February 18th of 2022 is turning out to be a significant day for fans of German electronic music as sung by divas who are so adept at the juggling of ice and fire in their delivery. Let’s start with the two albums released today, then we’ll move to a third announced this week.
Gina X Performance
I first heard of Gina X Performance in a Trouser Press article [“This Year’s Model” issue #64, Aug. 1981] on the New Romantic movement. They were a band that was in Rusty Egan’s playlist at The Blitz Club and GXP were the one band mentioned in the article that I did not recognize. One year later, I was perusing the [mind blowing] import cutout bins at Record City Fern Park in Central Florida and I saw the “Nice Mover ” album and bought it for a pittance. Only to have my mind blown again!
I’ve gone on at length as to why I consider it a crucial album that should be a part of everyone’s own collections. Needless to say, the blend of smooth, discofunk electronics and the flat, declamatory sprechgesang of Gina Kikoine was a match made in hell! My kind of hell…and if anyone reading this lacks the album, then LTM‘s new edition, available today, is a must buy.
Gina X Performance: Nice Mover + Voyeur DLX RM – UK – 2xCD 
Disc 1: Nice Mover +
- Nice Mover
- No G.D.M.
- Plastic Surprise Box
- Be A Boy
- Black Sheep
- Tropical Comic Strip
- No G.D.M. (Psychonauts Remix)
- Nice Mover (VV Instrumental)
- No G.D.M. (Red Axes Mix)
- No G.D.M. (Berlin 1992 Remix)
- No G.D.M. (Headman 2016 Rework)
Disc 2: Voyeur +
1. I.C. Code
2. Horror Vacui
3. Babylon Generation
5. Video Dragueur
7. Pederast Dissection
8. Hom Intern
11. Drive My Car
12. Nice Mover (DJ Hell Remix)
The 2xCD unites Gina X Perfomance albums one and three together, along with a few post-modern mixes of the material on “Nice Mover.” “Voyeur” also has a DJ Hell [see? I told you…] remix of “Nice Mover,” along with “Drive My Car” from the Gina X solo album and one other track…”Eurode.” All of the post-modern mixes [the Berlin 1992 mix of “No G.D.M.” was on the first CD edition of “Nice Mover”] are “of interest,” but I might skip them, to be honest. Of greater import is the previously unknown song, “Eurode” after the climactic “Kiruna” from “Voyeur.” I have to admit, this calls out to me to purchase yet another copy of this entrancing music.
For those of an LP persuasion, this set is also available in a clear/green vinyl pairing in an edition of 1000 as mastered in 2021 by Zeus B. Held and Lars Lafeyette Fassbender. The CD is a trim $15 with the LPs [showing as sold out at many vendors already] selling for $27 in America at Darla.com. UK readers can find that Burning Shed have the CD at £13.49 and the LPs at £24.99. If you need either of these [and I think you do], then hit that button.
Electribe 101 were a bolt from the blue in the dawn of the 90s as the Berlin/Birmingham quartet were able to make dance music that was electronic, voluptuous, and intoxicating in the midst of so much boring House music. Their cool and subtle electronics were perfectly matched with the supreme Soul singing of Billie Ray Martin. I chanced to see the video for “Talking With Myself” on MTV once and that was it. I bought everything I could find by the band. At the time [and 32 years later] I considered this the best electronic album since Propaganda’s “A Secret Wish.” I still have a few hours of 12″ ers and white labels that I need to seriously curate into a REVO package one day [when I have everything].
What I could not believe at the time was that after making a fair splash, Phonogram dropped the band in 1991 and their second album had gone unreleased. I kept up with Billie Ray Martin and have a collection [by no means complete] of her fine efforts and she has managed to have one of the elusive careers in music that has never once disappointed me. And now comes the fantastic news that the orphaned sophomore album “Electribal Soul” is released today, finally!
Electribe 101: Electribal Soul – UK – LP/CD 
- Insatiable Love
- Space Oasis
- Moving Downtown
- Conquering Tomorrow
- Deadline For My Memories
- A Sigh Won’t Do
- True Moments Of My World
- Hands Up And Amen
BRM fanatics will recognize a few of these titles from her solo career, but we are thrilled that this orphaned album can finally reach our ears. The album is available in LP and CD physical formats, but Ms. Martin’s Bandcamp store shows the CDs and LPs as sold out with only DLs available! And the word just went out a few weeks ago from Ms. Martin’s mailing list, but even that day, when I checked, the Bandcamp was sold out on physical formats.
Fortunately, her own webstore at billieraymartin.com has physical albums in stock. With CDs at €11.00 and gatefold LPs for €25.00. These should filter out to other distribution channels, but there’s nothing ever bad about buying from the artist’s own webstore. I see that iTunes will release the album a month late, but with two exclusive tracks.
- Deadline For My Memories [alternate version] 5:51
- You And I [Keep Holding On] 4:37
While we are making the necessary buying decisions, here’s a preview of the new/old material, courtesy of Soundcloud, below.
