Novi Ronde Reviews

Intro Magazine (Germany)

Schon nach zwei Sekunden Reinhören scheint alles klar: 1980 auf konsequent kaputt getrimmt, und zwar dermaßen, dass glatt der „Authentisch!“-Sticker draufgepappt werden könnte. Genial kann eine Kopie ja schlecht sein, aber großartig reicht doch auch noch. Allerdings ist bei genauerem Hinsehen zu befürchten, dass Asja Auf Capri sich viel zu gut in der abgeguckten Wave-Punk-Pose gefallen könnten, um sich dazu durchzuringen, ein inhaltliches Update zu liefern. Man kennt diese Retro-Opfer, die total zurückgebeamt in einer Wunschzeit vegetieren, die so gar nicht existiert hat. Doch hier ist das Gegenteil der Fall. „Novi Ronde“ verhandelt durchgängig das Heute und schafft es – noch besser – z. T. sogar, eine zeitlose Protestperspektive zu verteidigen, ohne je platt daherzukommen. Die durchgängig auf Deutsch und mit brüchiger Stimme vorgetragenen Lyrics sind aus Zitatfetzen alltäglich begegneter und in der Routine des Gehorchens fast überhörter Imperative und Phrasen zusammenfragmentiert, in denen sich beiläufig Hierarchien und Obrigkeiten manifestieren. In zwei Zeilen wird die Erkenntnis hingerotzt, dass unsere zunehmend potenzierten Kommunikationsmöglichkeiten drohen, in weißem Rauschen zu verenden. Erwähnenswert ist auch der Hochwasser-Song „Im Neuland“, der mit Frechheit alles an Ambivalenz aus sich rausholt, was irgendwie geht: „Ich schwimme aus dem Fenster raus, der Hausstaub ist mein Badesalz.“ Darunter rattern Schmalspurbeats, für zwei Cent aus dem Idiotomaten gezogen, und die Synths geben sich alle Mühe, noch schrottiger zu klingen als DAF, Malaria und der Rest der punkig-unlustigen NDW-Fraktion. Asja Auf Capri sind so konsequent unfunky, glanzlos und banal, wie Electroclash in seiner Fake-Fur-Maskerade naturgemäß nie werden durfte – und deshalb vielleicht doch ziemlich genial. Und zu allem Überfluss ist der Scheiß auch noch unter einer Creative-Commons-Lizenz veröffentlicht.
Autor: Arno Raffeiner

Already after two seconds listening, everything seems clear: 1980 purposefully deconstructed, and to such an extent, that one could happily stick an “authentic!” sticker on it. A copy can hardly be genius, but it could still be great. However, when looking closer, one may fear that Asja Auf Capri could like themselves so well in the derived wave-punk-pose, that they couldn’t bring themselves to deliver a content update. One knows those retro-victims, vegetating and beamed back into a wish-time, which never existed. But here the opposite is the case. “Novi Ronde” deals all the way through with the now and achieves – still better – in parts even, to defend a timeless protest perspective, without ever coming across flat. The lyrics, troughout in german and delivered with a brittle/fractured voice, are fragmented together from scraps of quotes from imperatives and daily phrases and which are often not registered in the routine of obedience and in which hierarchies and priorities manifest themselves casually.
In two lines the realization is delivered that our increasingly potentiated communication possibilities threaten to end in white noise. Worth mentioning is also the flood-song “im neuland”, which pulls as much ambivalence out of itself with cheek, as is possible in any way: “I swim out of the window the domestic dust is my bathing salt” [misquoted in the review]. Underneath narrow-track beats rattle, pulled out of the ‘idiotomat’ for two cents the synths sound even more rubbishy than DAF, Malaria and the rest of the punky - disgruntled/un-funny NDW fraction. Asja Auf capri are so consequently unfunky, unpolished/unshiny and banal, something electroclash in its fake fur mask was naturally never allowed to be, and therefore perhaps quite it is genius yet And to top it all this shit is published under a creative commons license, too!



