Back in the day…..

I’m going to be indulgent with this post. I’ve decided to have a little retrospective on the first two albums I bought with my own hard-earned cash. Next week I think I’ll talk about “Black Sands” by the Leicester-based Mage, that album’s a stormer. The next few months are looking pretty good, July should see Catastrophe Noise release what looks to be a stomper of an album, Internal Conflict should be ponying up the goods soon and there’s rumours that Zombina will have a new album later in the year. If that comes to pass, I will be a very happy potato indeed.

Anyway, onwards with the backwise!

So, when I was fifteen or so, I was living in the horrible “new town” of Telford. With shit all to do, I started to drift away from the Sega Mega-CD and more into music. What with Kerrrang! magazine and T-shirts a-plenty, it seemed to be a more interesting, and alive, world to dig around. Although Kerrrang was basically Smash Hits with tattoos (that’s exactly what it was, at that time the mags shared an editor) it was damn handy as it often had free sampler tapes stuck to the front. Yes. Tapes. Free CDs would be along in 18 months or so, spear-headed by Metal Hammer. A better mag, really, with noiser stuff on the free discs. But. Me digress. So, through reading the interviews, hearing the free tracks I was faced with two obvious truths. One, I needed to buy as much music as possible, and sadly this meant two, I had to get a goddam paper-round.

Let’s not get into the mire of the paper-round just yet, let’s have a musical interlude! The first album I bought with my pennies was Korn “Life Is Peachy”. This album seems to be much maligned and I don’t know why. Sure, it didn’t have the bag-peeps of the first album but it did have this. It also, to my mind, runs from start to finish in a more coherent way than the debut. I always liked the dark, sludgy feel the album has and drumming is awesome. I tended to listen to this album at the start and end of my round. Which, by the way, was around four damn miles long. And on those days when I got a puncture? Gah. Still, it was all for the music and my route also took me past the Big Breakfast house. Really. I guess the biggest track off this was probably A.D.I.D.A.S. but that was never really one of my favourites. I liked all the wierd little tracks, like Chi. This track is fucking cool, it demonstrates how inventive Korn really were. The creepy little guitar accents set up a nice crooked atmosphere and, I feel, truly show hip-hop and metal cross-pollinating as they sound like the keyboards you get on rap from this era, stuff like Cypress Hill, and The D.O.C. Last one from this album, Ass Itch. Stupid title, great chorus. All in all, it’s a shame they became a rock band, really. Oh well.

Right. The next one is a treat. Type O Negative “October Rust”. Ah, the glee on my stupid, pudgy face when I finally got my own copy of this! There was none of yer MP3.coms back then, sonny, you had ramble for your tunes and dig then out the dirt. Or, at least, out of the shelves of the local music shop, which had Telford’s finest (only) selection of metal and punk and the owner always had a pint on the go. Always. I remember the Headbanger’s Ball Type O special on MTV, they did Cinnamon Girl live, top stuff. I’m sure my teenage brain thought Type O were straight-up “proper” Goth, but listening to them now it’s like someone gave The Smiths a load of Bathory albums, sexual confidence and a slot on an underwater gig billing. And yes, the comparison can be drawn, as both bands have the same self-aware, sardonic wit. Pete Steele was never given enough credit for his sense of humour. I remember people laying into him for being sexist due to some of the lyrics of his previous band, Carnivore. Did you ever consider that he might be winding you up? Type O’s first album was called “Origin Of The Feces”, “October Rust” had a label saying “Product Of Vinnland”…it also produced this awesome single, with an awesome video…”My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend”…yes, the phrase “meat triangle” really is that amusing. I used to like sticking this on when it was snowing, cycling through the dark, thinking I really “knew” stuff that the “others” didn’t. Ha ha! What a little idiot. Anyway, listen to this and give thanks to Pete Steele, truly, he was a dude.

Right, that’s my little ramble done. I might have to revisit this era, there’s loads of stuff I didn’t get in, like Pist.On, NY Loose and the truly brilliant Kerbdog. Although, to be fair, Kerbdog will just get an entry all to themselves.

See ya!

Thursday is Friday’s Friday….

