he's big! he's huge! he's
david foster wallace!
he's big! he's huge!
the dusty archives
write me, baby
I go see these guys play live alot, and I have my favorite songs, and here I was thinking that I'd sit down and listen to So Fucking Good and it would be so fucking good but I'd probably rather go see them live but guess what? I now have an even greater if that's at all possible appreciation for Action Adventure Systems. Live I like the loudness and the drums and the feedback, but now I can kick back and actually listen to AAS and it is extremely listenable. Now I'm getting it. It's Ozzy and Barkmarket and the Pixies, it's trippier than you'd expect, deeper, denser. Like Barkmarket, it's got a sense of urgency and paranoia (especially in songs like This is How the World Works and You'll Pay) that's communicated not only lyrically but musically. I mean, I had this whole other view of them before, they were these funny drunk guys I knew from parties and rooftop brawls who played some harsh good fast interesting music, but now it's like, whoa, I want to listen to this over and over and over again. It is that fucking good.
Action Adventure Systems
Some out there might scuff at the idea of electro/industrial acts interpreting songs from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. Well, it doesn't work all the way through, but Cyberpunk Fiction is a must for fans of the electro/industrial genre. I first got drawn in by the cover illustration, a spoof of the Pulp Fiction poster, which depicts a leather-clad chick w/ a zip disk and the little goth lunch box (you know it, you have it.) and she's reading Neal Stephanson's Snow Crash! C'mon kiddies! that's attention to detail! And there's an amazing line-up of talent: Killing Floor, Society Burning, Collide, Christ Analog, Tinfed, and my faves 16 Volt among others. But wait! There's more! There's this really hysterical dialog between songs, parodies of scenes from Pulp Fiction, you just gotta hear it. The funniest one spoofs the dialog between Travolta and SL Jackson where they're in the car talking about what they call the burgers in France. Only this is about what they call industrial in Europe. I'm gonna make you buy this to hear it. So you buy this little beauty for the jokes, but you get great stuff along with it, classics like Killing Floor doing Jungle Boogie, and oh my god, a song by Non-Aggression Pact! They do Flowers on the Wall (which is also done as a “bonus track” by Society Burning) and it's a beauty. Lush and evocative, discordant; it's a like a bee in your honey. This one is all samples, no singing by Jason. There may be a new NAP CD out, I gotta check on that. The ever-lovin' 16 Volt do a 16 Volt-ish version of Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon with some very sparse loud screeching geetars and ? and the Mysterians style keyboards.
No matter how much I want to hate Leaether Strip(and believe me, it's alot), I can't. Claus puts out good solid dance music tinged with those little tears of sadness the kids love so much. Yes I'm Limited is a remix disk with remixes by all your faves: Apoptygma Berzerk, Funker Vogt and Controlled Fusion, among others.
I sometimes, ok, always get scared when I see a female vocalist involved with some electronic project. I assume it's going to be gothic, and she'll be crooning and the songs will be about darkness and graves and red wine and I'll have to shoot myself. So I was sort of cringing when I slipped Urania into the CD bay, but I was just all wrong. Most of the vocals are by writer/programmer/all-around techie George Hagegeorge and he ain't no crooner. Much of Initiation reminds me of Cubanate or a harsher C-Tec; the music is smart and textured. Some of it does get weird tho. Urania produces dance music that doesn't insult my intelligence (hey, I know I'm not dumb; I took an online IQ test!).
Brain Surgery Music
Sadly, I'm sort of grooving to this white-trash zombie thang, which just goes to show that I'm a desirable demographic in the eyes of Warner Bros. This is nothing new, but it's fun, and if you saw Bride of Chucky you'll already recognize one of the songs (Bled for Days, which I'm assuming is about my menstrual cycle.)
Ah yes, JG Thirwell is also someone I want to hate, but I just can't muster up that sort of emo for this guy. Foetus is so varied that Thirwell, aka Clint Ruin, usually gets around to doing something that even I like. This one is a live recording featuring members of the Swans and KMFDM. The sticker says members of Pigface also, but hasn't everyone been a member of Pigface at one time? Like I said, it's live, so you can imagine it gets pretty experimental, loud, weird, annoying and interesting. Not a disk to read to, unless you're reading Mark Leyner.
