Especially in the early 1990’s, the German project U96 was very present in the European electronic music scene. Some thirty years after their biggest success, they are presenting the soundtrack to a mixture of an audiovisual show and musical, 20,000 Meilen unter dem Meer (equivalent to “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea). I had to listen to the lounge-style sound album, which has been released on 9th September 2022.
U96 – About The Project
U96 (typically spelled in German, i.e. “U Sechsundneunzig” is a techno and Eurodance project founded by Alex Christensen. The Hamburg producer initiated it in 1991, when the project already released its most famous hit, Das Boot. The song is a techno adoption of a song of the soundtrack of the movie Das Boot, which describes the fate of the German submarine U96. The track, which has originally been written by Klaus Doldinger, topped the charts in Germany,. Austria, Switzerland and Norway and was Top 10 in many other European markets. However, U96 is not at all a one-hit wonder, other very well-selling top 10 singles were I Wanna Be a Kennedy (1992), Love Religion (1994), Club Bizarre (1995) or Heaven (1996).
Especially in the early 1990’s U96 had several successful albums. The project is nowadays driven by Ingo Hauss and Hayo Lewerentz. Christensen left the project in 2003.
U96 – 20,000 Meilen unter dem Meer – Track by Track
The eleven track album lasts 46 minutes, All vocal / narrating parts are spoken by German actor Claude-Oliver Rudolph.
1. The Seven Seas
The first track is some four minutes long, so that The Seven Seas takes a much stronger role than being just an intro and an atmospheric track. The first half of the song has a bit of an Vangelis touch to me, before The Seven Seas adds more rhythm.
2. New Life
While you might struggle what has happened to the good, old U96 style while listening to the first song of the album, New Life reminds me much more of the prooject’s legendary 1990’s tracks. However, the drums and the bass does not feel as stomping and as energetic as they used to be three decased ago. The distorted vocals feel a bit too boring. Nice, but not excellent techno-lounge sound.
What would a fantasy musical about life in the deep blue sea be without a version of Donavan’s classic Atlantis. Claude-Oliver Rudolph works very good as a narrator in here and spreads a lot of mystical atmosphere. Atlantis as a song just works partially in here.
With almost six minutes duration, Pressure is the longest track of the album. There is a bit of an Das Boot feeling, when the rhythm is running like the pistons of a submarine’s diesel engine. Good composition and nice atmosphere, but at least without actors on stage, the track does not feel to tell its message sufficiently.
5. The Grand Saloon
I feel that overall, The Grand Saloon is one of the best instrumental tracks of the album. It still makes me feel that there is something missing – which might just be that I miss what is expected to be going on on stage while this song is performed. Good arrangement.
6. Ich, Nemo
The sound of Ich, Nemo is hymnic, almost majestic – and Claude-Oliver Rudolph is perfectly presenting the struggle of Captain Nemo. Eines weiß ich ganz gewiss: Ich mag die Menschen nicht – “There is one thing I surely know: I don’t like human”. The sixth track of the album is its absolute climax. If you just need to have a little bit of an U96 feeling renewal, give this track a listen.
Polaris feels to have a rather orchestral sound setting. Strings are driving the melody, there is a background choir, This leads to a very special listen, even though the track does not feel to be in line with its predecessors.
8. Coral Reef
The visit of the Coral Reef is the shortest episode of the album and just takes some two minutes. The track starts as a gentle, a bit of fairy tale-alike track, before heading on the techno straight. Not too bad.
9. The Deep
The Deep feels and sounds like U96 again – at least how I remember the project. The sound is not as smashing and catching as in the 1990’s, but this track will definitely make the people move to the rhythm during the live shows, Nice one.
Without having any stageplay or other narrative information, I would say that Hawks is the worst listen of the album to be. The track is simply boring and lacking any kind of character or atmosphere.
11. Where Do We Go
After this rather bad experience, the closing track feels to be like a relief. It is also a better listen and works with clear themes which are developed over these four minutes.
U96 – 20,000 Meilen unter dem Meer – Spotify
Here is the album on Spotify:
U96 – 20,000 Meilen unter dem Meer – My View
There feels to be a reason, why U96 did not really have commercial success after Alex Christensen has left the project. Unfortunaltey, this album underlines the idea that the current band setup is simply too weak. What a shame – as here and there, nostalgic feelings pop up. Some tracks do have potential and Claude-Oliver Rudolph feels to be very suitable for the lyrics part. But finally, this is just not enough.
20,000 Meilen unter dem Meer – The Shows
The shows of the tour have originally all been planned for fall 2022. However, there have been some shifts and postponements:
|Sa 08.10.2022||Frankfurt – Alte Oper|
|Mo 10.10.2022||Magdeburg – AMO Kulturhaus|
|Th 13.10.2022||Erfurt – Alte Oper|
|Mo 17.10.2022||Rostock – StadtHalle inRostock|
|Su 23.10.2022||Berlin – Admiralspalast|
|Th 04.05.2023||Kiel – Wunderino Arena|
|Sa 06.05.2023||Bremen – Metropol Theater|
|Su 07.05.2023||Hamburg – edel-optics.de Arena|
|Tu 09.05.2023||Dortmund – Westfalen Halle 2|
|We 10.05.2023||Cologne – Theater am Tanzbrunnen|
|Fr 12.05.2023||Hanover – Theater am Aegi|
|Su 14.05.2023||Lingen – EmslandArena|
|Tu 16.05.2023||Stuttgart – Theaterhaus (am Pragsattel)|
Postings with Tour Dates
Here are all Flyctory.com postings, which include tour dates:
Ships & Water Travel
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