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For the better part of two decades, Blumfeld were widely considered to be Germany's prime indie rock band, with a sound that took its cues from groups like the Pixies and Pavement. Blumfeld differed from groups like Pavement and such fellow Teutonic indie poppers as the Bartlebees: their lyrics were political in scope and almost exclusively performed in German, although singer Jochen Distelmeyer occasionally used English phrases. Blumfeld were also considered a key group of the "Hamburger Schule," a musical movement that combined lo-fi, punk, and pop elements with primarily German lyrics.
After forming in 1990, Blumfeld — whose initial lineup consisted of Distelmeyer, Eike Bohlken and Andre Rattay — made their official debut with the release of 1992's Ich Maschine, followed two years later by L'Etat et Moi. The Verstärker EP came out one year later, featuring one of the songs from L'Etat et Moi and three songs originally recorded in 1992. Released in 1998, Old Nobody saw the group shrugging off those Pavement comparisons and opting for a mellow sound, as well as less challenging vocals (more singing and less of the spoken word snatches that cropped up on earlier efforts). The album also saw Blumfeld employing a new bassist and an additional keyboard player. Old Nobody, which boasted a more distinct pop sheen, cracked the Top 20 on the German album charts and garnered an increase in international attention for the group. Despite the band's long-running success, Blumfeld broke up in 2007, prompting Distelmeyer to launch a solo career two years later.