Dough boy probably told you i don’t carry any Saturday Night Specials or crap like that. It’s all outa State, clean, brand new, top-of-the-line stuff…
Andy the Dealer: Taxis Driver

Whilst those of us in the UK were being deluded by the rise of ‘intelligent techno’, a pocket of resistance arose in the Hague through the activities of the Acid Planet parties and the Bunker label: Unit Moebius, Interr-ference, Rude 66, Sulphur Surfer… Strange,anonymous, off-centre records with the bare minimum of information seeped through the customs barriers to taunt us with their fresh takes on acid and electro-funk. Tracks that crossed other boundaries: That drew us to a psychologically damaging repetitive minimalism, towards dirty timbre and anti-production. A ‘music’ that was fucked off with the establishment and its spurious opposition, that was so idiosyncratic that it couldn’t possibly by championed by a media too concerned with following bogus trends. Indeed, the way most of these tracks seem to draw you to the sounds in the background was an indication of their horror of surface effect. Four years down the line the ‘Hague scene’ has maintained its autonomous momentum: Various transmuting parties, video releases, one-off labels and link-ups. All of it out of sync. What follows is our reviews of recent releases that come up from the sewer:

The Brown Elbow Conspiracy
[Viewlexx 12.3]
Another outing for Interr-ference that follows along in the groove and tenor of his previous Murder Capital release. This is music for cruising cities at night with spaces enough for light to refract and slowly blur. Drags and sweeps… Camera angles. One side has two tracks. The opener here is perverse, twisted melodics in an up-beat John Carpenter movie vein: Moody and spacious with added fragile funk. Next up is an unashamedly tormenting piece of mind burrowing repetition that drill into the subconscious. The flip side of three tracks opens with perhaps the strongest track: Mid-paced electro-nix of duelling basslines, threading cymbals, a fuzzy vocoder intoning a barely recognisable “minimal fuck”, and an off-centre syncopation… All accented by a slight distortion. The middle track is vaguely Drexciyan: steady percussion and an addictive bass pulse provide the undertow to a series of sinister shifting loops. The EP is finished of by a classic piece of understated funk: reverbed kick drum and a rearticulated ‘classic’ seventies sliding bassline is topped by an excentric, almost ironic tune. Why Brown Elbow? Check Skreem 17.

[Bunker 29]
First off this is a much louder pressing than usual for Bunker and features the relatively new Ra-X project. This six tracker opens with hard, distorting industrial electro: Car alarm whistling fires off, found electronic noises meld to pushed hi hats which sear into you in a way that is reminiscent of the frequency experiments of Praxis and Somatic Responses. Vicious fucked off funk. Next up is vintage Hague: Bouncing distorted bass kick, clanging electro cowbell, ripping cymbals and random reverb squelches. Third track here opens with hiked up AM radio signal distortion that continues on into the track to wreak havoc around neo-acid bleeps before it returns to force a change of track direction. Ra-X then toys with a verse/chorus motif with the changes between the two getting quicker. The flip side continues the standard with a short, manic dancefloor shredder which sets us up nicely for a long moody track of distorting sweeps that carry a faint trace of micro-melody cum feedback; the momentum is added here by rhythm flurries. There’s not a clean sound to be heard here and the whole EP shows Ra-X to be operating in some kind of ‘punk’ electro space; fucking his equipment to the point where it rips into the tracks. An iconoclastic challenge to the normopaths.

Preview Cassette
[Acid Planet 20]
A 90-minute cassette-sampler of unreleased Hague tracks… so prolific is their output that they no longer who’s made what… no track listing, no bullshit… which makes listening to it that m,uch more of a surprise. There’s a whole range of styles, sounds and composition techniques on offer, funky vibrancy; melody twists; para-political ambience; a track reminiscent of the early fucked up Cabaret Voltaire of Secret Agent Man; there’s bass hums and craze-inducing tracks of contrapunctual rhythms and shifting scenery; manic electro with high frequency oscillation… To describe them all is temting but futile. What we have here is a ‘music’ that is its own genre: Post media operations.

Spy Satellite
[View-lexx 12.4]
This trans-european excursion from View-lexx sees a link up on side a with Austria. Ilsa Gold weighs in with a Kraftwerk parody (‘sung’ in German) and DJ Pure lays down a track in a ‘Hague’ vein: Anticipation and delay – a steady backbeat, constant background motif, high pitched tinitus tone and a slow encroaching rough-edged bassline, slowly built over a measured pace and just as you’re losing attention (or going ‘somewhere else’) one or another sound veers off almost indiscernedly to seep across the foreground. Side b kicks off with a collaborative track from a-F and imp that injects a movement into its toying with a kind of mid-eighties synth-pop or a Carpenter-esque type Moog-mood and ends with a contribution from Planet Rome’s Passerani 2009 – a faster than usual neo-electro cut that adds pumping adrenalin to the EP.

Space Toilet
[disko B]
Following the Unit Moebius and i-F releases on Disko B comes this 5-tracker. Very much in the Unit Moebius vein of detailed, shifting minimalism somewhere between what used to be called ‘ambient’ and ‘techno’; yet neither of these. Most of the tracks are quite low key, ‘clean’ and controlled compared to, say, the Ra-X release. But there are indicative of the way that composition can come to the for when you’re not really making tracks either for the dancefloor or to communicate an aggressive, overtly oppositional effect. In this way Plasma is a strong track with its precise, subliminally funky bass-notes and sound ricochets, as is the overall trio-basseffect of the excellently titled Womb Funk. The aspect of regret around this EP is that it will probably only meet with a limited response in the UK.

GROOVE-NOTATION undermine the guarantees of consciousness

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