Gina X Performance

Gina X Performance was a German coldwave/synthpop band that released three albums on EMI between 1979 and 1981, followed by a fourth album on Statik/Virgin in 1984.

Members: Gina Kikoine (vocals), Zeus B. Held (production, multi-instrumentalist)

The Gina X Performance was assembled in Cologne, Germany, in 1978, by singer/lyricist Gina Kikoine (aka Claudia De Held) and keyboardist/producer Zeus B. Held. Drummer László Czigány was the other constant member for the first three albums.

Held (b. Bernd Held, 1950) was fresh off a five-year stint with hard-rockers Birth Control, where he served as keyboardist, co-writer, and occasional brass and string arranger on the albums Rebirth, Plastic People, Backdoor Possibilities, and Increase. He also guested on the 1975 second album by Hoelderlin. Most recently, he issued the solo album Zeus’ Amusement.

Gina X Performance recorded its first album, Nice Mover, in the summer of 1978 at the Sound Experience Studio am Dom, Cologne. Held’s arsenal includes Mini Moog, Polymoog, ARP synthesizer 2600, ARP String Ensemble, ARP sequencer, Fender Rhodes piano, grand piano, Hammond A 100, and Sennheiser vocoder. The album was co-produced by Held and Martin Hömberg with synthesizer programming by Heinz Trewer.

1978: Nice Mover

Nice Mover features eight originals, split between campy club cuts (“I’m a Boy,” “No G.D.M.“) and slow, lucid, seductive soundscapes like “Exhibitionism” and “Casablanca.”

The slow, desolate “Casablanca” layers vocoderized vocals on a piano/synth-bass ostinato with a beaming fugue-like melody and oscillating overlays, all wrapped in an extended fadeout with Gina’s non-stop litany.

A tingling, voice-echoing intro unveils “Exhibitionism,” where a clipped, high-tone synth theme counters Gina’s lucid vocal melody. Across the slow-rolling rhythm and soft bass figure, Held layers on luminous electro sounds amid double-tracked vocals, cutting midway for a stylophone-sounding solo.

“Black Sheep” sports a bobbing one-five bassline (in C) at a stately middle pace, bedecked with bubbly/staccato rhythm-synths and accented broken English. Midway, the song breaks for an arching ARP melody.

On “Nice Mover,” Gina’s stretched, sensual vowels enmesh with vocoderized backing vocals, all set to a moderate beat on a slow recoiling bassline, marked with arpeggiated synth textures and a plunging chorus.

“Plastic Box Surprise” kicks in with an urgent wind-up rhythm, overlaid with oscillating sounds and bubbly figures that interlock with bright key-tones, all pitch-bent upward for the spiraling fadeout.

“Tropical Game Strip” starts to the sound of a jungle, where an arching piano figure (in low C) greets the rhythm-less first verse with vocals that veer between spoken and sung.

Throughout Nice Mover, Held renders various electronic effects in a faint, remote manner where everything complements and nothing overpowers. Kikoine, charming in her stunted sense of pitch and phasing, works best in her low, seductive, almost lucid moments.

The Nice Mover cover shows a fashion-forward Kikoine sporting mesh gloves and an unzipped, studded leather jacket over a lace bra, foreshadowing ’80s-era Madonna wardrobes by more than half a decade. Photographer Dieter Eikelpoth (Key, Silvia) and the typographic firm Ink Studios (Cream, Family, Jack Bruce, Kraftwerk) are credited with visuals.



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