Random jukebox – Wolfsheim

Wolfsheim were almost entirely overlooked outside their native Germany, and that’s a great shame. Perhaps if we’d paid a bit more attention, they might not have split up back in 2003, and some of us might still be able to enjoy their work. From the curiously titled album Dreaming Apes, this is A New Starsystem Has Been Explored.

Music for the Masses 40 – 14 May 2005

This was the last ever Music for the Masses, just a little over a decade ago, and it would go out with nothing but a sombre wave on the webcam, ten minutes before the end. Over the preceding five years, I had immensely enjoyed doing the show, and would spend another eight years or so wondering how to recapture those times. Eventually, it was reincarnated in the shape of the blog you’re reading today.

The last track had to be, of course, the fantastic Sweet Harmony by The Beloved.

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Show 40: Sat 14 May 2005, from 6:00pm-8:00pm

Broadcast on LSR FM, online only. Artist of the week: Everything But The Girl.

  • Portishead – Glory Box
  • Basement Jaxx – Where’s Your Head At
  • Kings Have Long Arms feat. Phil Oakey – Rock & Roll is Dead
  • Sohodolls – Prince Harry
  • Everything But The Girl – Missing (CL McSpadden Powerhouse Mix)
  • Underworld – Pearl’s Girl
  • Client – Don’t Call Me Baby
  • Saint Etienne – Only Love Can Break Your Heart
  • Garbage – The World is Not Enough
  • Everything But The Girl – Walking Wounded
  • Wolfsheim – Kein Zurück (Live) [The Live Bit]
  • Vic Twenty – Wrong
  • Moby – Raining Again
  • Luke Slater – I Can Complete You
  • Röyksopp – Poor Leno
  • Everything But The Girl – Blame
  • Jean Michel Jarre – Oxygène (Part 2)
  • Goldfrapp – Tiptoe [Electromix]
  • Jolly Music – Radio Jolly (ADULT Remix) [Electromix]
  • Massive Attack – Butterfly Caught (Paul Daley Remix) [Electromix]
  • Alpinestars – Green Raven Blonde
  • The Beloved – Sweet Harmony (Live the Dream Remix)

The Electromix feature from this show still exists, and will be included on a future Playlist for stowaways.

Music for the Masses 34 – 2 March 2005

For the second week running, the webcam was refusing to take pictures during this show. It did see a brief return of the Unsigned Act slot, with an entry from Subculture, and the many-talented William Orbit was the Artist of the Week.

Show 34: Wed 2 Mar 2005, from 6:05pm-8:00pm

Broadcast on LSR FM, online only. Artist of the week: William Orbit.

  • Gotan Project – Época
  • Rob Dougan – Furious Angels
  • Depeche Mode – I Feel Loved
  • The Space Brothers – Forgiven
  • Energy 52 – Café del Mar
  • Apollo 440 – Astral America
  • William Orbit – Via Caliente
  • Peach – From This Moment On
  • Jean Michel Jarre – Je Me Souviens
  • Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls (DJ Hell Remix)
  • Subculture – Dead in the Day (Demo) [Unsigned Act]
  • Erlend Øye – Every Party Has a Winner and a Loser
  • William Orbit – Million Town
  • Kraftwerk – Expo 2000 (Kling Klang 2002 Mix)
  • Manu Chao – Bongo Bong
  • Erasure – Don’t Say You Love Me
  • LCD Soundsystem – Daft Punk is Playing at My House
  • Wolfsheim – Wunderbar
  • Jan Hammer – Crockett’s Theme
  • William Orbit – Satie’s Ogive #1
  • Bent – The Waters Deep

Music for the Masses 27 – 22 November 2004

Show 27 was, judging from the pictures and playlist, a blistering affair, involving lots of waving hands around in the air like I just didn’t care, and finally seeing Kraftwerk as the artist of the week.

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Show 27: Mon 22 Nov 2004, from 6:05pm-8:00pm

Broadcast on LSR FM, online only. Artist of the week: Kraftwerk.

  • Gorillaz – Clint Eastwood
  • Tears for Fears – Shout
  • Röyksopp – Poor Leno
  • Utah Saints – Lost Vagueness
  • Télépopmusik – Genetic World
  • Sugababes – Too Lost in You
  • Kraftwerk – Radioactivity
  • Alpinestars – Green Raven Blonde
  • Vic Twenty – Kiss You
  • Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Electricity
  • Heaven 17 – Dive
  • Wolfsheim – Kein Zurück
  • Dubstar – It’s Over
  • Kraftwerk – Computer Love (The Mix Version)
  • Ladytron – Blue Jeans
  • Komputer – Looking Down on London
  • Paul van Dyk feat. Vega 4 – Time of Our Lives
  • Yello – Get On
  • Wes – Alane
  • Kings of Convenience – Know-How
  • Tiga & Zyntherius – Sunglasses at Night
  • Audioweb – Into My World
  • Kraftwerk – Tour de France

Music for the Masses 24 – 31 October 2004

The last Sunday in October 2004 saw the last ever (to date) FM outing of the Music for the Masses show. While this was something of a shame, not having to get up at 3am every Sunday morning and cycle across a bleak northern city was generally a good thing. And since I didn’t know whether this could even be my last ever radio show, the obvious choice for Artist of the Week was my long-time favourite act, Pet Shop Boys.

Show 24: Sun 31 Oct 2004, from 4:00am-6:00am

Broadcast on LSR FM, on FM and online. Artist of the week: Pet Shop Boys.

  • Depeche Mode – Enjoy the Silence (Reinterpreted)
  • Everything But The Girl – Hadfield 1980
  • Death in Vegas – Aisha
  • New Order – True Faith
  • Pet Shop Boys – I’m Not Scared
  • Erasure – Piano Song
  • Deep Forest – Will You Be Ready?
  • Client feat. Carl Barât – Pornography
  • White Town – Duplicate
  • Wolfsheim – Kein Zurück
  • Pet Shop Boys – Always
  • Faithless – Swingers
  • Utah Saints – What Can You Do for Me?
  • The All Seeing I feat. Phil Oakey – 1st Man in Space
  • Delerium feat. Sarah McLachlan – Silence (Above & Beyond Remix)
  • Kraftwerk – Computer Love (The Mix Version)
  • Pet Shop Boys – Miracles
  • Sparks – My Baby’s Taking Me Home
  • Basement Jaxx – Rendez-Vu
  • Rob Dougan – Clubbed to Death

This show was recorded, and for the most part still exists. It will be posted as a Playlist for stowaways soon.

Five underrated artists

Another fine list from my archives, originally posted on my old website on 21st November 2003. In case it wasn’t immediately obvious, I was living in Germany at the time.

Herewith five artists who are big in Germany, and ought to be big in the UK, but nobody has ever heard of them…

  • One-T + Cool-T – I’ve no idea where they’re from, but they have a really catchy hip hop track with a fantastic video out at the moment called The Magic Key, which is big all over Europe. Except in the UK, of course. It just spent its 18th week on the German chart.
  • Samajona – A Berlin-based girl band, who appear to be big all over eastern Europe. Their current single Miss You ought to be enough to give Girls Aloud a run for their money, only it’s in German, which isn’t really a terribly commercial idea.
  • Sylver – A Dutch dance duo, who are now on their second album. They had a minor hit in the UK with Turn the Tide a couple of years ago. A lot of their stuff isn’t that great, but Livin’ My Life and the current single Shallow Water are particularly noteworthy.
  • Within Temptation – I’ve no idea what most of their material is like, but I just heard a very good industrial rock track called Mother Earth. They seem to sound a bit like Evanescence, except the vocalist uses opera influences, which is interesting. No idea where they’re from.
  • Wolfsheim – A German electronic group, who seem to have built up a big cult audience in Germany through the 1990s. I’d never heard of them before, but they’ve done a couple of really good singles this year, including Kein Zurück and Find You’re Here.

I could also mention Bernd das Brot, but that’s probably not a terribly good idea. Oh, and the German Popstars: The Rivals band, the unfortunately named Preluders are quite good, too. Or rather, like Girls Aloud, they’ve got a good production team behind them.

Retro chart for stowaways – 28 February 2004

Here are the top ten singles from eleven years ago this week:

  1. Delerium feat. Nerina Pallot – Truly
  2. Ferry Corsten – Rock Your Body
  3. Basement Jaxx – Good Luck
  4. Sugababes – Too Lost in You
  5. Chicane – Don’t Give Up 2004
  6. Voodoo Child (Moby) – Light is in Your Eyes / Electronics
  7. Pet Shop Boys – Miracles
  8. Girls Aloud – Jump
  9. Wolfsheim – Kein Zurück
  10. Voodoo Child (Moby) – Take it Home / Strings

Playlist for stowaways – Comme Mode

If you’ve ever spent any time in Germany, you’ll know that they really like Depeche Mode over there. Absolutely love them. There’s a whole raft of bands who sound a lot like them. Which, for a band who the UK still like to regard as purveyors of slightly naff plinky plonky pop, is quite impressive.

The latest Playlist for stowaways is a tribute to Depeche Mode – acts inspired by them, related to them, or who just sound a little bit like them.

