Mutabor! Two Wishes 12″ reissue

MUTABOR! emerged from the thriving experimental art and music culture of early ’80s Berlin, after Bettina Köster of MALARIA! and Gary Asquith of REMA-REMA first met at a BIRTHDAY PARTY show in London; Asquith was inspired enough to relocate to Germany so that they could start a project together, with Köster’s MALARIA! bandmates Manon Duursma and Gudrun Bredemann eventually joining up as well. The two tracks on this 1982 12″ are the only recordings from the short-lived group, and it’s fairly easy to connect the dots between Two Wishes, REMA-REMA’s rhythmic, industrial-flirting brutalist drone, and MALARIA!’s dark electronic post-punk drama. A-side “1001 Nights” is a total No Wave collision, the aural equivalent of a shattered teacup reassembled with glue (clearly fractured, but precariously held together)—saxophone skronk, rickety organ, clattering auxiliary percussion cutting in against the bare-bones cymbal-free drumming, multiple monotone voices intersecting with each other, and only the briefest shocks of guitar. “Treats” is even sparser, a series of emotionally detached phrasings backed by little more than a few sax squeals and some BAD SEEDS-anticipating piano that’s mirrored by sinister six-string noise. Bleak as hell, but definitely an interesting link in the evolutionary chain of severe ’80s art-punk.