Exposé Online banner

Various Artists — Ende vom Lied: East German Underground Sound 1979-1990
(Play Loud!, 1990/2016, CD)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2016-10-11

Ende vom Lied: East German Underground Sound 1979-1990 Cover art

In the aftermath of 70s progressive music and the primal scream that was punk, many artists tried other avenues of expression through blending of music with poetry or painting. In the West we had the advent of New Wave and New Age music. Behind the wall in the German Democratic Republic (AKA East Germany), they had limited exposure to the music of the free world, so their search for new means of expression was a tightrope walk between subculture and dictatorship. The new compilation Ende vom Lied (The End of the Song) is a collection of 24 tracks spanning 1979 - 1990 from various East German artists operating below the radar. Most likely you will not recognize any of the names, so there is no point in listing them. But what is interesting with this collection is the genre-spanning range of music (punk, new wave, new age, electronica, avant-garde, psychedelia, and progressive jazz) that was happening during this period in East Germany. I visited East Germany in 1989, six months before the Wall came down, and the only music I was exposed to at that time was their awful popular dance party music. Listening to these different songs and groups, I hear references to Joy Division, Die Tödliche Doris, MX80 Sound, Der Plan, Sex Pistols, The Go-Gos, HP Lovecraft, Chrome, Killing Joke, Bauhaus, and dub. Of course there are several raucous and screaming punk songs, but there is an oompah brass ditty, “Keiter Schwaß,” that is amazingly engaging. Bascially there is something for everyone on this compilation. Plus it presents an interesting musical slice of history when the European world was quite different from what it is today.


Filed under: Archives, 2016 releases, 1990 recordings

Related artist(s): Various Artists

Latest news

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Tom Heasley & Toss Panos - Passages – For those who admire purely timbral musics, Tom Heasley and Toss Panos have put together more than an hour of inventive, often original work based wholly on the tuba and percussion. Original because...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues