all record reviews published in spring 2006
THE GAS CHAIR
by Crawling Chaos
Factory Benelux 6 -1982/Boutique 001 -2003
“Opening up a new genre of heavy modern. Three short haired awkward types from Tyneside who are a cross between Status Quo and Orchesteral Manoeuvers.”
Factory Newsletter No.2, 1980
This LP was untimely and to a certain degree still is. It’s a timeslip now and is not so much a ‘new genre’ as pre-post modern. Where else can you hear ‘folk’ and ‘prog’ and ‘punky synth pop’ and ‘industrial’ and ‘au naturel’ acoustic chords all in one place? Whilst CC are not as ‘eventful’ a signpost in the end of rock as, say, Curtis’s turning away from the stage (seen in material-reality via video when IC turns back to the drummer after Candidate with a look of exhaustion and self-disgust on his face and in his wobbling body), what we have here with the Gas Chair is something so serious and mocking that listening 20 years later we can still reel feel that former disorientation that could be gotten from spending 40p on this in record shop graveyards.
Serious: well produced, well mixed, artisanal electro-acoustic sounds.
And mocking: deliberately shit, off-the-cuff lyrics “I send away for anything free/coffee doesn’t interest me” … a kind of ‘theatrical’ singing at times (when you can hear it)…
“Inside a ghastly cover lurks a shambles of studio piss-abouts, half-witted jamming and sundry other grostesqueries camouflaged as daring weirdness”
Richard Cook, NME
The sui generis eclecticism of CC is ‘daring weirdness’ and they pull-off whatever style it is that they are ‘mimicking’. This is what makes it so problematic for someone like an NME journalist: there is no one style to totemise; the mimesis is like a ‘second order discourse’ – the tracks are kind of like made up of ‘quotes’. There is thus something too heterogenous, risky, pretentious about them: they attempt, from a punk non-music-expert position, to create a music of the totality i.e. unbounded, non generic, fully social vinyl. Scissiparous. But, of course, the flipside to all this is that, in a weird way, CC take the piss out of music (as an industry?). Their (they’re) non-standardisation, aligned to an annoying rendition of the recognisable, their love of sound as noise (end of macabre royale, amp overload in Berlin etc) is both heard-large across all the tracks and in single tracks (left hand path has an industrial intro and outro – the ‘song’ in the middle [witness large bass notes backing acoustic guitar strum] is twice unexpected!). Where are they ? Doing a kitchen country and western number called Canadian Pacific! Crawling Chaos = Electro Ludds.
Joe Gibbs Allstars:
No Bones For The Dog
Crucial 70s double dub pack collecting what’s probably a fraction of versions and B-sidings from the prolific multi-label Gibbs operation. What’s provocative here is the attention to detail that revitalises standard rhythms that never quite remind the same and, of course, that constant desire to fuck about in the studio without elektronische formalism. Here, then, is the presence of Errol ‘ET’ Thompson – the studio enigineer-electrician to Joe Gibbs’s impresario: The Mighty Two. It’s ET’s hot pliering that leads from concrete sounds to minute long snare echoes as well as, on what are mistakenly called ‘novelty’ tracks, siphoning entire tracks through overloading phaser. On Baldhead Bridge the tone of synth blips punctuates the militant rhythms as Culture celebrate London Bridge burning down – a direct feed into Handsworth’s insurrections? On Earthquake, praised for its low key guitar work, the bass warbles with a muddy low-end that’s more post than proto electronica. The Mighty Two brought us the much admired and resissued African Dub series and this collection too has that sense of being a long enduring set of ‘messianic’ living culture: timeslips via affective technology and an earful attitude.
A kind of follow-through from the ‘Don’t Call Us Immigrants’ collection of UK based reggae this collection features the work of the only reggae producer/musician to have a sleeve designed by Peter Saville (the X-O-DUS release on Factory). Dennis Bovell, a stalwart producer and inspiration in the post-punk multi crossovers of Pop Group and Slits productions, gets some of his old tunes and rhythms seanced in to us courtesy of some Pressure Sounds research. As a militant in the sound system movement (a much undervalued form of political organisation) Bovell served his time after the Suffers Hi-Fi bust in Cricklewood in 1976 and some of that attitudinous venom is articulated here in a violence done to sound – music becomes background to persisting, compulsive echo (cf Dominion Dub). Bovell, as it says on the sleeve notes,was not averse to introducing a bit of ‘fuzz guitar’ and it’s this attitude of not remaining in the thrall of the mother country canon that adds a unique twist to the tracks collected here. Ok, one or two choices are mellow, but with tracks catalysed by titles referring to the black working class (cf Grunwick Affair) and with a bass-players attention to how to make those bass notes hollow out the plexus of the ear, Bovell deserves some recognition as another of those producers who’s sensitivity to sound’s force changed things for listeners. Ah Fi Wi Dis.
Spectre feat. Sensational: Parts Unknown
There’s something compelling about the way Spectre (aka Ill Saint aka Slotek) compounds a track out of one or two samples and lets it play out without too much fuss but with a leady dose of baroque horror attitude. The tracks he could make seem as endless as the tracks here, but whats’s not so anti production-line is the timing of the collision of the parts. So, it’s like there’s this definite seamstress aspect: what forms the track is as bare as if you were just hearing a demo of samples, but just one juxtaposition can cause a mute explosion. This is a use of samples that has an alchemists fondness for the sound that has been captured that makes the track an athanor (the ethereal as object). You then, every so often, get Sensational to skrip on with the grain of his voice and the rambling turns into a tumbling and you fall through from trip-hop to drop-off. But maybe I just like the titles and am running with them: Skrippin, The Bassick, Power Cipher Sniper…..
Various: New York Noise 1978-1982 (Soul Jazz)
The use of the word ‘noise’ in the title of this sampler of new york post-punk (or punk-funk or no wave or neow rofyunck..) says more about Soul Jazz than it does about the tracks collected here: gifted at popularising the forgotten mobs of music but never quite daring enough in their selection, this label secures its ‘cool prof’ status (and its collective ego) at the expense of helping to transform the culture. Perhaps this means that there’s a faint whiff of nostalgia around their collections, one that comes from their very Soul-Boy distrust of the future-anterior of the avant-garde, wherefrom ciphers of radicality are wielded as signs of hipness (cf their post-punk collection In The Beginning There Was Rhythm which comes dangerously close to being the vinyl equivalent of a Situationist T-shirt). That said the tracks here make, as ever with their compliations, compelling listening. The Mars track (the nearest we get to ‘noise’) is frantic; Liquid Liquid and Konk provide the funk, Material provide the ‘industrial’ edge and Rammelezee vs K Robb provide a pointer to the fledgling hip-hop breakthrough of school hall cut and jam sessions. The all women bands of Bush Tetras (meekly chosen because Topper Headen produced it into flatness?), ESG (can’t fail with their minimal combo-funk) ) and The Bloods (stars of the classic post-media film Born In Flames) do add a political dynamic, but, as ever with these compilations, we want to hear the off-cuts not the canon-fodder.
THE REVEREND REVIEWS 4/07/03:
No More Games EP DJ Hazard Tru Playaz 45; Original Foundation EP by DJ Hype + Listen/Chalice by Pascal/Monty Ganja Records RPG 01 + 02
DJ Hazard belts out some heavyweight tunage! No More Games itself weighing in heaviest of all I think. Hype’s EP keeps the fires burning for all the junglists. More proper basslines and Hazard blazes an awesome remix of Mash Up The Place. Absolutely tearing!! Pascal and Monty’s twelve also maintains a bubbling vibe. Play loud.
Evil Streets/? Capital J Mix n Blen Records 23
Canadian producer samples extensively from US news at the time of the Twin Towers attack. ‘There’s no place like New York…’ drops into pummelling bass pressure and crash-heavy break. ‘As we move through these evil streets!’ Not massively original but it certainly rocks.
Transformers Autobots EP Mampi Swift Charge 20
The first tune, Transformer, is some sort of Georgio Moroder tune for drum n bass heads. Play Me(feat. Fresh BC) comes with a didgeridoo intro and then a loopy rave riff. The Battle features the Transformers sample: ‘It is the year two thousand five, the treacherous Decepticons have conquered the Autobot’s home planet of Cybotron. But on two of Cybotron’s moons the dying Autobots prepare to retake their homeland.’ Acid and breaks feast ensues, even some 4/4 bass drum in there. Swift is always worth checking because he has an original style and as he said himself ‘I don’t make music for people to chill out to’.
utbreak Ltd 10; Muppet Show/Juggernaut DJ Ink Outbreak 22
A mean and nasty piece from Cruel Intentions; precise but not nice. A-side is angry and remains so for six and a half minutes. B-side goes for the jugular in a similar vein. This stuff is put together well with fearsome beats and steady menacing bass lines. Muppet Show is a brilliant show of force from DJ Ink. Every time. That title reminds me of some parties I’ve been to.
