2011

13 posts

10 Years of DJ Terminates Here – 2011

The start of 2011 was a very busy period that left little time or capacity left for Djing. I did get a chance to assist tech writer KG Orphanidies with a trial run of some entry level Digital DJ kit (a sign of things to come) at a relatively sedate Sunday afternoon event, but that was merely a warm-up to what should have been my breakthrough set. Club Reptile were calling. Established in 2008, they had succeeded where many had failed in establishing a formula for a cross-genre alternative night. I’d been attending for a couple of years, and finally my DJ activity had caught their attention.

Meine Freunde, Tanz mit mir

The event fell around my birthday weekend, which should have made things even more special, but I’ve never had much luck (and more recently, enthusiasm) dragging out large groups of people to mark the passing of another year. More of a concern was that one of the club’s CD players was malfunctioning. I was still playing the things in 2011 and not-being-able-to-mix would be a significant issue.

In the end, we wired an iPod Classic into the left side of the PA and this Heath Robinson solution saw me through. And this remains the only use of an Apple-branded device in any Terminates Here DJ set, ever. Whilst the Classic was the only high-capacity MP3 player available at the time, I’ve never cared much for the ‘Apple way of doing things’.

My setlist selections that night were, in the circumstances, a “play it safe” affair. Darkwave and EBM standards made up the bulk of my set – I eventually played Project Pitchfork’s “Timekiller” as a birthday present to myself (I’d never heard said band played in there), enjoyed my birthday cake straight after, but there was no real feeling of having taken a “big step forward” in a DJ sense. The post-club mood was debates about whether to ‘go onto Slimelight’ – I wasn’t interested and hence the night just fizzled out.

One more set remained before an enforced break. The Dark 7 festival took place at the Camden Underworld – my friends in System:FX were headlining, the band Machine Rox were organising, and I’d also got to know the band Global Citizen quite well by then, so it wasn’t like my first attempt as ‘Band support DJ’ (at least under the Terminates Here name) was to be among strangers. Luckily, preparing for such things is pretty easy these days – listen to a stream of each band you don’t know and pick out four potential songs to play before each (you’ll usually only get two or three in).

I did get one of the strangest requests ever – System:FX wanted the old Inkpots track ‘I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire’ played before they came on. We were both fans of the game ‘Fallout 3’ and if you’ve played it too, that one will make sense to you. Perhaps more prophetically, I also played a track by Cubanate offshoot ‘Be My Enemy’ before they came on. Steve and Deb from FX would join the live line-up of this band a year later. The two projects aren’t that dissimilar so it all makes sense.

Now You’re One Of Us

However, these two relatively high-profile sets didn’t trigger anything. I soon got occupied with the process of buying a flat in the midst of the credit crunch and then filling it up with all the things that turn it into a home, so hunting down DJ sets proactively was a low priority for a while. I got back into the swing of things at the August ABBS, having had a pre-move sale at the spring event in lieu of actually Djing. Highlights here was opening with a 13-minute track (Fly and Collision of Comas Sola by TanDream, if you must know), and my first real old-school EBM set later in the day. Two more habits formed.

But things were finally moving again. A few days later, a few messages were exchanged, and I was support DJ at a four-band line-up at the Boston Music Rooms (underneath The Dome) headlined by New Zealander Jordan Reyne. Among the support bands were MaxDmyz (back as their support DJ after a full decade!) and Die Kur, Ays Kura’s band, who have a significant role to play in this story from here. Add Ventenner, and it was a varied billing that played to the strengths of my increasingly diverse style.

A couple more live support slots came in October. The first was a return to the Camden Underworld for Cybersonik, the follow-up to Dark 7 earlier in the year, calling upon various brands of EBM and electro-industrial throughout the day. A style that needs relatively precise mixing, yet with the event running late and no time to soundcheck the DJ booth, I didn’t discover until we’d opened and everyone was pouring in to catch Dreams Divide that the faders in the booth were broken. Ended up spending the whole day mixing by tweaking the AUX knobs. Not elegant, but by now I was used to substandard kit. It’s par for the course in our scene.

But Now You’re Worried That I Just Might Win

And then came Renaissance….The set I played for the Jordan Reyne gig a few month back clearly triggered something. A number of the bands returned the same venue play this eight-hour festival on the eve of Halloween, and the promoter NMTCG (Ays Kura – pulling double-duty as promoter and frontman of the headline act!) invited me back to DJ. I accepted without really considering what I was going to play, and researching the line-up gave me few clues about what direction to take. Every band seemed to have it’s own style. It was at this point that I decided that nothing in my collection was off-limits, and hence I came well-equipped for whatever the day may have thrown at me.

