Berlin ‎– Information

Label:
Vinyl (4) ‎– 6.24340
Format:
Vinyl, LP, Album
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Released:
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Tracklist

A1 Mind Control 3:09
A2 Moderne Welt 3:54
A3 Overload 4:17
A4 City Lights 4:38
A5 Information 4:30
B1 Talk Talk Video 3:25
B2 Fascination 4:00
B3 A Matter Of Time 4:09
B4 Middle Class Suicide 3:20
B5 Uncle Sam 3:45

Companies, etc.

Credits

Notes

Recorded and mixed at Sound Arts, Los Angeles.
A3, A4, B3 recorded at Devon Sound and Sound Arts.

All songs published by Zone-H Publishing.

A2 is written in English on the label: Modern World

℗© 1980 Zone-H Records

Made in Germany, Teldec »Telefunken-Decca« Schallplatten GmbH

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Label Code: LC 5535
  • Rights Society: GEMA
  • Other (Price Code): AO
  • Matrix / Runout (Side A): 6.24340-01-1 Manufactured in Germany [Stamped] ZH - 100-1-A Z [Etched]
  • Matrix / Runout (Side B): 6.24340-01-2 Manufactured in Germany [Stamped] ZH - 100 -B Z WHERE IS THAT A CRIME? [Etched]

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NWpunx

NWpunx

April 30, 2017
Good one for the synth punks. Overlooked and underrated album. Great synth sound. x x x x x x
postpunkmonk

postpunkmonk

December 15, 2011
edited over 6 years ago

The material on “Information” is similar in sound to the period of their popularity; acoustic drums, guitars and synths together, but is vastly different in tone. The material is far more “New Wave” in orientation; at times resembling DEVO more than the band who would record “Sex [I’m A…].” Chris Velasco, who would later leave the band, contributes strong guitar work and the biggest difference between this album and the subsequent “Pleasure Victim” EP was that John Crawford, only wrote a small part of this material instead of dominating the writing as he did going forward.

A large pleasure of this album is that the lyrics are more socially than sexually concerned. The classic New Wave tropes of future shock, new technology, and rejection of mainstream values abound on this album for the first and last time for Berlin. The band was composed of Jo Julian on synths [who also produced], Dan Van Patten on drums, Chris Velasco on guitar, the familiar John Crawford on bass, and Virginia Macolino on vocals.

The album was released in 1980, but fairly reeks of 1979 New Wave! Macolino’s vocals are full of defiant attitude for the most part. Her singing on the opener “Mind Control” recalls the New Wave swoop of Lene Lovich that you can hear as the foundation that über-bimbo Dale Bozzio probably drew upon when Missing Persons got their mojo working the following year. Macolino’s punkette vocals are also abetted and matched with various forms of vocal effects and vocoding for that all important technological New Wave emphasis that was in the air like pollen at the time. The variety of vocal effects employed here is far beyond what was usually the norm for this time.

“Overload,” which is familiar to those with the Renegade Records pressing of “A Matter Of Time” is a great number with a stuttering drum pattern courtesy of Van Patten. For the most part, rhythm is via a traditional kit, well played and recorded. A smattering of synthetic percussion appears, but this album was largely made with beefy, rock drumming that gives it a heft that would be missing from synthpop groups a year or two down the road.

The following number, “City Nights” has great staccato guitar from Velasco that meshes most excellently with Julian’s synth work. This track, more than any other, hits the Ultravox mark that Crawford and the band [all Ultravox fans; Foxx era] were clearly aiming for. It manages to echo the values of “Systems Of Romance” and Conny Plank’s production thereof where guitars and synths doubled for each other for a unified, synthetic hybrid that was neither fish nor fowl, but more powerful than both. That it takes its cues from that approach while not cloning Ultravox’s sound, per se, is a huge plus. Perhaps it’s not surprising that after this album was recorded, keyboardist/producer Jo Julian found himself engineering for John Foxx.

Side two has the debut single, “A Matter Of Time,” recut with Macolino singing lead. It doesn’t stray far from the Teri Nunn original vocal. It’s still a great song from the pen of John Crawford. The underlying synth riffs evoke cinematic James Bond soundtrack music rather successfully. It’s followed by “Middle Class Suicide,” a less-than-subtle attack on the Hollywood mainstream; called “Zone-H” here. I’m assuming that’s SoCal slang in any case. The tracks leaps into DEVO-space [or is that Zappa space?] with its herky-jerky consistently shifting time signatures in part of the chorus.

The concluding “Uncle Sam” really does the DEVO thing rather well to the point that it recalls “Race Of Doom” in its synthetic percussion, which was not released for a year afterward. Hmmm… I wonder? The lyrics seem politically charged but on closer inspection resist interpretation. The album is well played and produced and if it seems like it was cut by a completely different band than the group that released “Pleasure Victim” two years later, that’s because it really was. This is a vastly different group to the one called Berlin afterward. And therein lies its charm.

http://postpunkmonk.wordpress.com
For more ruminations on the Fresh New Sound Of Yesterday