There are few things more ‘new wave’ than a group of German origin with a French name singing in Spanish about ‘smoking cigarettes and playing with bombs’… but that’s only part of the reason why Liaisons Dangereuses’ Los Niños Del Parque, released in 1981, remains such an influential track to this day.
Formed out of the relationship between the late Chris Haas (of Neue Deutsche Welle songsmiths DAF) and Beate Bartel of all-female troupe Mania D., Liaisons Dangereuses only recorded one, self-titled album, but are considered among the forefathers for the EBM and techno genres to follow.
Indeed, when a reissue of the album came out in 1985, it was reportedly snapped up by emerging electronic producers in Chicago and Detroit, looking to craft their own sound.
As the book Verschwende deine Jugend explains, Los Niños Del Parque was the net output of “being locked away in small flat having sex all day”. If that’s not going to inspire you, I suppose nothing will.
Here’s a clip of the band playing it live in Manchester back in 1982.
Coming at the listener from all sorts of acute angles, the track bursts into life with arguably the most infectious synth pattern since I Feel Love, as the fabled ‘Niños Del Parque’ go about their daily business with a combination of innocence and innuendo (translated from Spanish):
“The boys and the girls
Are walking together
They are lucky
Who says they’re innocent?”
It would go on to be one of the most remixed and sampled EBM tracks of all time, with everyone from Guru Josh to Carl Craig dipping into its electronic honey pot.
As Beate Bartel told the Todd Is New Each Moment blog in 2012, “When songs go into the world, some find bigger lives than others. Over the years, “Los Niños Del Parque“ has needed more protection than the others.
“It’s like a child that’s done well yet never stops demanding attention. In that sense, I have a special relationship with it.”
It may no longer be a ‘child’, but it remains a key reference point for electronic music as we know it today.