2010

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10 Years of DJ Terminates Here – 2010

2010 had a surprisingly sedate opening, only woken up by a stag party (OK, ‘Gentleman’s Tour of Historic Public Houses’) at the end of January. Up until that point, I had no inkling it would be the most eventful year of my life so far. But then absolutely everything took off. Including the Djing. Finally I was ready to graduate from the ABBS and get some live sets in elsewhere. And that stag party was the precursor to one of them.

It Was Me, Waiting For Me, Hoping For Something More

A couple of weeks later and I was Djing at the wedding party, alongside Cowlin and scene veteran Martin Oldgoth. Being the token ‘not goth’ DJ essentially meant one darkwave set, one EBM set and one metal set. It all went down quite well until someone came up to me in the middle of SOAD’s “Chop Suey” and asks “Can you play MORE Crüxshadows please?” (having long since delivered the full length version of “Winterborn”).

My response was something like “Sorry, there’s no way I can fit that into what I’m doing right now”. This comment got passed on and mangled by the increasingly drunken attendees into “he told her to fuck off”. No long term ramifications, but it proves how utterly thankless the job of Djing can be sometimes, and how unfeasible some people’s expectations can be. At least the newlyweds were grateful.

As for my own ‘love life’, well, I won’t cover those details here, but it was around this time that I found myself in one of those ‘seemed like a good idea at the time’ relationships that ultimately, well, wasn’t. Somewhere amidst the confusion, I found myself back at the Dome Djing at the March ABBS, this time alongside DJ Scott McMahon. We didn’t know it at the time, but this would be a DJ partnership that would last right through to the present day. For now though, I got my first go at Djing ‘proper goth’ (as some like to call it) on a ‘if I don’t, no-one will’ basis.

The events between this and my next “live set” four months later would be worth a chapter of their own if this was a conventional autobiography. But it isn’t, and even if it was, it’s not a story I really feel like telling in full, now or in the future. The only DJ Terminates Here action during this period was a pre-recorded hour of music for a Mittelalter night held at the Zeitgeist pub in Vauxhall. A good attendance for a style only of marginal interest in the UK, but how much of that was down to the popularity of the venue at the time, and how much of it was down to the music?

Never Say Never ‘Cause I’ll Do It Again

I returned to real Djing in July with a one-time ‘Sunday Afternoon’ event in the London Stone pub. I’d arranged to start relatively late, due to having moved house the previous day and also due to my plan to watch the British Grand Prix at the Haymarket Sports Bar first. And mid-race I get a phone call, barely audible amongst the background noise. Turns out that as the venue was opening especially for us, it was locked up until the scheduled start time, with the DJ kit not wired in. Why they rang me, when I was obviously distracted and over a mile away, is a mystery.

Still, I set off the moment Red Bull’s ‘Number 2 Driver’ had received his congratulatory face-full of chessboard. Two buses and thirty minutes and I was there. The event itself went quite well, despite the delayed start. The gothic-themed pub quiz was fun, whilst Scott, Robert, myself and guest DJX (from Tanz Macabre) covered all bases music-wise. I had a lot of fun with my final set in particular, ending with covers of the Pac-Man theme and Popcorn.

It was at this point that I caught the attention of another promoter (who, given the following paragraphs, is best left unnamed here), who ran a Depeche Mode night (‘Black Celebration’ the too-obvious name) at the Elixir bar, and was on the lookout for new DJs. I gave a verbal agreement there and then, before returning my far-too-exciting life away from the DJ booth. Which I’m not writing about, see?

Whatever You’ve Planned For Me – I’m Not The One

I was originally due to play said Mode night in September but my debut was brought forward by a month due to a lack of other available and willing DJs. That should have been a warning. The August event actually went quite well, though. With little guidance from the promoter (who was outside smoking most of the time), my early set combined early Mode material with various minimal synth and old-school EBM tracks, with a second set later packing in most of the hits. Bit surprised that Yazoo cleared the floor, given it was Vince in his immediate post-Mode phase, but felt like a good event, let down only by the fact that my partner at the time (and Mode fanatic) was visiting family in Germany and couldn’t attend.

