Things That Were
[Vinyl on Demand, VOD117]
The first self-titled Lustmord LP appeared originally on Nocturnal Emissions’ Sterile Records in 1981. It is one of the classic releases of a particular phase in British industrial music whose sound is defined by outfits such as S.P.K., Nocturnal Emissions, Bourbonese Qualk and others. It could be said that these and other bands/projects represented a “second wave” after the trailblazers of Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire, continuing a grim sound, reflective of the hostile environment of Britain in the late 70s and early 80s.
In 1983 the Sounds-journalist Dave Henderson compiled a nice overview of this scene in the form of The Elephant Table Album, creating a snapshot of that scene as it was already drifting in different directions, be it more dance-oriented strategies or a more dark, ambient noise vein.
Things That Were, released in 2013 by Vinyl on Demand as triple LP box set, collects Lustmord’s material from before that date. The first of the three LPs is a remastered version of the aforementioned first LP, the other two records collect bits from various compilations (including the Elephant Table) as well as several live- or studio-versions and unreleased tracks. This is long before he became well known for his soundtrack-like dark ambient style, with the one exception of the last track of the third record, which anticipates his departure from the rawer and harsher sound of the early years.
The Burial/Jah Jah Dub
A two-tracker on a stamped white label 10” shows FFF with Champa B in a more quiet, reggae-influenced mode somewhere between Jungle and early Drum’n’Bass. On both sides the beat remains rather steady and there are no surprises or ravetastic elements as you might expect, but it’s not too cheesy either.
Stage Invader/Tek Hater
Deathchant reaches number 75 with the man Hellfish battling it out on two 45rpm tracks in his familiar style combining some breaks, start-and-stop techniques and EQ-tweaking with the trademark fierce 4 to the floor pounding. Since number 70 all Deathchant releases have been by Hellfish. Perhaps he figured he might as well just put out his own tunes if he can churn them out at this speed to keep the pressing plants busy (and still find time to make releases for PRSPCT). Now none of them provide new revelations, but I don’t think that’s what they’re made for, they seem to be happy to be just solid kicking Deathchant releases.
Liza N’Eliaz/Laurent Hô
S.O.D.O.M. stands for Slaves Of Devil Our Master and was a label run by Armaguet Nad in the late 90s. It never completely stopped, and after some long gaps there were two releases again in recent years, most recently – January 2016 – the number 001. While this may come as a surprise, the numbering had always been pretty random – if I remember right, the first two releases were numbers 003 and 666 (of course). Musically the label represented a particular kind of French industrial hardcore as it was coming out of a scene around Dead End Records, Sans Pitié, H.I.V. and others. Datacide 1-4 all have reviews of early S.O.D.O.M. Records, more than once ironically complaining that they were ‘half as satanic as you’d expect’, or similar. What sets the S.O.D.O.M. releases apart from the rest of the pack is that they are still now extremely sought after and still fetch three-digit prices for a 12” – if they can be found at all. This is even in an age where the prices that collectors are prepared to pay for electronic hardcore releases have tended to deflate. The reason for this is that they were always – with the exception of number 10 – limited to 250 copies.
Such an edition was undoubtedly very limited in the 90s. But these days many hardcore labels press even fewer as a “normal” run. Nevertheless, with careful management of the distribution scene, the label has succeeded in creating a hype even for the new releases that ensured they were very hard to get or even ‘sold out’ by the time of the official release date.
This latest release features two somewhat legendary figures of the French hardcore techno universe – Liza N’Eliaz and Laurent Hô. Both were instrumental in establishing the classic sound of ruff distorted 4/4 at around 200 bpm that made such a mark on the French underground scene at the time. In the case of Liza, who died in 2001, two older tracks make up the one side of the 12”, the other side show a return to hardcore by Laurent Hô under his Ingler pseudonym. The tracks are neither hugely outstanding nor a cheap rehash of the old days, they are solid and gel well, so understandably it has been swiftly picked up by collectors and fans.
[Low Res 027]
Low Res, the hardcore/breakcore label from Detroit, has been going since 1998, releasing some important records by Abelcain, Bombardier, Venetian Snares and later by Übergang, Tarmvred, Meander and others. Always present was also label boss Adjust, starting with LOW001 then as Theeq until the most recent vinyl Release the Sharks (before the current one) from 2010. Since then a number of digital-only releases have appeared, amongst them a split by Adjust and Bombardier, with one track each, Titan and Wolves.
Adjust then invited some Low Res associates to remix his track and release a 12” with the results.
A1 starts off with Meander delivering an absolute killer cut, effortlessly switching between different levels of intensity in an excellent composition that will fit in any slamming breakcore or even hard drum’n’bass set. Next up is Detroit Gore Police with a slow grinder, as far as I know the only published track by them besides a recent contribution to the digital Low res Compilation Reign of Error. The B-side starts with a much more laid back rendition by Tarmvred and finishes with the original version by Adjust. Get it!
