One of the oddest Christmas records of all time came out in 1973 under the name Aamok. The single was put out by the label of the same name, which was short-lived and never quite got off the ground. There isn’t much information accompanying the package indicating who was responsible for the loopy 45, but we know just enough to put the pieces together—for the most part.
Conny Plank is the most famous producer associated with the Krautrock scene of the 1970s. He was behind the board for seemingly every German progressive release from the era, including the early Kraftwerk records, LPs by Cluster, Ash Ra Tempel, and Guru Guru, as well as the three ‘70s albums issued by my personal favorite Krautrock band, Neu!.
In 1972, Plank’s imprint, Aamok, began releasing albums by way of the Spiegelei record company. Aamok then tried to go it alone, but folded shortly thereafter. One of the label’s only releases—and it might have been distributed only as promo—was the novelty holiday single attributed to the band Aamok.
“German Christmas Medley” b/w “Silence in the Night” was pressed up by Aamok in 1973. Another label, Linda, also put it out that year. On that version, the A-side song credit appears in German.
It’s been said that Conny Plank drew the demented-looking Santa on the cover. The beloved Mr. Claus is seen holding a bloody knife, with a gun on his hip, and a dead body in his bag. The only names on the 45 are Conny Plank, who arranged the A-side, and his business partner, Wilken F. Müller, who’s the listed writer of the flipside. “German Christmas Medley” is a piss-take on the revered Christmas carol, “Silent Night.” Presumably it’s Plank handling the vocal, and he absolutely destroys the melody, screaming the lyrics and deliberately singing waaaaay off-key. It’s a style we’d now call proto-punk. As it’s a “medley,” there must be other Xmas songs in there, but since the lyrics are in German and Plank’s delivery is so wonderfully obnoxious, I couldn’t identify any other tunes. Müller’s “Silence in the Night” (get it?) couldn’t be more different, yet it’s even more amusing. A mysterious voice, likely Müller’s, announces the track, which is followed by two-and-half minutes of—you guessed it—silence! Our narrator re-appears at the end to bid the track adieu.
The trailer for the recently released German documentary, Conny Plank – The Potential of Noise:
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
A Heavy Metal MONSTER: Obscure German band Night Sun and their 1972 vinyl bombshell