The Legend/Quad Tech Itch/Dylan/Trace Tech Itch Recordings
The Legend is by Tech Itch and Dylan. It is a hardcore track. The beats rage against a backdrop of high pressure acid bleepings. The pressure is maintained. It continues to build. A ferocious track. Quad (by Tech Itch and Trace) is more of a journey into the shadows.
Dead or Alive/File 101 The Rhythm Beater Cutterz Choice 01
A new label in South London, Cutterz Choice. File 101 is a lively stepping tune with a little bit of a Michael Caine guitar in there. Gunshots, guitars, creaking doors and an overall Dr Who spookery. Dead or Alive samples George Bush encouraging the American people to attack one of Cybotron’s moons.
Cyanide – Swinging Scissors – Index 04
Electro-concréte: crackles of interference, sideways grooves, tibetan-bowl drones, digital bass, manipulated breaks, panned electronic bells, acid suggestions. Index 04 carries over and develops the post-electro sound begun on Index 01.
Wasteland – Amen Fire – Transparent 02
New project from DJ Scud and I-Sound which takes on an altogether deeper shade. The six tracks are almost melody free, but rather than the abrasive ambush style breakcore, mix slow well produced hip-hop and dub beats with a more restrained approach to noise. The absent searing white noise is replaced with modulated metallic feedback, what sounds like radio interference, tampered with found sound and other harsh audio oddities. The combination works well. Scud seems to fill in what was always lacking in previous I-Sound productions, fattening up the overall sound with reverbed kicks and snares that slice through the mid-range.
Noize Creator – In memory of – Active Underground 05
Two long tracks that follow on from NC’s recent Ambush release. NC concentrates on hardened up fast breaks, intricately twisted and stretched around a barrage of delayed noise, dislocated voices and dark synths. Very playable: check.
Noize Creator/Geroyche – Sti 15.7
Split 7” featuring a beefed up Capelton rework from Geroyche, and a broken beat track which samples Doug Lazy’s ‘let the rhythm pump’ vocal. Geroyche toughens up ‘Galang Galang’ with some fierce overdriven kicks and snippets of breaks, lifting the original rhythm to a new level, while Noize Creator kills it with a wicked heavy party cut. Smashing broken beats are moulded with rhythmic noise, sub-base bombs, reversed breaks and of course Doug Lazy just to remind you what to do. But we have to complain about the press (again), which makes the Geroyche side unplayable: too quiet; no excuse now.
The Bug Vs The Rootsman Ft The Mexican – WWW – Razor-X 02
The Bug VsThe Rootsman Ft Wayne Lonesome – Slew Dem – Razor-X 03
Two further instalments attempting to make the dance a more dangerous place. Neither reaches the wicked sound we saw on ‘Killer’, but still stays rougher (and better for it) than the Bug’s recent album on Rephlex. Tough dancehall rhythms are overlaid with aggressive vocals and backed with versions on the flip. Cool to mix half speed with jungle, but not as bass ridden as they should be.
The Bug Ft Cutty Ranks – Gun Disease – Rephlex
This is more like it. The Bug tightens up and using the vocal talents of Cutty Ranks creates the best Rephlex record we’ve heard for a few years. Cutty reworks an old vocal: ‘Gunman lyrics’ and the Bug provides a wicked heavy dancehall style rhythm for it to ride, this time including the bass we’ve been after.
Slacknote, Kid Kryptic, DJ Hidden – Fear 03
Double Pack of 4 long D n B tracks, 3 of which are unfortunately lame efforts; head straight for the DJ Hidden cut. An incredible slice of heavy techstep which smashes the dance. Takes a while to build and creates a dark atmosphere as it does, eventually dropping into a reece-esque distorted bass and excellent heavy breaks.
Bong-Ra – Darkbreaks – RRR06
3 tracks of rave infused breakcore and 1 longer slower reece fuelled, dark jazz cut. Killer track comes as a smash up of the Whitey Don’s roots reggae classic: ‘Murderer’ (called Vampire Youth here). Heavily sampling Whitey Don, Bong-Ra steps it into more of a dancehall mix before killing it with amen pressure and rave snippets. Quite a short track and difficult to mix, but an excellent hybrid that wrecks the floor.
Dillinja – Live or Die – Valve007
Frustrating and at the same time smashing mix from Dillinja. Includes fierce loud Valve bassline party pressure, but begins and descends 3/4 of the way through into the worst kind of pathetic chords. Still, if you’re quick on the mix it packs an incredible punch.
Each One Teach One (produced by Scud) – Full Watts 03
Maybe here the overall concept is more interesting than the audio outcome: taking a uk steppas influenced rhythm to new levels of intensity. A fast 4/4 reggae inspired cut (backed with a version on the flip) shrills out the snare eq sweeps, is punctuated by roots vocal snatches and forwards with an insistent bass. We await the next instalment.
The Fix – Amityville/Another Notch – L Plates Volumes
Fierce jump-up tracks from Digital’s sub-label. Both cuts are packed with energy, infusing soundclash vibes, vocal chat/fx with rough, heavy amen chops/, pummelling 808 subs and rave elements. Not overproduced, the overall sound is pleasingly rough round the edges.
Abdullah K/Society Suckers split – Amex 02
This is well worth picking up for the super loud recut of Trip to the boom by Abdullah K aka Bogdan Raczynski. Previously hidden away on the back end of his Rephlex release 96 Drum n Bass Classixxx, it was the hardest of a badly cut selection of mostly mediocre jungle ‘ardcore interpretations. Practical dancefloor business: hard hitting, stepping reverbed kicks and bass pressure functioning in dark atmospheres.
Bombadier SYN Remixes – Low Res 17
Four remixes by four different artists of a track that originally appeared on Low Res 03. Head straight to the massive Eye-D mix: Phat distorted industrial stepping kicks and tweaked filtered snares roll over the original heavy synth line which has been given the twisted reese treatment to great effect. This record also sees the reemergence of Christoph de Babalon who turns in a slowed down rave breaks mix, Cdatakill making a mess and Adjust offering a broken moody take on SYN.
Technical Itch – The Ruckus (Kryptic Minds + Leon Switch) / Replicator Penetration TIP 17
The classic Ruckus gets its second remix courtesy of the DefCom label owners. The result: an absolutely dangerous reese filters down into overdriven amens with wicked switchups and massive distorted kicks; much more intense material than recent output on their own label. On the flip Technical Itch demonstrates some serious walk on bass. Low bass waves heavily attacked and ridden by insistent breaks punctuated by a ‘human form replicator2 vocal. TI sidesteps the usual breakdowns etc.
Bong Ra feat The Dirty Dred– Blood and Fire – Soothsayer 01
Blood and Fire comes as a vocal/version style 7” and as Soothsayer’s first release is, for me at least, one of Bong Ra’s most successful releases so far. The Dirty Dred’s lyrics sit nicely over a distorted kick driven dancehall riddim that gradually fires high end amens into the mix. Well structured and easily mixes with the dubwise drum and bass that’s been appearing recently.
DJ Hidden – It Begins/ The Enemy and Kid Kryptic – Malice Afterthought – Killing Sheep 01
First vinyl outing from this Australian imprint sees DJ Hidden providing the goods. After a moody intro punctuated by half speed breaks, DJ Hidden rinses out a fierce, gritty, mid-range sweeping synth line over some hectic stepping breaks. Maybe not as bass heavy as it could have been and my copy has two or three very short moments of sound loss, weird and annoying if this was intended, just annoying if not. But any deficiencies are made up for by the sheer energy this tune oozes: large!
Evol Intent/Pish Posh – 7 angels with 7 plagues – Barcode 02
Barcode was created as the more experimental offshoot of the Renegade Hardware label, and with this release both Evol Intent and Barcode have been getting a lot of attention. Evol Intent absolutely murder Pish Posh’s corrupt cops, getting the balance between technical beatfreakery and the need to retain a connection to the dance just right. Then on the flip smash through with driving distorted basses and well edited breaks. Recommended.
Nasty Habits – Shadow Boxing (Jonny L remix) 31 Records 021
Doc Scots classic doom anthem originally released in 1996 gets an update from Jonny L. The main hook is given a metallic, altogether more futuristic edge but still retains that melancholic sweep; the beats are brought up to date, fattened and speeded up. Check!
