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ABWÄRTS- s/t 7″EP (Zickzack, Germany, 1980)

abwaerts_front.jpgabwaerts_back.jpgI’ve been doing a lot of reading about ’68 and terrorism in Germany in the 1970s lately. It’s not a new theme to me: When I was ten years old, one of the games we played in the backyards of the shit place where I grew up, was called “hijacking”. A couple of children sat on a see-saw which was an aeroplane. A couple of others played the hijackers. They had to control the ones on the see-saw, holding waterpistols. Others were the heroes and had the bigger guns: they impersonated the german special unit «GSG 9» which had to attack the hijackers and free the passengers. The hijacking of the «Landshut» full of passengers was the model for this play. The passengers were kidnapped in 1977 and after endless days freed by the «GSG 9». We kids idolated them with their arms and helmets. Of course, our idolatry was a projection of the intense media coverage of the events. When I was older, my views changed and the terrorists became the good guys (they tried to force the release of the inmates of the notorious «Stammheim» jail, where the core and first generation of the «RAF», the «Red Army Fraction», was being hold), the cops the bad guys.
A few years ago, when my flirt with left radicalism (and the endless lookout for “heroes” whatsoever) was over, I learned that the terrorists (four of the five were shot during the storming of the plane) had poured alcoholic beverages over the terrified passengers so they’d burn better when the bombs would detonate. One journalist recently suggested that this event was the birth of a new form of terrorism, a new scale of violence (pouring alcohol over helpless people so they’d burn better), which culminated in the mass murderers of September 11th.

Back to the books: One of them was Gerd Koenens much acclaimed «Das rote Jahrzehnt» («The red decade»; I don’t know if it’s been translated already). It’s a phantastic read! The author describes the years between ’68 and ’78 as one bizarre narcisstic trip of thousands, decorated with ideology and violence. Hamburgs ABWÄRTS (“Downwards”) were obviously influenced by the “red 70s”. Paranoia, cultural pessimism and obscurantism seem to blend in into one claustrophobic hell on this EP. Too bad I don’t have the lyrics to “Computer-Staat” translated. [Check the comments for a translation!] “Paranoia you can dance to” was the title of a compilation LP once and it could be the motto here. Never has Punk-alarmism sounded so good! But the fave of mine here on would be “Japan”. What a song! Also, Brecht/Weill’s “Moon over Alabama” is highly noticeable.
For the german speaking folks, ABWÄRTS will hardly be a novelty. If you’ve not been familiar with them, I would suggest you keep your eyes open for a discography. I think I’ve seen one (a double CD) somewhen plus some ABWÄRTS has been posted on blogs recently. This here is the bands first vinyl release, but everything that followed is great too.

Moon over Alabama.mp3
Wir warten.mp3
Nach Haus.mp3