Physical CD/LP @ billieraymartin.com
Download Album @ Bandcamp
And finally, this week saw the announcement of the xPropaganda album from the trio of Claudia Brücken, Susanne Freytag, and Steven Lipson. We enjoyed their live retelling of the story of “A Secret Wish” [as “A Secret Place”] and now the seeds of the promise of that union have sprouted and are bearing fruit on May 20th, of this year. The album is “The Heart Is Strange.”
xPropaganda: The Heart Is Strange – UK – CD 
- The Night
- Chasing Utopia
- Beauty Is The Truth
- Only Human
- Don’t [You Mess With Me]
- No Ordinary Girl
- The Wolves Are Returning
- Ribbons Of Steel
The brief is that this is [finally] the spiritual successor to the how-do-you-follow-this classic that was “A Secret Wish.” After Propaganda fissured in the 80s it made perfect sense that Ms. Brücken’s next project would be the tonally radical Act project. I’ve enjoyed each of her projects even as I never have expected any of them to be the follow through from “A Secret Wish.” A burden I would wish on no one, actually. So that this was written with that in mind is astonishing.
Format Wars Revisited
Of course, there is a bewildering array of formats to pick from, as Universal have reactivated the legendary ZTT label for this release. There is the CD as shown above. There is also a 2xCD with a second, instrumental disc. This is a likely vector of purchase.
Also the LP. The first 1000 copies sold in the Universal webstore will come with the print shown.
The Universal webstore also was selling a red vinyl LP [of course] that sold out in hours, so this is just for collectors that I’m showing it here.
And finally, the Superdeluxeedition website had listed a fifth variation; the album in Dolby Atmos surround sound as mixed by Steve Lipson in an edition of 1000 Blu-Ray Pure Audio discs. These only have the Dolby Atmos mix [which I’m told folds down to 5.1 surround if the Dolby Atmos processor is not detected] and a high-res 48K/24 bit 2.0 mix. The region-free Blu-Ray was selling for a priced-to-move £22.00 and, what can I say? All 1000 copies have moved. This sold out in an exceptionally brief window of hours.
This was the second such disc that superdeluxeedition.com had issued, with their earlier Blu-Ray of the new Tears For Fears album [zzzzzz…] also selling out its 1000 disc allotment in mere hours earlier this year. With that knowledge in mind, this format is the only one that I have already pre-ordered! $35 [after shipping] on the credit card was debt I can live with. So I will get one on release, even though I don’t have a Blu-Ray player or a Dolby Atmos tuner. Ironic, no? But as a Propaganda collector on a budget, I have to pick my battles carefully. Since I finally upgraded from the 90s CRT to a ten year old HDTV last year, a Blu-Ray player is no longer off the table! I said “no Blu-Ray” for many years, but who could have predicted a pandemic that stopped us from attending films in a cinema coupled with the rise of streaming as the only way to see most new films we’re interested in.
Each of these projects is deemed mandatory to my Record Cell, and I hope yours as well. Pre-orders from the US webstore are at the button below. There’s nothing in the xPropaganda Bandcamp store at this time and given that Universal/ZTT are the label, this is probably no longer something the artist can sell directly. xPropaganda have outgrown that market.
US CD/2xD/LP @ Universal
I ordered my copy of the new xPropaganda as soon as got their email about it!
Big Mark – Good for you. Mr. Ware notified me of the SDE Blu-Ray on the 15th. After a few hours of hesitation, I ordered the Blu-Ray on the 16th and I got the official email from xPropaganda yesterday, which would have been too late on the Blu-Ray. I still need to order the actual CD I can listen to! I hope that I eventually do! Several years ago, I bought The Rezillos new album on LP for “the collection” and have YET to buy the CD to actually listen to! Arrgh!
I managed to snag the Blu-ray + 2CD bundle of xPropaganda briefly offered, but of course it won’t arrive for quite some time (May). In the meantime, I am waffling on whether to buy the CD version of Electribe or the bonus-tracks version from iTunes (purchasing from iTunes is actually still available, but the store is not even shown by default in the Music app on Macs anymore! Scandalous!).
chasinvictoria – Get ready to kiss iTunes store goodbye! I probabaly need about $500 to do a run on all of the things I can get only there before it’s too late!
The Gina X reissue is exciting in that it may introduce new fans to the band,but I wont be getting it just for the one new track-remixes do not interest me at all.I already have the previous CD releases.
I played the preview snippets of the xPropaganda tracks but they did absolutely nothing for me I’m afraid-very disappointed as I adore Claudia’s other works.
Gavin – I have not yet heard the first note, so I’ll have to get back to you with my thoughts later. But for what it’s worth, I thought the abandoned Propaganda album was a smart move. The only of Ms. Brücken’s projects that did nothing for me.
Damn it! A day late and a dollar short – I would have bought the BluRay SIMPLY for the graphic of Susanne x Claudia in gladiatorial combat, but apparently that ship sailed before I knew it was in the harbor. Must settle for the 2xCD it seems.
But, lucky me, I dithered so very long in getting the previous Gina X CD releases that my procrastinative habits are being REWARDED with a superior release. Sometimes life gives you lemonade WITHOUT ANY EXTRA EFFORT.
Give me a ring and we can discuss splitting the cost of the iTunes store fire sale (presuming we’d be purchasing lossless formats, of course… I’m juuuust barely willing to give The Other Evil Empire™ money for that.).
the RAHB! – You lose…comrade! [oh no…Uzbeks have drunk my battery fluid!] You NEVER had the earlier Gina X Performance LTM CDs??! How did you live, sir?! And don’t forget to go to LTMrecordings.com and get the other two CDs [“X-Traordinaire” and “Yinglish”]!
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