Die Toedliche Doris
Welten - Worlds - Ohontsa'shón:'a LP

Legendary Berlin-based artists' group Die Toedliche Doris have quite an impressive backlog of musical and visual performances. "Welten" comprises hitherto unreleased recordings from an improvised soundtrack they'd done for an alternative fashion show more than 20 years ago.

For decades, Berlin has been one of the hotspots for radical and open-minded artists. When the late 1970ies brought the Punk revolution to the city, a whole new underground scene evolved and set out to flourish. Die Toedliche Doris arose from this creative environment, and while they were loosely connected to the Punk spirit, they were decidedly more sophisticated than most of the Punk bands at that time.

By 1984, Die Toedliche Doris had already built up a reputation for being notorious mavericks, and so they were granted the opportunity to contribute their artistic manouevres to several events. One of those happened to be a fashion show held at Berlin's Deplana Kunsthalle. Die Toedliche Doris found themselves given the task to create a soundtrack for the fashion show, in order to please (or shock) the audience. They came up with the concept of combining music from different sources and different backgrounds. This would be achieved by bringing a bunch of pre-recorded audio tapes and playing those in random succession, while a conventional light entertainment band would try to complement that material by playing songs from their standard repertoire.

A band was quickly hired via the local job centre, who sent the Gerry-Belz-Band, an elderly threesome with a bass, percussion, and a keyboard. The album reveals that the Gerry-Belz-Band have mastered the challenge with remarkable bravery. At times they struggle a bit in finding a rhythmical structure in the noisy soundscapes delivered from the tape recorders, but most of the time they effortlessly strut through "Sentimental Journey" and whatever standard songs they have had prepared. At one point, the choreography tells the Gerry-Belz-Band to take a five minute break and munch a huge slice of bread and butter. This explains the temporary absence of the band's music, while all you can hear is atonal soundscapes, alienated factory noise and what sounds like the hum of an angry giant insect.

Now, you might think it's nothing special to deliberately juxtapose unexpected combinations of music. "Welten" is certainly not an album you'd want to listen to very often, but as a historic recording it is a welcome addition to any collection of obscure music worth its salt. This album is a vinyl-only release and limited to 500 copies.

(rh 08/MMV)

Label: Vinyl on Demand

>> Vinyl on Demand website

Easy listening meets total destruction on "Welten"