Review: Repetitive, minimal avant-garde electronic music from the underground of Berlin. Ludwig Papenberg and Johannes Vester founded Alu in 1980 after the psychedelic group Sand. The following year, they released the single "Please Wait!". Although Alu came from the Berlin 'Kassettenuntergrund', it was a more brittle sound not too dissimilar from British bands of the time like like Nocturnal Emissions or Cabaret Voltaire. A group shake-up meant the addition of singer Nadja Molt and while internally marked as the second phase of the group. No studio recordings were released and the group appeared only at concerts, documented on two live LPs and in 192 Papenberg left, with Vester and Molt forming Alu III. In the accompanying text of their 1983 release Spiritual Renewal, they wrote: 'Our work lies in, where possible, storing a lot of sounds and rhythmic structures in synthesizers and rhythm machines to be released freely in concert. Texts and singing are also spontaneous inspirations.'
Review: Off The Record sees German label Bureau B offer up a wonderful presentation of music from ex Kraftwerk member Karl Bartos. Apparently originally conceived whilst Bartos was part of the iconic group, these twelve tracks have been fully developed from the musical diary he kept all those years ago. What was initially a secret collection of rhythms, riffs, hooks, chords and melodies have been reconceived and re-contextualised by Bartos in a modern setting and Off The Record should make for compelling listening for the legions of Kraftwerk completists out there. "The Binary Code" stands out, a swooping array of 8bit arpeggios unfurling and taking your senses with you whilst "Musica Ex Machina" is the sort of chugging, busy vocoder led machine funk you'd feasibly hear in a Weatherall back to back set with Smagghe
Review: The latest artist to delve into Conrad Schnitzler's vast archive of synthesizer sounds and Con-Struct new tracks is Pole, AKA dub-tronica stalwart Stefan Betke. In the liner notes, Betke admits to never warming to Schnitzler's brand of synthesizer experimentalism, despite respecting the German pioneer's vast body of work. Yet despite these misgivings, Betke has produced an impressive set which melds some of Schnitzler's trademark electronics - woozy, evocative, out-there and occasionally hugely challenging - with his own glitch-heavy rhythms and dub techno inspired textures. The result is a collection of finely tuned tracks that effortlessly joins the dots between 1970s electronica, '90s IDM, and Betke's distinctly dub-wise production style.