The second consecutive Listener’s Guide to be about a band from Deutschland beginning with ‘D’, but that’s the point at which the similarities end. The DAF listener’s guide was written as a somewhat delayed tribute to Gabi Delgado, who died on the eve of the initial COVID lockdown (thankfully not from said disease itself), only for my writing to get totally derailed as my creativity ground to a standstill along with the rest of the world. I eventually completed it, but the significance of the timing was lost.
This guide, however, has been a long time coming. It’s about a band who have featured frequently in my DJ sets and past playlists. I wrote about them frequently back in my EOL-Audio days. And yet I’ve found their works remain somewhat under-appreciated amongst many of those who’s tastes I otherwise share. Too “goth” for the industrial kollectiv, too electronic for the goth-rock puritans. Too dark in tone for the casual listener, but too song-oriented for experimental elitists.
It’s time to tell you all what you’ve been missing out on.
Despite the reopening of the outside world, I for one am not ready to rejoin it. The next listeners guide is well underway at least. However, I’ve taken a short diversion to bring two of the existing guides up to 2021 spec. It’s a pity I didn’t have more interesting material to work with, but for those who care one way or the other, you can read what I thought of the recents Wumpscut and Fear Factory albums. These are not ‘reviews’ as such, just updates to the story I’d already told.
Anyway, back to the next epic. Who was it who said “You Cannot Help, Where Your Help Is Not Wanted”? That’s both a massive hint, and the story of the past few months. See you on the other side.
I’ve long had issue with how poorly bands from continental Europe are covered when the Anglo/American music journos cover a particular genre. Even when the bands in question sing in English. Bands singing in any other tongue are a particularly hard sell, but every now and again, a notable project breaks through. And Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft (DAF from here on) stand out in this very small grouping due to the way they achieved a cult following in the UK a couple of decades before anyone had heard of Rammstein. This achievement was not despite the fact that they sung in German, but in many respects because of it.
What do you mean, Fear Factory? Why are you profiling a METAL band, Jonny? Has the Listener’s Guide series jumped the shark already? I’m pre-emptively calling out these potential criticisms, because I’ve got the rest of this guide to prove to you all that this is a band worth writing about.
And they are a band with significant links to my own musical journey. The first “metal” band I developed a taste for, and the first I saw live. “Saw” is actually an understatement – heard, felt, smelt and otherwise lived through in every possible sense. It was thanks to Rhys Fulber’s involvement on some of their most notable albums that I discovered Front Line Assembly, an act who themselves were hugely influential in the development of my tastes in the years to come.
It’s been a while since I’ve even logged into this site. Curiously, the DJ Terminates Here Facebook page is still getting likes despite me having done nothing to earn them in recent times. I thought you all at least deserved an update. I’m still alive and so far avoided the Coronavirus. However, long-running mental health issues, which are only partially related to the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have results in a severe hit to my productivity in the past year.
I’m beginning to find a route out, but it’s early days. DJ Terminates Here will as a result remain closed until it is possible for full-audience events to be safely held once more – indeed, my lack of activity and personal circumstances mean I’m unlikely to be first in-line for a real-world return. The good news is – the writing it on its way back. I have a half-finished Listeners Guide which should be published here soon.
Hi, thought I’d write a little here as I seem to be getting ‘Likes’ on Facebook despite zero activity! I’m still alive and staying out of harm’s way – however, I decided some time ago that DJ Terminates Here will remain “Closed for the Duration”.
I will return once full-audience events are once again possible in a safe manner – however. I find it difficult to gain any satisfaction from playing in empty rooms, and as the online audience has been well catered for so far by others, I don’t feel any need to cram another event into the virtual schedules.
I do hope to resume writing about music soon, with the focus on what I think I do best, long-form ‘deep dive’ articles, going places where the music journo establishment dares not go (or doesn’t even acknowledge the existence of). One may ask why I haven’t spent lockdown obsessively doing so already – I would only request “No questions, please” on that one.