There’s been a lot of random songs popping in to Brain FM this week, including Dire Straits and Simply fucking Red. One of the calibration programs I use at work is called “Overseer”, every time I work on those units I get KRS-One looping in my head….but some really odd choices have popped up, tracks I haven’t listened to in years. Like Stuck Mojo "Animal". That track was off the “Pigwalk” album, probably my favourite of theirs, and who’s that doing back-up vocals on the chorus? Why, it’s Devin Townsend…how did they manage that?… he produced the album. I quite like Stuck Mojo but sometimes Bonz annoys me by constantly going on about not being accepted by the music industry, once you’ve released an album through Century Media produced by Devin Townsend, there’s not much more the industry can do for you, you have to fly on your talent after that. Saying that, this track is a stormer.

Also, apropo of fuck all, I got this in my noggin, Entombed. One of the geezers from Entombed went on to form the Hellacopters. Truly, Scandanavia rocks seven shades of snow.

Final bit of fluff in the tumble-dryer is this.It’s listed as Tura Satana, but this is Tarrie B’s first successful band, Manhole. To be fair, it’s pretty bollocks. It’s like a RATM B-side with a Snoop impersonator doing vocals, and yet, it does get the toe tapping. I’m not a huge fan of Tarrie, I’m more of an Aimee Echo guy, but that’s the way Brain FM plays….

Right, let’s don the less flippant hats and talk about music all serious, like. You know when you get introduced to an awesome band that you find out are dead? Yeah, here’s Miocene. I found these through Robin Fencott via his friend Miss HB. There’s really not much I can say that really matters here, just listen to them. Track down the “A Perfect Life With A View Of The Swamp” album and GO!. That album has made it on to my “three-times-a-day” playlist, along with the Descendent’s first album and Wire’s “Pink Flag”. I really don’t want to talk around the music too much here, it bears listening to from start to finish but the best capsule description I could give is that it’s like Tool, interspersed with breaks that remind me of stuff like DJ Acucrack and Generation X-eD, but with some of the emotional feel of things like Fugazi.

Ok, let’s round up…so, the Spring/Summer is sort of here. The British Summer is like a lighter that’s nearly out, it will light your cig but it will tease you with a few false starts beforehand. The sun always get me on the NOFX and Bad Religion, but also the American hardcore that I love.
 Special mention should go to Big Boys, a band out of Texas in the early eighties fronted by an openly gay black guy. Now that’s balls.

Right, that’s it for now, kids, I’ll try to get on top of this, ‘cos I don’t post as much as I listen!

Been a Long time Coming….

It’s been a good ol’ while since I updated, but hey, let’s start again….

Right, so, what do I have to show? Firstly this, that’s Opensight, find them, and pay for the music. Classic metal, beautiful construction and Ivan is a great vocalist, not many people can sing like that….

Wasn’t that pretty, kids? Well, this isn’t….that’s Petrol Bastard. I love these guys, musically they’re like a mix of Ultraviolence and Nasenbluten, but lyrically, they’re closer to The Exploited and The Macc Lads, glorious nonsense!

Now that the new stuff is out of the way, I shall indulge…

Zombina & The Skeletones…

I love Zombina, up there with the Ramones and The Descendents as a band I listen to over and over again…

There isn’t so much Zombina stuff on YouTube, but there’s all of it here, I’d start with the “Mondo Zombina" EP, then move on to their master-work…
 ”Death Valley High"….what can I say about this album? It’s a little film, if you liked the movie "Jawbreaker", you’ll like this album. Zombina really show what they do and how far they can push it on this, I’ve been known to listen to this album three or more times a day. It’s a perfect blend of punk, rock n roll and doo-wop

Anyway, Zombina are fucking awesome, they’re in the studio getting a new album ready for release this year, fingers-crossed for a tour, in their home town of Liverpool they run rockabilly/psychobilly nights and if you dig around bandcamp, you can find the stuff by the guitarist and founding member, under the name “El-Toro!” They give a lot away for free, so just buy the damn stuff! I can’t help but feel that the makers of that cartoon “Monster High” missed a trick by not having THIS as the theme tune…

right, that’s the end of my first update in months, I’ll leave you with this

New-fangled Internet music….


First post of the new year, and aren’t things different in the heady world of 2013? Really feels like “The Future” all of a sudden….well, maybe not….feels like another bloody January, but screw all that, let’s listen to some tunes!

I’m going to spend this post discussing a few bands and producers I’ve found online, some of which you should give money to, others who will give you tunes for free. So, without further ado….

