Record Reviews Alien Underground 0.0 (1994)

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Record Review section of Alien Underground 0.0 with reviews by Flint Michigan, Sentinel, Deviant, and CF

Caustic Visions: CV2
The second release on their own label, this is their most advanced, experimental, in short: best yet. Totally uncompromising this goes even further than their previous releases in exploring the nature of noise, occasionally without even employing a beat at all. at other times breaking up the rhythms leaving space for the damage to develop. In this sense this goes further than their excellent ‘Second Sighting’ on Industrial Strength where the emphasis was more on monotonous rhythmic abstraction; neither here nor there any of the tracks are diluted by unnecessary melodies or sounds that have been used by so many others before. This is the real hardcore.

Detroit Diesel: Auto Acid (Dum)
With Sahko Dum is the leading exponent of Finnish techno, run by Kim Rapatti, aka Mono Junk. Early Dum records were limited to pressruns of 50-200 copies, and it took the 12″ on Thomas Heckmanns label Trope to make Mono Junks work accessible to more than a few dozen people. With the recent releases of Melody Boy 2000 and Detroit Diesel (both Rapatti pseudonyms) hopefully recognition for Dums own productions will follow. Detroit Diesel is clearly my Dum favorite so far, it has this finnish clearness, but with a slightly harder edge than most; its ‘acid’ qualities don’t rely so much on excessive use of analogues, on the contrary everything remains quite minimalistic, but on other types of twists, mutations, modulations in the tracks; very nice.

PCP:
We Are Frankfurt (Dancepool/ Sony)
Opening with the orgy of noise ‘Symphonies of SteelPart I’ previously on the luminous red vinyl Mescalinum United 12″ this six trax vinyl taster for the Frankfurt Trax vol.5 CD, you’ll find only the best in speedcore abuse in a PCP meets gabber stylee. ‘Shoot ‘dis M.F.’ by Program 1 comes in a dark and dangerous version, wicked speedacid from 100%Acidiferous follows to close sidea, until Sid Vicious is heard wailing ‘My Way’ or rather Turbulence going through ‘6 Million Ways to Die’, a truly lethal track that somewhat overshadows the subsequent ‘Interzone’ by Terrorists and DJ Stickheads ‘Get in Gear’. If you missed out on the original 12″s or are a novice to the PCP sound, then get this.

Lory D.:
Alluzinazione Acustica
(Sounds Never Seen)
Ever since I heard his ‘Anti-System’ I was trying to get hold of SNS records; with 3 new releases out this year so far, this has become a bit easier in this country, even though the name of the label still quite accurately describes the availability of the records. This audio hallucination is number 11, and I’d argue it owes more to Goblin and their soundtracks for Dawn of the Dead etc. than to house music, but the zombies here have been fed unhealthy doses of psychedelic drugs. The a-side is slowly buildingup, occasionally breaking down again, until the situation gets out of control with the most deranged free jazz acid mayhem i’ve heard, while the b-side is more of a soundtrack, dark, complex, abstract, very advanced music from beyond the outer limits.

Leo Anibaldi: Endurance (ACV)
Favorite is B3, a dark and heavy track not aimed at the dancefloor at all, but it does make a nice intro, building up from quiet ambience to intense noise. The other 4 pieces are rhythmic, slowish experimental acid with an underlying darkness that is typical for Anibaldis work. Facing the difficult job of following up on his last double pack Muta, where postapocalyptic soundscapes that are as dark as they are intensely beautiful, meet trippy experiments, Endurance does get away with it. Not as wild as Lory D. or A.S.U., Anibaldi still is one of the great italian purveyors of experimental techno.

Walker: Don’t Fuck With Cologne
(DJUngle Fever)
The a side here is a manically driving, mutating, metamorphosing track, where noisescapes build up, percussion drops in and out, and the energy level always remains high. Electronic pulses sent up and down your spine and into the brain where the noise clears the pathways between sections of grey matter previously dormant. It goes on forever as well. Wicked! The 2 trax on the flip are acid stripped to the essentials with charmingly childish synthlines, and I mean this in the sense of a simplicity that only true masters can achieve.

Inter-Ference vs. Sulphur Surfer: Car Tracks (Bunker)
Very nice, extremely minimalistic acid, sparse, abstract (even though adhering to the 4/4 format), slightly seasoned with sinister undertones. But then you realise that you just encountered people who religiously love the old Chicago sounds (and hate the new dutch sounds). That’s ok, but makes it difficult to use in a contemporary set, being so slow it’s unreal, and losing too much of its little depth when speeded up. I try to avoid making the speed of records an issue, but here it’s a shame (as with a lot of Bunker/Unit Moebius stuff) because they are so much better than a lot of the 303 wankers who churn out vinyl these days.

