2007: Gudrun Gut - I Put A Record On

There was a time when music that induced functional states of mind or body was beneath the notice of indie aesthetes, and club 18-30s DJs gave actual Dance music enthusiasts a bad name. ‘Dance’ was all that was visible in terms of electronic music for a while (at least in Europe). The ethos of producing most Dance tracks seemed to center around providing customers with a blissed out or energized experience, the ingredients as smooth as a generic cola. It seemed as if drug-induced benevolence was the main motivating factor behind the creation of ‘music that will bring you up, will help you come down’ – and in a happy clappy, profit-friendly kinda way, make your body feel as if the ambiance comes from within, rather than without.

Gudrun Gut’s I Put a Record On comes right from the warm heart of a genuine alternative club scene, in which she was a collaborator and moll. In the past, she has nurtured new electronic artists and presents her Oceanclub collective’s alternative music show on Berlin Radioeins. Her previous work (including her days as a founding member of post-punk band Malaria!) involved facilitating, collaborating on – not authoring – projects. It was not until 2007 that she got around to releasing I Put A Record On, and in the most light-hearted way ‘getting around’ and experiencing music from various perspectives seems to have contributed to the album’s understated success.

You can tell that Gut does not belong in the laptop generation of electronic musicians, but in a generation who made music happen live in front of sweating, expectant people of fluid mood and limited attention span. One could be cynical and say that much of this late 80s/90s techno music — made for the body; impatient and fickle – is music that is misled by that lurch from audience hedonism to audience bliss, preferring to juxtapose moods like ‘light’ and ‘dark’ in a kind of metabolic rhythm, rather than saying something particularly original by itself.

Despite any stigmas, it is fascinating to see techno resurfacing on I Put a Record On as an acceptable and familiar style, one that’s identifiable now with the ‘goodtime’ era of electronic music. So Gut understands her world and her medium in such an easygoing way that on tracks like “Last Night” she whispers into your ear about nights that started okay but then went terribly wrong, partly because, she admits, she was off her head. Tracks like “Sweet” invoked memories for me of those chill out lounge places, where most of the bar staff and clientele were promoters or DJs and where it seemed fine to sit in silence, like German businessmen in the sauna, soaking up the waves of chill and sipping on fairly crappy, but cheap cocktails.

Just as I’m being overly specific here to add a semblance of ancientness to my experience (in the hopes that ancientness automatically creates a sense of ambiance around what was in fact quite mundane), so Gut is not shy about pinning her tracks down by placing them in the context of her life, most often her enjoyable affairs with music. Apparently, the vinyl edition of the album has liner notes that explains tracks such as “The Wheel” (inspired by cLOUDDEAD) and the opener “Move Me,” which is annotated simply, like a souvenir in a scrapbook, with the words “Buenos Aires.”

“Move Me” is the album’s first track, and in keeping with the good taste and timing Gut displays throughout the album it is situated here as an seductive opener. It’s the closest the album gets to a ‘banging choon,’ but when Gut whispers “I fall to pieces, like a Patsy Cline song,” a more interesting, sophisticated sensibility is evident.

Maybe the pop/rock world has its own unstated ‘affective fallacy’ (the literary hypothesis that literature was not and should not be built to produce an emotional response in the reader). Maybe an emotional response to music is only the first wave of its greater campaign, which has been laid out beforehand and only imprints itself properly after the initial emotional effect. Still, I think that if it’s played and arranged correctly, music has that advantage of using effect within its overall design. I Put a Record On is an album that is played by a deft hand, doing eclectic but without seeming so, just like a really seamless DJ set.

DeLorean

There’s a lot of good music out there, and it’s not all being released this year. With DeLorean, we aim to rediscover overlooked artists and genres, to listen to music historically and contextually, to underscore the fluidity of music. While we will cover reissues here, our focus will be on music that’s not being pushed by a PR firm.

Most Read