Enos The Chimp, I suppose you could call this “space-rock”, but I’ve never thought that term means anything, it’s not even very descriptive. So, throw that out. I really like this band, musically they are in the same area as Black Sabbath or Pink Floyd, very layered, dense but there’s also traces of bands like Cathedral and Orange Goblin. The title track of the “All Too Human” album is a storming track, that had me hooked as soon as I heard it, it must be like thunder live! The production is good too, tight but just rough enough to avoid sterility. All-in-all, these guys are worth your time, and some of your money!

Next up is the awesome Gurt. It’s the “Redwin” album I’ve got and goddam do I love it! It’s like Iron Monkey never went away, it’s like Crowbar filtered through British concrete. When I bought this album, I spent the weekend walking around London listening to it on loop, it’s really enigmatic and compelling. Everything hangs together just so. Fucking brilliant. “Redwin” can be yours for a quid, so there’s no excuse.

Ok, sticking with BandCamp but changing styles……dubstep….now, I’m not really a fan of dubstep, but I do like the odd artist. So, the first offering is from Da Octopusss. I just kind of stumbled upon this guy, the album artwork grabbed me so I thought I’d give it a little listen. This is the sort of dubstep that I think is more like hard-edged electro, like Daft Punk or Justice put in a jar of piss and rusty nails, shaken up and enjoyed on the veranda of the gas-works. The production in pin-sharp on most of these tunes, some pretty swinging hook-lines on the go, too. I like this cheeky groover, The 8th Day, mostly for the ragged robot voice saying    “..leave me no choice…”. Yeah, I’m a sucker for robots that sound like they are in full-on Lament Mode.

Right, that’s enough actual “tunes” and “melody”, time for one of my favourite BandCamp artists….the crushing, distorted-as-all-get-out, Chaos Royale. So yeah, I don’t really like dubstep all that much but that’s ok, because Chaos Royale at times is closer to white noise than anything else. Disco-time favourites are not his forte. The album is just seven shades of screaming hell, and I love it. It’s great for blocking out, not only the world around you, but most of your own pointless internal chatter. If it was wine, then this music would be “robust” with both overtones and undertones that demand, DEMAND attention. I’ll finish with a link to one of the more danceable tunes……this little beast.

So, all of the above are available to buy on BandCamp, so go and buy the damn stuff, it’s not expensive and these guys deserve a little reward for getting off their arses and making something.

However…..if you really are dedicated to not buying music, and you’re also dedicated to gabber, terror and speedcore…then you really need to go visit the geezers over at Viral Conspiracy Records. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks digging around this site, verily, ‘tis awesome. There’s some kicking tracks by established producers like Shadowcore, Matt Green and DJ Freak. All free. There’s stuff by Psychosis Disorder. Free. And then there’s this, an unbelievable eighteen-minute epic by Freethinker, using Dead Can Dance samples. It’s fucking awesome. And it’s free, it’s goddam free!

Thank you internet, you’re my robot friend of musical wonder.

and porn.

It’s Like A Smoothie….

I was talking to someone recently about punk and the stuff you listened to in the nineties. During the course of a fairly frothy, lightweight chit-chat, they drop the phrase;

"of course, I used to love Green Day before they went commercial…"

That got me spidey-senses tingling and all my hackles were up and pointing at YOU, buddy! What does that mean, “before they went commercial”? THAT’S ALL GREEN DAY EVER WERE! I’m not trying to denigrate tham for it, I like Green Day, especially Insomniac which I think was under-rated. BUT. It did get me thinking, Green Day are a really good example of a band that represent the more accessable, commercial, marketable end of a genre.For instance, we have the Green Day of D’n’B, namely Pendulum, and the Green Day of Psycho-Billy, The Horror-Pops, who I quite like. Not a bad thing per se, because rare is the child that goes from their parent’s Fleetwood Mac albums to GBH. Everyone that ever got into any music got there through routes that they’d later deny. However, sometimes it’s interesting to view it in retrospect…so, ladies and gentlemen…I present….


What this device allows us to do is simplify and compress music history to a point where it becomes Reductio Ad Absurdum, but it is fun…..

So let’s start by dropping Laibach, a band I’ve been listening to a helluva lot this week into the GD Filter….I chose this and it comes out as…..Rammstein….

Ok, so…what next……Buzzcocks….gives us Ash, who, again, I like.

If you drop both this and this in together, you get this….not as good as the sources, to be honest, but there you go….

