arbeit - MARX (10.2004)
Which musical expression actually fits the working class? Fifteen years
after state-run socialism was finally discredited and in times, which
– at least in the still rich Northwest – has been stamped
by the culture industrial bread and game complex and the progressing deregulation
of the working market?
Or to put it more precisely, which form would the great song tradition
of the German worker movement – like that of Hanns Eisler, the composer,
Bert Brecht, the poet, and Ernst Busch, the actor and singer, a tradition
full of traditional song heritage – have to take on, in order to
comment upon today’s atmosphere of decay and resignation within
the workers’ movement (which really has become a movement of union
bureaucrats and representatives)?
“arbeit” [in German, “work”], the Frankfurt group
of Marcel Daemgen, Oliver Augst and Christoph Korn (active in Blank last
and the current
GROB653) asked themselves this question
in the scope of a project made possible by German Radio. What has remained
unredeemed of the questioning of the revolutionary workers’ movement
and its aesthetic intervention? What has not worn down in the course of
time via the demoralizing strategy and party development discussions?
What stands for a utopian-critical content, which points beyond historical
material, that lifts [aufhebt] it in all three meanings of the word [annul,
lift and compensate]?
Daemgen, Augst, Korn and their guests do not deal with the material squeamishly,
but rather bet on the necessary radicalism. Their music is brutish, noisy,
nerve-racking and shrill, or the exact opposite of this: nearly inaudibly
quiet. “The International” sounds like a pop hymn, “Off,
off to fight” shudders with fear via an apocalyptic foundational
tone, Franz Fanon is cited and Tony Cliff, a communist dissident. It is
a matter of the construction, albeit in vain, of a better Germany, of
the German Democratic Republic and of the (hidden) self doubt in all the
pathos of construction. The band uses its musical means freely and souverainly.
They know the improvisations, the hard rock, the new music and the Frankfurt
techno of the larger discos. But never does this freedom fall into any
old way. MARX is hard, but still joyful work (sic!) on the material.
The CD is called MARX – and it reminds one not of the contemporary
Marx, who had little in common with the working poets in his surroundings,
from Herwegh to Freiligrath, who at best appreciated Heine and Georg Weerth
– who died very early – and who honored Balzac, who was of
a clear and clairvoyant vision. It a matter of preserving, or rather of
winning anew an equally reflective and incorruptible radical position,
for which Marx and his critique upon the political economy exemplarily
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GROB758 Wolfgang Stryi - Letzte Stücke