Datacide 19Record Reviews

Datacide 19 Record Reviews by Christoph Fringeli

Cover design of the GRMMSK album Reality Asylum

GRMMSK: Reality Asylum

– joint release by
Sozialistischer Plattenbau, Minor, False Move, Totes Format,
Hafenschlamm, Canopy Weekends, various catalogue numbers

Although he had published several cassette releases before, it was chiefly through his January 2015 release One World – Nowhere to Hide that GRMMSK appeared on the scene, or at least on our radar. He was immediately invited to play at a Datacide fundraiser in March at the Subversiv and presented his slowed down industrial dub soundscapes there alongside Ari Nev & Aekre, Electric Kettle, H-Kon, Lynx, Saxenhammer, Vojeet, Zombieflesheater, with Sansculotte on the projections which were hard to see because the fog was so thick.

Reality Asylum is the (vinyl) follow up album to One World and was released by a whole group of labels in 2018. Self description: “Another 30min of condensed DoomDub-Versions. All of the tunes have been deranged and recorded at METSÄÄN STUDIO in midst of the Finnish forest in 2017. they summon urban dread and voice the desire to escape the grinding concrete molars of babylon towards an utopic ZONE that provides freedom for all. We came a long way, but are still far away.” Perhaps lacking a bit of the sharpness of the previous album and replacing it with even more psychedelic slowness, it is nevertheless certainly worth picking up, and I don’t really understand why not more people have already done so. Maybe because it doesn’t fit any drawers easily – which is a good thing in our opinion!

V/A: La Testa del Re [Stirpe999-14]

The Stirpe999 label is run by Fire At Work and first came to the attention of the public with the release of the first vinyl in 2006 by himself, titled ZeroZero. 15 years on we have a 12” compilation with Fire At Work, Pure, Oreinoi, Inner8, and Vchutemas. Fire At Work opens with an industrial techno loop driven beatscape, then Pure takes over with some more heavy half tempo 909 worship. On the other side the tracks range from minimal distorted noise to more rhythmic teknoid adventures. Both sides are cut in a way where you can’t see where one track ends and the other begins, which appears to be purposefully DJ-unfriendly.

The title “The King’s Head” relates to “an archetype of power and control, a symbol of the order you want to behead”, as the label info states, interrogating “the sound language in a radical way exploiting it to interpret the alienation of the post-human condition.” Merging together tracks at least hinting at a doomstep kind of dancefloor and experimental noises. Good to see another installment in the series and hence the saga of the sound of Rome, albeit run from Berlin these days.

Gwakaï: Anarchronik [Gwakaï 02 (1998)/ Toolbox Killerz 28 (2017)]

Anachronik by Gwakaï was a homage to Anarchism coming out of the French hardcore/free scene in 1998. Four tracks using the name of anarchist writers and activists as their titles: Kropotkine, Makhno, Voline, Durutti.

Musically emerging from the hard edge of the underground party scene, they were self-released by the musical project which operated under the same name as the label. No distinction between artist and label. Gwakaï was active between 1997 and 2002 and had a trade mark hardcore sound with occasional breaks and a free party sensibility they shared with some other projects in France at the time, such as Explore Toi with who they also collaborated.

In 2017 Toolbox re-released the first two (of a total of six releases on the label) Gwakaï records in their Toolbox Killerz series. Although already sold out, the second one in particular is worth pointing to as an example radical politics and hardcore techno overlapping, especially since for some reason it wasn’t reviewed in datacide when it first came out (although we were aware of it and even distributed it at the time; Gwakaï 01 was mentioned in datacide three). Toolbox Killerz in general is a series by the Paris based distributor and driving force behind many labels that is dedicated to rereleases or in some cases first releases of older material.

Most of the material is from the wider hard tek scene of the ‘90s, which includes some releases by French producers such as Popof, Noisebuilder and Ultramars, and some British ones (at least some of who had their base in France at the time) such as Crystal Distortion, Teknical Sinner, Jeff Amadeus and A.Simetric.

The DJ Producer : Doomsday Expanded Redux [Rebelscum, SCUM LP 001, 2020]

The DJ Producer’s label Rebelscum, distributed by Underground Music, was mainly active between 1999 and 2013 and after 33 releases appeared to be joining the long list of defunct labels thereafter. Now they are back with a big triple pack – a expanded rework of the 2004 Doomsday Mechaniks album. Packaged as a triple 12” with a different colour of vinyl on each record (transparent, green and blue), this comes with various tracks for the first time on vinyl or, as is the case with the more ambient noise pieces which were omitted from the 2004 release, for the first time at all.

