Various Artists: Achtung! German Grooves
If you ever wondered what Satur-day Night Fever would sound like coming from Hamburg, German label Bureau B is on top of it with this treasure trove of dance-floor instrumentals (mostly) from the country that brought you Black Forest cake and Nietzsche. Achtung! German Grooves spans the late '60s to mid-'70s, with an array of discothèque gems that, at times, contain common elements of the era--chintzy horn sections, wah-wah pedals, thick funky bass, and orchestral layering--but it's the dazzling nuance and ingenuity with which the German tunesmiths craft these lovely oddities that make it worthwhile.
Los Pop Tops offer up a wonderfully inventive fusion of gospel vocals, garnished with Spanish accents, on " Mamy Blue," a sweet, brooding dirge containing a simple two-word chorus: "oh mammy." Other tracks follow suit, revealing exciting interpretations of disco through different screens. Günter Gollasch offers what could be the greatest rendition of "House of the Rising Sun" in existence, with guitars looped in reverse spaghetti-western string arrangements, mammoth drum rolls, and sonorous ivory tickles.
Frank Sinatra collaborator Heinz Kiessling's exemplary "Orbiter" is a significant departure from his usual easy listening, with occasionally thrashing proto-metal guitars, rapid-fire drum rolls, and scorching organ pounds. Hans Ehrlinger's 1976 jam "One for You One for Me" at times feels like disco business as usual with stock wah-wah guitar and standard backbeats, but with the spine-tingling contrast of female German voices singing "doo doo doo doo" with an ahead-of-its-time postpunkish synth bridge, the tune encapsulates Achtung!, giving you something that, though etched in the tradition of disco and dance-floor groove, retains an undercurrent that is wholly German-made. ()