Jeff Mills: Cycle 30 (Axis)
Of course the gimmick of this record alone makes it worth buying, not because it’s a gimmick, but because it actually works: Side A consists of 8 single locked grooves, and to be continuous they have to be 133 1/3 bpm at 33 1/3 rpm, but some of them still work fine at 45 -8. Make sure the mixer has a decent equaliser if you play out, and don’t get too absorbed, they DO go on forever! The favorite ones are nicely reminiscent of old Hardwax records (best Detroit label ever), while the b-side consists of 3 tracks in a more experimental vein.

Brixton
A slightly obscure title/name for a acid record to come out of Dormagen, somewhere in Germany. Great pounding hardnoize acid going to excessive lengths in a midtempo journey of rough tripping analogue overdose… recommended. CF

Cristian Vogel: Lambda EP (Magnetic North)
After making a name for himself with his earlier more experimental records on Trope, Ferox and especially his Infra EP on Magnetic North, Vogel is now playing it safe with a well crafted but clean and not very adventurous sound that will find many friends in what seems to be the current main stream of underground-ish techno, namely the Bush/Basic Channel etc. sound. It’s still more exciting than braindead trance, and may well replace it in a club context, but Vogel has shown his ability to experiment and come up with interesting results, something I always prefer to just being able to craft good club tunes (even if I can see the challenge), because good club tunes tend to become boring after some time, while good experimental tracks remain inspiring.

Soldiers of Fortune: All Ram Rough EP (Kickdown)
Strange mixture of german style Happy Hardcore (=Jolly Gabber) and hard dark techno as we like it. Strange insofar, as the jokes seem to be almost without relation to the rest of the tracks, and they do spoil 2 of the 4 for me, which is annoying because the sounds and production on the whole are very good. But then there’s The A-Team, the track that saves it all, being terrifyingly heavy with a nice edge of danger.

The Crusher: Red Lights/Kill Me (Kickin’)
With its droning start, handclap, slowly building up into a 4/4 groovy stomper then breaking down again until a hard breakbeat kicks in and leads to the conclusion that Red Lights works very well for a sweat drenched hardfloor. Written by Josh Wink, this should be popular with the different types of harder techno djs & crowds. Kill Me on the flip in 2 versions is a hard stomper, but doesn’t really do it for me, as it doesn’t reach the energetic level of the a-side, even though it’s faster and more banging, but not as convincing in sound and structure.

Machine Codes :
Kosmik Konundrums
(Code B)
Yet another Mike Dred outing (there seem to be a lot at the moment) staying on the 303 workout tip. 5-tracker (not including some interesting short experimental noise) all to the standard you’d expect from Mr. Dred, though the picture side is definitely more interesting with a kind of old-skoolish acid electro track and a more intense industrial beats cut. To be added 2 your Mike Dred collection. SENTINEL

PCP
Phuture
Ever since the release of Mescalinum United’s We Have Arrived, PCP have been the most consistent mainstay of german hardcore, expanding & forming around a dozen different labels with different identities, from experimental soundscapes to dark rave to extreme brutalkore. The PCP label itself is situated somewhere in the middle of all this, the focal point of all the madness, and home to the most important names they use: The Mover, Mescalinum United, Program 1… On Phuture these giants meet for a soundclash & are joined by Dusty Angel, 100% Acidiferous and Possessed. Most here is unreleased material (exception is Symphonies of Steel & Lightbringer by Mescalinum Utd, both previously on the orange vinyl 12″), pretty much everything is very spinnable, The Mover tracks are faster than usual, and the acid delivered by Dusty Angel and 100% Acidiferous is cool, the Leathernecks remix of Program 1 is the world’s hardest MF. There’s not much more to be said here than, basically, you should buy this. CF

The Mover + Rave Creator
Rave the Planet
(Cold Rush, Lost 7)
Cold Rush has always been PCP’s Rave label, but if you’re expecting uplifting tunes to make you forget the week’s work you’re in for a bad trip. And we laugh at you. There is no such thing as a ‘happy’ PCP record, because happy records are for unhappy people & sad fucks. This is monumental darkness for the kind of raves they have in hell, or on other planets, squatted dead suns & black holes.
Totally phuturistic. CF