What happens if you drop a stone-cold classic in ?, well, this….sometimes it’s class all the way…

Strange things can be acheived with the patented GD Filter, for example, simply take one Bay City Rollers, drop it in and press “SCREW” and you’ll get THIS! If you don’t believe me, go and read up on who the Ramones wanted to sound like when they first started. Also, it works the other way. Observe this becoming this total monstrosity.

Now, I think y’all show play with the Green Day Filter yourselves, but the final question is surely;

"What happens if you put Green Day through the GDF?"

Well, let’s find out….oh it becomes this. What if you put that back in? This.


Jessie’s Diets…

I’m going to start doing this more regularly but I’m changing the format. I tend to listen to lots of different stuff and I don’t want to be pinned by overly formal write-ups of one artist or genre, sooo……..

This week I ‘ar been mostly listening to…..

Raised Fist, for starters. I love this band, Sweden has turned out some kickin’ punk and hardcore over the years, mostly through Burning Heart Recs, the Scandinavian Factory as far as I’m concerned. Raised Fist are frickin’ awesome for several reasons, mostly stuff like this, but also the fact that you can get a bit-torrent of their entire back catalogue, with the band’s blessing. As they said themselves

"sharing is caring"

I just wish, WISH they would tour again….imagine a pit, with this as the background!

Anyway, after the brutal chill of Swedish hardcore, let’s get some warmth in our bones with some mental American metal. The charmingly named Pissing Razors were a band that, frankly, should have been bigger. Try fucking with this. You can’t, can you? There’s not much to say, really. It’s just straight-up metal, you gets whats ya pay for!

Mid-Nineties industrial metal has been doing the rounds in my MP3 player this week, to the point where I might have to do a dedicated post. Dance music fans, at this point, wind yer necks in, I’ll deal with the new dance stuff at the end. In the meantime…PRONG!

Prong were fucking brilliant, perfectly walking the line twixt Ministry and Maiden. It really is just blues-based metal but with a dirty, sludgey edge that makes it all feel a bit unsavoury. My mum’s not a fan. “Snap Your Fingers….” that used to be a staple at industrial nights, I think it counts as one of your “Five Rivets A Day”, so get it down ya! They did expand beyond themselves, for example, the brilliant, brilliant “Rude Awakening”. At this point they were more like Faith No More without any sense of hope for a better tomorrow, great stuff. A band that needs to not be lost in the mists of time.

Ok, Tanz-Musik….let’s bridge the gap with this cheeky treat. That’s Rhys Fulber of Front Line Assembly on production, look him up, you won’t be disappointed. As far as dance goes, this week has been all about the bounce and oldskool gabber.

I love bounce because it’s like a Spaniel, stupid but so enthusiastic that you can’t help but start grinning and jumping around yourself. We’re getting to the point where there will eventually be a bounce mix of every song ever recorded. Here’s my pick of the bunch…..DJ Ransome turns out some wicked remixes, and this is no exception, pitched-up, you have the hard off-set bass and a sweet vocal break-down that can inject a bit of energy mid-set. Make ‘em gag for more! Next up is this stormer from Rikki Grey, Jesus, this kicks hard. Rikki Grey has done so many good tracks but this just blew me away!

Right, kids, stop reading this shit and get out there and find something that makes you realise you never really understood music until you heard THAT track! I’ll be back next week with some more bollocks!

Crispy Battered

I ain’t done this for a while, life’s been a bit mental. Maybe I can get back into the groove…

So here we go, an actual living legend and, for my money, one of the most important producers in the history of hard dance. Jon Bell AKA Captain Tinrib has been the driving force behind the label, tunes and events which knocked the UK dance scene up a notch and left it there, starting in the mid-nineties as DR Base on his own Tinrib label he brought a massive sound and hard-edged funk to dancefloors which would later mutate into the Hard House sound of the millenial era and dominate clubland for a glorious few years. At this point you’ll hear a lot of voices shouting out

“nah mate, it’s Tony De Vit you want..”

but which came first, the Tony or the Rib? It’s a pointless question as it’s not one or the other. You idiot. I think that Tony De Vit was important mostly for showing club owners and promoters that the Nu-NRG sound may have been a “minority” interest but it could fill huge venues like Turnmills week after week and engendered a loyal base of punters, whereas Tinrib showed that the tunes didn’t have to be kiddy-candy nonsense and could have a bit of edge but still feel deeply groovy.

