There he is again. After the Liechtenstein hype in the mid-2010s with Internet and Edeka fame, with albums, biographies, talk show appearances, television series and cover photo on the “New York Times”, people slowly began to wonder what actually artistically made entertainer and old hipster Friedrich Liechtenstein.
He certainly still acts as an advertising medium and moderator, haunts the television, sings a song with the Moka Efti Orchestra and in February the rbb podcast “Liechtenstein in Stalinstadt” came out about the history of Eisenhüttenstadt, where the man died in 1956 as Hans Holger Friedrich was born. But musically nothing happened in album form for a long time.
With “Good Gastein” (haha), Friedrich Liechtenstein, who after a detour to Vienna is now supposed to be living again in Berlin-Mitte at Alexanderplatz, continues thematically where he did with “Bad Gastein” (2014) and “Schönes Boot aus Klang ’ (2015) has stopped. at himself. In the case of the artificial figure that the performer, who was once trained as a puppeteer at the Ernst Busch University of Applied Sciences and who, shortly before Edeka suddenly became famous, was still living as a jewelry hermit in the attic of a Berlin eyewear company, has made of himself in his second life.
For the escapist with a bushy beard, sunglasses, dressing gown, gold-painted fingernails and a dark, murmuring fairy tale uncle voice. Except that this time, judging by the album cover, he is wearing crumpled pajamas instead of a smart suit and his longed-for Bad Gastein is only symbolically used as a conceptual foil. As a metaphor of a nowhere soaked with nostalgia, melancholy and irony.
In the first concept album about the former k.u.k. Health resort south of Salzburg, Liechtenstein’s songs – underscored by electronic soundscapes – traced the morbid aura of the vacant hotel palaces from the Belle Époque.
Now, in the title song “Good Gastein”, he elevates the alpine town, where he initiated the “Verticale”, a festival for films in portrait format years ago, to universal heights with verses like “Unreasonable little towns are beautiful”. In any case, only he knows exactly what Liechtenstein’s twists and turns mean. Much more interesting is the syncopated percussion bed, which – amplified by Taiko Saito on the vibraphone – drives the growler’s nonsense before him.
Saito is part of the eight-piece band The Octagon Pavillon that accompanies Liechtenstein. It will be conducted by tenor saxophonist Sebastian Borkowski, who has long belonged to nu-jazz circles, but this time as musical director has given Liechtenstein a wonderfully colourful, acoustic sound between lounge jazz and pop hits.
What’s stupid is that only 10 of the 17 tracks consist of spoken words, which Liechtenstein delivers in an overly casual pose that includes repeatedly drinking coffee. It’s nice if you want to be a casual guy, but slurping drinks in front of the microphone really doesn’t have to be. In terms of content, the “Spoken Word” of Rilke’s Duino Elegies ranges from the bloody fairy tale of the Machandel boom to ironic wordplay. In short: When Friedrich Liechtenstein sings, he is much better.
In fact, he has never fulfilled his dream of passing as a classic crooner as well as on “Good Gastein”. Even if he repeats two songs from “Bad Gastein” with “Close To You” and “We Have All The Time In The World”. But there are also new ones with “Ride” by Lana Del Rey and “Coming Around Again” by Carly Simon.
Partly intoned in a powerful, completely ununcle singing voice. The fact that Manfred Krug is one of Liechtenstein’s musical role models is made clear by the Krug song “Das war nur ein Moment”. A homage that also includes the easy-listening flute, which is typical of the seventies and played by Sebastian Borkowski.
The fact that the native of Brandenburg Liechtenstein is also a Berliner is reflected in two successful song compilations: “Westberlin” is a nine-minute chanted evocation of former scene locations. Liechtenstein, who studied in East Berlin in the 1980s, certainly never danced his Electric Slide in “Linentreu” or “Metropol”.
But that doesn’t prevent him from acting as an ironic West Algic. The ballad “Ach Berlin” with the refrain “Oh Berlin, you’re really nothing big, nothing to kneel down on” is really nasty./ You’re from the tribe, you can’t give anything. I’m starting to ask myself why I’m still here.” So let’s go to Bad Gastein.