I wasn’t too worried as we’d get to right that wrong a month later. Sure enough, we had a bigger crowd next time out, with Electric Dreams veteran Paul Alan joining me in the DJ booth. With both of us on hand, we shouldn’t have needed any assistance. But the promoter had other ideas – when not outside getting her nicotine fix, she was switching DJs, letting her friends play sets, taking over the booth whenever she pleased and taking over the music policy as it suited her, acting like it was her own private party (it wasn’t). Having got a 101-style singalong going to “Everything Counts”, I was aghast when she insisted playing her boyfriend’s sub-Rammstein-style metal band, not only clearing the floor but leaving me at least two mixes away from playing any more Mode.

The only upside to this was that I used Skinny Puppy’s ‘Smothered Hope’ as one of my ‘rescue tracks’, finally getting this critical band into a Terminates Here set. It was on the night bus home that I began to think that there must be quite a few other bands I’d never played in a DJ set but should do at some point, and doodled a list in a notebook that would later chart the course of my Djing directions (plural intended) from here. As for the event and the promoter, I never heard from either again, and I hope it doesn’t jeopardise my commitment to the health of scene events if I said “Good Riddance” in this case.

And I’m Not From Heaven Sent – I’m Not Holy Just Like You

Unfortunately, 2010 was all downhill from here. An increasingly busy time in the day job, second breakup of the year and I was just too emotionally exhausted to feel anything any more. A four DJ line-up at the October ABBS (with Ashleigh, aka “Miss Jade” joining Scott Robert and myself) made my life easy that day. Other than making my attempt to support local acts by getting System:FX into my ‘industrial’ set, I pretty much sleepwalked this one.

A second running of the pre-recorded ‘Mittelalter’ night in late October saw an expanded “pre-J” lineup, with me now able to focus on my speciality of synth-enhanced medieval (yes, that is a thing), but ultimately we focused too much on the technicalities of assembling the sets and not enough in making the event go with a bang. The night itself was well-attended and well-received, but some of the venue staff didn’t want us there and that was the end of that.

By the time of the December ABBS, I was ready just to wind down to Christmas. Fate decreed that such a luxury would not be afforded at this time, with family members stranded overseas due to heavy snow and a major project starting up at work, but the DJ set here was quite a lot of fun, with Scott now established as ‘regular’ and James Black of ‘Black n Beard’ radio as today’s guest. I didn’t really get into the Christmas spirit as much as I could have done, but my closing-hour synthpop set was sufficiently rollicking to bring my DJ year to a close.

Onto 2011….

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Various – Swedish EBM The Collection (2010)

Swedish EBM - The Collection (Cover)They love their EBM in Sweden. My sole visit to the country took in a Front 242/Nitzer Ebb double-billing as the supposed highlight, only to completely underestimate the scale of the mosh-pit that I would need to survive to have any hope of getting close enough to the band to get a decent camera shot or two. There’s plenty of Swedish bands willing to have a crack at the style themselves, and hence the country has proved to be something of a leading light in the current revival of classic body beats, alongside the state of Saxony-Anhalt in Germany, but has always been referred to by me as “new-school old-school EBM”. Because I seem to be incapable of using one word when four will do.

A quick look at the track listing yields no surprises. Plenty of personal favourites and a promising spread of new, sufficiently industrial-sounding band names to indulge. And it’s Spetsnaz up first! This band sound so much like early Nitzer Ebb that they’re practically a tribute band. Yet the offering here, “Satiric Strokes”, is a disappointing, ponderous affair, sounding like a rejected B-side from one of the ‘Belief’ singles. Autodafeh, students of the 242-school of body music throw in “Camp Intel”, but this too is a fairly average effort by their standards, notwithstanding the Speak & Spell samples and the And One style detuned synth melody. If this truly was to be a national showcase, they could have least have wheeled out their 10-star mega-anthem “Divided We Fall” (if you haven’t heard this track yet, you need to!). Continue reading

Bionic – Close To Nature (2010)

Bionic - Close To Nature (Cover)Those of you with knowledge of industrial scene heritage may have fond memories of the Off-Beat Label, whom in their mid-90s prime delivered classic albums from the likes of Project Pitchfork, Haujobb, Front Line Assembly and countless others. In amongst these releases is an less-well remembered album ‘Rest In Peace’ by a project called Bionic. Don’t ask me why, but they’ve decided that time is right for a comeback and have duly unleashed ‘Close To Nature’ onto an audience that are as good as unaware of their distant past.

