Schöneberg - Gudrun Gut's Home Mischung - Paul Frick,
After her boundary-breaking stints with Mania D, Einstürzende Neubauten, and Malaria! in the '80s, and her years as a composer, collaborator, and label founder in the '90s, Gudrun Gut's work as a solo artist in the 2000s and 2010s reaffirmed her place as a pioneering force in German underground music.
With her 2007 debut album I Put a Record On, she combined techno, pop, and found sounds into shadowy, surreal songs that ignored strict genres in favor of emotional impact. Its follow-up, 2012's Wildlife, showcased her meticulous productions and singular observations, and even when she returned to industrial and coldwave-inspired sounds on 2018's Moment, she discovered new things in them -- just like she'd been doing for decades.
Gut was a student at Berlin's Hochschule der Kunste in the late '70s and early '80s, and became a part of the "ingenious dilettantes" art and music scene. She performed in Din a Testbild in 1977 and 1978, then formed Mania D with Beate Bartel and Bettina Köster. Gut and Bartel were also percussionists in an early lineup of Einstürzende Neubauten circa 1980. Early in 1981, Gut and Köster formed Malaria!, which blended their experimental background with slightly more structured song forms. The group was best known for "Kaltes Klares Wasser," which resurfaced as a club hit in the 2000s thanks to remixes by artists including Chicks on Speed, the Modernist, and Wasserman.
After Malaria! folded, Gut reunited with Bartel and Manon P. Duursma in the more electronic-based Matador. The collaboration resulted in three albums: 1987's A Touch Beyond Canned Love, 1989's Sun, and 1991's Ecoute, which Gut released on her own label, Moabit. During the early '90s, she also wrote music for several films and radio plays and reunited briefly with Malaria! Once Matador disbanded, Gut opted for more collaborative projects instead of bands with regimented lineups. In 1993 she began Project Miasma, a multimedia/spoken word project with Canadian artist Myra Davies; the following year, Gut embarked on another ongoing collaboration, the Ocean Club collective. Named for its flowing approach and fluctuating membership, the Ocean Club included Gut, Thomas Fehlmann, Daniel Meteo, Sun Electric, and Mike Vamp among its ranks. The group's projects included a residency at the seminal Berlin nightclub Tresor, a radio show, and several compilations, including 1996's Members of the Ocean Club.
In 1997, Gut founded the Monika label, which she dedicated to showcasing new electronic talent like Barbara Morgenstern and Quarks. Along with running Moabit and Monika, her Ocean Club commitments, and solo DJ gigs, Gut worked on her own music, releasing the single "Move Me" in 2005; she also contributed a track to Chicks on Speed's 2006 Girl Monster compilation. Her full-length debut, I Put a Record On, arrived early in 2007; In Pieces, an EP featuring remixes by Dntel and Pole, was released later that year. Beginning in 2008, Gut collaborated with West German producer/songwriter Antye Greie as Greie Gut Fraktion, who released their debut album, Baustelle, in 2010.
For her second solo album, Wildlife, Gut decamped to the north German countryside and mixed field recordings with her hypnotic brand of electronic music. The Best Garden EP, which featured collaborations with Jörg Burger (who also worked with Gut on Wildlife) and Thomas Fehlmann, appeared in August 2012, two months before Wildlife's release. She then collaborated with Faust's Hans-Joachim Irmler as Gut und Irmler on 2014's 500m and a 2015 limited-edition Record Store Day single that fused their respective strengths. Gut returned in 2016 with Vogelmixe, a project that remixed folk songs from around the world as performed by German artists. The following year, she reunited with Davies and Bartel for Sirens, a collection of spoken word pieces by Davies that included a witty retort to Götterdammerung, the final opera in Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle. On 2018's Moment, Gut revisited her industrial and electronic pop roots and covered David Bowie's "Boys Keep Swinging." ~ Heather Phares