Grand Prix is the sixth album of Mythos and the second one that Stephan Kaske recorded solo. It would also be the last one for a long time since it would last until 1997 before a follow-up album appeared. In the meantime Kaske made a living as a music maker for films and television. Grand Prix was originally released in 1981, the year in which synth pop had its commercial breakthrough. Bands like The Human League, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark and Ultravox suddenly found themselves high up in the charts.
When a band used a synthesizer in those days, they were immediately compared with Kraftwerk. Indeed, the title track has been inspired by Kraftwerk: the dry electronic rhythm and bass line, the vocals through a vocoder, the use of soundscapes of racing cars and the lyrics about car racing. However, in the second track Transamazonica Kaske plays the flute and the music goes in a completely different direction sounding like Bots. This was a folk-rock band from the Netherlands that became very popular in Germany in the early eighties. In the Netherlands they are best-known for their hit single Zeven Dagen Lang. They translated the Dutch lyrics into German and they gradually became a political band, incorporating their message in cheerful party music. Bots played often at peace demonstrations. Mythos combined the seemingly opposite music of Kraftwerk and Bots into 'Ro-Bots'.
This reissue of Grand Prix contains two bonus tracks which have been recorded recently. Kaske used his experience and modern instruments to record these two tracks trying to capture the spirit of the eighties. Well, these appear to be the best tracks on Grand Prix which may have sounded futuristic in 1981, but rather outdated in the 21st century. In a time when most musicians who make electronic music use laptops and software, this album dates from the time of analogue synthesizers, string machines, Mellotrons, tape recorders and simple drum machines. However, the music has a charming tinge of nostalgia.
*** Erik Gibbels (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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