Aphasic – Yeah Yeah Yeah Whatever – Junk 01
Following the dissolution of Ambush Records, Aphasic, now based in the Netherlands decided to start Junk. On this first release Aphasic mixes up a number of styles: a dubwise amen smasher (perhaps nearest to the Ambush sound), a dancehall/hiphop/bhangra hybrid infected with disembodied noise, a four to the floor cut and a downtempo hip-hop-electro track again twisting the usual and unusual together.
Wasteland – Spirit Shots EP – Transparent 03
The second EP from Scud and I-sound’s collaborative project continues where Amen Fire left off, further subverting minimal, dubby RnB, Hip Hop and Grime riddims with waves of dubbed out shrill noise and radioactivity.
I: Gor – It’s so empty (Noize Creator Rmx)
The spice must flow… The sample taken from David Lynch’s Dune resurfaces accompanying Noize Creator’s phat broken hardcore remix of I: Gor. Punishing kicks, T99 rave snippets and plunging subs. Mixes well with harder DnB. Check!
Kryptic Minds + Leon Switch – Metaphor/Suicide Note – Freak 018
Suicide note is finally seeing the light of day after having been rinsed for the last couple of years on dub. It was originally intended as a special for Krytic Minds but Dylan pushed for a Freak release. Unfortunately it seems he waited too long. Make no mistake this is a big tune, full of the phat KM + LS vibes, huge bass and clever switch-ups, it just comes across as slightly dated compared to the more up-to-date releases around.
Limewax – Changing Crisis – Tech Itch 44
Technical Itch – Life of Sin (Limewax Rmx)/Judge – Penetration 18
Tech Itch – Haunted/Wraith – Penetration 19
Tech Itch has been a major force in the current revitalisation of the hard DnB scene. His Penetration label consistently delivering. This brutal, cold, calculating approach seems to have inspired a number of artists outside the UK to take his sound even further and harder. Limewax is one of these, still only 17 but producing some of the sickest, heaviest beats around. Cracking Core, one of the tracks on the Changing Crisis EP wouldn’t sound out of place on Sub/Version, putting to shame most of the so called breakcore sound. It contains what sounds like noise samples taken from Praxis releases, overdriven well chopped breaks and massive bass firmly directed at the hard sound party crowd. Remixing Life of Sin, Limewax smashes an offbeat affair, but doesn’t match up to Tech Itch’s brooding Judge on the flip. Wraith, side b of the current Penetration release, sees Tech Itch taking an ultra clinical approach with hard hitting snares crashing through the midrange and dry bass smouldering underneath.
Dylan & B-Key – The Whorror – Freak 012
Landmark release from Dylan + B-Key fusing Distorted 909s with fierce breaks: demonstrating that the Freak crew aren’t afraid to take it harder than the rest. Check!
Ewun – The Divide/Exile – Devil’s Chimney – Evol Intent 07
Promising, but ultimately unsatisfying tune from Exile feeling overproduced and lacking in power. US producer Ewun on the other hand demonstrates the devastating effect that can be achieved layering immense bass waves and firing 808 flares under powerful edits and switchups.
B-Key – The Test/Unleash – Freak 11
Big tunes from B-Key – epic techstepping with the most impressive cut being The Test: Twisted pads and spiralling bass bombs set off by incredibly well edited, complicated breaks. Comedycore producers take note: dark and heavy FUNCTIONING beats!
Noize Creator – Undead/Flesh – Active Underground 08
Very playable, broken, distorted stepping tracks that operate somewhere between very heavy DnB and dark breakcore. Noize Creator has been pushing this style since his release for Ambush a few years back. His recent output on Active Underground (Deep Throat/Something Bad) and Suburban Trash (Dying World), show he knows how to move the crowd and Number 8 on Active Underground is no exception: shredded amens, and harsh kicks layered with a sinister cinematic edge. This record is the first part of the trilogy of the dead.
DJ Scud – Strong Back/Heavy Duty – Sub/Version 009
Incredibly, this is Scud’s first solo 12” and there’s no breakcore here. Scud instead demonstrates the continued importance of soundsystem culture, which seems to have been largely forgotten about by a lot of breakcore producers. A perfect release for Sub/Version: fusing fierce noise infected jungle with a dubwise sensibility.
Base Force One – Dynamite and Fire – Praxis 39
Following the Expenditure of Excess Energy homage/update to the early nineties rave sound on Still Raven, CF continues to noisily subvert a bass laden stepping sound with five cuts recorded between 2000 and 2004. The older tracks have dated well, still slamming; B2 and 3 moving away into more experimental territory. A quote from George Santayana: ‘those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it’ appears on the label along with five images to accompany the tracks, one of which appears to be an Israeli city immediately after a suicide bombing. An apt reminder that many of the mistakes made at the beginning of the 20th Century are in danger of being repeated.
(Note: The picture is from Jonestown where a different suicide cult than Hamas & Co was at work, nevertheless the pictures – and some of the samples – were chosen and juxtaposed to provoke the sort of associations… although in this case it was the past – Vietnam – Guayana – Watts as well as more recent disturbances – The EP starts off with ferocious breakcore sampling an eyewitness report from the riot in Cincinnati in that year. This track was also on the Wasted festival compilation CD.
Next up is an expedition into the jungle of Guayana where kool aid, free jazz and acid are mixed into a deadly concoction, with the Rev. Jim Jones on the mic.
First on the B-side is a “dubplate” mix of “The Hate that Hate Made”. I decided to include this slightly lower-fi rough mix as the sequencer file was corrupted and I would have had to re-make the whole track. This is the oldest track on the record.
Next are 2 more experimental pieces, first a heavy grinding one with unexpected tempo change and low bass, then a more peaceful slower track, not without disturbances.
The first edition is on red vinyl and is limited to 500 copies.cf)
Bong Ra – Praying Mantis – Russian Roulette Records 07
Following Bong Ra’s slew of ragga breakcore, this comes as a somewhat pleasant surprise. His second release for Russian Roulette, following the Darkbreaks EP, is much darker and more broken. Focusing on jazz breaks, discordant atmospheres and a nod toward Hammer horror.
Bloodclaat Gangsta Youth Remixes:
Slepcy remix best tune of the year!
For those who thoroughly enjoyed the fun and ferocity of the Bloodclaat Gangsta Youth’s “Kill or Be Killed” 7″, released approximately two years ago on I Sound’s 7″ exclusive reggae-carnage label Full Watts, the long awaited
remix companion should not dissapoint. Even the trend adherent cynics who’ve posited that the breakcore genre will be asphyxiated by its own stylistic limitations will certainly acknowledge that these new renditions of Dj Scud’s brokenbeat classic ( w/ the exception of the panacea remix) are prime examples of the meiosis and diffusion of styles and elements which were previously considered transcendent of the mashup sound. The foremost of the remixes being Slepcy’s ( Polish producer known for releases on ambush & koolpop) medley of goth choirs, impossibly timed drums, and just a hint of the reggae original to assert this one as utterly unclassifiable. Never have I heard such antithetical elements woven into a cohesive tapestry so brutal yet so appealing to the ear… whether it be learned and voiced on the splinterbeat sound or lay and diminished on all things jungle-core. This is the definitive beat track of the year. Longtime Rephlex stalwart, Bogdan Racynski, has contributed a bleepy jungle chaos edit which will certainly have scenesters scratching their heads as to the alleged schism between jungle and idm communities. The remix, obviously being a bi-product of mutual admiration and of Scud’s inclusion in Rephlex live showcases, is accompanied by an LP/CD compilation of Dj Scud & friend’s best work entitled “Ambush” which was also released several months prior on the Rephlex label. This alliance and compilation is definitely a vehicle that will catapult Dj Scud and his ensemble of “under the table” partners in chaos (notably C.Fringeli of Praxis & Ambush co-owner Jason Skeet/Aphasic) into the limelight of scenes and fanbases which may have been apathetic or indifferent to the happenings of such. “Ambush” is a wonderful companion to the label inclusive “Mash the Place Up” compilation of years past which featured the works of DHR stalwarts, Shizuo & Din-S.T. who’ve gone on to record for imprints as reputable as Audio Chocolate, koolpop, Kompakt, Schematic and Tresor. The Ambush” release should also be held in comparable regard to The Bug’s Pressure LP as Rephlex’s first major marquis artist releases in sometime. It appears imminent that with the release of two Amen Andrews 12″s_ Luke Vibert’s amen obsessed jungle pseudonym_ that rephlex will supercede the limitations of the IDM stratification. Where previous releases of the AFX’s idols like Dynamix II and Robert Normandeau began … the aforementioned releases continue to diversify the rephlex catalogue and cleanse it’s name of the pretense of the idm strangle hold.
