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Datacide 17 Record Reviews by Christoph Fringeli

March 5th, 2018

HFK
[Rouge de Colere 11]

The Toolbox sublabel reserved for the fast and hard sounds is back with one of its best releases yet. The four-tracker starts with some mental hypnotic hardcore which would also fit in a more out-there tek set, then starts evolving into more speedcore inspired experiments. It’s not that extreme and comes of as quite rounded, but evolves with multiple listens to a great addition to the catalogue.

Molecule SCAM vs. HFK
[AcidNight 20]

The first side credited to Molecule SCAM is an epic digital acid excursion with nice progressions, but definitely nothing outside of the genre. This is what happens on the flipside where HFK is giving the old Jones & Stephenson track The First Rebirth (released in 1993 on Bonzai) a manic flashcore workover. Of course it’s tongue in cheek, but since I have no nostalgic feelings towards early 90s hard trance I find it hard to get into, although I can imagine there to be the right moment at a party for mixing in and out of this track. Pretty good is the final track where hardcore, speedcore and broken elements in the beat structure are combined with nervous bleeping loops and descending hisses. Overall a welcome addition to the Acid Night catalogue, especially with its genre-bending tendencies.

Cyclic Backwash
[Neurotrope NRT039]

Very prolific in the last couple of years, Cyclic Backwash appears on Neurotrope with a varied 3-tracker. Most interesting is the a-side with its combination of acid lines, resonating stabs and psychedelic progression with a slightly broken beat. [Read more →]

Datacide 17 Record Reviews by Prole Sector

March 2nd, 2018

Various: Osiris Music 50 [Osiris Music UK]
Simon Shreeve (one half of Kryptic Minds) has been in the bass music game since the early ‘00s and stacked up and impressive, heads-down, grafting, back catalogue to boot, turning out drum and bass, dubstep and lately, finding his true voice over the last few years, in more crossover techno excursions under his Monic guise on labels like Tresor and his own Osiris Music UK.

There are definitely some parallels to be made with Pinch and his Tectonic/Cold imprints in their shift towards merging dubstep with techno and deep house into new broken forms and in building solid stables of rotating, like-minded artists. The labels rarely disappoint in scope, vision or production values; they’re always highly crafted, tech, never overtly “experimental” but always pushing the envelope with a moody restraint. Sometimes this tendency can end up sounding a bit muted, a bit formalist for sure, but then there’s a sense of an embedded long game involved, not for radical short, sharp, shock treatments. It’s horses for courses innit.

This compilation marking the fiftieth release is a well-picked sampler of the last few years’ output, with plenty to pique an interest in further exploration of the back catalogue for the uninitiated. Definite highlights are the two Monic tracks, and Killawatt’s cyclical, gritty, bass wobbler “Pressgang” from 2015, still sounding out there as a front runner (although nothing’s yet to surpass the belting, syncopated broken beat Monic version of Manni Dee’s “Sister Nobody” from 2014 in my opinion).

Ian Martin: Sleepwalker [Panzerkreuz]
Viewlexx continue their run of low-key re-presses/re-releases, this one originally from 2013. Never heard of him before? But I’m impressed enough to go digging after this. Quite an achievement; to make a record that seems to synthesise an entire hallucinogenic trip, or the soundtrack to some unfinished, budget-pulled Italian zombie flick. The tone stays within an eery, almost John Carpenteresque, lo-fi Bladerunner Vangelis vibe throughout. Simple, direct, lush, detuned – you’re transported to bleached out, dystopian film rush clips off the cutting room floor; empty suburban shopping malls, streets before dawn, radioactive sunsets, and lonely drug abuse. [Read more →]

Datacide 17 Record Reviews by Nemeton

February 26th, 2018

Christoph de Babalon: Grim Zenith EP [VIS005]
We haven’t had an EP vinyl from CDB in many years, really since the excellent ‘A World of My Own’ 12” on Restroom Records. The wait is paid off with this evocative release limited to 300 copies. A1 ‘Could We Be?’ submerges us in eerie atmospheres and drum n’ bass assault; A2 ‘Pure Dirge’ is a thoughtful, beautiful track with melodies flirting with break beats and clanging bells. The B-side opens with drudging bass and kicking beat construction which is an abstract dance floor hit in my mind. B2 ‘Luxury of Sadness’ with its screeching string arrangements and abstract beat patterns reach a frenetic rhythm of pure mastery. De Babalon also just released digitally ‘The Haunting Past of Christoph de Babalon Vol. III’, which should be immediately downloaded! Both the digital and the vinyl are highly recommended!