And I’ll be fair, first impressions aren’t bad. “It Doesn’t Matter” is a fine example of the muscular EBMish synthpop dished up by countless European bands, lyrics somewhat goofy but still affecting in their own way. I have to admit to returning to this song several times whilst reviewing this album, which is a polite way of saying that from here on, quality control is variable at best. Continue reading

Zeromancer – The Death Of Romance (2010)

Zeromancer - The Death Of Romance (Cover)Indeed. It is possible to have a love affair with Norwegian industrial rock bands, and if it hasn’t died here, it’s certainly gone into that phase that Facebook calls a ‘complicated relationship’. I was willing to forgive them for ‘ZZYZX’ in 2003 as the band was clearly undergoing some kind of crisis at the time and duly went on hiatus to let time do it’s usual healing job. And sure enough, when ‘Sinners International’ made it’s appearance last year, the old magic had, at least in places, returned. And now, with renewed enthusiasm, they’ve followed it up with another album only a year later, and KER-PLUNK! Just when it looked like they’d found their touch again, they’ve only gone and forgotten how to write the bloody songs! Continue reading

Wumpscut – Siamese (2010)

:Wumpscut: - Siamese (Cover)A new Wumpscut album every year is no longer a surprise – indeed, it’s something we’ve come to expect around March or April time. And it should also some as no surprise that Rudy has dreamt up another gruesome concept to hang the songs around – this time offering us two-headed skeletons. So yes, the title does refer to the antiquated term for conjoined twins. And as for the music – yep, you’ve guessed it, no surprises here. Continue reading

This Is Radio Silence – Now There’s Nothing (2010)

This Is Radio Silence - Now There's Nothing (Cover)Back in the days of EOL-Audio, there was a band called Earth Loop Recall. They got more that a little coverage from yours truly, only to split a year after I discovered them. Ben went off to concentrate on SonVer, as well as various jobbing stints in other UK bands, and also found time to produce a CD-R EP called ‘This Is Radio Silence’ The songs on this EP were later recycled in the 2k7 incarnation of ELR (which existed whilst I was on reviewer hiatus), only for that version of the band to last a year before collapsing again. Continue reading

Terminal Choice – Übermacht (2010)

Terminal Choice - Übermacht (Cover)Sometimes, intricacy goes unnoticed. Other times, it isn’t isn’t even there in the first place. This album falls soundly into the second category. Terminal Choice might have started out as Chris Pohl’s dark electro-industrial outlet, but they’ve long since moved towards a hook-laden industrial rock outlet. They’d actually penned some decent tunes along the way, but in 2006 they dished up ‘New Born Enemies’ and it was clear that the goodwill had been exhausted. Over-the-top Yazoo covers were no longer funny. Continue reading

Suicide Commando – Implements Of Hell (2010)

Suicide Commando - Implements Of Hell (Cover)A few years ago, I was of the opinion that this project had lost it. The mid-00s industrial scene was packed to the gills with projects that did the whole hard beats and extreme vocal distortion thing, and Johan Van Roy had been caught and passed by a bunch of kids that he himself had influenced. It happens everywhere, and this just one more example. Continue reading

Suicidal Romance – Shattered Heart Reflections (2010)

Suicidal Romance - Shattered Heart Reflections (Cover)I remember watching Top Gear back in the mid-90s, when they actually made an effort to review cars real people might buy. Jeremy Clarkson was tasked with reviewing the Vauxhall Vectra, a middle-of-the-road car for middle-managers. Typical corporate fleet material. He spent the majority of the review shrugging his shoulders, at a loss as to what to say about a car which had nothing really wrong with it, but nothing remarkable either. And I’m in a similar situation here. I have no idea as to what to say about this album. Continue reading

Revolting Cocks – Got Cock? (2010)

Revolting Cocks - Got Cock? (Cover)With Ministry now permanently consigned to history (or so we are told), it’s probably no surprise that Al Jourgensen’s best-known side-project sees an increase in it’s productivity, as this is their second album in as many years. It’s also no surprise that the sound of the project bears more influence from it’s parent since it’s been allowed out into the world on it’s own. But this is most definitely NOT a Ministry album with a stupid name. There’s not nearly enough barely-disguised socio-political invective for that. Continue reading