The early bands and link-ups went well, but things got interesting when I got talking to Anton, lead singer of Bleak. He requested “something relevant before we come on, like some blues”. Now, whilst all contemporary rock music is essentially blues-derived, my collection didn’t quite extend to the style in it’s purest form. So some lateral thinking was needed. What is blues, really? Miserable old men, right? Johnny Cash, Nick Cave, Lou Reed and Leonard Cohen. What can I say but “it worked”! I’ve been friends with Anton ever since.

Each band called upon a different aspect of my collection. Somehow I had them all covered. There was one moment when someone came up to me and begged me to play The Clash. Even though I’d played them earlier on and was now in the midst of my ‘metal set’ leading into old friends MaxDmyz. I’d then sussed out that the person doing the begging was actual from the band setting up at the time, and they’d come all the way from Spain. A compromise was reached and we went for The Sex Pistols instead.

A couple of the days after this set, I reflected on the extent of what’s I’d played. I looked at my ripped-to-MP3 collection in Winamp (remember that?) and wrote down the name of every artist I hadn’t yet played in a set, but had at least 20 songs by (thus excluding any artist where I’d bought one album and wished for no more). It covered 6 pages of an A5 notebook. The mission was on – could I play all of these bands in a set at some point? Because I didn’t see any point in repeating myself every time.

2011’s Djing ended at the ABBS once again. Opened up with the longest track I ever managed to play (Synphära by Klaus Schulze) but otherwise the day was only notable for me DJ wise for me playing more trad-goth than ever before, with Miss Jade back covering industrial this time. But arrangements had already been made for a set that would finally kick me up to the next level. Reptile wanted me back.  In 2012….

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Escalator – Out Of My Ego (2011)

Escalator - Out Of My Ego (Cover)I’ve had something of a revival in interest in anything associated with old-school EBM and other early electronic styles of late, which is a pity as interest in said genre seems to be dying a death in my native London, which not only means I have to look further afield for live shows (and indeed potential DJ set opportunities!), but also need to spread my net wider in order to search out new territories where interesting bands may be located. And Escalator from Hungary, despite being a quarter of a century old, have escaped my radar until now. Even then, this eight-song collection is a couple of years old, but that’s no reason not to give it a go and offer my opinions here.

First things first, every classic EBM album needs at least a couple of unsubtle, in-your-face, energising anthems in it’s tracklist, lest the collection as a whole get mistaken for some analog-elitist hipster art-wank project, and this collection has “Rew Stop Play” and “Shut Me Off”. They both deliver the punchy beats, throbbing rhythms and vocal snarl that make a legitimate EBM classic, with enough variation throughout their length to remind everyone that classic EBM isn’t just a case of programming one synth line, one drum loop and shouting over the top. Yes, I tried that trick myself to be sure. Anyway, that’s the DJ selections sorted out. Now to see if there’s any variety in their sound. Continue reading

High Level Static – Carrier Waves (2011)

My main memory of ‘Shining’, the first High Level Static album released in 2003, was a track called “Shine (Four Words)”. Musically, it was the usual European trance/synthpop/EBM thing we used to call ‘futurepop’, but the track utilised some interesting turns of phrase. It’s something of a factor when bands write in English as their second language that they often tread the fine line between ‘trite’ and ‘inspired’, and this song ticked all the boxes. I therefore set about listening to their latest recording with sincere hopes that lightning could possibly strike twice.

And once we got past the fluttering synths, Steven Hawking samples and movie clips of “Prana”, there was indeed a return to High Level Static’s rather unique command of the English language on ‘Thoughtforms I’. The opening lines “I Have A Gift For You, But I Don’t Think You’ll Like It” is hardly memorable, but as the soaring chorus strings join the mix, the lyricism becomes more and more inspired, finishing on a “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” reference that is nothing if not charming. Continue reading

A Thousand Societies – Le Crepuscule Des Idoles (2011)

A Thousand Societies - Le Crepuscule Des Idoles (Cover)The French have a fine history in terms of minimal electronics projects. Back in the early-to-mid 80’s, projects such as End Of Data, Opera Multi Steel and even the early works of Die Form produced a legacy of work that has sadly seen little international recognition outside of the ‘Cold Waves and Minimal Electronics’ compilation issued a couple of years back. A particularly obscure practitioner of this style was A Thousand Societies, late arrivals at the Coldwave Ball, producing a few self-released albums in the mid-1990’s and then disappearing again.

