hat sich geändert ...' the listener gets first of all stunned by the impressive playing time of 63:50 minutes and the fourteen songs on this release. Walking on a musical gap between all those bands I've recently mentioned above MITTAGEISEN somehow manage it to take the listener to a time where this music was part of everyones everday's life - cold synthesizer paired with even colder and decent guitar leads, well-calculated bass lines and extremely mechanical drumming but still with a special flair (which is, in my humble opinion, something that many bands lack at nowadays). Songs like the more or less famous Underground-hit "Automaten" (represented in a "normal" and a "Radio-version"), "Persistance de la Mémoire", "Wir", "Erinnerung (alles ist anders ...)" or "Beständigkeit der Erinnerung" are pieces of music that are able to drive tears in the eyes of supporters of Synthie-music / Dark Wave still today. Unfortunately MITTAGEISEN seem to take a small break between song eight ("237 Tage") and twelve ("Neues China") so that most of the atmosphere created in the previous songs get lost. "Neues China", by the way, does somehow remind me on the works of synthesizer-virtuoso Jean-Michel Jarre so that MITTAGEISEN's influences wander straight upwards into the uncountable area.
Well, "... alles ist anders ... nichts hat sich geändert ..." finally contains much more than the cover artwork has promised and I think you should have a small peek into this release if you are at least a little bit interested in this music style MITTAGEISEN are playing ...
Oliver Schönknecht

album review

Chain D.L.K. (US), issue #5 - July/August 1998
To be honest with you I really started to listen to this band with a careful ear just because they are Swiss, their label mital-U is from Switzerland as well and me too... My dear beloved homestate seems not to be very much present into the European gray area scene lately (and this is a pity because there are many worthy bands around) so I was surprised, happy and positively influenced when I heard about mital-U and mittageisen. Still to keep on being honest with you, I have to admit that after the initial patriotic enthusiasm, I realized that it is not really the kind of music I prefer... but that's not very important... By the way mittageisen are a post-punk-dark-synth band who formed nearly twenty years ago and this CD-release collects fourteen songs of their two vinyl-records plus unreleased studio-material of the period spanning 1981 to 1986. Their music is based on an endearing combustion of synths and guitars, minimal bass-loops and a cold drum machine. All lyrics are in german. The result reminds me very much of the early 80s post-punk-dark-electro scene and according to the different songs they sometimes also could be located somewhere between a less electronic and more raw version of the Kraftwerk or 'Play for Today' phase of the Cure. This CD also includes two versions of their most famous song 'automaten' (whose lyrics about work remind die Krupps 'Wahre Arbeit, Wahrer Lohn' too).
Marc Urselli-Schärer

mittageisen LP

Rockerilla (I) 4/1984
Ho già avuto modo di far notare come la produzione discografica di nazioni al di fuori dell'asse Londra - New York è ormai da tempo sprovincializzata, e ricca sia qualitativamente che quantitativamente di novità ogni fenomeno musicale è oggi di ampiezza planetaria, anche se i soliti motivi di business e la docile abitudinarietà del grosso pubblico impediscono una adeguata distribuzione, sia in patria che all'estero, di quei gruppi non allineati con le politiche di vendita all'ingrosso, e non vidimati da crismi anglosassoni. Un vero peccato perché poi accade che tutti, addetti ai lavori e pubblico occasionale, fanno indigestione di suoni sempre uguali, sanno già cosa aspettarsi da questo o da quel gruppo famoso, finiscono con l'assuefarsi all'ossequioso tran-tran scandito dai comunicati stampa, dai settimanali musicali, dalle video-hits televisive.
Per tenere desta l'attenzione e alto il volume del giradischi, occorre allora andare a cercare fuori dai sentieri più battuti: indietro nella breve storia del rock a recuperare grandi e piccole pietre luminose, con la curiosità del ricercatore ma senza smanie collezionistiche, oppure andando a pescare nella produzione di qualche terra esotica, con il piacere della scoperta resa più appassionante dalle difficoltà logistiche. Ecco allora che ci si può imbattere in gruppi come questi mittageisen, elvetici di lingua tedesca, il cui album invoglia già dalla copertina, uno spendido acquarello notturno abitato da gatti di strada e stralunati new wavers. Il disco ha tutti difetti ma soprattutto tutte le buone qualità di un'opera prima: qualche ingenuità, influenze avvertibili di altre bands, freschezza, grande entusiasmo, comunicativa, onestà.
La denominazione è presa da una canzone di Siouxsie (che a sua volta aveva attinto da un lavoro del collagista Heartfield), i musicisti sono giovani provenienti dalla scuola d'Arte, la zona di operazioni è Lucerna, anche se il leader Bruno W ha un passato di punk nell'area Zurighese, e i suoi testi riflettono infatti le problematiche del dissenso giovanile che in tempi recenti hanno trovato anche nella insospettabile Svizzera valvole di sfogo. La musica è quella che di solito viene etichettata come "Nuova Psichedelia", in questo caso però il sound ha nell'insieme un sapore sufficientemente personale, e più che alle nuove leve fa pensare a certe classiche composizioni dei Velvet Underground, soprattutto per la semplice struttura basata su variazioni progressive di accordi, progressioni melodiche affidate alle due chitarre di Daniel S e Markus S. Quest'ultimo è anche il cantante, la voce ha toni smorzati e dolci al contrario della gran parte di gruppi che si esprimono in tedesco, mentre Bruno W si occupa di sintetizzatore e drummachine, e due nuovi elementi si sono aggiunti al basso e alle tastiere dopo la pubblicazione del disco.
Molto compatte e trascinanti sono "persistance de la memorie" e "Wir", ma anche "Traum" e "Dunkelheit" si concludono in appassionante crescendo, da ascoltare spesso e con sentimento. Una stimmung che è senz'altro adeguata ai tempi, una musica tinta di riflessi notturni ma che respira anche di un'attitudine positiva, piacevolezza che è volontà di condividere emozioni e non ricerca del brano di facile presa, unico momento "diverso" la lettura di una lunga lettera dal carcere di Ulrike Meinhoff, risolto in stridenti disarmonie chitarristiche che si contrappongono alla voce profonda e pacata. La stagione di caccia è sempre aperta.
Vittore Baroni
Top of Pagemittageisen : portrait | music | lyrics | videos | archive

Wechseln zur deutschsprachigen VersionCopyright © 1995-dato by mital-U