No-Tek: Neurotrope 029 (NRT029)
Neurotrope has been churning out a fair number of releases and is celebrating its 10th birthday this year. Compared to most other French labels with roots in the tek scene, their output is more varied with releases touching on industrial techno and breakcore as well as hardtek and hardcore. Number NRT029 collects four tracks under the No-Tek monicker, this time this means two by Minimal Dancer remixed by La Foudre, and two by La Foudre himself. Here he goes way back to the feeling of the early No-Tek material, and you would be forgiven if you feel like you’re time travelling to a teknival in the mid-90s where bare kick drums and sparse noises fill the air shortly before sunrise. The final track The Rhythm of the World is slightly more up-tempo and melodic. Overall this is a less experimental or harsh release than some of the La Foudre material on No-Tek’s own label.
The Invisible ZMK EP
(Rouge de Colere 10)
Rouge de Colere has been Toolbox’s more hardcore oriented label since the early days when they set up their distribution in Paris around 1998. Early releases were by Sammy, Speedy Q’s, Fast Forward, Heretik – and a white label only 12” by Radium which never made it to the trademark red vinyl general release. In 2002, a record by BudBurnerz was the high point for the label, but then it ceased production for a decade, and it wasn’t until 2012 when it made a comeback in conjunction with Toolbox picking up pressing more releases again including their other labels (Peur Bleue, P’tit Gris, Toolbox Killerz, and more recently Acid Night). Since the hiatus,
this is only the second release on this imprint with three tracks firmly on the way of harder edged tribe, but miles removed from the slightly experimental, hard- and (occasionally) breakcore sounds of the early RdC releases.
Grandmaster Dee & The Furious Fish
For Deathchant 70 label boss Hellfish teams up with Lenny Dee under the header of Grandmaster Dee and the Furious Fish, although upon closer inspection it seems more like a Hellfish record with some input from Lenny. The two versions of Raggabitch on side A sound like pure Hellfish. On the B-side there is a much more old school element present, with some classic rave stabs juxtaposed with a fair bit of editing trickery to bring the track up to date. The final track Clap Your Hands Now goes back to the roots, back to some b-boy funk, b-movie samples, and even the kick drum is pure 90s, and that’s as modern as this track gets. Besides this excursion into the past, the EP fits seamlessly into the 20 year stream of Deathchant’s output of hardcore with a well edited garnishing of breaks.
The Limewax: Arsch Noisyum
Goldberg Variations vs. Gancher & Ruin: Dirty Hand of Gandolf
The A-side is a ferocious amen-monster-attack by Limewax, who is now renamed ‘The Limewax’. In fact, this is quite a departure from some of the recent more minimal cross-over tracks between drum’n’bass, crossbreed and hardcore. It’s his most breakcore-infused tune in a while. So far so good. It is the title though that causes some raised eyebrows – obviously a reference to the label Ad Noiseam, and most likely a reaction to the review in that label’s online shop of the previous Limewax (without the ‘The’) release on Yellow Stripe, Lumpeth/Various Castrations, where an apparently horrified Limewax could read: ‘the beats, the overall composition and the EQ are just all over the place, and not in a good way. Somebody might want to suggest to Limewax to spend a bit more time on his material, or to provide me with a listening manual’. This broke with the apparent consensus that within the ‘scene’ nothing but back-slapping and ‘liking’ is allowed, and one only has to look at the videos by The Hard Way (the PRSPCT ‘super-group’ feat. label boss Thrasher, Bong-Ra, and Limewax) to see where such an absence of criticism can lead.
Now I think that there are a lot of other producers in the semi-commercial drum’n’bass realm who could use the advice to spend more time with their productions. And Limewax could have argued that the perhaps somewhat erratic structural arrangements of the criticised tracks were attempts at avoiding the pitfalls of an all too stream-lined genre. That he instead chose to ‘strike back’ with a diss track is on the one hand picking up a long lost tradition (there used to be some sometimes amusing, sometimes embarrassing diss tracks between labels and artists in the 90s), on the other hand seems a bit of an overreaction. If the negative review contributed to the pretty decent track that we have here, then it certainly served a positive purpose. The flip side by Goldberg Variations – a collaboration of The Panacea with The Limewax – is reminiscent of some tracks on the short lived Bastard Child label (both artists were involved with that along with Dylan and Skitty). If you buy the vinyl, make sure you grab a copy that is not too warped!
FFF: Bloodclot Mentality (PRSPCT RVLT005)
This is the first outing of Dutch jungle master FFF on the PRSPCT label. The RVLT series has been set up to release the more ‘breakcore’ oriented material, so far mainly by Bong-Ra and Deformer. FFF’s tracks are pleasantly far removed from the, by now, standard crossbreed fare. About the first track you may justifiably wonder why we should need another ‘bloodclot’ track, but the EP keeps getting better. The top track is PRL B58, an excellent marriage of jungle and hardcore with very efficient programming and maximum rave factor.
Messias: Konstruktion –Destruktion
(Cathartic Noise Experience, X-003)
The third release on Cathartic Noise Experience is by label head Messias and by far the best release on the label so far. It features one epic track on each side that combines bleak atmospheres, melodic fragments, screaming, spoken voices and hammering beats in a nicely composed way that doesn’t get boring over 12 minutes. It does it in different ways on each side, one a bit more industrial, the other more cinematic. Limited to just 100 copies on vinyl, and comes with poster and download code.