A Limited Edition of Unlimited Hardcore
(SS 14)
One of the most ferosciously lethal mixes for a while, this is unlimited distortion, obviously the tumour has been growing in these guys brains. The tracks are tortured beyond recognition, beaten to a pulp of noise that will induce sheer terror… a good record! CF

O.S.T.
Basilar
(Switch?)
There is a new strain in techno that draws its influences from experimental industrail noise more than would have been thinkable even a short while ago, and this record is a prime example for this approach. Just about everything that would connect with house is abandoned here, the beats are spastic, weirdness takes over, layers of noises subtly drilling new pathways of information in the brain, & opening new perspectives for sound to develop. Basilar takes its time hinting at a rhythm to come, but when it finally kicks in, it’s like a sonic attack on the knees of the dancer, 4 S.Slyncy’s pure pulses & extraterrestrial surges of noise from beyond dark burnt out stars, Beyond Jaz another excursion into disturbing, more quiet territory. Like some Italian stuff – e.g. the A.S.U. double pack on Hot Trax – this truly explores new areas, and is one of the futures of techno. CF

A.Simetric
Killit 12
(Killout)
Killout is renouned as one of the UK’s finest purveyors of the hardest, wickedest Acid, and this record reinforces that claim. 4 tracks of severe aural assault from this Leeds based techno outfit, acid weirdness that pushes those extreme 303 noises almost into oblivion, everything just held together by floor thumping rip banging basslines. This one stands out from the crowd because the intensity of the music never dulls, its energy sustained by arrangements that continually incite and provoke. Music like this can only be made by those prepared to experiment and fuck around, and not resort to tried and tested formula. TechNet

Mescalinum Utd
Symphonies of Steel/Lightbringer
(PCP 936)
Very noisy, experimental, acid, industrial and weird 2 tracker. This record is really out there. Plus it’s on flaming red vinyl so it looks good as well. Buy + frame. DEVIANT

Disasta Blasta
SS15
Interesting. V.dark track on A side with samples of Hitler! B side is still very dark, but not as sinister, breakbeat and bass PCP style. DEVIANT

Turbulence’n’Terrorists
SS13
The wicked jungle tune Six Million Ways To Die is now a wicked techno tune. Mega hard kickdrum. Play extremely loud in the early morning for best effect. DEVIANT

Critical Mass
Psychotic Break Remixes
(Kickin 51)
The original + 3 remixes, by Lenny D, Critical Mass + The Anonymous Techno Bastards Society. Jolly good. DEVIANT

Alec Empire/ATR
7″
Wow. Thrash guitar, woo-hoos, silly noise and the crispest breakbeat around. If you see it buy it as the saying goes. (Ignore the awful track on side B) DEVIANT

Don’t, actually – there might be occasions when the b-side of this may come in as a powerful sonic weapon. Utterly disturbing… schizo-house. DJ JACKAL

DJ Fistfuck: Fuck On (Mokum)
A perfect example of gabba-is-the-rave-music-of-’94. The man behind this is the Speedfreak, and he was probably one of the first to crank up the bpm of breakbeat tunes to the 200-region and employing a 4/4 bass drum to give it that push, plus the ravey synth-lines, and in one case even a T99 type choir sound, and of course plenty of vocal snippets. So it’s not really my bag, but I can see it work well in big arena type raves & can’t blame the kids who make their first encounter with hard techno liking it for its energy & fun.

Tellurian: Damn Tough (Mokum)
But then it’s not really. I mean tuffness keeps being redefined, and there’s plenty of stuff that makes recent Mokum releases sound like the Pet Shop Boys. Tellurian is certainly not the worst, the sounds are not too overused, and the track Cocksuckers is a feast for speedfreaks who nevertheless like clean production.

Reyes
No Escape
(Knor 21)
Reyes have a very distinctive sound to all their tracks, big and booming, v. good noise engineering. Although this track sounds very much like their remix of Fuck You Man it’s still good. +2 other tunes. DEVIANT

Nick East:
East of Index EP
(Drop Bass Net-work, DBN 011)
An excellent Entrée into the world of hard techno from Nick East, this 4 tracker shows some kool styles but all with ‘no mercy’ industrial style. Good percussion based tracks, all using the 303 in a slightly more original way (like one track when the 303 kicks in it’s almost completely bass overload!). Up with the high standard of all DBN recordings. SENTINEL

midwest hardcorps ep
(Drop Bass Network 012)
Excellent fast acid overdose from DJ Hyperactive and ESP (here under the pseudonym of Frank Freeks) plus newcomers Feed from Minneapolis, and Manna (one half of Feed), raw analogs prey on each other, suggesting once again that the Midwest is where it’s at in the US of A. Hardest ESP track for a while! & a constant quality high all through the EP. CF

