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coverpic flag Germany - Full Moon 156 - 06/07/09

39 Clocks
De Stijl

39 Clocks is a true cult combo. The Hannover duo of Christian Henjes and Jürgen Gleue (a.k.a. artist names CH-39 and JG-39) performed back in the dark 80s, in-between all the glossy glamour and styled hairdos of that decade. They were dressed in black, shaded behind dark sunglasses.

Zoned, or Zoned : Recordings 1987 - 1980 ...rewind as its full title is, seems to be... a collection of most of 39 Clocks (the twosome started out with their first public performance in 1976 as Dada Nova) recordings. Well, its compiled by tracks from singles and albums. Dada, pranks, and destruction (according to the 'story', 39 Clocks stirred up most paths), yes, but this is mainly punk-spirited, psychedelic avant-garde/new wave with monotonous, repetitive guitar riffs and cheap, jangly drum machines. Here are glimpses of The Velvet Underground (deep back-throat/nasal vocals a la Lou Reed, or darker Cale-like vocals, the gloomy, back street/nightlife poetry of theirs, and the gentle, strolling stomp - the trademark VU rhythm), here are cues of Pere Ubu (the wandering bass, the wild synth sound escapades and feverish vocals of Ubu - even though not even close to David Thomas' high pitch -- in the song "PLO" they eve sing "...looking for a final solution..."). And, maybe here's also a certain Wire-in-syrup-meets-Suicide' reference. Or, to an even more odd clash; Joy Division meets The Cleaners from Venus (as in "Test The Beat"). But, also the ineviteble German inspiration: Fauts/Kraftwerk/Neu!.

39 Clocks (plus some additional musicians) for sure present an exciting document. It's a true time travel, as the compilation 'rewinds'; it's starting in 1987, ending in 1980. Of course, not all songs are all that great and inspired (I prefer the 1982 tap), but the devilish DIY attitude, the tongue-in-cheek rock'n'roll, and the solid German accent makes Zoned rise high on the charm scale. This is not at all that a sauer kraut.

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