"An antique is something that's been useless so long, it's still
in pretty good condition."
Franklin P. Jones
ELEKTRIC MUSIC, LFO AND S.P.O.C.K.
live at Pumpehuset, Copenhagen
Saturday, May 7th 1994
Heard and commented by Casper Falkenberg
Being a big fan of Kraftwerk, and generally being into
electronic music, I had to come across Elektric Music sooner or
later. The original members of Kraftwerk were Franz Hutter,
Florian Schneider, Karl Bartos and Wolfgang Flur. Their music was
composed by Hutter/Schneider, but with the help of a guy called
Emil Schult every now and then (he wrote "Trans Europe-Express"
with Franz Hutter for one thing). A good while after Kraftwerk
split up, Karl Bartos and Emil Schult started a new group
together with a dude called Thomas Manteuffel. This group was
Elektric Music and their only CD so far is "Esperanto" from 1993
(SPV Records). I never got to see Kraftwerk live, so when I saw
that Elektric Music were giving a concert in Copenhagen, I
thought - well, that's probably the next best thing. At the time
I hadn't actually heard anything from Elektric Music except for
"TV", which wasn't anything out of the ordinary. So I went
straight out and bought "Esperanto", to check out the music.
"Esperanto" isn't by far Kraftwerk revived. The construction of
the tracks is the same though, with all of them except for one
being instrumental with a few simple vocals here and there. But
that's it. The music style is completely different. It's happyer,
more light than Kraftwerk and not as monotonous. On the other
hand, the monotony and the sad, sentimental touch of all
Kraftwerk music was exactly what made that music to great. It's
not as experimental either, but it's certainly not pop music
(okay, so "TV" is - sort of). All in all, it's great electronic
music, but not to be compared with Kraftwerk.
After having heard the CD a lot (and I do mean a LOT!) I lent it
to my good friend Brian, who is also into some electronic music.
He thought it was okay, so the deal was on - we were going to
"Pumpehuset" in Copenhagen on saturday the 7th of May to
experience this group live. We knew absolutely nothing about the
other groups that were going to be there as support. They were
"S.P.O.C.K." from Sweden and "LFO" from Engand. The concert was
going to start at 7 pm, and we arrived at "Pumpehuset" half an
hour earlier. The first thing we saw on our way in was a guy with
a punk hair cut and a pair of ridiculous trousers throwing a ball
to another guy with a yellow footballshirt (that's what it looked
like anyway). They both wore VIP labels, so they were obviously
"somebody". Brian and I looked at each other, and said, in
chorus: "Those are definitely the guys from Sweden!". It later
turned out to be right.
We went in and sat down in the bar to have a drink. In
Pumpehuset, the actual concerts are on the first floor, so you
can sit down and drink/talk/relax downstairs before you go crazy.
The first thing we noticed was that it was very quiet from
upstairs. We reckoned that was because they were all set and had
done all the tests already. Boy were we wrong.
At three minutes to seven, we climbed the stairs. The first
floor of Pumpehuset is really just a big room, like a warehouse,
with a stage at one end. The stage was packed with equipment,
including a video camera and a small screen. All the exciting
stuff had a label on them reading "Elektric Music". Okay, so the
hardware was there, but where was "Elektric Music", where was
"LFO" and where was "S.P.O.C.K."? For the next hour, all we got
was a nasty looking VIP guy with a "Radioactivity" T-shirt. We
never really understood why he was there. He walked around the
room, talked to a few people, then walked around some more. He
didn't look worried. Not a bit. It seemed that he didn't have a
problem with waiting an hour with absolutely nothing happening
and no one bothering to tell us what was wrong.
At long last someone came on stage. Who was he? Which of the
three groups did he come from? Was this Emil Schult? Brian and I
had spotted a couple of video tapes with his name on laying
around earlier. Why didn't he play? Oh yah, got it! He was Mr.
Nobody. Just our luck. He was there to fix a loose wire. Whay!
Well at least something was happening. At least they still
intended to play - probably.
One hour and ten minutes late, "S.P.O.C.K." came on stage...
