21 January 2011

Beborn Beton

Beborn Beton are a three-member German synthpop band. Founded in 1989, Beborn Beton initially found success in Germany, although over the course of their career they have made significant advances into Europe and the United States. The band's line-up is simple enough, remaining unchanged since 1989. Beborn Beton are Michael B. Wagner, taking charge of keyboards and sharing composition duties with Stefan Tillmann, who also focuses on keyboards and percussion. Stefan Tillmann is generally known as Till, however, to avoid confusion with the third member, Stefan Netschio, who works on the lyrics and vocals.

With regard to the name of the band, while Beton is the German word for concrete, the official website tells us that Beborn doesn't mean anything in particular - the band's name came to one of the members whilst travelling on public transport and, after a little deliberation, was adopted despite initial concerns over its lack of meaning. The reference to concrete is explained by the band-members as referring to the urban environment in which they grew up, and the word appears once more in the title of their third album, Concrete Ground.

The Music:

Beborn Beton produce melodic, often melancholy, synthpop. The lyrics are sometimes in German, but usually in English. Subject matter ranges from the usual mundanities of love through to little lost robots, American patrotism, suicide and bloodsucking. There's a different but not too dissimilar cover of The Human League's Being Boiled out there, as well. If you're into synths, maybe VNV Nation, Depeche Modeor De/Vision, then Beborn Beton's music is all good stuff, with plenty of synth bass, pulsing melodies and a hint of industrial or future pop every now and then. Their debut album, Tybalt, actually appeared almost three years after the band's formation. Consequently, the album is more of a compilation than a cohesive work, featuring the best tracks from the band's first three years. Well-received in the electronic music scene, the 5-track single Twisted was released, and a follow-up album, Concrete Ground affirmed Beborn Beton's synthpop direction. A change of record label and Nightfall was released. In many ways, this was Beborn Beton's 'break-through' album, producing the club-friendly track Im Innern Einer Frau and achieving some measure of commercial success in America as well as Europe. The single Another World, a deceptively cheerful-sounding song about suicide, received considerable airplay in Europe and continues to enjoy popularity in synthpop and industrial nightclubs across Europe and the United States.

More label changes followed, accompanied by a slew of re-releases. A new album, Fake, with associated single Poison was released in 1999, following which Beborn Beton has gently slipped into a cycle of re-record, re-mix and re-release; the final two albums on their discography are both Best Of compilations with a number of remixed or re-recorded classic tracks included. A period during which the band appeared to be pouring their creative energy into plenty of touring and playing live followed the greatest-hits-lull, and since then... nothing.

So far.


Beborn Beton have also remixed a number of other artists' work. Their remixes usually remain true to the original song, but with a classic Beborn Beton feel. Their version of Apoptgyma Berzerk's Kathy's Song, for example, combines clean synthpop basslines with the original vocals and a classic DX7 bell sound to great effect.

Apoptygma Berzerk - Kathy's Song
Camouflage - I Can't Feel You
Claire Voyant - Majesty
Clan of Xymox - Something Wrong
Cleen - The Voice
De/Vision - Your Hands On My Skin
Funker Vogt - Under Deck
Infam - Limbo
In Strict Confidence - Seven Lives
Wolfsheim - Approaching Lightspeed


Tybalt (1993) (Single release: Twisted)
Concrete Ground(1994)
Nightfall (1996)
Tybalt Re-release (1997)
Truth (1997) (Single release: Another World)
Concrete Ground Re-release (1998)
Fake (1999) (Single release: Poison)
Rückkehr zum Eisplaneten (2000)
Tales From Another World (2002)