Last night I went to hear Discoteca Flaming Star at the BQE Lounge in Brooklyn. It's a duo from Berlin that plays with musicians assembled on the spot in whatever area the pair happens to be touring. Practice sessions can be as brief as an afternoon, so we're talking some real Portsmouth Sinfonia potential here. I was invited by artist Tom Früchtl, visiting from Munich, who has also played guitar in German punk bands over the years. Früchtl was part of the backup ensemble, which included another guitar player and a drummer playing a laptop keypad. The music was nothing as chaotic as I expected--a lot of it was quite soulful and melodic. Very strange mix of krautrock, electro, AC/AC, Abba, and karaoke, with anti-charismatic singer Wolfgang Mayer dressed like a goth chick in arm stockings and black crocheted cap (his face has some of the cragginess of Klaus Kinski's, even with 2-inch false eyelashes). His bass-playing partner Cristina Gómez Barrio, a sultry brunette from Spain, also did the gender-confusion thing, with an emphatic song about the size and potency of her balls. Highlights included a duet in Spanish, a rad cover of the Stooges' "We Will Fall," and a plaintive riff on "Sexual Healing."
Before the concert, Früchtl introduced me to Nathan Abbott, who makes electro tracks under the name Freezie Freekie. Later I checked out a couple of samples on the Satamile label (a quite interesting New York imprint specializing in electro since the mid-'90s) and liked them a lot, particularly the dreamy filter-swirl of "Slow Decay." In the middle of the concert Abbott suddenly pointed out that Discoteca Flaming Star reminded him of Tuxedomoon (an art punk band from San Francisco that moved to Belgium around 1980)--the electronic percussion, the noize, the art vibe was certainly all there; the main difference being guitars (Tuxedomoon was bass, beatbox, violin, sax, and keyboards). Anyway, interesting comment; it made me listen to the music in a different way, imagining how it might have been to hear TM doing the punk cabaret of their early years (documented on the 1987 record Pinheads on the Move).