• Pankow
  • Freedom for the Slaves EP (Wax Trax!) 1988 
  • Gisela (Wax Trax!) 1989 
  • Pankow Show You Their Dongs EP (Wax Trax!) 1990 
  • Omne Anima Triste Post Coitum [tape] (ROIR) 1991 

One is naturally wary when Italians and Germans get together, and at least some of this caution is justified by Pankow, which uses Florence as its operational base. Multi- instrumentalist (okay, sample-meister) Maurizio Fasolo and singer Alex Spalck form the core of this intermittently interesting and conscientiously provocative group that gets Adrian Sherwood to do a lot of its mixes. Always sonically engaging, Pankow goes wrong whenever Spalck opens his mouth. You can laugh at the nihilism of Revolting Cocks (indeed, that’s probably the point), but with Pankow you can only roll your eyes and hope for the vocals to end.

The six-song Freedom for the Slaves boasts a cut called “Art & Madness” (yeesh!) as well as a cover of the Normal’s classic “Warm Leatherette.” The beats are loud and nasty, and the accompanying noises crunch in all the right places.

Although it was actually released in a 100-copy edition with a gold-embossed slab of marble for a cover, the more commonly circulated edition of Gisela merely has a particularly creepy sleeve illustration. In any case, it contains another swipe at “Warm Leatherette,” which sounds like a nightmare concocted by Saturday Night Live‘s Hans and Franz. Although it rocks, “Me & My Ding Dong” is basically an industrial-noise take on Chuck Berry’s “My Ding-a-ling” (which, is to say, unessential). “I shall die in mediocrity,” Spalck sings on “Germany Is Burning” (from Pankow Show You Their Dongs, the 12-inch/CD version of “Me & My Ding Dong”); speaking as someone whose favorite Pankow cut is the CD’s instrumental remix of that song, I don’t doubt it.

The 1991 cassette (the title of which translates as “All Animals Are Sad After Coitus”) is a live compilation.

[Glenn Kenny]