Xmal Deutschland – Erich Zann Ensemble – Anja Huwe – Moor Mother – album reviews

Today Fighting Boredom give you our view on the releases by iconic post-punk pioneers, Xmal Deutschland and their collection of early singles. The Acid Jazz, Neo-Kraut, Psychedelic sounds of the Erich Zann Ensemble. The unexpected but long overdue first solo album from Anja Huwe and the Potent, powerful and musically captivating Moor Mother. Read what we thought below.

Xmal Deutschland – Early Singles (1981-1982)

Sacred Bones Records

The earliest singles from the German post punk female pioneers. All jarring guitars and hard drums. Slabs of synths and discordant noise with a hard, harsh German female vocal. The vocalist having been persuaded and then having no choice to perform the songs live. It’s weird in the best possible way. Then the second half of the record becomes more gothic dance tunes, layered, precise and dark but definitely music to make you move. A great album, I am pretty sure I saw them live way back when too so this is a good reminder of the old days for me.

Erich Zann Ensemble – Bieber Sessions

This is smooth jazz. It’s polished to the sheen of the side of a yacht catching the sun’s rays as it skims through a tropical sea. It’s got whittling woodwind and nice quiet percussion but in all honestly it doesn’t really go anywhere. I suppose this is the music that people put on as background noise, easy and soft. I mean it’s exotic in places and has the feel of an arid desert, but I suppose that’s my problem with it, it’s arid and dry. 

Anja Huwe – Codes

Sacred Bones Records

This is unexpected. Anja Huwe has not made music since Xmal Deutschland and has been, in her words “I have been haunted by the ‘Legend of Xmal Deutschland’ and never-ending requests from all over the world, all of which I always turned down” So, after creating visual art for years she was persuaded to go back into the studio by her friend Mona Mur she spent a year and a half crafting this wonderful collection. The fact that Manuela Rickers from Xmal is on this record playing guitar makes it even more special. It’s a luscious, rich album. It goes from strong lost torch songs to menacing synthwaves that mesmerise even before she starts to sing, and what a voice she has. It sounds like the world is coming to life. It sounds like she has been holding it in for decades and to release it is all she can do. She sings in German and English and it doesn’t matter because her voice conveys the emotion without words. This is a proud, beautiful collection of music and I’m hoping there’s more to come.

Moor Mother – The Great Bail Out


This is a difficult listen. I’m over fifty, white and British so this is a bloody hard listen. It’s about the great compensation payout by the British government when slavery was abolished across the Empire. The compensation payout that went to the slave masters. Not the slaves. The masters. I’m writing it down and it still makes no sense whatsoever to me. Not a jot, no logic or sense at all. This exceptional record takes that historical occurrence and lets loose the feelings of anger, despair, hatred and unfairness, that slavery, compensation and everything around that left. It’s not about the music and sounds even when they make you check the shadows in the room because they are so disturbing. It’s not about the voices, Moor Mother and the myriad of guests across this recording, as beautifully terrifyingly real they make this sound. It’s about a fact. It’s about truth, and accepting that truth and knowing that it is so bloody wrong that we should still be asking why today. An exceptional record.

Xmal Deutschland are on Bandcamp and Facebook.
Erich Zann Ensemble are on Bandcamp.
Anja Huwe’s website is anjahuwe.com, she is on Facebook and Bandcamp.
Moor Mother’s website is moormother.net, she is on Facebook, Instagram, Bandcamp and X as @moormother.

All words by Adrian Bloxham.

Adrian Bloxham

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