Phantom Payn Days, "Phantom Payn Daze"

In the duo 39 Clocks, Juergen Gleue upset everyone from beer-loving Bavarians to Joseph Beuys. Apparently, shitting on organs, playing vacuum cleaners, mocking the art world and using a drum machine saw them regularly abused and hurled from a variety of scenes. Phantom Payn Daze is the sound of Gleue recorded solo in the 1990s after a period over-immersed in drink and drugs. It adheres to the Clocks' version of beauty: as simple as rural blues and raw as early psych-pop, with a beguiling twang and metronomic propulsion looking ahead to Tarwater and back to The Velvet Underground.

De Stijl

Phantom Payn Daze - Phantom Payn Days

39 Clocks consisted of Christian Henges and Juergen Gleue or CH-39 and JG-39 as they sometimes were named (in reference to LSD-25). As can be heard on their 2010 compilation Zoned the group were in thrall to a dark, anesthetized, sunglasses-after-dark attitude and (as the 18 tracks on Zoned are heard in reverse chronology from 1987 to 1980) with their own way of doing things. They got right up some people's noses with their bare bones synth-punk and stroppy art-Situationist manners. But the performance pranks shouldn't detract from the power of their best music.The marvelous "Aspettando Godot" in particular never fails to grip and transform my mood. The group also had a sense of humor as shown by the song titles "Radical Student Mob in Satin Boots" and "Shake the Hippie".

With titles like "Afternoon Non-happenings no.2", "Waiter! A Bad Joke Please", and "Claire Voyant" Juergen Gleue had his wit intact when he recorded Phantom Payn Daze. The zombie-like energy is still present, driving the slowest of songs, along with a weird spaced-out atmosphere akin to Suicide or Spacemen 3 covering folk music from bath chairs in a retirement home. By which I mean Gleue sounds as if he's feeling a little "fragile" but still has his sunglasses-wearing attitude.

In a recent interview with David Perron, Gleue expresses happiness at hearing the songs (essentially home recordings) in this package and pleasure at the mastering work organized by De Stijl. The label recruited Tara Sinn to make a video for "Paradox Box" and are clearly not content with resting on the laurels of releasing Jakob Olausson's Moonlight Farm—one of my favorite albums since the turn of the century.

Glue gave up music in 2000 having noticed "signs" that "this particular window had closed for me. There just wasn't much interest in it anymore. I really can't complain."There is no complaint from me that his solo music (and 39 Clocks) are getting released (and reissued). Both retain a splendid atonal urgency: a quality which makes them sound fresh and alive and transcend the sum of their influences. Since 2000 Juergen Gleue has been creating comic books in small batches of which he says: "I sell or give away in the streets."