Spex Magazine (Germany)

This London-based German-British Duo, - named after the Latvian theatre director Asja Lacis who stole Walter Benjamin's heart on Capri to give it to Karl Marx, demonstrate with their debut album that one can reference the Neue deutsche Welle without procrustinating in cheap electro clash posturing or flirting with 'schlager kitsch'. Anja Kirschners and David Panos Music is a clever, combative, lyrical, incredibly tender and not in the least redundant update of the NDW sound, which flourished in germany between 1979 on countless tape and DIY labels such as Zickzack. Back then, pop was still allowed to happen amid the noise and between the lines. It is very big within the kaput small. Not at least thanks to Anja's breathless talk-song meandering between David's seductive rhythms.


Other Music Updates. See original here

Novi Ronde is the first full-length release from Asja Auf Capri, who are neither from Capri nor do they include anyone named Asja. (The name presumably refers to Asja Lacis, the woman who stole Walter Benjamin's heart and gave it to Karl Marx). A few of you may have already acquired a taste for Asja Auf Capri from their contribution to the Difficult Fun label's four-song compilation 7", which came out earlier this year. The group is based in London and consists of Anja Kirschner and David Panos who also participate in Antifamily, another Difficult Fun enterprise. Novi Ronde harkens back to a brief moment when electronic music was successfully wedded to the punk rock, DIY ethos before being reduced to a sterile instrument of studio gimmickry. The album borrows from the technological vocabulary of the Neue Deutsche Welle without being merely recidivist (you will be able to spend more than five minutes with Novi Ronde without reaching for your Der Plan records). In fact, true to the spirit of the NDW it is resolutely forward-looking. The album was recorded entirely without MIDI, using an old mono-synth and the occasional drumming and strumming of friends and well-wishers. It is imbued with the improvisational and collaborative geist that made this year's Antifamily EP so great, while being tempered by Kirschner and Panos' clever pop sensibilities (and even more clever editing and studio work). And the lyrics sound almost as good in English as they do in German, if we're allowed to judge from the translations posted on

All of Kirchner's breathy German chanteusery is on display in "Chanson Risk", the opening track, which also appeared on the Difficult Fun comp. The following three songs -- among the strongest on the album -- are composed of layers of choppy fragments that recede before the ears and invite the listener to miss the forest for the trees. But for all that, they're remarkably coherent and pretty catchy. Blasts of errant sound on "Contre Temps" threaten to capsize the song mid-course, and when they finally do the results are no less appealing. "La Ronde Popular" has some of the mild synthesized funkiness of Pyrolator circa Ausland, but with better vocals. "ABC's Elan" and "Hoffman" from the second-half of the album are also not to be overlooked. The last track, "Brandstifter," delivers a final pop flourish whose three chord, 4/4 splendor calls to mind The Fall or Crawling Chaos. Novi Ronde succeeds in being versatile and coherent; and it rewards engaged listening. We'll look forward to future releases from Asja Auf Capri and Difficult Fun.


Troubleman Unlimited
ASJA AUF CAPRI "Novi Ronde" CD (Difficult Fun)
Difficult Fun comes back and kicks our collective asses again with the debut from Asja Auf Capri. Hyper aggro, then immediately cold synth punk with killer female vocals that reminds us of DAF or any of the other German cold-wave groups of the day? This cd FLOORED us Wonderful art as well. Check out their site and listen to samples: You must buy this. IMPORT.


The Wire Issue 252 February 2005

The first album by London based video artist and singer Anja Kirschner and musical cohort David Panos, also members of the Antifamily collective, Novi Ronde sees the duo forging connections between earnest Chicks On Speed-style electroclash and the studied blankness of the early 80s Neue Deutsche Welle of DAF, Trio and particularly Der Plan. Asja Auf Capri create a sort of ur-electronica, their rickety drum machine and DIY synth referencing an era when primitive technology seemed to offer the only viable means of liberating punk’s grubby, anarchic potential from its cock-rock straitjacket.
That’s not to say that Kirschner is a shouty sloganeer or that the pair’s music is an alienating anti-everything howl. There’s a deep pop sense of space and colour in the electronic backdrops, along with a seductive rhythmic awkwardness that recalls the more outré end of Grime. The barked aphoristic lyrics, whose blend of Marx, Deleuze and something altogether more melancholy and personal is interesting if elusive, bringing to mind Colin Newman at his most arch. The (tragically prescient) diluvian imagery of “Im Neuland” in particular is reminiscent of Wire’s “Marooned”.
It’s to Panos’s and Kirschner’s credit that they try to offset some of the smugness and repetitiveness that is an inevitable by-product of their straight-edge musical and technological purism. Apart from the rewarding lyrical complexity of their songs, there’s a clarity in the production that heightens the attack of their dry, surprising sounds, and the occasional cunning deployment of guest musicians to alter the sonic perspective. But despite these strengths, Novi Ronde feels less like an album than an attempt to find an antidote to the airbrushed hegemony of both mainstream pop and the highfalutin avant garde, and as such is a somewhat sterile, empty document. It’s difficult to imagine where the pair can go next without relaxing their current, almost paranoid position of rejecting anything approaching expressiveness (or as they might have it, bombast). Still, to misquote another arch-paranoiac, as empty experiences go, this one’s pretty good