Like De Vit, Tinrib’s sound first found acceptance on mostly Gay dancefloors, which are always seeking to push the weekend harder and harder, given that you can’t actually make it longer. However, the Tinrib sound spread through the underground scene like ice through water-pipes, and it’s no wonder…the early Tinrib tracks really are like early acid or hardcore but with far greater mass, deeper textures, nicer, darker corners to get lost in.

The Tinrib sound is ascribed to the “Tinribizer”, which may well be an actual magic machine somewhere that ramps up tunes or it may simply be a romanticisation of clever production and cutting techniques, it doesn’t matter where it comes from but where it takes you. And this is why I still love Tinrib, the production on these tunes is huge, volumous not in the sense of “Jolley hockey-sticks that’s loud”, more like “you’ll need a bigger van, Guv”. Heard live they fill every corner of the venue, totally saturating you inside and out.  They still have this effect and still fit into contemporary sets despite the fact that many of Tinrib’s signature tracks are getting on for 15 years old. Not many producers turn out stuff with that staying power, the aforementioned De Vit being one of the few others and Liam Howlett from the Prodigy another.

Jon Bell, as well as treating us to his own creations also did us the service of concreting a gaggle of other, now legendary, producers including Karim, RR Fierce and Weirdo. John Newell, AKA RR Fierce along with many other production names is sadly no longer with us, dying in 2001. His productions are almost all solid gold stompers, including Miloude and Yamamba among others. For me though, his name will always live on, through the truly immense Street Tab, a co-production with Cpt Tinrib and released through the Tinrib label.

I was blown away by this tune when I first heard it, it’s so stripped down, so basic and simple but the production is damn near perfect. Each element sits just right in the mix, never giving away too much but never withholding so much that you get deflated, you just want it to keep going.

The beat is a low, murky growl but, along with bassline, possesses real dark funk to it. The wah-wah style synth adds a sense of panic pulling your attention into focus and adding a vital impulse while the bionic clatter in the background starts talking to you. Heard at 4 in the morning this tune is scary but exhilarating, you’re sure the DJ is trying to kill you but you’re up for the challenge anyway. One hell of a tune.

I’ve focused here on the early half of Tinrib’s career, as I think that anyone just coming into the Hard House/ NRG scene needs to hear this stuff as it really is seminal work, the threads of the Tinrib sound can be found woven all through the modern scene, it’s good to see where they came from. And be blown away by tracks made in 1997 that haven’t lost anything with time.

From 2001 to 2007 we’ve seen Tinrib team up with Paul Glazby, Dynamic Intervention and Max Alien among others to give us a few choice slices of NRG, released through Glazby’s Vicious Circle and Tidy Trax. I like The Great Gatsby  and Acid Gate Scandal myself.

Captain Tinrib. He gave us the chance to dance on a wangy floor at The Fridge in Brixton, he gave us Karim, RR Fierce and Weirdo, he gave us a vital holding pin in the Hard House sculpture, he also gave us the chance to see amazing shirts under disco lighting,



Wod-C is Ashley O’Brien, a hard-bass producer and DJ from Chester, England and he’s one of my favourite DJs as his output is absolutely storming.

“Storming like how?” you say…

storming like this.

First things first, although hard-bass is associated with donk, it really is different enough to deserve its own stall at the dance music country fare. Hard-bass is a lot harder, dirtier and more vital than your typical donk and sounds far colder and more desolate. Technically the difference comes through the production used, which in hard-bass is drier, using different decay rates on the off-set bass stab and flatter layering which gives a sparser feel and sounds like machinery being hit with a massive spanner in an abandoned factory. This is mostly because the hard-bass sound is modelled on Russian productions, which were originally all made using the “metal” or “tube” effect on shitty old keyboards which was then given an echo effect.

Anyway…Wod-c’s own productions never let me down, they’re fast and nasty but always a bit cheeky, for example The Prisoner. This track demonstrates why I love this guy, hard as nails but always maintaining an ugly funk, the tune rocks along with a grinding feel then he cuts to the spasmodic bass hits that I love the style for; at times the rhythms are downright tribal. That link up there is for, so you’ve no excuse for not getting your own copy of this cheeky little number.

And while we’re speaking of no excuses, follow this clicky-click to get hold of “Interference” for FREE, yes, free. Surprise, surprise, it’s a naughty little banger. Interference is more straight-down-line Russian-style hard-bass, which reminds me of the stuff on Jutonish records like Silent Hunter. I reckon this tune would make a good set opener, it would certainly make your intentions clear.