Spurred perhaps by a revival of interest in this particular corner of music history, A Thousand Societies are back for another try, delivering up this self-released 13-track selection. Despite all of this history, this is not a project stuck in the past, avoiding the temptation to become a Moog-toting lo-fi retro-electro revival outfit, instead delivering a cleaner, punchier production, borrowing influences from various 00’s electronic styles without directly copying any of them. And that’s a relief in it’s own right. Last thing we needed with another “tribute band with new lyrics”. Continue reading

Carved Souls – Waveform (2011)

Carved Souls - Waveform (Cover)This is the third album for the Carved Souls, though also their first for several years, and also their first for Conzoom Records, a label who are starting building themselves something of a reputation as a source of polished, quality synthpop. And that’s what we get here. Polished quality synthpop. Despite the projects Californian origins, I can’t help comparing them to various UK projects, Depeche Mode in particular.

Now, I know it’s practically impossible to write synthpop and not sound at least a little bit Mode-like at times, but the singer Suede (no other name given) is VERY Dave Gahan-like in his delivery, and they go one step further by sampling a Speak & Spell machine on the albums title track. If that isn’t a blatant reference to a key influence, I don’t know what is! I’m not saying that any of this is a bad thing, but it is an obvious thing. Speaking as one still reeling from the self-indulgent Mode-offshoot VCMG album, it’s actually something of a relief to hear what I actually hoping said project would deliver – seductively morose songwriting built on a base of synthetic ear candy. Continue reading

20 Years Of Live Music – Part 12 (2011)

2010 was an eventful year, for sure. But nothing stops when a calendar gets chucked. And sure enough, 2011 was almost as busy. Gig-wise, the key feature of this year was the increased merging of my DJing with my gigging. Four times I played the role of support DJ at live music events. However, there’s a lot more to those stories than the memories of the live music, significant that it was. Those stories will be written later, in a separate volume looking into my Djing life.

One other fact – it was the third consecutive year where I attended no overseas festivals or gigs. This isn’t something I’d given up on, it’s just I had other demands on the money at the time. Infest, the low-budget indoor festival in Bradford, was still an option, however. Continue reading

Alternative Bring’n’Buy Sale – November 2011

My last planned DJ set of 2011, back in the familiar surroundings of the upstairs room at the Tufnell Park dome, soundtracking this most unique and independent form of retain therapy. My co-DJs today were Kat Orphanides (playing metal and punk) and Ash (pretty much everything else). As a specialist in daytime dark-scene DJing, I once again dreamed up a new approach for the early slot, whilst deciding to focus on good old-fashion goth later on.

10:30am-12noon

Due to a need to lend a hand setting up the whole event, I purposely opened with a 23-minute long track, followed by touches of Project-label goodness, martial drumming and then onto something a bit more, erm, gothy?

Klaus Schulze – Synphära
Eno + Fripp – Wind On Water
LoveLiesCrushing – Valerian (Her Voice Honeyed)
Soul Whirling Somewhere – Wish
Lycia – Dare
Rosa Crux – Noctes Insomnes
Puissance – Grace Of God
Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio – The Perplexity Of Hybris (I Glorify Myself)
The Machine In The Garden – Final Form
The Shroud – Pixy Led
Faith And The Muse – The Burning Season
All About Eve – Flowers In Your Hair
Untoten – Shelter From Death
Collide – Space Oddity
The Last Dance – Distantly

2pm – 3pm

A mostly-goth set between a mostly-metal set and a mostly-industrial set.

Die Kur – New Era
Star Industry – Nineties
The Sisters Of Mercy – Vision Thing
The March Violets – Snake Dance
Garden Of Delight – Shared Creation
Elusive – Ride
Ikon – Why (7″)
Sex Gang Children – Beasts
Bauhaus – She’s In Parties
Suspiria – (Now We See) The Swine
Diary Of Dreams – Undividable
Dream Disciples – Room 57
Project Pitchfork – I Live Your Dream
Kirlian Camera – Nightglory
Global Citizen – Your Majesty

5pm-5:30pm – 3 Way Tag Team

For the first time, 3 DJs contributed to the end-of-event silliness. The first track here actually scratched a DJing itch I hardly dared admit to.

Yes – Owner Of A Lonely Heart (J)
Ghost Dance – Radar Love (K)
Voltaire – Vampire Club (Twilight Version) (A)
Ministry – What A Wonderful World (J)
Manuskript – Rock Me Amadeus (K)
The Timelords – Doctorin’ The Tardis (J)
Alestorm – Wolves Of The Sea (K)
Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance (J)
Lady Gaga – Poker Face (K)

Renaissance II – Mischief Night Festival

A Halloween (or near-enough) festival held in the Boston Music Rooms. A hugely diverse 9-band bill, mixing local favourites with new discoveries. My second time DJing for Global Citizen and Die Kur, and my 4th (!!!) for MaxDmyz. This particular set called upon extreme corners of my collection, and with a few requests thrown in too, I really hope that this dispels any myth that I’m just an industrial DJ!

