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Podsdarapomuk was a German experimental rock band active between 1993 and 1999, noted for its complex music and its associations with diverse late-1990s London music scenes (including Asian Underground and math rock). Although Podsdarapomuk released several recordings, played concerts in both Germany and the UK and received critical acclaim during its lifetime, the band never exceeded cult status. Aside from its ambitious live and recorded music, Podsdarapomuk is notable for having launched the careers of its members.
Podsdarapomuk’s music was an angular, guitar-heavy mixture of art rock, jazz-fusion and hardcore, with occasional use of flute (played by guest performers) and tapes; on at least one occasion the band augmented a composition with a blistering John Coltrane saxophone solo sampled from an album. Most of the band’s material was written by guitarist Thorsten Pachur, with additional contributions by other members – in particular Daniel Klemm, who sometimes wrote songs of his own. Klemm was also responsible for the band's expressionistic lyrics, which were written and sung in English.
Progression magazine described Podsdarapomuk's work as "strange, angular, complex melodies, dissonant Bartókian chords and a loose, yet controlled sense of ensemble that gives the effect of being at once tightly arranged, yet spontaneous." Conversely, Melody Maker reviewed one EP: "There's some experimentation going on here. Trouble is, it sounds like everyone's experimenting with something different. The drummer's doing a Krautrock thang, while your guitarist is on a decidedly math-rock kick. What's the singer's up to is anyone's guess, although it's probably fair to say he's experimenting with the art of singing over something which proves that very feat impossible."
Podsdarapomuk cited a diverse set of bands and musicians as influences, including Mr. Bungle, John McLaughlin, John Zorn’s Naked City, The Police, Squarepusher, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles). They were, in turn, compared in various press reviews to NoMeansNo, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, dEUS, various post-punk and Rock in Opposition bands (including Die Haut, Kultivator, Zamla Mammaz, Public Image Ltd, Manna and Kraldjursanstalten) and Portishead.
Podsdarapomuk was formed in Winnenden, Germany by guitarist Thorsten Pachur, drummer Claas Sandbothe, singer Daniel Klemm and two members of the Winnenden “deep soul” band Doctor Wutzdog (keyboard player-turned-guitarist Christian Schmidt and bass guitarist Lars Puder). Their first performance was in Winnenden December 16, 1993. For the next two years, the band played throughout Germany and Austria, sharing the stage with bands such as The Perotic Theatre, Metabolismus, The Darwins and Summerland Moonfield.
The band's eponymous debut cassette EP, released in 1994, established its musical parameters. The EP included the first recording of "A Dream And Rage In A Cage", a track which would become the band's signature song (appearing on three of their four EPs). The follow-up EP - 1995's On Pasewolk Again, continued to refine Podsdarapomuk’s sound.
Wishing to make their music better known, the members of Podsdarapomuk left Germany for England; they relocated to London in summer 1996. Schmidt and Puder had continued to play with Doctor Wutzdog until then, leaving the latter for the move. Playing their first London concert at the Rock Garden on July 6, 1996, Podsdarapomuk quickly found an audience within the London math rock and alt.prog scenes of the mid-1990s. They played regularly with bands such as Billy Mahonie, The Pets, The Shrubbies and The Monsoon Bassoon, drawing attention from fans of British cult band Cardiacs and fanzines specializing in diverse rock music (such as Organ and Misfit City).
While in London, the band members took advantage of the opportunities offered to see and learn from resident and visiting rock and jazz musicians. They also investigated dance-club culture (in particular Sandbothe, who took lessons from Asian Underground figurehead Talvin Singh and frequently attended the Anokha Club). The band's next EP (1997's Arkoona Voula: Troozo) reflected many of these influences, while remaining true to the established Podsdarapomuk sound. However, the band remained unable to break out of its position as a cult act playing smaller venues and decided that another move was needed. They left London in late 1997 to move to Berlin.
Shortly after arriving in Berlin, Sandbothe developed tendinitis. With their drummer out of action the group temporarily dissolved, with each member pursuing musical studies and experimentation. Upon Sandbothe’s recovery Podsdarapomuk reunited, but disagreements between him and the others led to his replacement as drummer with Jan Pfennig (aka Jan Kincade).
The new lineup recorded Podsdarapomuk’s final EP (the self-titled Podsdarapomuk), which featured a new version of "Dream And Rage In A Cage". The band opted for a more straightforward rock approach for the EP (driven by Pfennig’s more-direct drumming style), but this did not translate into broader public acceptance. Between December 1998 and November 1999 Podsdarapomuk played six concerts in Berlin, after which the members chose to amicably part. A double-CD collection of the group’s EP tracks and demos (Plasyr De La Zkratsh) was released in 2000.
Claas Sandbothe maintained his connection with club culture, expanding his activities internationally. After working with the Leloneks Reflections Band, Duo Oxygen (with bass player Armin Metz of CCM) and the multicultural ragga/hip-hop/drum and bass band Culture Clash, he produces world music/breakbeat fusion under the name of DJ Dba.
Thorsten Pachur began a new career as a psychologist, working at the Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition (ABC) at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. However, he has continued his involvement with music and his partnership with Daniel Klemm; both work together in the Berlin-based trio Monroe (the third member is double-bass player Nathan Berg). Pachur has also begun an experimental electronica project called Monologik. Christian Schmidt and Lars Puder returned to Winnenden and reformed Doctor Wutzdog, which continues to play; Daniel Klemm frequently makes guest appearances with the band. Under his other name of Jan Kincade, Jan Pfennig went on to drum for Human Sampler.
- Podsdarapomuk cassette EP, 1994
- On Pasewolk Again CD EP, 1995
- Arkuna Voola: Troozo cassette EP, 1997
- Podsdarapomuk CD EP, 1999 (completely different recording from the 1994 cassette EP)
- Plasyr De La Zkratsh CD double album, 2000 (compiles all material from the three EPs plus unreleased tracks)
- Expose Magazine review of On Pasewolk Again EP, hosted on Podsdarapomuk homepage, accessed April 29, 2009
- Melody Maker review of Arkuna Voola: Troozo EP, hosted on Podsdarapomuk homepage, accessed April 29, 2009
- Thorsten Pachur's page at the Max Planck Institute, accessed April 29, 2009
- http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=151009561, accessed June 04 2009