Ditterich von Euler-Donnersperg
Pelzwurstlieder: Achtzehntes Heft
(Walter Ulbricht Schallfolien[WULP 044)
Pelzwurstlieder (‘fur-sausage-songs’) is a truly unique series which has been appearing with admirable stubborness with one release every year for 18 years now. They are released on Walter Ulbricht Schallfolien, Uli Rehberg’s (aka Dr. Kurt Euler, Ditterich…) label which goes back 35 years and has been putting out records by classic ‘industrial’ acts like Throbbing Gristle, SPK, Laibach and Hafler Trio, as well as more recently by Werkbund and Evapori. Each installment of the Pelzwurstlieder consists of a picture disc 7” with spoken word (in German) by Ditterich von Euler-Donnersperg. Included is the complete text on separate sheets and each cover is hand made. Each issue is dedicated to an animal, such as the spider, the snake, the platypus, the bat or the turtle, depicted on the cover of each copy with a different picture and a different postage stamp. This latest – and as we hear last – installment however is dedicated to mushrooms. Their properties are explored in dense wordplays and associations, accompanied by minimal and punctual noises and effects. Two pieces of spoken word plus one instrumental piece. As always, limited to 200 numbered copies. Ditterich fans take note: his book Verdunkeln –Der Feind sieht dein Licht was also just published!
The Loud Minority EP
Phil Klein, aka Bass Junkie, Final Dream et. al. teams up with Matt Whitehead under the monicker Model Citizens to produce a 3 track 12” on FdB. The label has put out a number of electro inspired 12”s by Blackmass Plastics, Controlled Weirdness, The Dexorcist and others around the middle of the last decade. Then it drifted off from my horizon a bit until I stumbled upon this latest offering. Released in 2014 it would be hard to guess the year by just listening to the tunes: Electro in its purest form, and as such strongly recommended for those missing perfect examples of this sound. Not innovative but future music from a long time ago.
One strange detail: the record has a printed inner sleeve which is (nearly) identical to the outer sleeve.
Stazma The Junglechrist: A Giant Skull Made of Guns EP [
Stazma blew up over the Peace Off scene with a number of digital releases ca. 2011, and after a split 12” with Dr. Bastardo on Our Fucking Jungle, finally had a 12” released on Peace Off in 2013 (Chaos Propaganda, reviewed in datacide 13). The latest release, this time on Bankizz (a label that has so far only released files), has 5 tracks and is more varied in terms of style with tracks ranging from the laptop-breakcore trickery to tracks with hardcore elements to the slower and heavier title track, which is present in original version as well as a remix by End.user.
Mü: Dubby/Jasmy (Ruff 16)
Mü is a duo made up of Julien Chastagnol, aka Ruby My Dear and drummer Xavier Coriat, and this release comes as a positive surprise on Ruff. Heavy, slow and at the same time minimal with plenty of space for the sounds, beats and noises, the two tracks are nicely abrasive examples of post-dubstep.
Acid Night 09-13
Acid Night was a yearly night and a label set up by Toolbox dedicated to new acid. This was launched in late 2012 and has had an accellerating pace of new releases with number 16 already announced as we go to print. Like this 2014 has seen 9 releases in just over 9 months and there seems to be no sign of slowing down. This is interesting in a variety of ways. The ‘acid revival’ that has been under way for a while seems to be to a significant part a vinyl phenomenon with enough of an audience to sustain the output of this as well as some other labels. In terms of the material there is some scope beyond the ‘usual’ 303-909 stuff to incorporate some material that draws from (acid influenced) 90s hardcore to trippy more off-dancefloor stuff, to the odd experimental tune. Nevertheless the material is all too rarely veering away from the hardtek/tribe-compatible. And while you wouldn’t necessarily expect new acid tracks to be innovative, they often fall back behind the standards set in the field in the 90s.
Poémes et musiques lettriste et hyperphonie
(Alga Marghen plana-L 23VocSon085)
Alga Marghen have issued a number of lettrist sound documents over the years, including records by Isiodre Isou and Gil Wolman. Beyond this, the label has dug up some amazing examples of sound poetry (I just mention the box set dedicated to Henri Chopin’s Revue OU) and avant garde compositions from the 50’s and the following decades. The latest curiousity is this album by Maurice Lemâitre which combines previously released and so far unreleased material on this LP limited to just 240 copies. Two of the pieces are from his first LP from 1958 – apparently the first record by a poet after WWII, one of the recordings going back to as early as ’53. Somewhat bizarre are the lettrist intonations over some yéyé and ‘rock’ backing tracks. As the liner notes put it: ‘One still wonders if his intention was, as a kind of proselytism, to spread Lettrism in all levels of society or if his goal was strictly experimental’. Most of the LP then is dedicated to lettrist experiments without melodic backing: some contain some kind of shouting choirs and chanting, hissing and what Merz-esque invocations. Partners on different recordings are Paule Thorel, Isidore Isou, Jacques Spacagna, Roberto Altmann, Jacques Pradelle, Dany Tayarda, Jean-Louis Sarthou. Hissing, moaning and sighing accompanies the exploration of vocal tones, in L’alcôve this is a female voice with a male choir. The final piece L’ascension du phénix MB from 1967 is a tape cut up of various musical sources.