techno

v/a * Cunt Records 2 (2cd 2001 cunt records)

A cover like this and a label-name like this may make you think this review is in the wrong section. This suggestion grows when you see the horrible website! Anyway, this is no old-fashioned metal compilation, nor punk or anything. The “No More Rock ‘n Roll” compilation (see elsewhere) also showed a liking for the bad taste of old metal artwork, but “Cunt Records 2” is even quite far from the digicore of “No More Rock ‘n Roll”. Under the label name it usually says “terror speedcore industrial doomcore”, showing that this is actually a post-gabber cd. I suppose that this is what they call “terror”. This is supposed to be not only faster than gabber, but also more extreme and that definately goes for this cd!
A nice thing about this kind of music is that it always has the same speed. It is meant to be danceble in contrast to digicore or sometimes even speedcore (how can you dance on 500 bpm?). The first part of cd1 is a “megamix” which is of course the same speed the whole time. I am not sure, but I think it is somewhere near 250 bpm, still faster than most happy hardcore shit, right? It is actually pretty extreme and here and there fairly dark. The biggest challenge with this kind of stuff is, is that the people who make it have to try to use the same speed (otherwise DJs will simply ignore their records because it doesn’t fit in their repertoire) and still have to make something of it. Therefor you hear different sounds for beats, breaks that don’t break the rhythm (you don’t want to have to think when you are dancing on 250 bpm on drugs) and crazy samples. This is done pretty well in my humble opinion.
The second part of cd1 contains “remixes and new tracks”. Cd2 is filled with studio tracks of two projects. The first is Coffeecore, which is indeed hardcore inspired by cafeine and the second is Noisekick who show us how extreme speedcore can really get.
It all looks quite exotic, but this cd is ‘just’ a Dutch cd distributed by the most commercial gabbershop-chain Midtown and there are a few Dutch titles on the back and the national song of Friesland (a Dutch province with their own kind of people) is printed in the booklet.
So, if you are interested to hear some descent “post-gabber”, this double compilation is a good buy!

v/a * Digital As Fuck v1.1 (cd 2002 digicore far east)

Digicore Far East is a label and webzine from Singapore that so far has only released two Digital As Fuck compilations, but has a nice distro in the field of digital hardcore and other extreme electronics. Since the term “digital hardcore” refers a bit too much to a label, I like the term “digicore” better. Particularly when you think of it that there is digi(tal hard)core outside Germany and the label of Alec Empire it would be strange to raise another suggestion. So let me impress you with the following: besides Alec Empire himself, there are only two German acts on this compilation. Fortunately most tracks sound a lot better than what I hear from Digital Hardcore Recordings recently. Alec Empire also discovered this and released the compilation “Don’t Fuck With Us” with American digicore (reviewed here when I get it). Anyway, the projects on this compilation come from Germany and the USA, but also from the UK, Switserland, Japan, the Czech Republic, the Phillipines, Singapore, Brazil, Mexico, Malaysia and South Africa. Speaking of an international compilation, eh? Musically it all pretty much sticks to the digi(tal hard)core sound, but I find it more refreshing than the German sound that mostly slided down to fast sampled breakbeats with always the same samples and screaming chicks. There are a few of these tracks here as well, but also tracks with a more original sound. Surprisingly enough I like most of the tracks, which is really a compliment to the compiler of this cd. (Of course) I didn’t know most of the projects here, actually only Empire and Hyperdriver (see elsewhere).
To those who don’t know what to expect, digicore is a very extreme form of ‘techno’. Not danceble because it’s way too filled/busy for that and too many changes of rhythm (I often find this rather irritating). The sound is often very industrial and noisy with crazy samples. A few tracks here seem to be metal made with computers, rather strange! Several tracks are also darker than I am used to of this kind of music.
All in all a great digicore compilation for those who want to hear something else than the German sound.

v/a * Digital Hardcore – Harder Than The Rest (cd 1995 digital hardcore recordings)

When Atari Teenage Riot assaulted the hitcharts and festivals, digital hardcore had a short peak and the word “digital hardcore” was in the mouth and on the pages of everyone and everything in the music press. Personally I think that Atari Teenage Riot is almost the most boring DHR act, but he, you can’t have everything! When the novelty of ATR was gone, but band lost popularity and also did digital hardcore music. It seems that the scene never really grew much outside the Berlin (ger) region and nowadays you have to search for cds and don’t even have to think about concerts/parties/whatever when you don’t live in Berlin. This is sad, because digital hardcore has left it’s traces, but it seems that a band not on the label, cannot be part of the scene, so nowadays you have a few small scenes with extreme techno.
Anyway, this was the first DHR compilation with almost only great tracks. Back then they mostly were very original and refreshing and the bands hardly sounded alike. ATR themselves are on it, but also Alec Empire alone, Hannin Elias alone, Ec8or, Sonic Subjunkies, Schizuo and Christoph de Babalon. The last contributed two brilliant, but not very extreme drum and bass tracks and later released two not too great cds. Further bands that never really came further than the DHR compilations: Killout Thrash and DJ Bleed.
As said, most tracks are great and this compilation is definately THE digital hardcore classic.

v/a * Digital Hardcore – Riot Zone (cd 1997 digital hardcore recordings)

When this compilation was released, digital hardcore was already on it’s return. Except a few high-flyers this compilation completely stands in the shadow of it’s predecessor. Of course again with Atari Teenage Riot, Alec Empire, Hannin Elias, Ec8or (two brilliant tracks), Schizuo and Christoph de Babalon. This time also Patric C. (the male half of Ec8or), Bomb 20 and DJ Mowgly. I never again heard of the last two.

v/a * Don’t F**k With Us (3cd 2002 digital hardcore recordings)

This is a new compilation on DHR with 35 American bands and 66 tracks in total. Alec Empire came to the conclusion that Berlin is no longer the digital hardcore onderground capital, but the energy moved to America where labels such as D-Thrash release more interesting material than his own DHR. Personally I think the American digicore isn’t much better than the German of nowadays. Also a chaotic mix of samples and rhythms without much rhythm and with screaming vocals. A new ‘trend’ in America seems to be some sort of hysterical metal made on a computer. Here and there is a nice track, but most of the 66 tracks are just average or not even that. There are other digicore compilations from different parts of the world (see elsewhere) that are more interesting. Shamefully DHR is by far not an as interesting label as it was 5 years ago, not even when they release material from aligned scenes.

