Pain It Dark

BB 025CD BB 025CD

The Bureau B label reissues the first album by Hannover, Germany duo 39 Clocks, originally released in 1981 by No Fun Records. Many a wild tale has enriched the history of 39 Clocks. For example, the time they went on stage with vacuum cleaners and circular saws instead of guitars, the LSD inside their heads having erased all memory of how to play their songs. Or the time when they were expelled from the Documenta, because Joseph Beuys was aggravated by their music. Then there was the angry member of the audience who attacked one of the band members with a knife on stage. Not forgetting the concert in a cavernous aircraft hangar where the amps were turned up so loud that by the end of the show, not a single spectator was left. Sounds music magazine duly confirmed it the "Concert of the Month." The great thing is that every one of these stories is true. Christian Henjes (aka C.H. 39) and Jürgen Gleue (aka J.G. 39) as 39 Clocks were one of the most provocative bands Germany has ever produced; pop scholar Diedrich Diederichsen described them as the best German band of the '80s. The Clocks took shape in 1979, turning their backs on punk and inventing "Psycho Beat," the self-styled counterpoint to the burgeoning German new wave scene, the NDW. Their music can be seen as a futuristic, definitively urban, German form of U.S. '60s garage punk, with a referential nod to New York's Suicide and The Velvet Underground -- sparse and gritty garage chord progressions, hypnotic rhythms (invariably emanating from the beatbox) and deadpan English lyrics delivered with the heaviest of German accents. The 39 Clocks pushed back the borders of experimentation with their barely-tolerable live improvisation and atonal meanderings, lower than lo-fi, with a tinny beatbox that tested the resilience of their listeners to the full. Despite some shaky success, geographical and mental shifts brought about their eventual split in 1983. This CD reissue contains a previously-unreleased bonus track and a 12-page booklet illustrated with a wealth of rare photos featuring liner notes by ZickZack record label founder Alfred Hilsberg.