This makes a nice varied collection of tracks with more forays into breaks and ambient territory and a bit less of the hardcore that dominated the original release (and most Rebelscum releases for that matter). It even features a remix by the late Mark Bell (LFO) which was apparently done in retaliation for Producer sampling some LFO bleeps (and probably not origially meant for publication – but now it’s on vinyl for your enjoyment). Not meant to be a postscript to Rebelscum, but a reboot – curious to see what’s next.

Scorn: Feather [Ohm Resistance 51M Ohm, 2019]

Mick Harris again under his Scorn moniker, with an EP of three mixes of the track Feather and one track called Whatever is Touched Turns. All are bass heavy and very spacial dubby tracks, in a way searching to push the boundaries at the very other end of the speed spektrum from where he started at as the drummer for the first incarnation of Napalm Death. Cover image by SHVLFCE. Vinyl limited to 300 copies which seem to have sold out pretty quickly, to be followed up with more Scorn material on the Ohm Resistance label.

HFK: La Vrille [Décérebration Tactique, DTR 4/8]

HFK has been around for more than a decade (witnessed by an obscure CDR release from 2011), but it wasn’t until his first vinyl releases on Acid Night and Rouge de Colère that we started noticing (both were reviewed in datacide seventeen). The latest on Décérebration Tactique follows in the mode of hardcore with an experimental speedcore edge on four tracks. The production has perhaps become a notch slicker, but it’s still sounding good.

KK Null/Dot Product : 404 Not Found EP [Jezgro006]

Jezgro returns in 2021 with a collaboration of Japanese noise veteran KK Null with Dot Product on four tracks. Dot Product is a duo featuring Chris Jarman, also known as Raiden for harder drum’n’bass in the early 2000s and as Kamikaze Space Programme, and Adam Winchester. The first side is opening up with an deep cinematic ambient piece by Dot Product, followed by a multidimensional track by KK Null, starting with industrial stabs and eventually sliding into a breakcore adventure. The other side shows both (or all three, as Dot Product is a duo) artists team up for some great industrial broken beats. Good one.

V/A : Inner City Fear [Sozialistischer Plattenbau SPB12043, Stoopid Plastics SP04]

Inner City Fear was the title of a 12” by Istari Lasterfahrer released in 2002 on Complication #27 – in fact, if I’m not mistaken, it was his first ever 12” release after a few 7”s and one 10” on his own Sozialistischer Plattenbau. The record features six pleasantly simple tracker-produced ravey jungly breakcorey tunes, some as old as from 1996. Now, 20 years after the original release, we are served a remix platter of one of the title track in the design of the Dubcore Series on SPB and as a co-release with the Stoopid Plastics (aka Complication #27) label, as part of a Special Request #1 Rewind Series. The original track gets a mastering makeover by Istari himself, then Terrorrythmus provides a cut-up remake. On the other side ravemaster FFF combines happy hardcore elements with junglecore breaks, and We Rob Rave gives a slightly more dubby rendition to finish off the record.

R-Zac: Trailer Trax [PRSPCT271, 2022]

A bit of a surprise release on PRSPCT, this is a double 12” compilation of early Spiral Tribe affiliated releases originally recorded in 1993 in Berlin after the Spirals had left Britain following the Castlemorton festival and the ensuing clampdown. It was then possible to squat in Berlin even in very central areas, as was the case with the Spirals and the Mutoid Waste Company, who took up residence at Potsdamer Platz. All the tracks have been previously released, one on the Network 23 EP on Rabbit City, two on the first Stormcore record, one on Expect the Unexpected on the Network23 label, and finally the whole of the Berlin 93 EP is here.

The latter is featured in its entirety here, presumably because – unlike the others – it hadn’t been rereleased yet. In contrast to the other tracks the Berlin 1993 EP came out post festum in 2005 for the first time. It’s also the only record which was at the time of its release credited to R-Zac; the Rabbit City record had been credited to SP23, while the other two appeared simply under the names Stormcore and Expect the Unexpected, with no artist clearly indicated, even though the authorship was not a secret in the scene.

