Hamburg, Germany's Xmal Deutschland impressed Ivo with an "incredibly raw" demo tape whose live power was never completely captured in the studio. Nonetheless, the spiky intensity of the four-woman, one-man band proved compelling enough on their debut album Fetisch, released in 1983.
Two subsequent singles â€“ â€˜Qualâ€™, a different take on the album's lead track, and â€˜Incubus Succubus IIâ€™, an extended version of Xmal's pre-4AD debut - captured the attention of BBC radio DJ John Peel and a substantial UK audience. Live performance proved to be the band's real strength: Ivo recalls a particularly memorable show from this period where Xmal, opening for the Cocteau Twins in London at a 4AD showcase, won over a crowd of aloof scenesters in a matter of moments.
Xmal Deutschland returned the following year with their second and last album for the label. Tocsin displayed a more refined and textured approach than before, along with a more straightforward rock sound. The group left 4AD months after its release, subsequently signing to Phonogram.