It’s Get Strange week at YDH2S. The bar is set high because every DJ likes to think they have the craziest stuff and well, some of my fellow YDH2S DJs have turned in some killer oddness. But I think I have something to out freak their freakiest beats.
Coming from the fashion world of late 70s Germany, Patrick D. Martin embarked on a music career, birthing one oddball EP and a few 7”s of eccentric new wave, punk and disco, before moving on to video art. He perfectly encapsulates everything that I love about that time period — musical mongrelism, international cross-pollination, a bit of robo-futurism, and implied sexual and cultural deviance. It’s Devo and Nina Hagen with a bit of Moroder and Bowie and whatever else was lying around.
It’s hard for me to pick a favorite, and that doesn’t imply that all Martin’s songs were good. They’re just all… interesting. Most of them aren’t likely to set off a dance floor, but all will get you some strange looks. These are the songs DJs play for other DJs — the ones you put on a mix tape to test how cool someone is.
Luci ‘Lectric might be the go to jam for most people. It has a slapped baseline and other obvious disco-isms under an ode to the dark prince himself, Lucifer. It’s not quite wild enough for my tastes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s probably still too weird for most sets and the bridge has an awesome springy robot laser battle.
However, compared to Martin’s other offerings it kind of pails. ?, (Question Mark), is an all-out space war with a bass burble that may have inspired Cosmic Cars. If that’s true, then this track may be the blue print for techno. As cool as that is, the song gets smothered in ridiculous saxophone that hasn’t stood the test of time. If that weren’t bad enough, it goes sort of piano house at the end. I mean doing techno and piano house on a record in 1979 is sort of incredible, but I can’t say that it sounds good.
Luci ‘Lectric’s B-side, Mutant sounds like the B-52s on PCP. It’s all slinky cowboy guitar, discordant riffiage, sound effects and Martin ranting in his best Bela Lugosi impression. Three minutes in, the bridge happens and the entire song dissolves only to rise again zombie like. It’s astounding how many ideas this guy can pack into four minutes.
Martin has a few more “hits” in his arsenal, but for my taste, the one to go with is “I Like ‘Lectric Motors”. It’s basically screaming guitar, Martin rapping in his english accent over a pulsing arpeggiator. At times the frequency opens up and the synth gets a bit acidy. This one is actually pretty danceable and even had a video. Drop it if you’re feeling brave!