Tag Archives: Monika Enterprise

Gudrun Gut’s Monika Enterprise Label Turns 20

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Photo by MV Kummer.

You could still see the bullet holes in the houses,” Gudrun Gut says of moving to Berlin back in 1975. Far from the gentrified, cultural hub the city is today, she remembers it being a strange and polarized population of “only really students and pensioners” and “nobody between 30 and 50.” Naturally, a burgeoning hive of activity existed among the young people, which she was instantly drawn towards. “There was a big political scene from the students, as well as big communes and a strong feminist movement.” Gut stayed in Berlin, and over 40 years later, has become a venerable figure in the underground scene as a musician, producer, DJ, and label boss.

When she discovered the world of German music back in the 1970s, Gut was sucked in by the motorik of Neu! and the psychedelic grooves of Tangerine Dream, but eventually, like many, felt radicalized when punk hit town. “That was a big deal. That was kind of a revolution, to see that you can do what you want,” she says. While studying visual arts, Gut formed Mania D in 1979, a post-punk group that incorporated free-jazz saxophone explorations, twitchy guitar stabs, new wave bass lines, and multi-part vocals that recalled the spirit and primitive essence of early Rough Trade singles by groups like Kleenex and Swell Maps.

However, a desire to make unique music, and to do so autonomously, had sparked to life some years before, as Gut tells us through a recent discovery she made. “I found this letter from an old boyfriend from when I was 15 or 16. He played guitar and sang and this letter talks about a fight we had because apparently he wouldn’t show me how to play. I was not the girl who would be sitting next to the guy being like, ‘Oh, you are so great.’ I was the girl saying, ‘Show me the chords.’”

By 1980, Gut was also a member of Einstürzende Neubauten, the Blixa Bargeld-fronted group that are now renowned as pioneers of the German avant-garde and industrial scene—Gut played the group’s first ever gig. On the recording, her Korg keyboard parts can be heard pushing through the blistering blasts of guitars and the shrieks, howls, and growls of Bargeld, all contributing to form a hissing cacophonic fury.

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This Week’s Essential Releases: Metal, Soul, Hip-Hop, Electronic & More

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Welcome to Seven Essential Releases, our weekly roundup of the best music on Bandcamp. Each week, we’ll recommend six new albums, plus pick an older LP from the stacks that you may have missed.

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