While you’re on Soundcloud, check out Wod-c’s mixes. The first “Say Goodbye To Your Face” mix used to be available for download, it’s not now so get ready to cry some bitter, bitter tears because…. my… god..this set is absolutely slamming, it sounds like it’s been beamed back from the future. It sounds like it just shouldn’t exist in our world, like there’s been a clerical error in reality and it dropped through a crack in the universe. I’ve never heard anything like this before - sure, I’ve heard the elements before, but never all in the same place at once and hammered together to create such a whip-stitched zombie of music. Whilst the set is ‘ard as nails it maintains a really dirty groove throughout, like eating a handful of Smarties mixed with popping candy and broken glass. This set definitely doesn’t fuck around and it doesn’t quit.

Which is about as good a description of Wod-C as you’re likely to get.

Just Decide On A Version Already!

I haven’t updated in a while as my life has gone a bit FUBAR, but I decided that seeing as I can’t afford an actual holiday, I may as well have a little musical one. So I decided an easy and fun subject would be cracking remixes of tunes. As a child I used to be mystified by all the different mixes of tracks;

"which one is supposed to be the ACTUAL song?"

I would think to myself, not quite getting it because kids know nothing. Once I started to go to clubs and then DJ, I got it. Good remixes are awesome because they pick the best hooks and lyrics from a track and present them in a totally different context, allowing you to respond to something familiar in a new way. The roots of remixes are lost in the murky world Jamaician sheebeens and later, New York clubland, where DJs wanted discs that extended breaks or rhythm sections to keep a good beat going and allow for mixing styles that built new tracks, in the mix, and made them look like right smart-arses. But let’s not get too much into that, let’s get into some tunes.

I’m going to start with Nevins & Run DMC, because I could do with listening to something uplifting. Now, the original is a cool tune, but the Nevins mix takes the cool lyrics, ramps up the kick and gives the whole shindig the energy to really throw the message across. Or gives you something rockin’ to dance to. The answer is both. It sounds awesome in a club, really warm and round. I still love it now.

Next, Hard-Fi’s Hard To Beat, the Axwell mix. I love this re-work. Love it. They way the vocals are handled is sublime, the looped sample sits in the mix perfectly and sounds great coming in on a long mix. The synths in the background punctuate the verse melody nicely, lifting it all up, like a Pet Shop Boys track gone right. The fades, delays and sweeps between the vocals and synths create a great swirl that really pulls people in.

Let’s darken things up a bit. The Spacefrog mix of Front 242’s Headhunter should suffice. Takes me back this one, it’s inspired many a sweaty-faced grin. I’ve never grown tired of hearing this, it’s brilliant. It’s a through-and-through dance track, with off-set bass and everything but my God it’s sinister. There’s a great counter-play between the rounded, heavy percussion and the oh-so-pointy synth loops, does funny things to your noggin at the right time of the night. It’s not quite EBM, not quite Coldwave, not quite straight-up dance, but we love it because it’s a glamourous freak.

Let’s just chill out a bit…Milk. This is the Rabbit In The Moon mix. I bought the album this is on years ago, not quite sure what I was going to get. What I got was a load of clever remixes of indie tunes. The backing track on this reminds me of really old Tresor tekno, or some of the Force Inc stuff, but friendlier. RITM are the duvet rather than the wrought-iron frame.

That was nice wasn’t it? Well, this isn’t. This mix of Marilyn Manson’s Beautiful People turned up on the second disc to the single release. I guess the world wasn’t ready for it, because the world doesn’t seem to remember it…but I do. You really need to run this through a decent set-up to get the best out of the drum-loop, go on, it’s worth it. I used to love dropping this at Autonomy, as it used to confuse the shit out of the pay-trons. Ah…happier times.

Whilst we’re wallowing in my teen years, stick this in your waffle-pipe. Fear Factory’s Demanufacture as warped by Rhys Fulber. Another one I used to play at Autonomy, worth it for getting the curmudgeonly metallers onto the dancefloor. Why were they so annoyed that they had to hear beats based music at a night that specifically states that as it’s intent? Bah!

I bought the single of Metallica’s Until It Sleeps when it was released, and what did I find stuck to its moist underside? A frankly mental version of the main event. It’s nigh on impossible to dance to but it did lead to the hilarious rumour that James Hetfield was so offended by his song being mangled that he threw the DATs out the window. I wonder if he’s pissed off at people file-sharing this one? It will never go away now!