Dj ESp
double pack
(drop bass network 013)
Actually released after DBN 014 & 015, here’s the second double pack ESP has recorded for the label. While the 1st one Bad Acid No Such Thing had a very wide variety from slower acid trax to extreme speedcore, here the emphasis is on slow beats and minimal analogs, sometimes old-skoolish, but more often in a experimental vein that makes me like this a lot. very sparse drum machine vs analogs. cool.

Freddie Fresh
Gnarl EP
(Drop Bass Network 014)
The man from Analog strikes again with a platter that sounds perfect on DBN. While it’s all fairly fast synth abuse, one track with its waves of dark frequencies will wash your brain. CF

Mooses on Acid
One day in the Woods EP
(Drop Bass Network 015)
Second European release on DBN has this duo from Sweden who previously did a double on Labworks as Pagan Acid. Nice speedy acid for those who live fast and like it loud. CF

Freddy Fresh:
Analog 5
(Analog Records)
Hard acidic 6 tracker all different speeds andintensities. Not really that much more to describe. Buy and play at maximum velocity. SENTINEL

More interesting acid from Freddy Fresh. Six tracker, 1 ambient, the others mid to uptempo. No names but my favorite track is the last on the logo side. DEVIANT

Cristian Vogel
Tales from The Heart
(Force Inc.)
There’s a secret axis of a certain type of techno energy connecting Michigan and Sussex from which this EP draws its power to craft another handful of classy club techno tunes. It’s pretty cool and I bite my teeth not to start moaning again about the absence of more mindfuck noise or more broken up structures.
Looking forward to hear his Beginning to Understand for Mille Plateaux, Force Inc’s new anti oedipal sub label. CF

1016
Distress Signal
(Bush)
This will go down well on the current not-so-hard techno floors, like Dave Clarke’s or Cristian Vogels recent stuff (Brighton rules?) Produced by one half of Difficult Child some people might be disappointed not to find another Big Bang here but more clob oriented tracks, Distress Signal and Alien Transmission, pretty accessible without losing all of its edge. Standout is the ruff original version of Distress Signal that lives up its name, being generously distorted. CF

Ultra
Spaceman
(Countdown)
After the release of six mysterious anonymous 12″ starting with number 6 about 2 years ago, this sees a reemergence of the series with nr. +1, true to the experimental abstract spirit of the label, but a bit less based on the acid that was predominant on some of the earlier records. Monotonous metallic stark rhythms + droning noises, there is very little left of conventional structure and melody. 4 trax right down my street. very cool. CF

PURPLE PLEJADE: Realms of the Unconscious
[D-JAX]
Thomas Heckmann the man behind the Drax series delivers another slice of competant mid-pace techno with burbling electro rythms and subtle use of the 303. It could be that Realms , the title track is a touch overlong but this works to pace out the more intense moments. On the flipside Stahlherz uses bodily arresting rhythms fractured by a controlled metallic noise that makes the response to this track more physical than the psychic drift quality of Realms. FM

MAURIZIO: Radiance
[Basic Channel]
Repitition changes nothing in the object repeated, but does change something in the mind which contemplates it. That said, whilst this EP has the aura of being “Out” and progressive it is very reminiscent of the avant-garde/industrial scribblings of the mid 80s. Good to mellow out to but lacking any kinetic effect. FM

SPEEDJACK: CTC [R&S]
Insistent beats verging on the hard-house, duelling basslines and wave bursts of distorting harmonics….in Worldline we have one of the best tracks of the year so far…inspiring and energising. FM