[Cathartic Noize Experience X-005]
[Cathartic Noize Experience X-008]
The first vinyl outing for the duo consisting of Messias and ARG under their project name Fragment: brings 4 tracks of dark and experimental speedcore noise, which are maybe more concise and less epic than the previous Messias release (reviewed in datacide 14). The trend to shorter tracks is continued on Messias’ latest release Omnivoid, again a four-tracker. Both records offer engaging combinations of noise, speedcore as well as flashcore elements (and in the case of Omnivoid breakcore), making them some of the most interesting to come out of the wider ‘speedcore’ scene. Again limited to just 100 copies, so better grab one before they’re gone!
Ruby My Dear
This kind of music always somewhat puzzles me, the ultra-clean beat trickery bordering on sounding like a software demo, the simple melodies, the absence of ‘dirty timbre’ and the (apparent) public perception that this is ‘breakcore’. Of course the tracks are in a certain tradition which starts with Venetian Snares around the time he quit the small labels and signed with Planet Mu, ca. Winter in the Belly of a Snake, and later some forays like what Zod tried to do in the early to mid 2000s.
Don’t get me wrong: these are carefully constructed and accomplished tracks, and it may be a question of taste to really appreciate them or not. In my case the slightly kitschy angle and the ‘see what I can do’ hyper-complex beat editing that reminds me of prog-rock guitar solos don’t quite work. I much prefer the dirtier and more rocking material he does as one half of the duo Mü.
Nice cover by Darkam though.
Super limited 7” – only 150 copies in existence – issued just as a white label with a stamp on one side features one track each of experimental post-dubstep. Get it from the usual outlets while you can!
Christoph de Babalon/Triames
Invocation of the Demon Twin Vol.1
[Giallo Disco GD013]
Always nice to see and hear a new Christoph de Babalon on vinyl, and it’s been a long time since the last 12”, A World of my Own, from 2010. Here we are treated to two tracks of dark, evocative ambience and drones only briefly interspersed with a big beat. The other side by Triames makes a perfect companion, also featuring two tracks.
[Walter Ulbricht Schallfolien WULP 045]
The new compilation longplayer on Walter Ulbricht Schallfolien celebrates 33 years 1983-2013 (sic!) of the label, edited by the ZK (Central Committee) of Walter Ulbricht Schallfolien Hamburg 2015. Label boss Uli Rehberg, aka Ditterich von Euler-Donnersperg, aka Dr. Kurt Euler has collected some of his collaborators of the past decades, Column One, Evapori (two tracks), [-Hyph-], Pierce Warnecke, Asmus Tietchens (two tracks), Margitt Holzt, Werkbund, and Ditterich as himself, and under the guidance of the CC the result is a surprisingly homogeneous-sounding record with a strong bent towards a sinister musique concrète, in parts very quiet and caustic. The packaging shows a painting of a rural anti-idyll, an apparent dire harvest, a sombre procession.
Included is also a text sheet with an excerpt of Ditterich’s latest book Blauholz, as well as some postcards. These may vary, depending on when and where you purchase the record, but are likely to include advertising for the movie Sieg der Vernunft (Victory of Reason), his book Verdunkeln – Der Feind sieht dein Licht, propaganda for the Kommunistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands (KED, Communist Unity Party), his diehard Stalinist party project, etc. Interestingly, a Polpotist split off from the KED, the KED/ML, managed to sneak a flyer denouncing Dr. Kurt Euler into some copies of the Neu Konservatiw album as well!
Great Performances from the JOLT Festival Basel
[A Tree in a Field, TREE047]
JOLT was a festival showcasing Australian and Swiss artists curated and directed by Daniel Buess and James Hullick that took place November 10-12, 2011. It comes as a 5-track 12” and a full length CD, opening up with tracks by Cortex + Stelarc, which was a unique live performance. Not only was it the only time Cortex and Stelarc performed together, it was also one of the very rare occasions to see Alex Buess on stage in recent years. And the performance was definitely up there with historic sets by 16-17 or other earlier Buess outings in terms of intensity and ‘rapidity’. The full gig can be watched on youtube.
Next up there is a recording of Alex Buess’ composition ‘Phylum’ (an excerpt on the vinyl and the whole piece on the CD) performed by Ensemble Phoenix Basel, again an excellent piece showing the connection between Buess’ own performances and his composition writing. Opening side B of the 12” is Oren Ambarchi with an experimental piece. Then a hip hop track by Ferocious41 and finally the laid back ‘Lay in the Sun’ by Roy and the Devil’s Motorcycle + Papiro. The CD has extended versions and additional tracks as well as a contribution by carthage.
Obviously the whole record only has contributions from a small number of the musicians who played at JOLT and I’m not sure what exactly the criteria for inclusion were. But it does show the width of experimental music featured and is worth picking up for Cortex and Ensemble Phoenix material alone.