The Wirtschaftswunder Preziosen & Profanes LP

The WIRTSCHAFTSWUNDER (German for “economic miracle,” and a reference to the rapid development of West Germany post-WWII) was from the weirder and more experimental side of the ’80s Neue Deutsche Welle. They were a truly multinational group, featuring members from Germany, Canada, Czechoslovakia, and an Italian singer (Angelo Galizia) who sang/shouted in heavily-accented German. Preziosen & Profanes compiles their first EP Allein along with a handful of early singles and assorted compilation tracks. Demented zolo strangeness abounds here, in the same league as RENALDO AND THE LOAF, Sweden’s KITCHEN AND THE PLASTIC SPOONS, or fellow Germans PALAIS SCHAUMBERG. There is a playful sense of unpredictability to these tracks, combining musique concrète found sounds, sampled speech, cartoonish synth-pop, toy instruments, and various electronic squalls—often within the same song. “Allein” is an upbeat synth-punker with Galizia’s furious howl at the forefront, while “Metall” layers industrial noise over piano and violin (the overall effect reminding me of “Silent Command” by CABARET VOLTAIRE). “Television” is a bouncy synth-pop number, while its B-side “Kommissar” is a cover of what I assume is an iconic ’70s German TV theme song. “Ich steh auf Hagen” stretches out to nearly five minutes of experimental thrashing about, driven by the same propulsive drumbeat until it all falls apart near the end. Tremendous fun.