A 6-tracker from from France ca. 2000 consisting of breakcore with an ironic, lighthearted and festive touch, mixing up metal, chansons, country, comedy and porn with the messier sort of looped breaks. If you like your music serious or dark then this isn’t your cup. Friends of comedy-core that’s not too silly love it.
Human Turntable EP
The Roman electro sound has become almost entirely self-referential; not so much to Rome but to electro. In the track Turntable a voice keeps saying the word „turntable“. A music that steadfastedly refuses to use any new sounds or structure; I’m not trying to single this one out either – it’s good at what it’s trying to do: present solid fat electro beats; and yes, some Dalek samples.
Also released was Old Beats ‚n’ Fresh Sounds EP by the Prodamkey Crew (PDK001) that’s in the same mould.
Communicating at an Unknown Rate
Firm Records 03
A more electro-directed production of Din-ST, who has lately been seen on Tresor as well as Koolpop, or is this a part of the „electro-clash“ „phenomenon“ that naturally everyone in their right mind would prefer to stay well clear of? Let’s investigate:
The first track confronts us with someone who wants to be someone elses Hot Dog (?), the second track is by Whatever who did shake some Berlin dancefloors ca. 2001 with their electro pop. On record it sounds a bit more monotonous than it seemed live; while this band was banded around as new stars in Berlin for a week or two, this seems to be the only recording surviving before MC Mark vam Yetter returned to the States.
More spooky is the B1 tracks for the reason that Carl Crack, former MC of Atari Teenage Riot, and since tragically died, is doing the vocals for a Gil Scot Heron cover version here: ‚No Exit’, the projects name being Firewire. „No you can’t run away, no you can’t get away“, he sings.
Forgettable is the last track, ‚Eat a Peach’, with you guessed it, Peaches on vocals. No digital effects will make her mumbling sound seductive enough to take up the invitation.
The Demonic Charge EP
Phil Klein (Bass Junkie) is back on Audio Illusion under his Final Dream guise. Here electro is used a bit more creatively as a springboard to intensification especially on Soul Poison.
Three tracks of which the a side is a long exercise in applying his expertise mixing up electro beats with post acid synthlines, voice samples and noises.
Bomb Dogs & Krude
Cancel the Apocalypse
A perfect mix of electro, rave and drum’n’bass for what should be a massive hit on the dancefloors, again, and particularly well, demonstrating the sensibility for the party, for the sound system – everybody go : „Chewn!!!“
One of the few records these days that I easily forgive for putting a (at least if the same measuring stick is used) mediocre B-side on – even if it were good, you’d only want to hear the a-side!
Edge City Chronicles
A compilation with 6 tracks from Dead Silence, here a collaboration of SMB and Audio Illusion, featuring Bombdogs, Suspect Device, Kronos Device, Radioactive Man, Blackmassplastics and the Dexorcist. The DS crew have carved out their own style in the last couple years and spread via a number of different labels; the quality as always is high, but a hit of the stature of Cancel the Apocalypse or I Drink Your Blood is missing here.
Firmly in the mode of post-modern electro reinstigation this four-tracker is one of the strongest ones in the field. All the ingredients are there, with a touch of DSP added, and fans of the Dexorcist etc, will have to get this one. The question why electro should still be the music of the future is not answered with this. But even if it’s not, there are some fat beats and breaks on it that make it worth picking up.
Hex round up
Hex was the first label started by people around the Hekate sound system – Dan H and Redmax in this instance – and released a phenomenal first record, and there would be follow ups, but few and far between. The second release took a softer approach that somehow posed the question where the label was going to head, but since number three the course has been quite clear, even if for most indistinguishable from Coven H and New Skin 3-5.
Hex 4 marked collaborations of H with Crystal Distortion on one track, and also features a track by Ixy, Hex 5 followed in this mold, but it wan’t until Hex 6 and 7 when the label – mainly The Wirebug and new artist and sound system member Yann achieved a sharper sound and profile. Check!
Dr.Krippling’s Exceedingly Good Breaks
Dan also committed the Fak 02 to vinyl, under the ironic tirtle of Dr. Krippling’s Exceedingly Good Breaks. Typical machinic fear of deconstruction, gelling in mid tempo lighter breaks and heavier bass than usual, and occasionally dissolving into strange noises. The second track is more blubbery and at a comfortable pace, too comfortable at that and the raw energy of some earlier records is missed. On the other side you’ll find Ronin with jumpy electro breaks with acid lines and pushy bass, then fast-ish d’n’b vibes on the second track. Piece of cake!
All That Glitters
Scene Missing (02)
Second compilation from this new label from Italy, heavily influenced by the „Sound of Rome“ as well as reflecting back influences from the likes of New Skin, raw electro with buzzing atmospheres, hints of distortion, more on the mid-tempo tip. 5 tracks here, beginning with Reeks a bit over-atmospheric „Villini Sng 96“, followed by a good Dan Hekate track: „Acridynamics“. On the second side a slightly faster opener with The Priory’s „Communiqué“, followed by „Stylamin“ by Drexxel, and an „Outro“ by Fire at Work.
At least they are trying to make it easier for the reviewer, by including a little ‚synopsis’ on a piece of paper with this otherwise just white label. The longer a-side track is descibed as a „heavy metal junglistic headbanger“ which circumscribes jungle with the odd 4-4 kick. Not bad, but Full Frontal Face Fire written with Doormouse on the other side is more adventurous, more broken and mental, not metal. The third and final track, again by Anonymous, is slower breakbeat, interrupted by fast bassdrums, and with some lyrics, which are also reprinted on the insert!
Be Sure to Wear Baggy Pants and a Visor E.P.
Much better! And worth mentioning again, although a bit older than most records reviewed here. Full of trashy classics, easily memorised, rememeber the one that goes „Pussyhair on my toilet seat“ – it’s here. And the one that goes „There is only one master and his name is Satan!“. And more! 3 tracks by Doormouse, 2 tracks by Stunt Rock, and 1 each by Bombardier, 13th Hour, Abelcain, Venetian Snares, the „E.P.“ actually does stand for ‚extended play’ here.
This has been repressed as a white label with a little sticker (the first pressing has a printed label), so fi you can still find it, breakcore punks you won’t regret it…
Ye Olde Barn Compilation
This miniLP on Addict is a vinyl excerpt from a full length CD comp dedicatd to the legendary barn where the relevant parties in Wisconsin used to take place and which was closed down and ist owners prosecuted legally after some underage drinking ended in a lethal car crash for which the authorities are trying to make the organisers/owners responsible. The comps are now issued to raise money for a legal defense fund. The vinyl version features Doormouse, Skimall, Otto von Schirach, Curtis Chip, Stunt Rock, Emotional Joystick, and Baseck & Minion, so mostly people who were regulars at the barn. Harder tracks from the Zod artists than usual, and nothing disappointing from Addicts Doormouse and Stunt Rock. Right the sort of thing you’d expect from them! Maybe in a way a bit self-referential in its sense of humour, but wouldn’t you be disappointed if this wasn’t a bit delirious?
Chaos + Disorder
Isolate Records – Dyslexic Response 09
An LP length excess of breakcore noise deconstruction and assault – 10 tracks in all. As pleasant as it may be to hear the reckless use of distortion, Noize Punishment almost completely forget the use of bass and the drama of arrangement is often haphazard, which greatly reduces the use-value of a dancefloor tool; consequently I enjoy those tracks the most that almost completely sacrifice the pretense of beatmaking in favour of relentless noise, but hey it’s about punishment, right?
Box including a 10“ and a 12“ on thick Czech vinyl. The blue vinyl 10“ combines power electronics with slower broken beats, while the 12“ covers more traditional shouting, sometimes serious, sometimes high-pitched over a carpet of noise.
Reminiscent of this Hands-sublabels earlier releases by Mürnau and Eisengrau, the 2 Eisengrau boxsets still being the most powerful ones.
Abelcain / CDatakill
The Six Stigmata EP
Zhark International 12005
Three tracks each by 2 of the most promising artists to come out of North America, after Zhark already published the first European release of Venetian Snares (Salt EP, Zhark 12006, released before this record), and there’s again plenty of evidence of talent here! The initial two tracks by Abelcain are breakcore slammers without recurring to any amen-clichees, easily moving from slow subtly filtered beats with soft vocal backing to fierce manic assaults. Definitely a step above his already excellent ‚Faust EP’ on Low Res. If Snares was half as productive and Abelcain twice as productive as they are could open some amazing perspectives.