From the '98 Lowest of the Low tour comes this live Pigface disk, which I'm guessing is culled from several shows rather than being one show straight through. Sadly, this disk lacks the dynamic intensity of a real live Pigface show, and additionally lacks the intricate complexities of the average Pigface disk. Tracks include Girls are Cool, Amphetaminemethamphetamine, Divebomber and Suck.
A neat little item: a double CD of remixes. Disk one is all remixed by Front Line Assembly. And why the hell not? They remix everyone else's stuff... Disk two is remixes by other people including (get this line-up kiddies) Collide, Front 242 , Cydonia and Kalte Farben. Hey, when you're FLA you can get the coolest people to remix your stuff. No point in me rehashing here what the remixes sound like: they sound like Front Line Assembly, damn it! They differ (greatly in some cases) from the originals, so it's not like you're paying for the same old shit. It's not like buying 2 pairs of 10 eyelet doc martens in different colors! It's more like buying one pair of 8-eyelet in addition to the 10-eyelet pair. And as we all know by now, remixes may as well be different songs in many cases. I dig these guys, even post-Rhys Fulber. I'm an idiot for a good beat and devil vocals, what can I say.
Ah, the old standby--the label compilation. As with all, this one is hit or miss, depending on whether your tastes tends to ambient, experimental, industrial, etc will probably determine which ones hit or miss you personally. There's quite a bit of stuff here in the vein of Dead Voices on Air and the very experimental Alien Faktor material (like Evonica, Graphic Verses and Anaphylaxis for example). And when I use the term industrial in relation to this compilation, I mean old-school noise/ tin can/ tape loop industrial. This is definitely not a comp of mindless dance music, but those among you who want to be challanged by music will definitely like this one.
Jeez, I'm always surprised when I hear something new that's not on a major label (I mean like Metropolis) that sounds this good. Don't be scared by the obvious gothic overtones: Graven Image sounds like the better Velvet Acid Christ stuff--it's melodic without forsaking that all-important beat. I doubt very much that the british accent used by singer Allen Singleton is authentic (I think they're from Cleveland), but hey, go ahead and use it mister, see if I care. It does make Graven Image sound a little more like The Cure than they oughta.
Craven Image info
Surely my affection for Sheep on Drugs is proof positive that there is something deeply wrong with me. More than the usual infectious big beats, Sheep on Drugs provide us with intellectual sexual decadence not seen since Bertold Brecht and Kurt Weill (hyperbole, sure, but in some sense I think I mean mean it, for Sheep on Drugs, besides being infinitely listenable and genuinely fun strike some deeper chord, tapping into the fertile depraved excesses of our times, right?). Two 4 the Show are recordings culled from their 1996 tour. If you weren't there, too bad, but this CD is much more than just a memento mori of the tour and idiots for rhythm like me will find themselves spinning this disk over and over, forcing it on their unsuspecting friends etc. Has the newer stuff like X-Lover and Come Fly with Me and the fabulously weird and contagious Motorbike. My only problem with this disk is that I actually wish the songs were longer.
Sorry, comme d'habitude, I just don't get it. Just consider this a heads up to y'all that Metropolitan signed these gloomy dark wavy types, they have a new CD, it's packed with keyboards and whining, alleged introspection and lyrical typographic errors (my fave? I've knelt at your alter. Oh wait. Maybe they mean that. Maybe it's an ode to a multiple.) Lawd help me, I think I'm dying of ennui. Can we call this Psycho-babble instead?
The stats I have are as follows: his name is Eraldo Bernocchi, he's worked with Bill Laswell and Mick Harris among others. The tracks were recorded in 1996, so I guess they've been sitting around collecting dust since then, which is really a shame for all of us. Welcomeis stuffed with slow bassy grooves, oozing electronics... it's deep and sweet like fudge, but it's got bitter notes for those of you who like a challenge. Each track demands your attention and compels you to listen. Simm is ambience for people who'd rather think than trance.
