Propaganda: Dr. Mabuse

While we are talking about Propaganda, I wanted to link to this for a while now,… And, you’ll finally learn how to pronounce MABUSE correctly.

Propaganda was a Düsseldorf band split off from Die Krupps; managed to strike a deal with Trevor Horn’s label and came out with this song and video. The entire album is remarkable for its combination of Propaganda’s experimental noise with Trevor Horn’s pop grandezza. For the youngans: Trevor Horn is the serial hit producer behind Frankie Goes To Hollywood and a whole lot of other UK pop acts of the 1980ies.

The imagery is Neo-Expressionism: a revival of Weimar republic film imagery, originally envisioned by Jewish film makers in Berlin like Fritz Lang (Metropolis, Die Frau Im Mond, M – Eine Stadt sucht einen Moerder), trying to find ways to show impressive film images with little resources – those films were made during Versaille treaty plunder of Germany and during high inflation or even hyperinflation phases. So money for film production was scarce. Using fog, shadows, lighting, perspective, Matte paintings.

New Wave / Art punk in Germany of the early 1980ies revisited these ideas, again to great effect. (German punk didn’t, being to busy spending their limited resources on booze)

Dr. Mabuse is a fictional film supervillain, from a series of Belgian crime novels, a “man with a thousand faces” i.e. an impersonator using masks, and kind of a mad scientist using crazy torture devices on his victims and such. Allround entertaining guy. Basically the prototype of all James Bond supervillains.

Fritz Lang made several Mabuse movies in 1950ies Germany. Like all his work, they’re worth watching.



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