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Happy Straps: Pleasures 1985-1986 (col.) (LP) [30105300]



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Zusatzinformation: GREENBLUE VINYL
   
EAN/UPC Code: 1230001873795
Artikel-Nr.: TT016C
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Information: COLOURED VINYL!!!When the East Berlin post-punk band Happy Straps entered the golden book of GDR subculture, two of its members had already made noise in the border city of Frankfurt (Oder) as the largely forgotten Äxül. This name oozed a certain phonetic acidity, it was somehow evocative of a pungent drain cleaner. Yet Äxül was in fact nothing other than an onomatopoeic cross of Exil ("exile") and Asyl ("asylum"). When one of the three Äxülees took the band name literally and in 1984 made off towards the West, the Frankfurt punk band's fate was sealed after just a year. For the later Happy Straps, these early signs of certain runaway forces were to prove fateful.

The two remaining Äxül staff, Jörg "Heini" Heinemann and Chris Schwartinsky, finally advanced from the River Oder to the River Spree in East Berlin, where they proclaimed the punk band Band ohne Namen ("band without a name"). The band made itself a name by not giving itself a name; a provisional name, as if remaining settled in the GDR was never part of the plan, their tendency towards exile well alive.

There were reasons for this more than obvious lack of attachment to their homeland. Regardless of whether dreamily you turned your gaze to the West, or were resigned to your own reality - the sun rose in the East also ideologically, which explains why the GDR was dark at its core. Unless you belonged to the communist denomination, the dull sheen of a body of experience of public vows, personal declarations of commitment and an elastic multiplicity of rubber paragraphs gradually sank to a bottom to which less and less light would penetrate. Like silica, bitters permeated the sediments of a collectivised subconscious. For a minority, they solidified into a political confession that implied an aesthetic one: "We live in paradise" sang the Happy Straps, evoking that limbo of a reactionary socialism masquerading as progressive.

A state "playing permit", for which the band would have to undergo "classification", was not even considered. Both guitarist Krischan Jaeger and drummer Chris Schwartinsky had an "application for release from GDR citizenship" pending, making delusional any attempt to legalise the band. Since the Happy Straps sang only in English, the band would have been subject to the suspicions of a jury of music teachers, Ostrockers and functionaries disconnected from reality. Even the name Happy Straps itself could hardly be reconciled with the expectation of a "deserving folk art collective". The band's stylistics also did not fit the ideologically targeted programme. Their dark sound, dark wave in general, remained alien to Ostrock # even though the greatest hits of the Puhdys all operated on the folksy variables of metaphysics, and their classic "Vorn ist das Licht" (Ahead is the light) also echoed Electra's saviour hymn "Tritt ein in den Dom" (Step into the dome). Perhaps the widespread tendency towards ballads in Ostrock cast an unintended light on religious deficiencies under the cross of hammer and sickle: "Seven times you will be the ashes" predicted the state rock bards Karat as they peered into the crystal ball, but ultimately it was not made of lead crystal glass. It was not until 1986 that "Bataillon d'Amour" by Silly would faintly echo dark tendencies.

The Happy Straps remained a typical underground growth; it was not much visible above ground, but deeply rooted in East Berlin's alternative scene. Café Mosaik was a hotbed of the bohemian scene in Prenzlauer Berg, where dreamers, freaks and artists would meet - "negative elements" who would positively charge each other's batteries or drive each other insane about their prospects of finally being allowed to leave the country based on an "permanent departure from the GDR". At Mosaik, Chris and Heini spotted a young woman with bright-red hair blow-dried as if in a wind tunnel, who apparently matched their vision of a suitable singer. Heini addressed her and Claudia Böhme became part of the line-up. The presence of a female singer provided the band with a new timbre, both vocally and in texture.

In this final line-up, the band performed with Antitrott and Die Firma. Hard Pop and Feeling B, bands with state permits, also had the Happy Straps perform as an off-the-record opener. In 1985, a stormy steamboat trip would take place on placid Lake Müggelsee. The proud Weiße Flotte ship had been unceremoniously chartered by the organisers in the name of the FDJ ground organisation of Humboldt University, which was now the unsuspecting patron of an ideologically questionable pleasure trip. The on-board bands were Aufruhr zur Liebe, Klick & Aus, Feeling B and Happy Straps. The Happy Straps found a haven in Feeling B's rehearsal space. Flake, the Casio player of Feeling B, contributed to both Happy Straps tapes. The first, "What a Pleasure", was made on the outskirts of East Berlin at the Mahlsdorfer Tonstudio run by Thorsten Philipp. Aufruhr zur Liebe, Der Demokratische Konsum and Ornament & Verbrechen also produced some recordings there. Thorsten Philipp left the country shortly afterwards and took the four East Berlin bands' tapes to West Berlin with him. On the Good Noise label, he would release a compilation of the sessions under the title of "'Live' In Paradise DDR", borrowed from the Happy Straps song "We live in paradise". The compilation was released in 1985, of course without the considerate approval of the cultural guardian council in East Berlin, but also without the knowledge of the bands included. A genuine risk for the musicians, even if the names of the bands were not revealed on the cover.

The second tape was recorded by Arnim Bautz, who had briefly appeared as the singer of Hard Pop and would later direct the multimedia spectacle New Affaire. Arnim Bautz produced bands like Fett and Elektro Artist at his DIY studio, and he also had a hand in the making of a tape by The Local Moon*. Both Happy Straps tapes appeared in an edition of about 50 copies each. The title of the second tape anticipated the band's exodus-induced end: "What a Pleasure" was followed by "Last Pleasure".

In December 1985, Krischan Jäger became the first to depart the GDR. His place was taken by guitarist Paul Landers of Feeling B. New songs were rehearsed, but a joint appearance of Feeling B and Happy Straps was prohibited right before the show. Next, Jörg Heinemann left for the West in May 1986. Claudia Böhme followed in October. In December 1986, Chris Schwartinsky finally shut down the lights on the Island of the Blessed:

"We live in paradise. But we don't know it."

   
Erscheinungsdatum: 01.12.2023
Im Shop seit: 08.06.2024
   
Verfügbarkeit: Sofort abholbereit/versandfertig

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