Similarly, my plans to write a print-to-paper book (focusing on the UK scene post-1991) were hit on several levels by the pandemic. It’s still possible that some of the text will appear in article form but the project as original mooted simply isn’t possible in the current environment.
Terminates Here DJ activity has obviously had to stop due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Whilst I did consider the idea of DJ sets delivered remotely, it seems every other DJ in London has had the same idea, and without an established club to back me up or even access to a decent camera, I doubt I could sell it well. So instead I went back to writing. In early March, I was challenged to do the “10 Albums – 10 Days” meme on my personal Facebook. I’d done it before back in 2018, and the results became an article on this site, but with little else to do with my evenings, I decided to go for another round. Only not stop at 10, eventually clocking up 40 before deciding to call it quits.
A few points – firstly, as I chose albums around which I could spin a tale, there’s relatively little recent music covered here. If you wish to read about albums dating from the past decade, there’s a countdown of 2010s albums over at A Model Of Control. Also note that these albums are in no order – I simply picked one each day, listened to it a couple of times, then wrote the story. To preserve the writing and allow a wider audience to enjoy the journey, I’ve turned this series into an article here. A few have been modified for accuracy and to reflect changed context, and I’ve added explanations where a couple of selections coincided with certain events. But the text is essentially intact. So let’s begin…..
And then over the road for our Open Request List event….all except the first few and final run are requests.
The Velvet Underground – Venus In Furs The Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps Bonzo Dog Band – I’m The Urban Spaceman The Rolling Stones – Paint It Black Patti Smith – Dancing Barefoot Lene Lovich – Lucky Number Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill Depeche Mode – Black Celebration Japan – Quiet Life Siouxsie & The Banshees – Cities In Dust
Tool – Schism Lindemann – Knebel Die Krupps – Vision 2020 Vision Liaisons Dangereuses – Los niños del parque Black Light Ascension – Club Death The Sisters of Mercy – Marian Killing Joke – Love Like Blood The Cult – Resurrection Joe Thin Lizzy – Jailbreak T.Rex – Children Of The Revolution The Leather Nun – Ride Into Your Town Metallica – For Whom The Bell Tolls Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun Alice In Chains – Rooster
Iris – Closer To Real Wolfsheim – Once In A Lifetime Project Pitchfork – I Live Your Dream Alexander Veljanov – The Wind The Sisters Of Mercy – The Damage Done The Pretenders – Stop Your Sobbing Florence and the Machine – Shake It Out The KVB – Captives
Scott’s tracks are in italics.
Soviet Soviet – Rainbow Agent Side Grinder – Life In Advance NIN – The Lovers :Wumpscut: – Hold (Kirlian Camera Remix) Radiohead – Idioteque Underworld – Stagger Leftfield – Swords Faithless – Drifting Away Portishead – The Rip Bat For Lashes – In God’s House Goldfrapp – Annabel
Outro: Ramin Djawadi feat Serj Tankian – The Rains Of Castamere
Back for the first daytime set of 2020 (actually the first anywhere). As the event fell on International Women’s Day, Scott and I both played a larger-than-usual number of tracks featuring female artists.
