Grauzone
Grauzone


4.0
excellent


Release Date: 1981 | Tracklist

Review Summary: In cold sweat, in constant unrest.

A great part of the underground post-punk movement was electronic music. From its minimal implementation in new wave and its synth layers, to darkwave that could either be fully electronic or have merely heavily electronic and densely dark production, to other subgenres that utilised it to a much fuller extent, like proto-synthpop or minimal wave. And concurrently with all that, the underground music got divided into their geographical sections. Hence the Dutch noise scene, English goth and darkwave, Russian pop-rock/new wave mixture, or – as we’ll see right now – no wave and idiosyncratic pop-y minimalism from Germanic lands (so no, it’s not only Nena and”99 Luftballoons”). Grauzone entered the scene at around that time and left it pretty much imminently thereafter.

The sound here seems easy to swallow, but simultaneously feels in a constant state of unease and exhaust. It’s fractured and raw, a pure amalgam of disorientation and nervous break-down. A certain industrial creepiness lurks at every corner, a certain uncertainty and anxiety, a certain chaos cloaked in strict order. This is an album of paranoia, where the atmosphere just makes you feel like a prisoner of some inescapable foggy labyrinth, where an exit only leads to another labyrinth. And all that is only supported by the suspiciously innocent and often uplifting lyrics and themes, mostly tackling love and general youthful fun.

But don’t go away thinking that there is not a ray of light within, the album is still quite sweet at times and songs like “Ich und Du” or “Träume mit mir” are just upbeat all the way through. It’s just that a lot of the times it happens that the vibes are slightly diabolical in disguise. Prime example would be songs like “Kälte Kriecht” and “In der Nacht”, where the electronics intensify to a head-spinning extent, taking over the steering wheel from the more traditional instrumentation. “Kunstgewerbe and “Moskau” then present themselves as a tad more ethereal ballads, while “Marmelade und Himbeereis”, “Hinter den Bergen” and “Der Weg zu zweit” poise almost refreshingly breezy and relaxed tunes.

Upon closer inspection, this album seems like a mixed bag, but Grauzone manage to even things out with mostly dense electronic production and layers upon layers of low fidelity execution. Therefore, when it comes to individual songs, they might even have an encouragingly optimistic effect, but the album at large is most definitely, if not uncomfortably peculiar, at the very least overwrought and noir experience.


On a side note, it really makes you think of how the world changed, aye" A band could exist for two years only (in this case, 1980-1982) and record nearly an hour-long genre-defining material and more that didn’t make the cut, have an international hit song in “Eisbär”, get a cult status, and dissolve shortly after. Nowadays it takes a band two years to first learn each other’s names.



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user ratings (6)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Papa Universe
August 8th 2018


16622 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

since butcherboy couldn't, i will

Digging: VRCVS - VRCVS

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
August 8th 2018


23390 Comments


exactly how I felt about my last review, will read

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
August 8th 2018


8376 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love this album.. reminds me of early winter.. auto-pos..

Digging: A.C. Temple - Blowtorch

Papa Universe
August 8th 2018


16622 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cheers, fellas.



now to get Sandwich here and we're full squad

SandwichBubble
August 8th 2018


7033 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I've arrived, fashionably late as always

ahem





AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Digging: Jeromes Dream - Seeing Means More Than Safety

Drifter
August 8th 2018


13447 Comments


"A great part of underground post-punk movement was electronic music."

of the?

Papa Universe
August 8th 2018


16622 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ay bloody hell

bgillesp
August 8th 2018


5610 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Im not part of the squad?

bgillesp
August 8th 2018


5610 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Somebody needs to review that Chain Cult Demo

SandwichBubble
August 8th 2018


7033 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I hate to see people left out, you can have my squad membership

Papa Universe
August 8th 2018


16622 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

well, you're getting more and more versed in the righteous ways of post-punk, so I suppose I can use my connections, pull some strings, get you in.

aye?

StallionMang
August 8th 2018


8693 Comments


"synthwave (the prototype of synthpop)" hol up

Papa Universe
August 8th 2018


16622 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah, it's pretty much the same thing. don't overanalyse it.





EDIT: okay, looked into it, apparently there's another "kind" of synthwave that is not minimal wave with heavy synth production, but cheesy 80s synthesiser jerk-off. sounds similar on paper, but it's not. bloody hell



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