Ludwig's Law
(Drag City)

20th Century


Drum And Bass

Electronic / Experimental / Industrial

Industrial Rhythm


Trip Hop, Breaks, Dub, World-Fusion

(Very) Alternative



    From the vaults of Red Krayola's Mayo Thompson comes this unreleased 1983 collaboration with Cluster's Moebius and producer Conny Plank. Thompson had met Moebius at a festival in England (where Mayo was living and working with Art & Language) and the two made a date to collaborate in Conny's Studio (previously visited by people like Devo, Ultravox and Killing Joke). The result is this spoken word and music concept whose background is longer than the finished product (this was the era of 40 minute LPs after all). Thompson sampled words for a story on being an artist from writers Werner Buttner and Albert Oehlen ("whose language played on pretence and the potential for misrepresentation, among other things"). From another tangent came the title, which was the reasoning behind two young Austrian murderers killing of a priest and a prostitute - it was Ludwig's Law. The cops, however, never learned which Ludwig and what law. So now you're getting the idea that this "story," as told and sung by Thompson, is artsy and obscure - a postmodern word play worthy of Robert Ashley or his shadow, Laurie Anderson. Thompson's playful delivery also reminds me of Tuxedomoon's Winston Tong and Stephen Brown.

    The music isn't as adventurous as Moebius & Plank's own albums, although you'll recognise some of their sounds, including the kind of keyboard sequencing used in Plank's production of DAF from that time ("Das Apartment," "Gestalt"). Conny's studio was reportedly very up-to-date with gear, but the emulator samples and 808 drum beats do date the CD - not to mention the early '80s "pop" elements. Moebius/Plank's German label at the time, Sky Records, declined to release the album but they toured it (without Thompson) in South America where - and this is when the really sad part begins - Conny fell ill and finally succumbed to cancer in 1987. Thanks to Thompson the story is now complete.