CDatakill is no less convincing on this EP, but his strength is more in the dark and heavy ambient tracks than in the breakcore sector. Consequently the emphasis is reversed – one beat track between two beatless ones. Although the middle track – the „breakcore“ one is also a lucky pick on the label, evoking both the best of Christoph de Babalon’s atmospheric style and mirroring Abelcain’s middle track on the other side, but ultimately overshadowed by the power of the closing, very impressive (especiallly on a loud system) harsh „ambient“ soundscape.
Zhark International has released some of the most high quality records in the last couple of years and has become one of the most consistent labels around, refining their explorations into darkness and striking a good balance between unknown and (relatively) well-known artists. After the mysterious Betrayer’s Circumvent the Pestilence EP (Zhark 12008) – pressed in a limited run of 465 copies on white vinyl – came a brilliant and refined four-tracker by Somatic Responses (Zhark 12009). Starting with “Engaging the Enemy” – the A side opens with a sliding and subtle assault on the senses, a slipping in and out of conciousness which leads to the sleek and dark “Night Drive” – a classic beat driven track in the vein of their previous output with added scourging distortion that fits perfectly on Zhark. The B side serves up 2 cut-up beat laden tracks “Robot Fight” and “The Geometry” – both titles reflect their sci-fi feel and approach, brooding machines caught in a fire of uncontrolled energy.
In the meantime the Raquel de Grimstone track Shapeshifters was given the remix treatment by Bong-Ra, Base Force One, The Leyton Breakers, Somatic Responses, Abelcain, Nirvanez, Doormouse and Fanny, plus additional noise by Baseck & Hecate and acapellas, and released as a double album (Zhark LP3), making it also an excellent compilation of some of the best breakcore producers.
Next was the debut of Vile Enginez, an extremely talented new producer from Basel, and the record serves well to demonstrate different aspects of his recent work, from slower hard breaks to speed-driven assaults. One track was co-written with Hecate. Vile Enginez of course has since released another excellent release on Sub/Version.
Many were puzzled by the following release the Suite for the Harpsichord by the Harpsicorpse – a mini-LP with pure programmed harpsichord music. To quote the artist: “Your Royal Unholiness; As I had a couple of years ago the pleasure of appearing before you, by virtue of your unholy commands, and as I noticed then that Your Royal Unholiness took some pleasure in the small talents which Hell has given me for Music, and as in taking leave of Your Royal Unholiness, you have deigned to honor me with the command to send you some pieces of my Composition: I have then in accordance with your most gracious orders taken the liberty of rendering my most humble duty to Your Royal Unholiness with the present Suite for Harpsicord, which I have adapted to several VSTi’s…. For the rest, Your Royal Unholiness, I beg you very humbly to have the will to continue your gracious favor toward me, and to be assured that nothing is so close to my heart as the wish that I may be employed on occasions more worthy of Your Royal Unholiness and of your most unholy service….” (Zhark 12011)
Ripit’s Purity Can’t pay for Mercenary (Zhark 12012) was a return to more crunchy and in the case of the title track epic industrial broken beats with a great follow-up to his release on YB-70.
Hecate’s Seven Veils of Silence was released as a CD album on Hymen and on vinyl with a 12″ and a 7″ on Zhark as Zhark International 12013/7003. Following her excellent Ascension Chamber this is Rachael Kozak’s third full album as Hecate and shows her extremely accomplished production skills.
Released around the same time was Abelcain’s double album Pantheon of Fiends with it’s sharp and deep compositions dedicated to the monsters such as Dracula, Wolfman, Mr. Hyde, Bride of Frankenstein, the Fly, the Invisible Man and more – definitely one of the best breakcore records of 2005.
This was followed by another debut EP, this time by Slutmachine. Behind this monicker is the same producer who also released an astounding CD album under the name Richard for Cerebellum, titled Thoughts that Breathe… Words that Burn with cinematic ambience and slower beats and a mixture of electronic and acoustic instruments (Zhark CD5), while the Slutmachine material is more in a electronica tinged breakcore mode.
Starting 2006 with a bang, Zhark released the strictly limited edition of one of Hecate’s most intense records in a fantastic packaging, titled Massacre of all Identifiable Replicas. The
cover is hand-silkscreened inside as well as outside, the record is on clear vinyl.
Seductive as well as harsh, Hecate is back with a multifaceted and highly collectable release on her own Zhark imprint that is taking a harder approach than last years Seven Veils of Silence, adding another essential title to her work. Clearly both records (and others) would deserve a more detailed review, which we will try to do for next issue.
Not to be listened to by those of with a weak heart or closed mind, ferocious and dark should we fear or respect it?.Coming at you from the darkened mind of Abelcain is his latest release The Garden, mashed up breaks and throbbing basslines fight to the haunting melodies of a ghostlike orchestra, Coming after his album Pantheon of Fiends also on the Zhark label, this ep is definately moodier but with the same fierce flavour that anyone who has had enough of drum and bore constantly craves from a DJ.
The title track opens with a metallic rush that leads into some of the most chopped and twisted breaks known to man, as the serpent dares you to continue on your journey into the knowledge of light and dark. “Black Bone Orchid” utilizes filtered strings to draw you deeper into this realm of blasphemous delights, before hitting you with the cut-up metal grind assault that leaves you shattered and broken, “Bitter Moon Blossom”. The EP ends with an older Abelcain compostion, “Danse Macabre” an epic, melodic dancefloor killer – fast paced rolling breaks and hyper edited staccato hooks round off this 4 tracker. Adding a new chapter in the legend of this mysterious American producer.(dan)
Mutant Sniper 01
We had a first taster of Xanopticon’s talent on the split EP with Eiterherd (Peace Off Ltd 004) also released by Peace Off, this is his first solo outing, on a new sublabel appropriately called Mutant Sniper. Caustically boxed and then splintered by sonic explosives, initially very influenced by the hard Venetian Snares, but so far thankfully avoiding the „IDM“ – as well as (unlike a lot of others) the humor traps, this EP nevertheless lacks in bass what it does feature in fresh energy. That said, an exciting start for a new label as well as artist. Plus some locked grooves!
The second full 12“ for Xanopticon is on the Hymen label, apparently with a penchant for splintered, highly edited beats and structures. There are 6 tracks on the vinyl version, all equally deconstructed breaks. Contradicted wreaks, probreastructured leaks. Alien now, but maybe already the dance music for someone more liminal than us. Still Xanopticon is widely viewed as a VSnares jr., this is understandable, but has more to do with the scarcity of beats as undone and recombined as this, than with an objective similarity.
I think Kougai was planned as a 7“ series initially, but now the tracks appear as split 12“s with double catalogue numbers. The first one (Kougai 1/2) already was a high quality clash between Low Entropy and CDatakill, while Fanny and Geroyche make a surprising, but not unpleasant couple.
Once you figured out that the labels are on the wrong side of the record, you can delve into the strange and raw world of Fanny’s broken beats with Artists or Anarchists and My Girlfriend Kicked my Ass, the former being more along the lines of his Zod EP while the latter, credited to Autoerotic Asphixiation, is more a cryptic stepper saving the distortion factor for the end and preparing you for more castration fear instead, with handclaps taking the part of snipping scissors! Also credited to Autoerotic Asphixiation are four locked grooves with voices about kicking ass and cutting off balls.
The world of Geroyche is not more ordinary, first of all a voice declares „humans are alone, they’re connected to no one“, then a relatively fierce (at least compared to Geroyche’s more recent outing on Suburban Trash) broken beat track ensues but not without synthetic melodics on top. More saturated is the last track, where the echoed bass-drum sound somehow seems to lose one bit after the other, but the degradation is balanced by clearer programming on this rendition of The Thing.
Die Die Wie Die Ratten Leben
Hart? De. FaKte Vinyl 3
You want breakcore punk? Here we go: A compilation of some fresh tracks from Society Suckers, Noize Punishment, Ashtar Dxd with 2 tracks each, plus Kids Return, Pseudowüter and Zymotic Krust, the latter two being bands. Although not everything is entirely successful,or maybe a bit too much was crammed on the disc, it’s recommended for Peace Off fans and breakbeat punks everywhere. Best track comes from Society Suckers. www.maschinentod.de
Restroom Records 001
First release on the new German label brings us a track each from 7 younger hardcore, speedcore and breaks artists, the most well known I guess being Low Entropy, plus LFO Demon, 5xpi, (in)anace, V8, Cocktail Lytique and Inapt. The smashed up toilet on the cover will be a familiar sight to some underground party animals and the record provides a soundtrack to such an event, from more abstract broken stuff to furious speedcore. No real standouts, but a good beginning.
