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Something a little strange… (Weird Beard)

One of the strangest groups I’ve come across while looking for good oldskool stuff is WEIRD BEARD from Germany. Here’s my thoughts after getting a few of their records, on the strength of one track (which happened to be their least, erm, weird)

I just got Weird Works I – III a day ago, and I am still wracking my brain trying to understand what context this group could have existed in… what the producers were intending, what the target audience was, etc… it just doesn’t make any sense! Most of their songs literally sound like hardcore/jungle meets easy listening / instrumental yacht rock (no exaggeration). Lots of general midi sounding preset melodies, piano “solos” that sound like they were played by a 1st grader, midi guitar, etc. A few songs don’t even have breakbeats, but sound like they have sped up live drums. I could almost think Weird Beard had no connection with jungle/hardcore at all if they didn’t also have fast breakbeats and track titles like “raving on the beach” and “hardcore will never die” on occasion. During the most “normal” sections, they sound a bit like Biochip C’s “Biocalypse” material. But before you know it another piano solo or ridiculous general midi breakdown hits.

Overall, Weird Beard sounds like some sort of insane “outsider hardcore” which aliens dropped on the planet 14 years ago. Either that, or if some Riot Beats artists dropped really good acid and tried to make the jungle equivalent of Frank Zappa’s “Jazz From Hell”, but without the musical virtuosity of that album.

If anybody knows anything about this group, please let me know! I’d love to know more about it.

Weird Beard – Raving On The Beach (Sentimental Journey Mix)

Weird Beard – Symphony of the Night

Weird Beard – Walking In Space

Weird Beard – Disco Murderer

Weird Beard – Phonkey?

Weird Beard – Disco Dancer

Weird Beard – Power to All Our Friends
Weird Beard – Spring Breaks

12 Replies to “Something a little strange… (Weird Beard)”

  1. I own Weird Work II and the revolution EP and I was thinking the same thing as in the quote from discogs. What the heck did they think about. Even though the adresse given is in the town 40 minutes away from me, I never heard of them. Mainz is near Frankfurt which is know for the XS Club which was one of the first breakbeat clubs in germany (along with the infamous milk! in Mannheim) and I alway considered this as a work of just jamming and doing things they heard there, but with an more traditional rock approach.

    I checked the name of the guys who made it on discogs and one name struck me instantly: P.Gerlach on the Revolution EP. DJ Tonkas real name is Thomas Gerlach and he is from Mainz, too. A connection? Could be some relative. Tonka together with Ian Pooley used to make stuff under the T’n’I pseudonym and used to play hardcore and jungle until they got better reactions from house crowds.

    Again: these are just guesses! But I love these EP’s they are great and I’m still trying to get I+II!

  2. ah, I never noticed that, maybe it could be Ian Pooley’s brother or something? Someone from discogs wrote me after seeing that writeup and said the he, along w/ the Weird Beard guys, was in the “Space Cube Mainz party crowd” with Ian Pooley etc. He didn’t say what they were thinking making those records though 🙂

    Google those first two weird beard records, I think I’ve still seen those for sale somewhere for not that much $$.

  3. I think I can help here… Actually, the label Weird Beard Records was owned by myself (Severin Faust) and Frank Fritsch, as it appears on the vinyl label itself. Although I am not Ian Pooleys brother (funny thought, indeed), we knew each other from some party occasions in Mainz. Peter Gerlach is indeed the brother of Thomas Gerlach. He supported us from time to time on some of the tracks.

    Biochip C. is also mentioned in your blog. In fact, he produced one whole record for us (and also had his credits on that particular record). Some other tracks were produced e.g. by Armando Mistral.

    You asked about the intention of the label… Well, I’d say, the intention was to just release the kind of stuff we felt was our idea of breakbeat at those times. Maybe “influenced” by Force Inc. but not that political, if at all.

    Needless to say that I am still convinced those records were the spearhead of breakbeat/jazz/whatever fusion at those times ;o)

    Party scene was not necessarily Frankfurt XS but more Mainz locations, such as the famous “Brückenkopf”.

    Cheers, Severin

  4. wow, it’s awesome you found this site… thanks for the info!! I never guessed in posting this up I’d actually find one of the people responsible for these records. Respect for making such interesting different sounding tunes, I’m curious as to what your influences were (other than force inc stuff?)

  5. You’re welcome! I found it also more than interesting having people some 16 years later discovering our old records ;o)

    Thinking of other influences, I would probably state all early British Breakbeats stuff, such as the early “XL Recordings” vinyls or “+8”, as well as other German stuff, such as “Trope Recordings” from Thomas Heckmann. Further influences (and samples!) came from Jazz/Bossa Nova, and even Pop music.

    In a nutshell, it was some attitude of “Wow, listen at that funky/groovy/freaky sample – can we fit this to a pitched drum loop/breakbeat” attitude.

    Whatever pleased us was then published, without taking care of any genre.

    Best Regards, Severin

  6. I tell you, Severin, “Spring Breaks” is one of the best things I’ve ever heard.

    It’s tracks like these that make me wish that people still produced this stuff.
    The amazing sounds used and the unique element to the track.. I love it.

  7. oh my days… “power to all our friends” is a chipmunked cliff richard sample of all things… his 1973 eurovision entry no less.

    BTW biggup devnull for doing this site. dont know if you remember but me and my friend drank all your pimms at the first bangface weekender. or something like that. i remember going back to your chalet after you closed up the record shop and there being half a dozen passed out americans scattered across the floor. good times.

  8. Severin, your tracks are definitely something as the arrangements are like Breakbeat Hardcore, Techno and Dance-pop combined. The Euro-styled arrangement and samples make a quirky but cool sound to it.

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