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ASJA AUF CAPRI – Novi Ronde (Difficult Fun)

Posted: September 9th, 2005, by Simon Proffitt

Back when I was 12, my sister was a big fan of Erasure. Her vinyl copy of The Circus came with a Mute Records discography (Documentary Evidence), and it was a revelation to me, full of impenetrably pretentious, mysterious descriptions of strange and sinister electronic music – Einstürzende Neubauten, DAF, Boyd Rice, Throbbing Gristle, Fad Gadget, Renegade Soundwave etc. I spent hours poring over it, trying to image what these things sounded like. Months later, I almost had a cardiac arrest when I found a copy of one of the things I’d been reading about, Holger Hiller’s 1983 album Ein Bündel Fäulnis in der Grube, at a carboot sale for 50p. Having spent my life up to that point listening to chart pop and my dad’s Johnny Cash records, this was something weird and new – a glimpse into a skewed, alien and impish world that I didn’t fully understand.

East London based duo Asja Auf Capri’s debut from last year, Novi Ronde, takes me right back to that time, to the joy of mischievously twisted electronics, itchy rhythms and an exciting hint of taboo. And of course, the fact that both works have German language vocals helps.

The album kicks off with the deliciously insistent Chanson Risk, previously featured on Difficult Fun’s first release, a wonderfully packaged 4 track 7″ of DIY difficult fun. It’s a great start – twitchy, fidgety, old-school electronics and subtly processed, whispery-then-chanting vocals. Happily, the quality is maintained throughout. There’s plenty of variety in the music too, with all sorts of bleeps, bloops, squelches and clangs going off to underpin Anja’s singing. It’s all done with a fantastic sense of playfulness and yet, brilliantly, without getting anywhere near that enemy of good music, novelty. After the wonderful bongo-on-Mars claustrophobia of Prairie, the albums finishes with the riotous knees-up wig-out of Brandstifter. It’s the happy younger sibling to Laub’s more considered, deadpan approach to electronica. It’s how smug, half-baked charlatans like Chicks On Speed and Cobra Killer ought to sound.

Anja had apparently never sung before recording the album (and hadn’t even shown much inclination to do so), but she’s an incredible talent. By turns pouty, sly, cheeky, forthright, mysterious. Translated lyrics are available online, but I’ve so far deliberately avoided reading them because I enjoy the sound they make without having to worry about meaning. Not formidably difficult, then, but certainly lots of fun.

Asja Auf Capri
Difficult Fun

Simon Proffitt

Simon was born near Clowne, Derbyshire and is now an honorary Welshman. In former guises he has created fake diamonds, developed ultra-high-capacity storage devices and been one half of slow-moving, über-pretentious record label Fourier Transform. He now spends his evenings recording silence and banging kitchen utensils.


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