Retrigger/LFO Demon split
Restroom Records 002
More focussed and dedicated to 2 new artists, at least at the time – LFO Demon has since released quite a few records, mainly on his own Sprengstoff imprint.
Retrigger from Brasil is after Insumision the first hardcore/breakcore artist from South America that I’m aware of, is present here with 6 tracks between hard- and breakcore, while LFO Demon demands: „Linksruck Raus!“, warns of „Dir totale Gleichschaltung“ and reminds us of „Kronstadt 1921“ with more of a hardcore flavour. An action packed package.
Untitled double pack on Widerstand by Hamburg’s finest producer. Most of these tracks have been around for literally years on demo CDs and anyone who saw his live PA’s in that period will be able to profess to their passionate power. Although released after the more mature Praxis 36 12“ these are the earlier tracks. Even so they already show a very sensitive producer able to deploy technology to a lethal purpose: Making people go nuts on the dancefloor.
Martel en Tête 001
An energetic mixture of 4-4 bass drums and breakcore, as well as broken beats, all strongly influenced I’d say by New Skin 1, and that’s not a bad thing at all. Four tracks on this debut that make up in freshness what they lack in depth. A good beginning in any case.
Martel en Tête 002
Martel en Tête continue their mission of combining hardcore and (stepping) breakcore and refine it. 4 relatively bare but pounding and mixable tracks on the second installment.
The hardest record on Mental Action Direct yet, and it’s hardtek-free! Saturated distortion speedcore on one track, followed up by a relatively light breakbeat track; the flip features two harder breaks tracks with a nervous energy.
Al Zeimer – Strych 9
Promising debut on the french hardcore scene, this 3 tracker crosses some borders between fast hardcore and breaks. While the A-side „Jah Is Dead“ nevertheless veers towards certain conventions, the B1 „Oral Exciting“ is an atmospheric breakcore track of supising depth, only to regress to more local customs again in „Fetal Pig Dissection“.
Released after the numbers 6 and 7 this is at the time of writing the latest on YB-70, solid propa french hardcore like it seemed it had all but disappeared from the release schedules of the labels. Hammering beats and searing noises just like in the old days! Merciless pounding and drilling for a smoke’n’strobe workout. Not as musically advanced as the Ripit and Hecate releases, but one of the better 4/4 hardcore releases recently.
Drama of War
Hard Act Records
I have an earlier Kippu record that I always liked despite a feature that I usually don’t particularly appreciate – extremely trashy production. It was a yellow vinyl speedcore record that had cramped around 20 minutes per side on a czech pressing. Very much on the border of the playable (gains had to be turned up a lot) but fresh and demented.
This more recent record (already released in 2001, but only slowly seeping out of the west of Switzerland), brings a similar approach to breakcore, Kippu stays loyal to the old Amiga 1200, so prepare for some 8bit rip up. However don’t be discouraged to seek this record out, on six tracks there are steppers as well as more abstract breakcore tracks that will fit well in any collection for new experimental hardbreaks.
Klangkrieg „The Connected Series“ 2
Venetian Snares + Cex
An unlikely pair here which could be a strength or a weakness. Opening with a Snares track in slo-mo, actually produced to also work on 45. A more straightforward breakbeat track follows, that could even be played by the Botchit & Scraper posse. The flip tries to continue in this vein, but suffers from the kind of dodgy „atmospheric“ synth that ruined every IDM record so far. On the last track seemingly complex, scatty beats are met by a weirdo-acid bassline. Not necessarily to good result though. There are moments of Snarey breaks, but he’s done this better elsewhere, or maybe remixes himself better than Cex. Whatever the case may be, the first slow track with its scope of use will be the reason why you buy this or not.
Double 12“ compilation on the ever prolific Zod label features sped-up electronica breaks and vibes by Yuppster, Terminal 11, Ground Chuck, Vaporizer, Tangible, Eight Frozen Modules, Binray, as well as Zod artists Emotional Joystick, Exillon, Curtis Chip, Com.A, Soplerfo, Gridlock, plus electronica-comedy hero Otto von Schirach. Also available on CD.
Mick Harris has forged his own version of heavy dub with his Scorn project, the slowed down and bass-heavy twin of Quoit, once upon a time a full band, now Harris and his mixing board. Since releasing the records on Hymen there has been little overall change in the machination of the project, slo-mo stepping along through bass terror and an often metronomic hi hat, the 6 tracks on Governor are no exception.
Another Mick Harris production similar to some of the Scorn material, slow beats with some shimmering scraping metal atmospheres and low sinewave, nice. I’m not sure if this is the first or second release on this Ohm Resistance offshoot/successor (on the label it says CS2, on the scatch in CS1).
El Gusano Rojo
8 tracks on this 12“ from Rennes, from breakcore punk to minimal noise, including a couple tracks with slower beats, always raw, but not unrelenting. Situated somewhere between the Peace Off punks and the Trolls with added industrial sensibility.
Explore Toi 27
One track on each side of this 12“ shows a collaboration of Explore Toi and Cavage. Long live improvisations in a trippy teknival way, but avoiding 4/4 clichés, and somewhat deeper than most other recent ET material, on the whole however it’s closer to ET than to the recent Cavages. Sometimes rumbling drums with analogue chirps and digital feedbacks, proclaiming about itself (written on the label): „hard to sell, hard to buy“.
The Leyton Breakers in…
I Drink Your Blood
Still Raven 002
Behind the Leyton Breakers this time are lurking Controlled Weirdness and Blackmassplastics, and what a combination that is for Still Raven. Side A is the collaborative effort showing clean production and a haunting hook to produce a hit and a phuture classic. The B side features them separately in a more retro-rave mode and a slower pace, but with knowledgeable use of mentasms and evoking the aera of illegal ‚ardkore raves in Hackney.
Music Takes You
2 Bad Mice/Kaotic Chemistry Mixes
Moving Shadow 157
Another Moving Shadow release that returns to the origins of rave, this time to 1992’s title track. To those who never experienced this type of ‚ardkore I would suspect the slow breaks and ravey synth-piano lines must sound suspect, but in tracks like this and the surrounding culture of pirate radios and raves is somehow still the root of the current much more musically developed and maybe conscious scene (well well, that claim would be the topic of a different article!) – anyways, I guess I see rave as it presents itself here as formally subversive, but at the same time a kind of mindless revolt, a revolt through bliss maybe, but also through technologies (chemical and electronic) that sprung from the very capitalism that kept everyone on the dole, spending every last penny on the craze that rave was.
Whatever the reason behind the idea to rerelease tracks like this, it can remind you that british hardcore rave had a fun energy that german trance never had. An important difference if we look back at the history of electronic dance music of the 90’s.
The Ruffige Kru
Metalheadz celebrate their 50th release with a remix double 12“ of Ruffige Kru that turns out to be navel gazing and forward looking at the same time. First off is a remix of Terminator – the Ruffige Kru classic of over 10 years of age – by Danny C that is suitably tuff, filtered, twisted and jumping, the Total Science remix of Ghostlife on the flip side is more subdued, and will earn more head-nodding than cheers. TeeBee is next with his treatment of Angel , where a mild intro is soon replaced with a focussed stepper with depth, but holding out on the release – the typical drum’n’bass effect: it never really gets extreme. That’s something Goldie should consider if he wants to reach Metalheadz 100 with dignity and credibility intact. And side D is another remix of Terminator by Cujo, not the worst, not the best – just like this EP – ?
Punk drum’n’bass anyone? Lemon D with an anarchy sign, with a nihilistic anthem for 21st C bigbadbasspunks? This is what this EP seems to aspire to, especially with the A side track which had a dissatisfied voice claiming „I had enough of this, I gotta clear my mind and then I break through, I don’t wanna be a part of this, I gotta tear you down and then I Krush U!“ – Musically following the harder tracks of his and Dillinger’s album, but still at the end of the day that little bit too clean in the production. Well, I could see it working on a soundsystem that is dodgy enough to suitably distort the whole affair.
„I can because I can!“ the voice declares a bit later in the only other line of text.
Resonant Evil: Bunker Buster/ Doomsday Device (Outbreak Ltd. 012)
Cruel Intentions: Chinese Water Torture/ Don’t Hold Back (Outbreak Ltd.010)
B-Key: Outcry/ Uncertain Thoughts (Outbreak Ltd.9)
The ‚Limited’ Series of Outbreak has now reached more consistency than the label itself – here the focus is on big and hard drum’n’bass tracks for the dancefloor. While B-Key caught our attention with the breakbeat edited ‚Outcry’, it’s Cruel Intentions for the more unusual breaks and Resonant Evil for the massive distorted bassdrum and rave qualities that deserve to be checked out the most.
