Kleenex / Liliput - First Songs 2xLP
One of 2016's stronger gut-punches came in May with the death of Marlene Marder, guitarist and occasional vocalist for Kleenex. First Songs compiles the 1977-1981 output of the group, which became LiLiPUT in 1980 following legal threats and the departure of founding vocalist Regula Sing. Marder and bassist Klau(dia) Schiff(erle) formed the heart of the group, mainstays through the regular personnel shifts that marked its run.
A restlessly creative band that constantly surpassed its own musical and conceptual horizons, the sound of Kleenex / LiLiPUT brims with life and inventiveness – whether in Schiff's rhythmically exuberant yelps and shouts, Angie Barrack's whorled sax lines, or the taut, rough beauty of Marder's guitar. Their entirely sui generis musical (and visual) style corresponded to a use of language without precedent or worthy successor. Through a mix of Swiss-German, invented words, bursts of pure sound and evocatively "incorrect" English – all filtered through a deliberate economy of expression – Kleenex / LiLiPUT songs register a wry and playful but unflinchingly serious awareness of the costs at which this expressive freedom is bought, intimating the myriad threats to autonomy (action, happiness, creativity) that such liberating music can nonetheless never fully keep at bay.
Through a joyful dialectic of compression and release, Kleenex / LiLiPUT's First Songs provide the sonics and semantics of freedom's necessities, infusing the threats, constraints and routines of everyday life with a sense of possibility that today remains infectious and inspiring. RIP Marlene Marder.