A breath of agitated air from Wester Berlin comes via Malaria! tonight. Malaria! was an experimental electronic band from West Berlin formed in 1981 by Gudrun Gut and Bettina Köster following the dissolution of Mania D with Karin Luner, Eva Gossling later Die Krupps and Beate Bartel (of Liaisons Dangereuses). Other members included Manon P. Duursma, Christine Hahn, and Susanne Kuhnke (also a member of Die Haut). They are most often associated with Neue Deutsche Welle and post-punk.
Malaria!’s most popular record was New York Passage, which was top 10 in both U.S. and European independent charts and led to a tour with The Birthday Party, John Cale, and Nina Hagen.
There are videos for the songs “Geld/Money”, “Your Turn to Run”, and “You, You” (directed by Anne Carlisle) along with a live video for “Thrash Me” featured in a German documentary called Super 80.
In 2001, an EP of Malaria! covers entitled Versus was released and included a popular cover of “Kaltes Klares Wasser” by Chicks on Speed.
Malaria were one of the most interesting groups to come out of Germany in the early 1980s. The all female band was formed by an alliance of Berlin art scenesters Gudrun Gut—an early member of Einstürzende Neubauten—and Bettina Köster. Both had been members of Mania D, a group championed by John Peel.
A 1982 EP called New York Passage introduced UK and US audiences to the group, with the record even going top ten on college radio charts. Malaria toured with the likes of John Cale, The Birthday Party, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Nina Hagen. a lot of potential and word-of-mounth, but it seems like they basically fell apart before much more came of them, a real tragedy.
As a sample here is their second session for John Peel – recorded July 25, 1981.