Produced one side each by Sharee (interviewed in datacide 5) and Mario, this drum’n’bass smasher coming all the way from L.A. is a good one to toughen up a d’n’b set, dark basslines and a amen mashup galore, that similar to some Technical Itch (or previously older Panacea) could be incorporated into a more breakcore oriented sequence.
Yet another outtake from the Hellfish/Producer album that appeared in the UK on Planet Mu and in France on the PKG outlets (see our review of Speed Drinking in Datacide 8). One side a slammer a bit slower than we’re used to by the Fish and the other a typical DC killer, with the – by now – standard hip hop (LLCoolJ is hard as hell – ?) meets murder-bass-drum concoction. It still works, but there’s a danger that it could wear off soon. On the other hand the Hellfish productions stand above practically all current French (straight) hardcore productions – especially since Radium tries to pander to the ‚Dutch’ crowds. The difference remains that the British productions retain a lot of ‚black’ influences in electronic dance music (not just in the form of using hip hop elements but also the use of breaks as well as ruptures in the beats), when a lot of continental hardcore has regressed to the dullest aryan marching music.
The True Creators
„There are many imitators, but we are the true creators“ intones the same vocoder voice that LFO used a dozen years ago, stating: – „We’re Back!“
Deathchant certainly never left us in the first place, but I guess they have an urge on this record to proclaim themselves as the creators and kings of hardcore. Hm.
It’s irrelevant in this context that there are regularly parties with the same silly claim, crowning mostly dutch has-beens as said kings… So let’s assume Producer is just being ironic, a thesis that seems confirmed by the b-side, which is solid DC-ism, including the misleadingly titled Antother Mindless Brkbeat trak which has breaks but isn’t exactly a breakbeat track as such.
More Kold-krushin’ hardcore from the „UK obviously“, with the two partners responsible for a track each on this platter, not particularly digressing in any way from previous DC vibes or from each other.
Skeeta vs. Hellfish
Unusually for DC this is not a 2- but a 4-tracker, and while it firmly remains in the label’s party-line, there are the odd moments of a more radical experimentalism than expected, including a dark and slow (!) track as well as a beatless (!) soundscape. This can only be welcomed, and possibly reflects a little bit of self-criticism beyond the hype the straight out party slammers that DC is known for currently enjoy in some circles.
Even in their straighter form Deathchant has not always, but more often than not, managed to fend off the aging process that has befallen most other „industrial hardcore“ or „frenchcore“ labels – so far. This is the most progressive record they released in a while, successfully avoiding (at least some of) their own self-created clichees, showing that there are positive development to anticipate.
Afghan Headspin Beatz
Also a mention deserve the battle breaks records issued by the Deathchant posse in the last couple of years. The most recent is the „Afghan Headspin Beatz (Underground is where they wonna go)“, a collection of old school electro/hip hop breaks and vocal snippets to scratch. Produced by Hellfish and Diplomat.
Partout en long des Rues, de plus en plus Irrestible L’Odeur de la Viande se Mettra a Emplir les Villes
Polymorphous slow breaks and freestyle sampling and programming, combining different elements like in a jazzy jam session, which doesn’t always sound focussed, but, on this record, always creative and inventive. Four instrumental tracks full of ideas, and a good cover make the package.
“Les déviances funambulesques de la conscience collective , ou la derniere ligne droite avant le virage….”
The latest installment on nice slightly marbled white vinyl again produces downtempo breaks and their own brand of french hip hop with a nod towards breakcore.
Datacide readers are the last people who need convincing that Scud made some of the most slamming contributions to the ‚breakcore’ DJ’s record bag in the last few years. Nevertheless there hasn’t been a proper Scud-only release neither on Ambush nor on any other label until the very recent Sub/Version 12”. Almost all the previous records (with the exception of the Kool.Pop 12.002 asRude Boy) were splits or collaborations.
Instead there’s now a double retrospective type comp that makes a good companion with „Mash the Place Up“ (more an Ambush label comp) that Surefire released a while back in the States. This time only three tracks hail from actual Ambush releases (one of them in a remastered version), the remaining six are from side labels like Full Watts or Transparent, or taken from US releases like the Wabana 7“ and the Deadly Systems comp, or are remix projects like the Klangkrieg 12“ with Phthalocyanine, or of Asian Dub Foundation. Most readers will be familiar with Scud’s style, and for the more superficial collector this will fill some gaps, I was lucky enough to find one track I didn’t already have (the ADF remix). It’s a good record with some smashing tracks, but it’s certainly not a best-of, for example Kill of be Killed is featured here in the B-side ‚version’.
More crucial is the move Rephlex seems to be trying to make into ‚breakcore’; this is not so suprising – the „IDM“ genre their name is usually associated with has gone beyond boring, and parallel to Planet Mu they seem to have been on the lookout for more daring artists, Mu found Venetian Snares and label boss Paradinas own „rude ass tinkering“ and association with Deathchant. The Bug and Scud were the ones chosen by Rephlex, with Aphex Twin trying to rejuvenate himself with a Bug remix released under his own AFX project name. Whoever thought this would open doors for those artists operating in the shade in the distribution circuit or in the media was however contradicted. Contrary to Planet Mu, Rephlex seems to have lost interest in the genre again. In the meantime, whether you like rephlex or not, this is one worth picking up, even though it doesn’t replace the conceptually thought out super-slamming album that Scud still owes us.
Bloodclaat Gangsta Youth Remixes
If I was walking in a party or a club and the A side of this record was spinning, I would certainly be quite pleased. Sirens, ragga vocals, rave sounds and heavy stepping beats. After a bit I would probably recognise it as a Panacea track of some sorts – and depending of how much attention I would pay I would (unless I hear the actual beginning or end) identify it as a remix of the classic 7“ „Kill or be Killed“. Despite its qualities, it definitely falls short of doing justice to the original slammer, merely pasting a few samples over a track of his own, – and even more so do the other 2 mixes by Bogdan Raczinski and Slepcy respectively. None of the tracks show enough feeling for the dangerous potential of the track in my opinion, some aspects of strange polish humour have to be appreciated though.
Astro & Physics
„All over the city huge speakers began smashing anything in their path. What have I done? I don’t understand any of this. An eerie soundwave fell over the city what have I done, I destroyed everything…“
so says a voice in the middle of the A-side remix by Overcast, aka Mark Newland (Interviewed in datacide 3), Bloody Fist boss and producer of 2 unforgettable 12“s under the Overcast monicker on that label (fist 16 and 17). This mix is indeed reminiscent of the Fist 17 tracks and that can only be a good thing. Dark and tuff drum & bass, definitely makes it worth picking up this record already. The other two tracks are remixes by Krusty and Switchkicker, the latter being a nice slow breaky tune, the former, well techno well crafted but without usevalue for me. I don’t know the originals so I can’t judge this 12“ from the point of view of how well the artists treated the source material, but it can be recommended for the Overcast track.
Fifth Era #1977
Doomcore hasn’t been the sound of datacide in recent years, maily because not very much new things seemed to be happening there, rather a move back to the ‚dutch’ market. This 10“ by FE makes an exception due to the witty and effective use of voice snippets in one track. 4 Mixes of the new track „Make the Party Dark“ here, and one of them is a real Smash Hit, subtitled ‚recorded at Rat Moped Club’, utilising the famous Sex Pistols Bill Grundy interview to great effect in a FE-typical doomcore track. „You dirty fucker! – What a fucking rotter!“
Resistance is Fertile
It would have seemed impossible to top the radicality and intensity of Nihil Fist’s first vinyl outing Think & Destroy (Praxis 38), but after an interlude with Sprengstoff (We Will Defy 7″) he”s back with 5 new tracks on Praxis all in his unique style and with a more overtly political message – total no compromise noisecore.
First comes across as a merciless broken beat track with metallic distorted percussion, then the insertion of sounds reminiscent of old british hardcore make it a successful hybrid. The second side continues in the same vein, quite minimal with maximum impact, getting a bit weaker with the B2 track. Something for the fans of Industrial Folksongs, Dan H’s early stuff or ADC.
More Radio Less Bomb
Radio Bomb 3005
Voodoomix guarantees continuation. Again a 12“ with two mixes of the same track. Again in his very own brand of breakbeat driven drum ‚n’ bass, this time consisting mainly of a break-track with a synth playing in different octaves. Being extended jams this is strictly for the mix, working well either with d’n’b or with hardtek.
