Anthems: Moroco, Köln (1982-1986)

Posted: December 21st, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Features | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

So what were Germans actually dancing to before Techno? Of course to as many different styles as in other countries. But a good glimpse at what was getting down in West Germany before house music happened was the club Moroco in Cologne. Located at Hohenzollernring, the club ran from 1982 to 1986, and both the club interior and its crowd were determined to look as posh as possible. In contrast to Post Punk counterculture, the materialistic 80s decade manifested itself in the culture of the “Popper”, foppish youth dressed up to display as much wealth and taste as they could. But what distinguished the Moroco from other similar clubs across the land was its status as favourite leisure and inspiration spot of the Kraftwerk members. Carol Martin, credited as CGI artist on their “Computerwelt” album, was a resident DJ at the club and guides us through the sound of the Moroco and how it was connected to the Kraftwerk canon.

James Brown – It’s Too Funky In Here (Polydor, 1979)

Be it Kraftwerk or Miles Davis, everybody seemed to be inspired by James Brown. Bootsy Collins, whom Kraftwerk also cherished, started his career with him. „Boing Boom Tschak“ is also a tribute to Bootsy’s concrete bass.

Earth,Wind and Fire – Fantasy (CBS, 1978)

Funky, emotional and wonderful to dance to until today. I went to see them with Kraftwerk by invitation of the concert promoter Fritz Rau at the Phillips-Halle in Düsseldorf. It was a magnificent show with perfect sound and effects and all of a sudden the bass player was hanging 20 metres up in the air.

The Gap Band – I Don’t Believe You Want To Get Up And Dance (Oops, Up Side Your Head) (Mercury, 1979)

Danceability was typical for Moroco, and you could play this anytime. There was a nine minute extended version of it, so the DJ could leave to „wash hands and powder the nose“ and when he returned the floor was still as packed.

Zapp – More Bounce To The Ounce (Warner Bros, 1980)

Zapp & Roger were great. Produced and mentored by George Clinton, as were the Red Hot Chili Peppers for example. It is a tribute to Clinton’s P-Funk family. Sadly Roger Troutman was shot to death by his own brother in Detroit.

Fingerprintz – Wet Job (Virgin, 1979)

As a DJ you had to insert stylistic breaks to keep up the tension at Moroco, mixed adequately, of course. It was difficult to schedule this ahead, you had to observe the mood and try to direct it. For example you could mix „I’ve Seen This Face Before“ by Grace Jones with „Numbers“ by Kraftwerk, it was a perfect match!

The Cure – A Forest (Fiction, 1980)

The people were turned on by funk and new wave in equal measures. Kraftwerk were also influenced by both, and in turn influenced artists like Africa Bambaataa, OMD or Devo.

Liaisons Dangereuses – Los Niños Del Parque (TIS, 1981)

Tracks like this, or „Tainted Love“ by Soft Cell or music by Yello, were danceable refreshments to keep the night from getting too monotonous.

Prince – Controversy (Warner Bros., 1981)

You could always count on Prince, for years. A great person who, just as George Clinton, attended Moroco „in private“, of course shielded by many bodyguards. But George Clinton spent three hours on the floor and later invited me back to his hotel. He said he never heard so much of his music played at a club before, and of course I forced that. We spent ten hours in his room talking about Bootsy, the business and his farm near Detroit.

Michael Jackson – Thriller (Epic, 1982)

Michael Jackson had just recorded „Thriller“ with Quincy Jones, an eternal classic album. Kraftwerk and me really admired the Jacksons. Michael, Jermaine and Janet all had huge hits at the same time. Kraftwerk totally loved „Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough“, for example.

New Order – Blue Monday (Factory, 1983)

We mixed down „Computerwelt“ at the Kling Klang-Studio in Düsseldorf’s Mintropstrasse, and went over to Moroco in the afternoon to test how it sounded in a real club setting. If we liked the result we went on to test it with a crowd at night. So many people from Düsseldorf came over to Moroco that a local newspaper from there wrote that Düsseldorf’s best club is the Moroco in Cologne.

Level 42 – Lessons in Love (Polydor, 1986)

This was „white“ funk, so to say. When I was playing at Moroco, house music was still in its very early stages. Kraftwerk were in London for five concerts and we spent some nights at the gay club institution Heaven. We met members of Simple Minds and Gabi Delgado of Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft, who were very successful in the UK, but not on the same level as Kraftwerk. But both were more popular there than in Germany. This also applied to Holger Czukay from Can. Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson, the founder of Virgin Records, decidedly asked me about him, in his first store in Notting Hill Gate, where I bought a lot of records each month. Branson is one year older then me, a good guy.

Cameo – Slyde (Way 2 Funky, 1994)

This is just an example for great, hard funk. Just a music by Brass Construction, Rick James or Kleeer. Funk music was pretty much in general totally great to get down to, as it had its roots in Soul, Rhythm & Blues, and Gospel.

Electronic Beats 12/17

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