Label: ZTT (ZTAS 2)
Price paid: $2
Purchased at: Books and Melodies, Syracuse NY
“The man without shadow promises you the world”
One of the early acts to sign to Trevor Horn’s (Buggles) ZTT label, Propaganda were a German experimental group with a synthpop edge. They had some measure of success in the UK before an ugly split with their label in 1986.
‘Dr. Mabuse’ was their first single, predating the album release by over a year. The song was split into four parts, the first two (‘the crimes, the deadly blows, the escape‘ & ‘one step beyond and life becomes a lie‘) appearing here. The theme revolves around an evil telepathic hypnotist, made famous by Fritz Lang in his 1922 film ‘Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler.’
The ‘song’ (that word sounds so small in this context) can hardly be contained, a dark sweeping majestic landscape brilliantly produced by Horn, a throbbing oh-so-German experience that can’t be rushed- it’s a long, winding road with no interest in human timescales.
Impeccably designed, the sleeve art captures the band’s tone, with its odd splicing of the old (German Expressionism) with the new (synthpop) into a slick, painfully modern, and (deservedly) pretentious package.