I:Gor / Slepcy
Suburban Trash 011
Polands most wanted breakcore artists on a split EP from Suburban Trash. Both sides are more similar than one would expect, a full out mid-range distortion soundclash. Both however stay behind the expectations their best records have raised (in the case of I:Gor that’s Hangars Liquides 022 or Low Res 015, in the case of Slepcy it’s KoolPOP 12006). Six tracks on red vinyl.
Low Res 015
A strong contender to the Hangars Liquides 022 we reviewed in the last issue, on this four tracker he takes a pure broken approach, ditching the hardcore/speedcore ballast and thus venturing into new territory. Some tracks are more on a DSP strangeness tip, others straight out breakcore assaults, definitely a must pick-up this season!
Low Res 014
A long way since the cartoony gabber of the old The EQ (Low Res 001), this is mostly nervous slower breaks from Detroit’s hardcore stable. Plus a cheesy electropop remake. Good one, but hard to compete with the excellence of the recent releases by CDatakill, Abelcain and I:Gor on his label.
Speaking of state-side breakcore, the mysterious white labels from Southern California issued by Reflux are worth a mention, even though I haven’t got any info on the current state of things, and the 2 releases I have got are a few years old by now. Angelicfriction EP (catalogue number 1217) features p2p with two nice tracks (although lacking a bit in the bass dept.) on one side and a track each by P2P, Abelcain and Eiterherd on the other side. The Abelcain track is a short sharp outburst, the P2P one much more on the distortion-core tip than on the A side, while Eiterherd rocks the grooves in his typical manner.
On number 1218 we find a powerful P2P track, maybe their best one on the 3 records, with a more atmospheric piece by Sidhe, which is less outstanding.
Reflux 1219 features again a track by P2P, with an Abelcain remix on the other side. Both sides are playable, especially Abelcain’s contribution on this one being more substantial than on the Angelicfriction EP, worth seeking out.
Get Back 421
A box-set triple LP of a three hour performance of John Cage reading the thrid part of his „Empty Words“ in 1977 at Milan’s Teatro Lirico. The liner notes on the sticker on the package adds: „… in front of an increasingly restless crowd of Italian Students, which would erupt into one of the great (if under-reported) art riots of the last century“ – indeed! Quite soon you hear the crowd starting to chant and shout. Cage unerringly continues to quietly declare his sound poetry (consisting of non-words or near words) – the situation develops into a stand-off between the artist and the moaning and clapping crowd. The „empty“ words are quite close to „real“ words – or „full“ words? – but nearly half a century after Schwitters the idea still remains provocative, quite literally. At least to provoke a clearly reactionary dissent. There is the dissent of the critic and the dissent of the mob; with this recording the roles are not cleanly and properly distributed. The lines between performer and performed remain clear though. The „empty“ words seem to be filling (at least some in) the audience with indignation that’s swiftly and loudly voiced.
Various – Unnatural Selectors EP ? [Dirty Needles 002]
Fresh four track 12” of electro/break/grime flava from four of the scenes most prolific producers. From the hi-tech depth charge of Warlock’s ‘Mala cara’ to Controlled Weirdness’ dubbed out ‘Smoking’, the frequencies on offer are all squarely aimed at the deeper darker dancefloor. The Dexorcist rolls out his breaks on ‘Africadub’ and ‘Sickostep’ by Blackmass Plastics is as the title suggests ? sick
DJ Controlled Weirdness – South London Bass EP Unearthly 006]
From South London with bass
DJ C.W. finally drops four of his favourites after months on test. Kicking off with a vocodered electrobass tour of the bottom right hand quarter of the London A to Z, this EP together with his recent ‘Killer Virus’ release on FDB both show the wide variety of styles he can cut. From old skool electro re-edits to psych-grime experiments via firing breakbeats every track has something to offer.
DJ Narrows – Kick Daan Ya Door [Stormin Productions 5]
One of the coolest labels to emerge over the last year, DJ Quiet Storms’ imprint has released some of the freshest tunes on vinyl for years. This latest 12” from the cult UKG-ish producer Narrows is no exception. It reminds why you started all this raving shit. Simple mad twisted party vibes
Get this record and some E’s.
Various – How to Build a Bomb Pt. II [Audio Illusion Recordings 20]
After three years plus on testpress, the infamous Audio Illusion is regenerated to finish the ‘How to Build a Bomb’ series. The two EPs together present a pre Dead Silence Syndicate Band snapshot of the crews output. This 12” features the Bombdogs, Blackmass Plastics and DSS frontman Krude. All blasting it out in full-on assault mode, as you would hope. This should be out early 2006 via Toolbox, Paris.
Dead Silence Syndicate Band/Bass Junkie [SMB recordings 12”]
After a few years of hard graft on the road the DSS live band accept the daunting task of capturing the raw tear out energy of their end of set anthem “Suicide Bomber” on vinyl. It is odd to hear the track out of the context of their live spectacle but it works well as a D&B track, albeit one with a hardcore lyrical content. With plans for a new label starting in the new year dedicated to The Band there will be fresh material soon. Check out www.deadsilence.co.uk for further info. The flipside has Bass Junkie dropping a big fat electro number in the form of ‘Berserker’ – evil 808s and big breakdowns in familiar SMB party style. Out early Jan on picture-disc.
DJ Scud – Strongback/Heavy Duty [sub version 009]
How hard do you like your breaks? Probably not as hard as DJ Scud likes em. This two tracker on Praxis offshoot Subversion, applies the freq-decimation techniques of horrible breakcore to proper tear out arrangements resulting in dancefloor damage rather than ear damage .Wicked subs, soundbwoy bites and evil riffs combine with some sharp edits to make this an essential release that drops like a head shot.
Eun – crooked beats connex
hangars liquides 26 – la peste
hangars liquides see its latest installment from label owner la peste, a return to beats and rhythms after his previous 12“ on the label.super dynamic record both in sound quality and awesome as usual confusion on wether to assume the speed is 360? 180? 90? 45? awesome for hybrid mixing of any styles,containg bleeps and chirps in a techno/electro vain with the underlying broken industrial rhythmic patterns.
active underground x1 – noize creator 3×10“ box
first 2 records are all rereleased active underground tracks which i would assume were rereleased to capitalize on the anti-ebay trend.the 2 new tracks are a push back in the right direction as far as the label goes.incorporating elements of the oh so popular now adays acid 303 sound with drum n bass/breakcore/ hip hop beats and breaks.over all solid hybrid sounding tunes. diskore
penetration 17 – tech itch – replicator
the a-side of this record isnt worth going into detail on as it is yet another ruckus remix(the 3rd one to date on the label).the flipside on the other hand delivers the punch and sound standard of the current tek-step influx with the old dark sci-fi feel and rhythmic flow of early chrome records.second best release to date on the label next to number 5 – think/the ring.diskore
advanced idea mechanics 04 – xanopticon
ryan-xanopticon has proven to be one of the most interesting and dynamic producers to rise out of the states no doubt.aside from being the best live act around in my opinion (worldwide) is this latest installment of tunes on the aim label.more bleeped out industrial speedcore influenced sci-fi broken beats with probably not one measure in a whole track looping the previous,somehow retaining a solid underlying ryhthm structure.diskore
ambivalance lens 006 – ucture – bwata ep
debut ep by bwata from the belgium camp.a solid redeamable release from the label that started off with a unique belgian take on breakcore/broken beats offering up new artists such as subskan the return of acid kirk under the syncopated elevators legacy monikar,ran by the man behind re-load ltd/ambient,seal phuric.all though not nearly as solid as the first 5 releases on the label still a better shift in direction from the ambient tonal relases that i assumed were to follow and take over the label.nice use of diverse dark and light sounds in a short amount of time (12“ep) that most records have trouble pulling off in a full length.diskore
hardline 15 – the enemy & kid kryptic + dave akuma – the subtle arts of murder and persuasion pt.1
solid drum n bass release from the newly adapted hardline label formerly ran
by animal intelligence
now by paul blackout.of the 4 drum n bass records that have been released on the label,definitely the best over all in regards to production quality and over all punch.dave akuma rising from the same terrain as the darkmatter soundsystem takes the cake for this record.both dave akuma and kid kryptic are both leading along with tech itch, evol intent, limewaw, ewun, spor, etc… the new stromfront of raw drum n bass and both happen to hail from the sprawls of the greater los angeles area,both of whom id never heard of before the massive unflux of hard drum n bass records appeared.good to hear something coming out of the streets while ragga takes over the rest of the world.diskore
…to be continued….