Ernst Horn
Johnny Bumm’s Wake

Release Information 1998
Ernst Horn: Johnny Bumm’s Wake


Usually, we do not hand out press info with this length. Here comes the exception from the rule - just as “Johnny Bumm’s Wake” is rather exceptional. To us, this is the most unusual, daring, and maybe also the most difficult album for a long time - and the most interesting album as well. A phenomenous ridge walk between a cryptic radio play and the most weird pop music.

All, who know some German and also have an idea, how German TV looks like will have a great time listening too this cd guaranteed, for all others this is still not less than a brilliant piece of Sampling-Art by Synthesizer-maniac and Deine Lakaien- and Qntal-Mastermind:

It is the German reunification and hand in hand-going media brainwash, that Ernst Horn is concerned with in “Johnny Bumm’s Wake”. This is the latest production of the author, who, besides for his well-known work for Deine Lakaien and Qntal, also produced some highly rewarded German radio plays. On “The Skies Over Baghdad” (this album, concerned with the media-inscenation of the Gulf War, has been re-released now), Ernst Horn’s recapitulation was “we do not know anything”. This time, Ernst Horn’s anti-hero Johnny Bumm is rushing towards ruin on two tracks. The German reunification - a day of jubilee, a day of pity.

The first track is politics - he can’t stop thinking about it. His outbursts of aggression don’t set him free, because Johnny Bumm drowns them in too much beer and even more television.

The sun goes up in the morning, but for the protagonist this just means he will begin his day like every day, switching on the TV. When the sun goes down in the evening, Johnny Bumm will end the day as usual.

Right at the beginning, the advertising answers all daily catastrophes, with a relaxed “well” (tja). It will constantly remind us of its power. Except when you switch off. But Johnny Bumm can’t switch off. He is exposed to memories that go far back into history but at the same time remain relevant.

When Hitler is talking about a “new youth” that shall rise, he is interrupted by a jingle. The drunkards at the inn are bawling “there’s still room for another”, and chancellor Kohl is making a slip: “For foreigners, we are a hostile country”. Erich Honecker is drunk and expressing his gratitude to the choral society, while the birds are chirping to the 35th anniversary of the combat groups. There are even more political conflicts which are held out tough: Genscher in Prague, Grass against Kohl. The German national anthem sung live: an unforgettable experience.

But as much as Ernst Horn uses exaggeration to parody, and though one of the center titles of the play says “I don’t give a shit” (Wurst), he is serious about his observations at the same time.

The second track on which Horn’s anti-hero is going downwards is a power working differently: the power of the media, controlling you, no matter if you want or not. Looked upon from the outside, the media might seem like a friendly offer to entertain, inform and educate you. But Ernst Horn took a closer look, and what he found were monstrosities, ghost train-rides through Germany, drunk free-riders and a wind of history that makes you freeze.

Especially because Ernst Horn is not wagging his finger, his reappraise of the last years of German history is interesting. In sequences like “Birnen”, when a child is getting down to “action”, thus parodying the “kick” that should go through Germany, or when grandma calls up to another beer, Ernst Horn allows himself to play around with silliness and childishness.

As precisely as he is working on this album, the much mental liberties he takes.

If you go on this ride with Ernst Horn, you might become aggressive, upset or sick, but at the same time, you might take a laugh about your own weaknesses and perversions.

“Johnny Bumm’s Wake” is definitely not an album one should hear while choosing the dress to wear tonight or shooting off monsters in the fourth level of “Quake II”. On the opposite, one discovers the richness of the material when closely listening and realizing familiar bits in a new combination.

“In the beginning, I just wanted to do something funny. But unfortunately, my work came out to be quite complicated again. - I guess that’s just the way I am.”, says Ernst Horn on the album.

We hope you enjoy it!

Track list:
  • Am Morgen geht die Sonne auf
  • Jede Menge Spannung
  • Äpfel mit Birnen
  • Papi Papi
  • Wurstsemmeln
  • Liebe Jugend!
  • Frühling
  • Traum
  • Versteigerung Ost
  • Allerdings!
  • Mir ist alles wurst
  • Die Hymne, Genschman
  • Kampfgeist sachverständig
  • Ausländerfreundlich
  • Einer geht noch rein
  • Kurze Pause, Ruf an!
  • Und dabei so mild
  • Angst, oder Apotheker
  • Indianer
  • Rettung
  • Lebensend und Sonnenschein