Right, I’m going to wrap this ramshackle article up with a bit of schranz and a bit of gabba.

For the schranz-inclined, we have Felix Kroecher with Every Me Every You. It seems that Felix has dedicated himself to doing a schranz work-over of every song ever recorded, but this is the one I like most. It does what I want schranz to do, it does what I want a remix to do and even makes me like Placebo a bit. Nice work, sir!

For the gabbers, we have Adrenokrome with the fantastic Teen Spirit. Now, it’s worth taking a quick side-step to point out that this tune is from the sub-sub genre of Frenchcore. I know what you’re thinking;

"but surely that kick sound has Smurf GGM written all over it?”

it does have a very similar clipped punch (worth remembering that for any Anglo-Gallic mixing action) but the Frenchcore tag came about because the French gabba producers tend to turn out stuff with a very specific sound and feel, seek out Micropoint for more details. I would go on about the various splinters of gabba but I think that deserves its own article, and besides which I’m just rambling now.


Lieben das Thumpin!

Nordcore G.M.B.H, true behemoths of hard-as-you-like dance. “The ‘Core” or “Das Nords” as no-one calls them, were a group of German gabba producers mostly active in the mid-to-late nineties, and associated with The Box club, Hamburg.Their name comes from the German for North, (and I imagine they use Nord synths) and also, the G.M.B.H is a postfix which denotes a business or company in Germany, although in this case it also stands for Gabba Mutants Gang Hamburg - see what they did there?

The Nordcore sound is best described as heavy. Really heavy, like “did someone just drop a tractor?” heavy. And I don’t mean in the way Motorhead are heavy, Nordcore aren’t just a screaming wall of distorted noise, they’re more subtle than that and more pernicious. The bass and kicks in an average Nordcore track have a really weighty feel, they almost have a mass and are so low-slung it’s like someone made a puppet show out of granite. On a decent sound system the beats come at you through the floor and walls. Get a load of it on this early track which has become a classic of German gabba.

The pounding of the beat is nicely counter-pointed by the synth washes that are Nordcore’s hallmark. At times they refer to themselves as Gabba-Trance, which is a fair description as long as you keep in mind that it’s trance of a seriously dark and sinister sort. The best of their tracks are almost cinematic in the depth of atmosphere they create, grandiose in a very Teutonic way it’s like Hyno goes hardcore. Stripped of the beat, a lot of these songs would have a similar ethos to Tangerine Dream or Kraftwerk, endlessly looping, inhuman sounds designed to create a sense of cold isolation. Personally, I found they make an excellent backing track for the Doom games.

A good example of the more developed Nordcore sound is Stairway To Hell, one of the first of their tunes I heard and one that blew me away simply because it was so different to the upfront buzzy bass of the Dutch gabba, but cleaner and sharper than most British producers.Stairway… is an enveloping tune, the synths swirl around and pull you into the world Nordcore have created.

Despite the predilection for creating beautifully atmospheric terror, Lord Nord and crew always have at least one eye on the dancefloor, making some more straight up and down gabba tracks; witness No More Happy Hartcore a mission statement for sure and one hell of a noisy bag of spanners.

And then there’s the downright aggressively weird…..Dexosed….a track which seems to be less of an attempt to rally the dancefloor and more a challenge to your gabba dedication. It’s like they invited a metal-saw to piss around with some sequencers. Dexosed is grinding, doesn’t like you very much and is fucking brilliant. I can’t wait until Basshunter gets around to remixing this then realises just how ironic his name really is. I suspect Marcos Hartmann is behind this one as he made productions under many names (Quindoors, Liquidator etc) which were all a little hat-stand.

There is an official Nordcore website  but it doesn’t seem to have been updated for years, it’s still well worth a visit though as you can download some pretty vicious mixes, I like the DJ Stahlin and Xenomorph ones. Dig around your local vinyl shop and look out for stuff on the label Hartplastik, as stuff by various members of Nordcore tends to turn up there.

In the meantime you can track down the various Terrordrome compilation CDs, they’re not hard to find and well worth the money. Volume seven, the one with Chucky on the front, has a mix CD shaped like a buzzsaw blade which is awesome for cleaning out your PC disc-drive with. Get the tunes and some decent subs and you can even turn milk into butter with the pounding, pounding beats of the mighty Nordcore!