Wendy Carlos – Theme From A Clockwork Orange
Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells Theme (Opening)
Radiohead – Everything In It’s Right Place
Smashing Pumpkins – Porcelina of the Vast Oceans
Seigmen – Slaver Av Solen
Earth Loop Recall – Like Machines

<Saville Row>

Legendary Pink Dots – The Soft Toy
Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb

<BB Blackdog>

A Perfect Circle – The Hollow
Moonspell – Opium
Paradise Lost – As I Die
Tristania – Mercyside

<Calatrilloz>

Johnny Cash – Hurt
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – The Ship Song
The Velvet Underground – Venus In Furs
Leonard Cohen – First We Take Manhattan

<Bleak>

Gene Loves Jezebel – Desire
Virgin Prunes – Baby Turns Blue
Tiger Lillies – Hell
Johnny Hollow – This Hollow World
Rasputina – This Little Piggy
Dresden Dolls – Coin-Operated Boy
Revue Noir – The Gravediggers

<Ghostfire>

New Model Army – 51st State
The Clash – I Fought The Law
The Ramones – Somebody Put Something In My Drink

<Reskizio>

Tubeway Army – My Shadow In Vain (Band Req.)
The Cassandra Complex – VALIS
KMFDM – Anarchy
The Fair Sex – Not Now, Not Here

<Global Citizen>

Sepultura – Ratamahatta
System Of A Down – Revenga
Sex Pistols – Anarchy In The UK (Req.)
Rob Zombie – Superbeast

<MaxDmyz>

Orgy – Blue Monday
Rammstein – Pussy (Req.)
Ministry – Jesus Built My Hot Rod
NIN – Dead Souls (Req.)

<Die Kur>

VNV Nation – Nova

Cybersonik 2011

The follow-up to Dark 7 – book seven UK bands and host an afternoon and evening of live music in the Camden Underworld. Despite putting the first band on stage a mere 10 minutes after opening the doors, they managed to pull a great crowd and the venue stayed busy for the duration. Special credit goes to the guys from Machine Rox, who organised the whole event. As for me, I was doing the bit between the bands….here’s what was played.

Haujobb – Dead Market
Seabound – Hooked

<Dreams Divide>

KiEw – DCDisk
Xotox – Roboterkrieg

<Decayed Reflection>

Rabia Sorda – What You Get Is What You See
Solitary Experiments – Still Alive
Culture Kultur – War Is Over
XP8 – Out Of Control

<TerrorNation>

[:SITD:] – Laughingstock
á;GRUMH – Ha People!
A Split Second – Rigor Mortis
Click Click – Sweet Stuff

<Kommand + Kontrol>

Solar Fake – Why Did I Raise The Fire
Psy’Aviah feat Ayria – Into The Game
Unter Null – Sick Fuck

<Machine Rox>

Lights Of Euphoria – White Wall
VNV Nation – Control
Covenant – Ritual Noise

<Method Cell>

System:FX – Overdrive
Feindflug – Glaubenskrieg
Skinjob – Hate
Reaper – Unrensand

<V2A>

Moby – We Are All Made Of Stars

Jordan Reyne, MaxDmyz, Ventenner, Die Kur

A short-notice set it might have been, but a chance to DJ for a very mixed line-up. I’d actually support DJed for MaxDmyz 10 years previously at Imperial College Union. Also finally a chance to see Die Kur after playing them in sets a couple of times, and two interesting discoveries in Ventenner and Jordan Reyne.

Sulpher – One Of Us
Ministry – The Fall
Stahlhammer – Herz Aus Stahl
Weissglut – Etwas Kommt In Deine Welt
Stabbing Westward – Lies
Acumen Nation – Parasite Mine
Machines Of Loving Grace – Butterfly Wings
Electric Hellfire Club – Hypochristian
Mortiis – Decandent and Desparate
Gravity Kills – Guilty
Lard – Forkboy

<Die Kur>

Pop Will Eat Itself – Ich Bin Ein Auslander
Filter – The Best Things
NIN – The Beginning Of The End
Rico – Big Black Sea

<Ventenner>

Pantera – Mouth For War
Prong – Who’s Fist Is It Anyway?
Machine Head – From This Day
White Zombie – Electric Head Pt.2

<MaxDmyz>

Haggard – Herr Mannelig
Subway To Sally – Seiben
Letzte Instanz – Ohne Dich

<Jordan Rayne>

Blood Axis – Song Of The Comrade