Everything is permitted
Kontrast, Stammtisch Der Verzweiflung 12" (Kompakt 2005)
I know it's bad form to try to slot music away into little boxes -- especially electronic music, where next-to-useless new genre names and divisions spring up weekly. But at first I didn't know what to make of this new 12" on Kompakt, a collaboration between label stars Justus Kohncke and Dirk Leyers (former partner of Matias Aguayo in Closer Musik). Kohncke has jumped around stylistically, from the laser disco of "Timecode" and "2 After 909" to the ambient moodiness of "Albatross" (supposedly a Fleetwood Mac cover?) to his own German pop excursions, but "Stammtisch Der Verzweiflung" was something else altogether. The beats seemed too slow for dancing, but there were a lot of great sounds bouncing around in there, especially at the 3:45 mark when the brooding beat makes way for awesomely jumpy, cut-up keyboard funk.
Serie Noire: Dark Pop and New Beat (Eskimo 2002)
Then I landed on a precedent for the Kontrast sound -- the "dark pop and new beat" of early 1980's Belgium and Holland, as cataloged on this comp from a couple years back on Eskimo, the label that released Optimo's Psyche Out last year. (Speaking of which, go grab Twitch's no wave mix, the third in a series of genre primers.) These tracks by artists like Grauzone, Section 25 and Carlos Peron (formerly of Yello) are the dark side of '80s synth music, a futuristic party soundtrack for a questionable future.