Man, this is a tough one. For you newer folks, this may be the kind of unique treat that makes you rue the vicissitudes of idol, the way that many of us from 2014-15 felt about the original BiS (only without the same level of makes-the-scene-happen influence, natch). Veterans may recall Hauptharmonie, though; veterans of Ye Olde Website may recall them as one of Maniac’s most heart-stopping idol projects, an almost impossible synergy of jazz and blues and big-band swing and ska and … well, and idol.
This is what the world misses without Hauptharmonie in it:
That was the lead from their second EP and second full album, the delicious Herz ueber Kopf, which felt at the time like a genuine breakthrough recording. Much as I had with Avandoned, I was a little bit reluctant to cover Hauptharmonie — celebrate personally, yes, but cover? — given that they were never really a rock unit per se. But listen to that song. Watch that video. Tell me that the attitude and approach weren’t there, even in limited quantities. That’s the kind of music that made old biddies back in the day declaim jazz as the devil’s music. It’s totally wonderful.
Hauptharmonie’s journey was both typical and wildly atypical. Their producer-manager-jack-of-several-trades had studied in Germany and apparently wanted to have an idol unit that … to tell you the truth, I get lost in here. Suffice it to say, though, that they jumped right into being unique, good and a total feel-good earworm:
They were crazy prolific, too, for a while, cranking out a handful of EPs to feature new music in addition to re-recordings, on top of two full-lengths:
Hell, I still think this is one of the finest songs ever recorded by idols:
As they emerged, they of course had the usual membership fluctuations, but they did manage to snag a post-You’ll Melt More! Mone-now-Sui, which I felt was a real coup at the time, but was really just the beginning of the end, regardless of Sui’s actual involvement therein. After some rumblings and a sudden surprising departure, it was all curtains for one of the genuine good ones.
Hauptharmonie’s final gift to the world was the very, very good Fat, Rich and Gorgeous! with their friends, Tapferkeit Band, and what a farewell it was:
This is one of those idol projects that flared briefly and brightly and, just as they seemed to be on the brink of being something more than another once-was chika unit, they split up. I don’t recall there ever being any stated reason — management had previously been very supportive of Homicidols.com, but didn’t reply to an enquiry — and the members all seemed to just drift off. Sui retired to post pretty photos on Twitter and looks to be in a brand new unit, but the others? Poof.
I’d give an arm to get them back together for one more live. That being highly unlikely (not to mention preposterous and an unequal exchange!), we’ll have to content ourselves with the magic of YouTube and precious memories of barefoot girls raging to crossover jazz tunes on summertime rooftops.