CARL CRAIG: Lite Music Sound on Sound
(Both R&S)
There has been a glut of Carl Craig tracks released (or re-released) this year with most of them being of high quality. As the majors continue to trawl for talent to make mediocre you have to feel that, despite his prolific output, Craig would not be an attractive proposition for the majors. His music is hard to pin down and goes off in all kinds of directions – not the homogeneity of style that’s attractive to the music industry. From the club orientated house tracks of the latest Paperclip People single Throw that launched the Ministry of Sound’s new label to the leftfield repitition tracks best seen on the 69 EP Sound on Sound re-released through R&S. Whatsmore, Craig is a dab hand in the re-working of break-beats to the extent that he has been championed by the jazz-hip/hop magazine Straight no Chaser and the ambient techno crowd have long hailed him as an innovator of that scene. Everyone wants a slice. A review in the Wire from last year compared his approach to techno with the subtle subversion that Theolonius Monk brought to the jazz standard. In the face of whatever prevailing definition is alloyed to his music, Craig’s sounds are those of re-wired machines and new life worked out of old equipment …the resistance to pigeon-holing is completed by the eccentric mixing. Of the recent releases Lite Music best epitomises the independence of direction (and hence experimentation) that Carl Craig is pursuing…mind food for the floor. FM

Objects d’Art
(New Electronica)
A 4-packer (yes 4) of Detroit style mellow techno with tracks by the likes of Carl Craig, Kirk DeGiorgio and Black Dog you know what to expect – excellently engineered tracks all complex but never over the top. A great listening album (yes, listening!), guaranteed to keep New Electronica on all techno purists lips. SENTINEL

Morph:
Stormwatch
(New Electronica)
If you do not know already, then Morph is actually Damon Wild of EX fame. Exactly what you’d expect if you know his style. All simplistic acid workouts, but different speeds and styles. Not a duff track on it, but favorites are Stormwatch and Juggernaut. SENTINEL

F**K Off Harry
(Radioactive Lamb, RAL 011)
Hmmm… A good quality British release on a slightly more banging tip. Though most tracks (5 out of 6) sound samey, the one entitled Shoot is something else! A metallic high pitched aural assault only broken up by the sample “Stop, or I’ll shoot!” This is unrelentless for about 5 minutes. An intense one which makes up for the standard banging of the rest of the EP. SENTINEL

Konstructivists vs. toxic frequency
(sold) out
(Jara)
Industrial music veterans Konstructivists team up with Toxic Frequency for a slice of fresh hard techno on this 7″ on coloured blue vinyl & it’s limited to 54 copies, so good luck finding it. It’s certainly worth tracking down – hopefully it will reemerge on some other release: metallic rhythms & good noises… also watch out for new Toxic Frequency stuff! CF

The Dentist from Boscaland
(Bosc-7)
Wait! Before you skip this review because of the dodgy commercial rave ethics of Boscaland recordings, this one kind of readdresses the techno balance. Only really 1 dodgy track of the 4 tracker, the rest generally good hard techno. though fave has to be the one starting with the John Peel sample for pure speed and hardest track. SENTINEL

Edge 13
Stomping 180 bpm-ish mad acid party tune called Millennium uses the 303, whistle and mentasm sounds in a way that totally does it for me. 3 more conventional tunes on flip side. DEVIANT

Cellblock X
Secrets of Nutrition
(Hardstuff 11)
Cellblock X has been producin
g quality dirty acid for a long
time now – I’ve never heard anything by them I didn’t like and this EP is no exception. $ good dirty acid trax; unusual for Hardstuff. DEVIANT

In a separate box the SuperSpecial label from PCP was briefly introduced:

super special corp.
One of our favorite labels, SS, has reached its 15th release and will take a break. As a part of Planet Core Productions, SS stands for uncompromising industrial experimental hardcore noise. The first 2 releases from the time when a hard track used to be called ‘Brett’ in Germany (= plank, but referring to the racket you can make with it) via the atmospheric experimentation on Planet Phuture, the Alliance with Brooklyns Industrial Strength (Amiga Trax, Disintegrator and Fucking Hostile), to the already classic Distortion Bastards and Tumor releases, to more recent Gabber-hits, and finally the breakcore-noise assault of the last 2, SS always developed, never stood still, and always managed to excite with new ways of sonic terrorism.

SS 1 The Mob Rules 92
SS 2 Turbulence Whurlstorm
SS 3 Planet Phuture
SS 4 Amiga Trax 1st Assault
SS 5 Disintegrator Lock on Target
SS 6 Bullet Proofed Split EP Distortion Bastards / Gunmen
SS 7 Tumor Tumult
SS 8 Cold Blooded Split EP Concrete Pain / Invaders
SS 9 Fucking Hostile
SS 10 Dr. Müller Nipples and Bass
SS 11 Turbulence
SS 12 Boom Terrorism Habesch
SS 13 Turbulence’n’Terrorists Six Million Ways to Die / Interzone
SS 14 A Limited Edition of Unlimited Hardcore
SS 15 Disasta Blasta Risk 1 / Befehl

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