Set 1 – 10:20am-11:45am
Underworld feat. Evelyn Glennie – And I Will Kiss Kruder & Dorfmeister – Original Bedroom Rockers Massive Attack – Inertia Creeps Sneaker Pimps – 6 Underground :Wumpscut: – Wreath Of Barbs (Violet Remix) Kirlian Camera – Ascension Jean-Michel Jarre – September Niels Gordon – Chloro V-Zylanz – Jet Set Willy A8 Off – Electric Salsa Confettis – The Sound Of C Nux Nemo – Hiroshima Tragic Error – Klatsche In Die Hande Amnesia – Ibiza Cassandra Complex – Moscow Idaho
Light Asylum – Heart of Dust Rein – There Is No Authority But Yourself Invasion of Female Logic – Trendsetter //TENSE// – Chain Randolph & Mortimer – Enjoy More Malaise – Something Else Mao Tse Tung Experience – Irregular Times Noxious Emotion – Mass Strvngers – Nostalgia Statemachine – Thermal Noise Echo Image – Standing Alone Les Anges De La Nuit – The Apocalypse Machine Rox – Bring Back Reality Ayria – The Gun Song Angelspit – 100%
Death In Vegas – Dirt Two Lone Swordsmen – Sex Beat (Andrew Weatherall Tribute) Moby & The Pacific Void Choir – Don’t Leave Me Earth Loop Recall – Optimism Creeping In Action Directe – UK Unit:187 – Capital Punishment Luxt – American Beast L’Âme Immortelle – 5 Jahre Within Temptation – Stand My Ground Pythia – Army Of The Damned Leaves Eyes – To France The Birthday Massacre – Video Kid Helalyn Flowers – Kamikaze Angel Propaganda – Dr.Mabuse Parralox – Headhunter
When writing guides such these, it’s often hard to choose the next band to cover. Sure, I can use social media to gauge interest in specific projects, but there’s also got to be a personal motive to invest time and effort in researching and writing a piece this long. It’s a particularly big decision when you deal with exceptionally prolific artists – the timing has to be right, lest one get bogged down in a body of work too large to take in. And it just so happens I’ve been spending recent months investigating the dark and obscure corners of one of the largest back-catalogues my genres of choice have to offer. It’s time to take a look at Wumpscut. (Yes, officially the name is supposed to be bookended with colons, but if I do that here, my grammar checker will throw a wobbly).
Wumpscut was formed by the Bavarian DJ Rudy Ratzinger in 1991, inspired by the likes of Skinny Puppy, Leæther Strip and Dirk Ivens among others. The name means nothing – it was an entirely synthetic creation. His style has been referred to as both ‘dark electro’ or ‘electro-industrial’ – the terms are interchangeable as far as online discussion goes, and since few musicologists acknowledge so much as the existence of the style post-mid 1980s, it’s unlikely we’ll ever get a clear answer. Just accept that if you’re not into dark synthetic textures, hard electronic rhythms and angry vocals, dealing with some of the most unpleasant subject matters both fiction and reality have to offer, you might as well quit reading now.
Whilst this was very much a solo project, Rudy occasionally brought in guest musicians, mainly for female vocals, as well as sampling extensively from movies and bands from a variety of genres – the Alien movies are an obvious influence, inspiring as they did the project’s official logo. He also remixed other artists frequently and featured on many compilations. The one thing Wumpscut never did was play live. Rudy never had any desire to take the project to stage – neither did he feel like he could have done the music justice if he had done so.
With the retirement of the project in 2017, I am at least able to tell the Wumpscut story from start to end. I hope this guide will serve to be comprehensive, though what it won’t be is 100% exhaustive. This is, after all, a Listeners Guide, not a Collectors Guide or Fanatics Guide. Most Wumpscut albums have been released several times, in several formats, and there’s no way I can cover every version of all of them. Physical format collectors will have to check resources like Discogs.com for a full shopping list. Be prepared to shell out for the box set versions. My cupboard isn’t big enough for them.
If you’re happy to stay virtual, I recommend Wumpscut’s Bandcamp page, which has just-about-everything for 5 Euros per album. The Concentrated Camp editions are the best way to get the most complete versions of each album, and there’s also sizeable compilations covering all the loose ends, of which there are many. Devoted fans can also get vinyl masters and ‘Inheritance’ editions (draft/demo versions from the DAT tape archives), but I’m not going to cover these – perhaps someone else will one day. Casual fans can stream most of the studio albums on the regular services, but the remixes and rarities are covered inconsistently, so you might not find every track I mention.
This may be too long for many of you, so you can just Skip To The End and just find out what songs are worth listening to. But if you’re up for the full and complete text – it’s time to get started.