It’s online now, located here. Here are the tracks that make it up:

  1. Dave Gahan – I Need You (Radio Mix)
  2. Mesh – From This Height (Pocket Orchestra Remix)
  3. Bomb the Bass – Winter in July (7″)
  4. Duran Duran – Out of My Mind (Perfecto Mix)
  5. Front Line Assembly – Everything Must Perish
  6. Martin L. Gore – In a Manner of Speaking
  7. Lindum & Lindum – Waiting for the Night
  8. Wolfsheim – Kein Zurück
  9. Recoil – Jezebel
  10. De/Vision – Dress Me When I Bleed
  11. Camouflage – Love is a Shield (Single Version)
  12. The Clarke and Ware Experiment – Wilderness/Turbulence
  13. Soulsavers – Longest Day

Peter Heppner – Solo

Many moons ago, when I lived in Germany, I became very fond of their large numbers of Depeche Mode soundalike bands, one of which was a duo called Wolfsheim. Is it fair to start a review describing them in that way? Probably not, but to a non-Teutonic audience, I think the comparison is inevitable. But their album Casting Shadows is quite brilliant, as are the singles it yielded, Kein ZurückFind You’re Here and Blind 2004, only one of which is actually on the album.

But of course, as soon as I decided I liked it, they inevitably decided to split up, going through an intriguingly acrimonious breakup involving a very messy lawsuit and a lot of extremely bad blood. You probably never even knew or cared, but the truth is they had matured into a very good band, and the split was really rather frustrating.

So it was pleasing that in 2008 singer and not-founder-member Peter Heppner decided to release a solo album, which for reasons best known to himself he decided to call Solo. He’d been messing around recording with other artists such as Schiller and Paul van Dyk for a couple of years, and had obviously decided that he could go it alone.

The album opens with a great track called Easy, but for me German artists are always best when they sing in their own language, the first of which is second track Alleinesein (‘being alone’), a powerful beat-driven track which was quite rightly the first single from the album.

Vorbei (‘over’) is the first of the truly exceptional tracks on the album. It’s driven primarily by a pad riff, but all the way through the production throws you slightly trippy surprises, and if you understand it, the lyric is nearly as powerful as Kein ZurückI Hate You is a brilliantly moody piece (“… from the bottom of my heart,” Heppner continues). No Matter What it Takes is another strong track, which maybe wouldn’t have felt out of place at the top end of the charts at the tail end of the 1980s.

Towards the end of the album, you get the bizarrely titled Walter (London or Manchester), another anthem in the form of Wherever, and the exceptionally powerful album closer Das Geht Vorbei… All in all, you do have to wonder slightly to what degree Solo was inspired by the problems that Wolfsheim had been having post-Casting Shadows, but lyrically and musically the album is a powerful return to Heppner’s traditional form.

As a postscript, I was very pleased to discover while researching this piece that he’s just released another album called My Heart of Stone. More on that another time.

Unless you’re in Germany you’ll probably have to buy this one on olde-fashioned import, via Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.

More about this blog

I think you’ll get the hang of this very quickly.

My name is Rollo, I’m old enough to remember the 1980s, and I mainly like pop and electronic music, but also a bit of world and a lot of chillout, and all sorts of things in between. But I mainly listen to electronic music, and so that’s mainly what we’ll be writing about here.

You’ll get a good idea of my favourite bands as we go along, but loosely I grew up listening to lots of Pet Shop Boys and Erasure, then I discovered Sparks and Depeche Mode, and for a long time my favourite band were The Beloved. Then I stumbled across Jean Michel Jarre and Kraftwerk, and in more recent years became extraordinarily keen on Röyksopp, Goldfrapp and William Orbit.

I come from Sheffield originally, so inevitably I have a lot of fondness for The Human League and Heaven 17, but not ABC so much. I love I Monster and Kings Have Long Arms to pieces. I’m a Geographer by trade, and I’m always fascinated by things which fuse music from different locations such as Gotan Project, Manu ChaoDeep ForestErlend Øye and Delerium.

I’m a Europhile, and so I adore French music such as AirTélépopmusikReadymade and Sébastien Tellier, and German music such as Camouflage and Wolfsheim. My favourite country in the world is Slovenia, so I’m particularly fascinated by Laibach. I’m a proud Brit, so I love Madness and The Specials.

I love pop music, and I think Sarah Nixey has the finest voice in the world, while Saint Etienne are probably the best songwriters. I like listening to unusual laid back music such as The Future Sound of London and The Orb. I like things with a darker edge, so I love Front Line Assembly and the Soulsavers album was wonderful.

My favourite discoveries of recent years have probably been MarsheauxHoneyroot and Skywatchers.

Funny how your taste in music is so fundamentally shaped by your personality, isn’t it?