One of the founders of synth pop, Der Plan were mainstays of the music underground of Germany in the 1980s. Singing almost exclusively in German, they inspired a countless number of like-minded groups as part of the Neue Deutsche Welle (German New Wave) scene. Inspired by the synthetic beats of Kraftwerk and the quirky styles of the Residents, Der Plan created a unique blend of electronics, pop music, and surrealism.
Kurt "Pyrolator" Dahlke left D.A.F. after their first LP and formed Der Plan with Frank Fenstermacher and Moritz "RRR" Reichelt. While many German underground acts were playing derivative Sex Pistols-inspired punk, Der Plan aligned themselves with predecessors such as Kraftwerk to focus on the use of electronics in pop music. In 1980, they released Geri Reig, a strong debut with an off-kilter pop sensibility and innovative use of electronics. Though never receiving much chart success, Der Plan developed a strong cult following. However, they did manage to crack the German Top 40 with their 1980 single Da Vorne Steht Ne Ampel. Der Plan continued to grow artistically by incorporating innovative rhythms into their songs with their second full-length Normalette Surprise.
Der Plan continued to perform and release music throughout the 1980s and early '90s, though never equaling the strength of their early material. Their record label, Ata Tak, released some of the most innovative electronic music coming out of Germany during the 1980s and '90s. They were responsible for releases by artists such as D.A.F., Andreas Dorau, Holger Hiller, Oval, and Wirtschaftswunder. Der Plan called it quits in 1992, but Frank Fenstermacher and Kurt Dahlke formed A Certain Frank, releasing a full-length on Ata Tak in 1996. ~ Peter Schaefer