I don't know who these guys are, but their punk ethics (what I mean to say is that it sounds rough) mixed with the hard house sound sort of reminds me of Ged Denton's Crisis NTI. It's harsher than most hard house (drumsn'bass, whaddeva ya wanna call it), but it retains the trance rhythms and heavy beats. Thankfully, the songs are long so that each track can build in intensity and complexity and come to some sort of resolution (ah, a little digression here: lately I've been coming across 3 minute trance tracks and I'm like wazz da dilly yo? das wack! The short format doesn't really suit the genre! It's too disturbing!) If you have any sort of affinity for this variety of dance music you'll want to add Ambush to your xmas list.
The press release promised "breakbeats & ethnic-tinged percussion" but I'm six tracks in (out of seven) and I've still only heard the "haunting filmic soundscapes," which to me means this is pretty much movie music. Dustbowl! more like tumbleweed...
I guess you could call Anna Wildsmith a sort of electronic music version of PJ Harvey, except with Sow Wildsmith is not writing the music, only the lyrics. Maybe she can't write music, I dunno. It's interesting, she sings in a compelling sultry growl, and the music is written by a variety of electronic/industrial “luminaries” like Sascha Konietzko from KMFDM and Raymond Watts from Pig. It's a very mellow disk musically, very dark lyrically, and very annoying when she sings in french and italian. I feel like the whole point of Sow is in the lyrics, and I'm not about to get out my damn dictionaries and attempt a bad translation. I'm really not that motivated. I know I can sometimes be overly harsh on women in this genre, mainly because I expect as much from them as I expect from myself, and from guys also, and one of my big pet peeves are people who just write lyrics and sing. I make an exception for Dorrissey because he makes me laugh, damn it. You know, even I could write evocative and disturbing lyrics and sort of groan them out in a guttural sexy way, if I didn't have to write the music. I mean, you may as well be Doris Fucking Day if you're just going to sing. And that's my whole problem with the Sow project. That and the goddam foreign languages. You know what I'm gonna do? I'm going to lose 40 pounds so I can look like a hopped-up Ally McBeal and write lyrics in Furbish. Maybe then I too can be a serious artiste.
Woohoo! A noise project with a beat! And sound collages made of things more interesting than samples of a fax machines or a garbage trucks. Project Dark is not afraid to be soft and sweet, or to get loud and annoying, or to (horror of horrors!) include a regular and steady rhythm on some of their tracks. The diversity of these highly original compositions make this the most listenable experimental/noise CDs I've gotten in 1998.
A two-CD set of mid-period (infinite beat) Psychic TV material from 1987 through 1992. If you've only heard the name Psychic TV and you're not familiar with their music, this set would be a good introduction. For those of you who are fans, there are ten previously unreleased tracks. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with PTV. Well, hate is probably too strong a word. Before PTV, there was the band Throbbing Gristle and religious disorganization Thee Temple ov Psychic Youth. I'm not going to go into TOPY here--I'm sure you can find some stuff somewhere on the web about them if you're so inclined--but I just always feel a bit empty and disappointed after listening to PTV. I feel that they should be more challenging and innovative. I should be inspired after listening to PTV and not enervated. But still, I love what PTV stand for: discord, chaos, adventure... that said, some of the PTV material on this disk is brilliantly conceived and constructed, the 32-page booklet is well-written and informative (with extensive notes on I.C. Water, Genesis P-Orridge's loving tribute to Ian Curtis)... my only complaint is that there is no indication of when the individual tracks were written or produced! Maybe that's just the trickster in Gen trying to nudge us.
A 3-CD set of weird spooky electronic instrumentation accompanying traditional folk songs that are all about murder. Composed, re-discovered, etc by MJ Harris of Scorn (doing the music) and Martyn Baytes from Eyeless in Gaza (singing). I can comfortably say that this set is the strangest electronic music release I've heard all year. And even more surprising, I can actually imagine myself listening to this sometimes. The only thing missing are approximate dates for the folk songs, which I imagine are of British origin. Vaguely druidical.
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