Stave: Black Hills [Standards & Practices 2]
The new American label Standards & Practices run by Karl Meier, Ken Meier, and Jon Krohn (Stave) based in Chicago has started out strong. The first release by Talker (Krohn and Karl Meier) is dark and foreboding industrial techno. The second release ‘Black Hills’ by Stave shares a lot of commonalities with the sound of Headless Horseman. The second track is especially kicking with the irregular drum patterns, blistering noise, and dark atmospherics. A3 ‘Inhuman’ is dark and sinister, and B3 is a slow moving experimental track with searing guitar noise.

Schwefelgelb: Den Umgekehrten Atem [Fleisch 05]
For those into the new wave of EBM/synth pop/techno sounds, Schwefelgelb probably does it the best with their dance floor pounding tracks. All the tracks are really catchy, demonstrating complexity and offering something new, while still taking on some of the old tropes. B1 “Das Ärmellose Hemd” is pretty gritty. Recommended, especially if you’re into the vocals.

V/A: [Rave or Die 08]
This 2×10” on grey marble vinyl is a top release from Umwelt’s sub-label, appropriately named Rave or Die for those extremely dedicated to music. [Read more →]

Dictating Democracy – On Recent Elections in East Africa

February 8th, 2018

These are frustrating times for supporters of liberal democracy in East Africa. Over the last two years, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda have all held deeply problematic presidential elections and the latter two countries have tabled radical constitutional reforms that threaten to cement these so-called democracies into dictatorships. East African leaders have proved themselves very capable of manipulating liberal donor expectations by implementing democratic reforms in name only. The tools and language of democratic politics become means to achieve the elite’s capitalist and ethnocentric goals, while maintaining popular legitimacy.

A few days before the 2017 presidential election in Kenya, Chris Msando, the electoral officer in charge of technology and communications was tortured and murdered under mysterious circumstances. His death may equally have been committed by ruling party supporters (because they went on to win) or the opposition (as they wished to discredit the election). In any case, bloodshed at election time is nothing new in Kenya. The two previous Kenyan elections were hotly contested, with the allegations that the ruling party were cheating being supported by international observers. In 2007, the opposition leader from western Kenya denounced the results of the election as fake. Political leaders of both sides then cynically manipulated ethnic hostility, which boiled over into nationwide riots bordering on civil war. There were over a thousand deaths and mass displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. [Read more →]

Lewisham ’77 – Myth and Anti-fascist History

February 5th, 2018

Fourty years ago this summer [2017], one of the most decisive events in 1970s UK anti-fascism took place in South East London.

On 13 August 1977, the far right National Front (NF) set off on a march from New Cross to Lewisham in what was intended to be a major show of strength. Lewisham NF organiser Richard Edmunds had promised the NF’s ‘biggest-ever rally… Everybody will know that the Front is marching’, while national organiser Martin Webster had talked of the march as part of its racist and anti-communist struggle: ‘The Reds have had it all their own way and the only way you can fight Communism is to confront it. We believe that the multi-racial society is wrong, is evil and we want to destroy it’. Earlier that year the NF had won over 119,000 votes in the Greater London Council elections and, although it did not succeed in winning any seats, the party had cause to believe that it was a growing force.
In the event, thousands of people mobilised to oppose the march, and as it started from New Cross there was hand to hand fighting as anti-fascists broke through police lines and seized NF banners. The local paper reported:

‘Suddenly the air was filled with orange smoke, and a hail of bricks, bottles and pieces of wood fell onto the Front from demonstrators and householders leaning out of their windows… At one point the Front marchers stopped. Half the marchers remained in Pagnell Street, afraid to walk into the hail of missiles… One young man, perhaps 16 years old, rushed into the Front ranks and grabbed a flagpole from one of them, broke it in half and held the pieces up while the crowd cheered. Others hurled dustbins and fence stakes into the Front column from close range’ (Kentish Mercury 18.8.77). In later clashes in Lewisham town centre, police used riot shields for the first time in England as they confronted anti-fascists and local young people. [Read more →]

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