Norman Records Updates December 2004. See original here

Asja Auf Capri take late 70's electro ala Caberet Voltaire & Human League & overlay this startling, juddering, minimalist brew with what sounds on the opener like the girl from post punk legends Delta 5 being kidnapped by Berlin Underground resistance rebels. This is inventive, eccentric, sexy & timeless stuff with a healthy understanding of the dynamics of great pop.

Piccadilly Records

A fantastic long player from a new german/american duo that delves into the early german new wave sound of primitive rhythms, crude synths and menacing german vocals. This has a real edge and deserves to be heard.

See orginal here

Ok folks, this is some serious German minimalist techno music. Asja auf Capri is comprised of Anja Kirschner and David Panos. They bring to the table a minimalist sort of sparse techno/industrial music with pointed lyrics. Of course, if you don’t speak any German, you may need to go to their site to look up the translation, but I chose not to do that. I think the language offers something in the music that English can’t communicate. I love that this band didn’t translate their music and sing/speak it in English. It’s certainly a breath of fresh air. Besides the duo, there are a number of additional players on drums, vox, bass, and guitars. This collaborative work of sorts is certainly not for the faint of heart, but, given a few spins and some time, the disc really is a coherent piece of work.
“Chanson Risk” starts of the disc with blips and clicks with sparse, distorted drums and high hats galore. The combination of hard, techno sounds seems cold, especially alongside the hard sounds of the German syllables. Besides the German itself, the band really plays with stereo. Headphones are a must with this band. “Contra Temps” begins with percussion and some keyboard work. This sounds like all the electronics is analog, but I could be wrong. The vocals are softened and the music is more intricate and less hard than the first track. Again, stereo and different blips and sounds really accent the tracks, giving it depth.
“Im Neuland” has a plodding feel to it and the sounds remind me of a minimalist, early Depeche Mode. Unlike previous tracks, Kirschner does some singing instead of speaking on this track. I actually like her voice. I wish she would sing more, but her spoken word pieces really accent the metrical feel of the songs. “La Ronde Popular” starts off with what sounds like someone walking down the street. It turns into what sounds like a dance club hit from the 80’s laced with great German lyrics. “7” has a melody like an old movie song or show tune. It has blips and spacey songs mixed within the lyrics. Frankly, this makes for a great effect. It is quiet and patient.
“ABC’s Elan” picks up the pace. This has a more danceable feel to it with fast paced drums and interesting sounds mixed in here and there. The album is certainly well paced. The faster songs intermingle with slower, sparse songs to allow the reader breathers from the electronic assault. “Licht” has more recessed vocals and muffled percussion. This song is a lot more unstructured and is interesting in that sense. “Hoffmann” has a danceable feel as well. I really like the spoken vocals on this track. They are matter of fact and really lend some humanity to the colder beats and clicks.
“Declination” has a catchy beat that reminds me of Freeze Pop. This song is definitely very minimalistic in its form. There are sounds like banging on pipes and different blips and keys thrown into the mix during a sort of bridge. “Prairie” follows with soft beats with what seems to be an almost chaotic feel at first. There are slight, bright blips with slight murmurs in the background. “Brandsifter” starts off with a dance beat and ends the disc on an up-beat note. Anja contributes staccato style speech vox over driving drums and bass with analog synth sounds. This is a song that will wake you up and really ends the disc on a high note.
All in all, I would say that this disc really grows on you. It’s a bit hard to listen to at first, but, once you are in the midst of their minimalist electro efforts, you get the feeling that there is more hear than meets the first listen. Give Asja auf Capri a try, and, perhaps, you will be able to improve you German in the process.