Lady Aïda * Doppler F Act – The Eclectic Mix Session (cd 2000 dfact)

Hm, I have to think of something to name mix-cds when I want to review techno. This is not a cd of a band named Doppler F Act, but a mix-cd by Lady Aïda. It is also not really a compilation, but I think compilation would be the best description under the circumstances. Another thing about this release is that I am pretty sure that it was released fairly recently, but the booklet does not give a year.
Ah well, onto the review. As said this cd is a mix cd of Lady Aïda. This is one of the leading Dutch techno DJs and founder or the “Rebel Bass” collective with DJs and related artists and who ‘deliver’ DJs and organise “Rebel Bass events”. On the “Doppler F Act” Aïda mixes her usual brand of minimal and experimental techno, electro (in the techno sence of the word) and drum & bass. Not the stuff that you will hear very often and therefor this cd is immediately quite interesting. In my taste not all used tracks are very good or keep my interest for the whole time, but the farther you get on the cd, the harder and the better the tracks get. Overall this is a very nice cd that kind of gives you the idea of what you will get when you get to see Aïda in ‘real life’ some time. The tracks used are mostly from the years around 1995 by the way.
A very nice cd for anyone who is not afraid of experimental techno.

v/a * Dub Nummer Drie (cd 2000 dub/clone)

After the compilation 12″s “Nummer Een” and “Nummer Twee”, the Dutch progressive techno label Dub Recordings comes with the 12″ “Nummer Drie”. Again there is a cd version with much more tracks than on vinyl, so the choice is easy. 12 Tracks and 70 minutes of tranquil experimental techno that since it became relatively popular got different names to identify it. “Electronica”, “cuts and clicks” (after the compilation series on Mille Plateaux from France), “downtempo”/”slowbeat” (the US terms), etc. Even though there is something similar in the USA, they don’t have our Dub-recordings there.
Anyway, if you don’t know this kind of music, it is hard to describe. As said the music is very tranquil, there isn’t really melody in it, but some clear tunes for the atmosphere. Most stress is on the vague rhythms/beats that aren’t regular or danceble, but also no “breakbeats” or “drum’n’bass rhythms”, but cut-up beats that will drive most people mad. If you know Aphex Twin should be able to get an idea of what we have here, but Aphex goes 3 steps further in madness and idioticy.
I think most tracks sound a bit too much like the best-known project “Funckarma” (they are on the cd, but not on the 12″!, also see their cds above). Also I prefer some more energetic and harder form of this music (like Squarepusher or some Aphex), but this is quite enjoyable as background music, but again, most people will get very nervous when listening to this.

Light Hazard | Fennesz | Biosphere (cd 2001 touch)

A compilation mcd on Touch showing the ambient side of so called “electronica” music. There is one track from Hazard and I am pretty sure that this is the same Hazard who used to release music under the names Morthond/Morthound on Cold Meat Industry about 10 years ago. Their track starts ambient, but later there is some soft rhythm. The second track is of Fennesz (also see cd reviewed elsewhere) also with an ambient track with a weird rhythm. The best-known act Biosphere could contribute two tracks to this 26 minute compilation and of course this is also ambient with strange rhythms.
I don’t like this ambient electronica too much. It is too monotous for me and nothing really happens. The digipack is beautiful though.

v/a * Masonic (cd 2003 hymnen records)

And here we have proof that the closing question of my N-Vitral review cannot be answered with a “yes”. “Masonic” is the name of a 4×12″ compilation which was also released on 2cd. Basically it is a techno compilation, but it is also sold in the industrial scene. Musically it shows a wide range of techno(ish) sounds, giving a nice overview of what is available. From the electro-sounds (in the ‘techno explanation’) of Bochum Welt and soft “intelligent dance music” of Funkstörung to drum and bass, hard techno like that of Venetian Squares or danceble industrial of bands like Imminent, Gridlock or Substanz T. The compilation is not overall brilliant, but there certainly are great tracks on it and the majority is enjoyable enough. Both for industrial and techno lovers!

v/a * No More Rock And Roll (cd 2001 make some noise)

Actually this is a compilation with the idea that I had for these pages. Extreme techno from different scenes on one disc. However the line-up is very interesting, the result is less interesting. There are digital hardcore bands to be found, like Bomb20, Atari Teenage Riot, Cobra Killer. also there are more ‘serious’ techno acts like Hellfish, 2nd Gen and Kid606. Then a bunch of bands that I didn’t know. Unfortunately the digital hardcore bands’ contributions confirmed my idea that this scene has a lack of inspiration. It is still sampled breakbeats and a lot of unnecessary experimentalism like it got just after the hype began. By far the best tracks are those of the three mentioned ‘serious’ techno acts, which are all three quite hard, actually harder than the rest! In general it all isn’t too extreme.
The idea is there, but it could have been so much better.