For me this artist/authorship issue is an interesting detail – there’s a bit of revisionism going on here. After all these tracks were all produced years before the artists used the R-Zac moniker (something similar is happening with some of the Acardipane re-releases). All these tracks were written and the records appeared in a wild moment of a creative surge.

Simon Carter and Sebastian Vaughan, also well known for their solo projects Crystal Distortion and 69db respectively, had already made music together as “The Spiral Tribe Liveset”. Trailer Trax shows them at a pivotal moment, away from the UK, in the hardcore hub Berlin, and on the way to Czech and then France where they aided the Teknival movement, refining their mutating sound. You could perhaps argue that this or that other track would have deserved to be featured here, but overall this is a nice compilation of the specific historical situation of a specific group of people, which is also elucidated in the liner notes.

Taciturne : Kleasure to Pill [Synderesis 007] Exogyne [Synderesis 008]

Taciturne owes his legendary status in some underground hardcore circles mainly to his early releases on Fischkopf and successor label Blut, and for those who followed his projects more closely, also for obscure CDR releases in the Old Bullschitt Series and elsewhere, not to mention the even more obscure activities in the hazy context of the Gigabrother website. After temporarily killing off the Taciturne project (by “suicide”), Jörg Buchholz went into the rabbit hole of dark ambient and black metal, via the (T)Reue um (T)Reue outlets, but eventually resurfaced on the hardcore horizon with remastered re-releases of the old Taciturne records on the newly formed Synderesis label.

Added to those were also some classic Mouse and No Name records from the Fischkopf/ Anticore days (which, dear reader, you should absolutely pick up if you can find them). Kleasure to Pill is a compilation of 90s material made during or around the sessions that produced the two Fischkopf releases, Potpourri and 6 Fragmente in der Chronologie des Wahnsinns, soon followed up by another volume titled Exogyne of ‘our odyssey through Taciturne’s Old Bullschitt classics’, presenting more mid-90s “thrash-speed-amigacore” from the same era. As the label claims: ‘14 testimonies that the 90s rocked, now for the first time on vinyl’.

The packaging of the latter companion piece shows a détournement of the cover for Jean Michel Jarre’s Oxygène (with inspiration credits going to Michel Granger) and an Amiga computer ad on the back side adorned with many label logos and references, providing context… Both should be picked up by the fans of the old Fischkopf records and the wider Amigacore appreciation circles without hesitation.

C Mantle: Anatomically Correct [Acre Recordings ACRELP10]

C Mantle has been around for a while, co-running Acre Recordings and releasing quite a few digital released on that label and elsewhere since around 2010. Before that there was even a split EP on vinyl with Skeetaz on the other side, but it’s been mostly digital stuff – until there were two notable releases on Cathartic Noize Experience and Underground Perversions in 2018 and 2020 respectively, which were more geared towards the speedcore audience and contained some excellent tracks.

Back on Acre, C Mantle returns to a heterogeneous mix of slower beats, abstract electonica and some kind of industrial electro, on double vinyl and all in a deluxe gatefold packaging, plus a printed insert. In my opinion the tracks get better throughout the album as they get darker and a bit heavier. The vinyl edition is limited to just 100 copies and can be expected to be sold out by the time this issue of datacide hits the streets, but you never know these days, you might still be able to pick one up somewhere…

C Mantle : All Colours Are Beautiful [Cathartic Noize Experience, X-013]

Availability issues might be even worse with this 2018 release on Cathartic Noize Experience, also limited to just 100 copies. Here Mantle is providing 5 relentless tracks of the psychedelic morphic speedcore variety – still with a very sharp edge here – favoured by the label. Let’s hope there will be more soon!

Christoph Fringeli

SUPPORT DATACIDE – ORDER A COPY, TAKE OUT A SUBSCRIPTION OR MAKE A DONATION – You can do all this through the form on the right of this web page (on mobile devices scroll down), or by clicking HERE for more information and payment options. THANKS!

Related Posts

  • Datacide 19 Record Reviews by NemetonRecord reviews by Nemeton from Datacide 19 feature new releases by Minion, Pansophia, Maria W Horn & Mats Erlandsson, Katran, Kindohm, Otto von Schirach & Qebrus, and Anodyne.
  • Datacide 19 Record Reviews by Low EntropyRecord reviews by Low Entropy from Datacide 19, feat. EPs and albums by Patric Catani, Taciturne, Murmuur, Miro, Marc Acardipane, and Umwelt.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.