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Taken from The Stranger (May 05, 2016)

Hear Pankow’s Adrian Sherwood-Produced, Irreverent Cover of Prince’s “Girls and Boys”

by Dave Segal

Renowned Italian EBM/industrial unit Pankow's 1987 cover of Prince's sly, sassy funk nugget "Girls & Boys" (from 1986's Under the Cherry Moon) takes the original into an S&M dungeon and roughs it up with bulbous synth bass and beats that leave deep welts. 'Tis a pity about the boner-killing goofy/android-y vocals, but this cover's very existence is yet another example of how far and wide Prince's influence spread. Produced by radical dub innovator Adrian Sherwood, Pankow's "Girls & Boys" appears on the Adrian Sherwood At The Controls Vol. 2 1985-1990 compilation (out June 24 on On-U Sound). The collection also contains tracks by Lee "Scratch" Perry, Tackhead, Bim Sherman, Mark Stewart, Keith LeBlanc, African Head Charge, and several other post-punk and dub artists.

After the jump, watch Prince's "Girls & Boys" (while you can) and read the press release for Adrian Sherwood At The Controls Vol. 2 1985-1990.

Adrian’s mid-80s productions with the Tackhead axis - the legendary Sugarhill House Band including Keith LeBlanc, Skip McDonald and Doug Wimbish - were some of the most innovative of the period in their sheer sonic extremity - creating huge walls of sound with skull-crushing beats, a Dadaist collage of vocal samples, and instruments pushed way into the red. Distortion became another colour in his sonic palette, just as echo, reverb and parametric EQ had been to his dub productions. These records caught the ears of musicians from the emerging second wave industrial scene - an international affair taking inspiration from earlier groups like Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire but applying it to tracks intended for a dancefloor or rock club. The hybrid would be dubbed ‘electronic body music’, and Sherwood very much had a hand in shaping the sound, being invited to work with the likes of Einstürzende Neubauten, Ministry, KMFDM, Nitzer Ebb and Nine Inch Nails.

Pankow were from Florence, Italy and Adrian made their acquaintance after producing fellow hometown act Rinf (also featured on this comp). Pankow's early synth and drum machine excursions such as “Das Vodkalied” have become a seminal touchstone for modern techno producers such as Helena Hauff in recent years, with their heavier late-80s productions with Adrian Sherwood being championed as metal dance classics by On-U compiler Trevor Jackson. They also ended up having their records released in the states by Wax Trax!, and worked on two albums with Adrian, Freiheit Für Die Sklaven (Freedom For The Slaves) and Gisela. This irreverent deconstruction of a Prince song is a highlight of their time working together and appeared in extended form on the humorously titled EP, Pankow Play The Hits Of The Nineties.


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