Not many artists have achieved as much creatively and earned as many cool points before releasing their debut album as Gudrun Gut has. An early member of industrial pioneers Einstürzende Neubauten, she went on to form part of two influential (and excellent) Berlin avant-punk bands, Malaria! (whose 'Kaltes Klares Wasser' was later covered by Chicks on Speed) and the more synth-led Matador. Now she runs ace leftfield label Monika Enterprise, and for the past ten years has presented a weekly show ('Ocean Club Radio') with Thomas Fehlmann (who produces three tracks here) on Berlin's Radio Eins.
The cross-genre appeal of 'Ocean Club Radio' must have had some influence on 'I Put A Record On' – each track carries its own unique blend of musical flavours. But despite this, the album also has a very distinct feel all of its own. It's a beguiling and very classy affair, redolent of old-school dances, subtle romance and understated cool, all wrapped up in a rich blanket of warmly textured minimalism and Gut's intimately murmuring vocals.
Opener 'Move Me' is like some haunted polka/tango hybrid, full of multiple echoey accordions and swooshy noises, as Gut sings in breathy Marlene Dietrich fashion of Patsy Cline songs and unexpected love affairs.
'Rock Bottom Riser' is a genuine surprise – a cover of downbeat indie rock band Smog, laid over minimal beats with the slightest disco influence. The vocals were recorded impromptu in the Monika studios with Gut's colleague Uta Heller, and finished off with those of whisky-voiced Matt Elliott, to create a beguiling and unique cocktail. An instrumental called 'The Land' pays homage to The Field, representing a warmer, fuller representation of the Kompakt act's sparse, looping grooves.
On 'Cry Easy' she raps, in a soft purr, over an introspective, hypnotic synth riff. Bluesy guitar drives the short, upbeat 'Girlboogie 6', before electronics and noise guitar take over on the moody 'Blätterwald' ('leafy wood' in German). 'Last Night' is a jaunty bit of whimsy, where she mulls over the woes of a night of misunderstandings and complications ('like a chain reaction... it all went wrong').
The rest of the album floats off into a rich nocturnal reverie; 'Sweet' opens with a wonderfully evocative snatch of fairground organ before diving deep into dreamy, hypnotic trip-hop; and 'Pleasuretrain' binds drifting harmonica and slide guitar (courtesy of Matador's Manon P Duursma) into a fine, lazily plodding groove.
And on the album's highlight, 'The Wheel', Gut sings amid a gorgeous ambient soundscape of backwards beats, ghostly backing vocals, street sounds and a hint of My Bloody Valentine drone guitar. The record closes on a sweetly intimate note; Gut whispers lover's thoughts over quiet piano and gently ticking beats.
All this and on the CD you get a neatly psychedelic video clip where the streets of Berlin dissolve seamlessly into quiet woods laden with autumn leaves, and where you can see Gut playing a guitar with an orange, and 'catching' a train in her bare hands.
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Tracklist: Gudrun Gut - I Put A Record On1 Move Me
2 Rock Bottom Riser
3 The Land
4 Cry Easy
5 Girlboogie 6
7 Last Night
10 The Wheel
11 Tip Tip