Owned since: 2015
Genre: Quirky German post-punk pop
Where I bought it: At an art & culture festival in a distro’s bargain bin
Label/pressing: Innovative Communication
Time to focus on something not English again. Ideal, from Berlin, were part of the giant Neue Deutsche Welle movement that swept Germany in the early 80s. It might mean nothing to you but acts like Nena, D.A.F. and Palais Schaumburg might ring a bell somewhere. It mostly was a big collective term coined by a Dutch radio DJ for the new wave of West German bands that all played some kind of variant on post-punk. From the weird broken minimal post-punk of F.S.K. to, well, Ideal’s jumpy post-punk that never was far away from being pure pop music.
I own very little Welle stuff, which I honestly don’t have a good reason for. Loads of fairly easy to find cheap stuff over here because there was a lot of import and export from Germany at the time these records got released. Honestly the only stuff I own that springs to mind is a D.A.F. Record, which will for sure get covered later. Ideal put out this record on Kaul Schulze’s (yes the atmospheric ambient guitar guy) Innovative Communication label which is an odd fit. Mostly because it’s music you expect from Schulze; Berlin krautrock school electronics, even though there is some other outliers there also (Alan Davis’s fun #1 NYC punk lp comes to mind), where Ideal’s odd duck approach to post-punk never really had any other kind of release on there.
It’s really quite hard to place this record because it endlessly plays with what it is. On one side, it is recalling the more punky Blondie songs but also there is some weird sound experimentation that recalls the more song based kraut-rock acts. But most of all, it’s just very in your face. It’s easy to drag the Nina Hagen band into it because lead vocalist Annette Humpe sounds quite a bit like her, but the band is way more punk powered then Hagen ever was. There’s small bits of cabaret music in here (the jaunty synths on Irre and of-course Blaue Augen), but mostly this is just a sound that only Germany could produce at the time. West Germany was a massive place for importing records so a lot of German bands out of the Welle got their hands on exports even faster than people in the UK got. It really shows here also, from the slight dub influence of Telephon and Luxus to Telepathie recalling in some ways Wire by the way of Television.
This was a massive hit in Germany, which is pretty wild thinking this is very much all over the place this is sound wise. The original pressing was also released on a 45pm in place of a 33rpm which, boy, is rare for a 12inch. I own an original pressing and I need to remind myself every time I play it to switch up speeds.
For the rest the follow up Der Ernst des Lebens loses a bit of the franticness of this record, but still is worth a check. Last album Bi Nuu isn’t really worth your time, it’s quite middling. After just 3 years of being a band Ideal broke up by Telex(!) announcement to the press.
“The group Ideal is dissolving. From the beginning, Ideal was planned as a project, a corporation, which was intended to exist as long as the differences between the individual members made the work enjoyable and creative. Our music was always a result of the clashing of four different personalities, not of compromise, but of creating songs that all enjoyed. In three terrific years, we have gotten the best out of this constellation.“
And boy the clashing sure is heard on this. Give it a spin, it’s pretty great.
Slot Thooughts: Shockingly modern sounding! Hundsgemein ends on a fart, 10/10