So, this was the group from Sweden. A trio. And hey, there was
the guy with the hair cut and the trousers. And the other one,
the one in the football shirt. The shirt turned out not to be a
football shirt after all. All three of them wore the same kind of
T-shirt, but one was blue, one was yellow and one was red. They
all had the same small pin on their shirts as well. Aha! They
were supposed to look like crew members from the Enterprise. The
blue guy, their vocalist, explained what their name meant. They
were the "Star Pilot On Channel K". He looked very eager to spend
some energy. The yellow guy took charge of a fairly standard
keyboard and the red guy went over to a small box. It was a Moog!
(I just happen to like Moogs)
S.P.O.C.K. played a kind of music which can best be described as
a cross between early Erasure and U96. A kind of techno/dance
with knobs on. Very good. Their vocalist was completely mad and
did all sorts of great live gigs. At a certain point he jumped
off the stage and danced around among us in the audience, while
singing something about electronic music (very suitable, I would
say). When the keyboard broke down, he managed to keep us
entertained while it was fixed. It broke down again later though,
but that didn't matter to us. This group was doing well. I can
still remember one of their songs, although I had never heard it
before. A very positive sign indeed.
When S.P.O.C.K. left us after one encore, we were more than
ready for Elektric Music. And they would have to be very good
this evening to top the performance we had just witnessed.
If you like hardcore electronic music, you have to know
S.P.O.C.K. Go to your local record dealer and ask him to order
"Never trust a Klingon" for you. It's only a maxi single, so it
won't set you back much. It's published by the Swedish "Energy
Records" and has no. ERCD 056. The German distribution is done by
Shortly after the excellent S.P.O.C.K. had left the stage, two
guys who looked like technicians came on stage carrying some
equipment, which was placed one a big rack. One of them started
fiddling with a mixer console, while the other one started
experimenting with a number of synths. I thought it was a sound
test. It wasn't! It was LFO! They were not testing, they were
playing. What did we have here? Oh, of course, it was ambient.
Lovely ambient. Lovely booooooring ambient. Brian and I sat down
on a large box. We would give this a chance. We would close our
eyes and see if these LFO guys could get us flying. There were
some pieces of their long musical medleys that were quite good.
Almost excellent really. The annoying thing was that these good
pieces were repeated so many times it was almost a disgrace.
During their part of the concert, LFO didn't say a word. When
they had hit their last button, they grabbed their gear and left
the stage. They didn't bother to come back in again. Actually
that was wise, because no one bothered to applaud for them. Half
the audience were screaming "farvel!" (which means "goodbye" in
Danish) and the other half were sleeping. LFO meant well, but
they performed like... Well they didn't perform at all. But as I
said, the music had its good moments. Every now and then.
LFO had gone. Thank God! It took a while before anything
happened next, but we knew what was going to happen, and we were
willing to wait.
The lights came down. The video projector came on. A blank
screen. Then Elektric Music hit the stage. Karl Bartos was there.
The audience went wild. Emil Schult was probably there too, but
I'm not sure what he looks like, so I can't say for sure. The
first couple of pieces they played were new and not very
exciting. The video screen showed a mixture of Elektric Music
home video (probably funny for them, but not so interesting for
us) and live video recorded with the video camera on the spot.
Unfortunately, the live video was the only thing live about this
performance. We got most of the tracks from "Esperanto", but they
sounded exactly like on the CD. Not only was almost everything
sequenzed, they hadn't even taken the time to sequenze special
live versions of the songs. That was very disappointing. Most of
the singing was also playback although they had a vocalist with
them. The song "Lifestyle" uses some very strange vocals. It was
perfect for a live performance. But all the vocalist could say
was - "Lifestyle"! All the funny sounds were playback. We got one
encore and fortunately, it was a very good one. A brand new piece
and they even played most of it themselves! All in all, the music
was good, but it would have been almost the same listening to the
After the concert I was a little wiser than before. I had
learned three things.
1) I had to get hold of a CD with S.P.O.C.K.
2) LFO suck!
3) Elektric Music have some interesting new music which will
probably appear soon. They weren't very good live, but I will
continue to listen to their music. Including the new pieces.
I give a maximum of six stars in my "verdicts".
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.