After days trawling through a whole host of obscure European bootlegs and taped recordings from this era, I was starting to feel a little sombre to say the least. Don’t get me wrong, I love the doom and gloom of some post-punk and new wave, but too much in one sitting can really takes it’s toll. Then I “discovered” a poorly recorded tape from a crackly vinyl original of Carambolage’s debut album. I snapped right out of my funk and my spirit soared. It was all so amateur, lively and unselfconscious. I didn’t understand any of the the lyrics and part of me really doesn’t want to. I probably listened to the entire album five or six times in a row. I was in love.
After checking their discogs page I realised that there was another LP, but I’d have to wait another 6 years to hear it. Around 2011 I found that both albums had been released on iTunes and Spotify and I couldn’t download them quick enough. If you love The Raincoats, Kleenex/Liliput, Mo-dettes etc. you’ll probably need to get them too.
With precious little information on the web regarding Carambolage (What there is being mainly in German) I’ve found it most difficult to research. My German is not what it used to be (it used to be shit) so Google Translate has come to my rescue. The following is mainly sourced from the band’s German Wikipedia entry.
Carambolage’s story is tied closely with Berlin blues-rock band Ton Steine Scherben. Elfie-Esther Steitz (sister of guitarist and co-founder RPS Lanrue), Britta Neander and Angie Olbrich all played and performed with the band at some point after the band’s 1975 withdrawal to a remote farm in Fresenhagen, North Germany. During their time there the girls wanted to do their own thing and formed Carambolage in 1979. Early demo tapes were given the seal of approval by music promoter Burkhardt “Zensor” Seiler, and a successful gig at the SO36 club in Berlin led to a tour of West Germany, Austria and Italy.
In 1980 the self titled debut album Carambolage was released on the supposedly “hippy” label David Volksmund Produktion. For their next tour they were joined by bassist Janett Lemmen, who stayed on to record their second LP Eilzustellung-Exprès in 1982.
Elfie-Esther Steitz’s boyfriend (later husband), bassist and producer Manne Praeker, attempted to get them on a major label. Recordings were made at Praeker’s home studio in Berlin, but the tensions within the band over the new stylistic direction were starting to appear. What would have been the final album, Bon Voyage, was completed in 1985 but CBS rejected it and Carambolage called it a day.
A handful of NDW bands, starting with Carambolage
Carambolage – The Band
- Elfie-Esther Steitz – Vocals/Guitar/Keyboards
- Britta Neander – Drums/Percussion
- Angie Olbrich – Vocals/Bass/Guitar/Organ
- Janett Lemmen – Bass/Saxophone
Carambolage Discography Highlights