DJ & Music Writer from the UK

Wumpscut – A Listener’s Guide

DJ Dwarves

Wumpscut - Dwarf The World (Cover)

The DJ Dwarf releases are a series of 16 EPs, released around the same time as each album from ‘Wreath of Barbs’ onwards.  In each case, they combine album tracks (with occasional ‘Dwarf Edits’), remixes (some from the limited edition box sets, others unique to these releases) and occasionally remixes Wumpscut undertook for other artists.  As the name suggests, they effectively serve as cut-down versions of each album aimed at DJs – compiling the tracks from each ‘era’ that are most suited to club play.

Wumpscut - The Cows Of Death (Cover)

Collecting the CD versions of all of them will be a challenge, but as with the other releases, shortcuts are now available.  The first eight DJ Dwarf releases were compiled into a 4CD boxset Dwarf Craving in 2008.  There wasn’t a CD compilation of the later Dwarves, but Bandcamp allows you to enquire the whole series in the form of Dwarf The World (Parts 1-9) and The Cows Of Death (Parts 10-16).  These compilations still omit some tracks, but only those that were identical to the album versions.  Which of course, you’ll already have or will be acquiring if you’ve indeed read this far (well done on making it through!). As of this moment, DJ Dwarf 21 and it’s appendix (skipping numbers along with the years he wasn’t active) are standalone releases, and the only way of obtaining the remixes thereon, due to the retirement of the elaborate box sets.

Listening to every Dwarf back-to-back is heavy going, so I’ve summarised each in a few words as reasonably possible. 

  • DJ Dwarf 1 (Wreath of Barbs): Identical to the Deliverance single, described above. 
  • DJ Dwarf 2 (Wreath of Barbs): A cut-down version of the Wreath Of Barbs ‘Classic’ remix EP, keeping the edit, the ‘Heavy Extended Mix’ and the crucial Neuroticfish remix, which in later versions is renamed ‘Unheilig Remix’ .  The mix was actually by Henning Verlage, keyboard player in both bands, presumably named for whichever band was more popular at the time.
  • DJ Dwarf 3 (Preferential Tribe): The two ‘new tracks’ (the Yazoo cover a must-have), the Der Blutharsch remix, three of the ‘German Tribe’ mixes (‘Schwarzer Tod’, ‘Soylent Grun’, ‘Kreig’) and “Total War” from the Legacy disc).  They got the best bits, OK?
  • DJ Dwarf 4 (Bone Peeler): Mainly tracks from the album (including an edit of “Crown of Thorns”) , though two of the stronger remixes from this phase (Datom’s “Rise Again” and Suicide Commando’s “Crown Of Thorns”) help boost the interest.
  • DJ Dwarf 5 (Evoke): Again, five album tracks – all the highlights except the title track.  Also a few remixes (including one of Just a Tenderness from the last album), with the “Don’t Go (80 64C) Mix” the only must have.
  • DJ Dwarf 6 (Cannibal Anthem): A few edits from the album, the Feindflug remix of “Jesus Antichristus” and an exclusive track “El Commanante”, a straightforward noisy blast that could and should have been on the album.  Also the Wumspcut mix of a Der Blutharsch track “Iron Rain” – Rudy’s bass pulse is a good match for Albin Julius’ snarl, so this will appeal to anyone with an appreciation of either project
  • DJ Dwarf 7 (Body Census): Four tracks from the album, the Yendri mix of “Adonai, My Lord” (right remixer, wrong song) and two Wumpscut remixes of other artists.  “Helpline” by God’s Bow works well, Rudy’s dark electronic style matching this Polish female vocal goth-pop act.  The mix of Ambassador 21’s mix (included with many CD issues of this album) is higher in profile but will only appeal to noisebeat devotees. 
  • DJ Dwarf 8 (Schädling): Edits for Rifki and Lump (tired of writing it out by now), and some unremarkable remixes, both tracks from the album as well as a couple undertaken in the other direction for Der Blutharsch and Samsas Traum.  Finally, totally misplaced but totally welcome – the Violet Remix of “Wreath of Barbs” mentioned earlier. 
  • DJ Dwarf 9 (Fuckit): More to like here than the source album! The best bits of the “Fuckit”, two mixes from the Re-Sample of ‘Bunkertor 7’ (the new version of Thorns is essential listening), plus some other reworked old tracks. The Monastic Interpretation of “Mother” is a quite astounding total overhaul, a new vocal take really capturing the original’s human side.  Also four Wumpscut mixes of other bands (including one quite high-profile mix for Mindless Self Indulgence), and curiously, the original version of Yendri’s “Negotiations”. 
  • DJ Dwarf 10 (Siamese): Edit of “Boneshaker Baybee”, a selection of remixes from the album (none of the best ones, though), but the two “remix exchanges” Rudy undertook for other artists are worth hearing.  Suicide Commando’s “God In The Rain” and Solar Fake’s “Stigmata Rain” were two highlights from the scene establishment of the time, and whilst Rudy’s reworks aren’t revolutionary in any way, it’s good to hear he still has that connection with his contemporaries.
  • DJ Dwarf 11 (Schrekk & Grauss): Thirteen tracks, including mixes undertaken for Mortiis and St.Anthony and several remixes from the album, some featured on the expanded version of the original (including the key Gae Bolg remix-cover of “Zombibikini”) and some exclusives.  Notably, scene heavyweights Solitary Experiments and Leæther Strip are tasked with the impossible feat of doing something interesting with the lifeless title track – both improve on the original in their own distinctive styles, but there’s a creative limit with what you can do with material this uninspired.
  • DJ Dwarf 12 (Women And Satan First):  The three most important tracks from the album (two as edits – Grobian works better once cut down by a few minutes anway), a phoned-in remix of Bloodsport by Aengeldust (Acylum offshoot) and a collection of mixes from the album, the Memmaker contribution the least worst offering.  Also the Solitary Experiments mix of “Wreath Of Barbs” for those who haven’t yet picked it up elsewhere.
  • DJ Dwarf 13 (Madman Spitzal): All edits or mixes from the album this time.  A lot of skipovers, but a couple of worthy cuts you won’t find on other releases.  Reactor7x’s mix of “Tod Essen Leben Auf” takes the dancefloor credential of the original and raises the intensity even beyond that of the Schramm remix.  The Alkemnic Generator Remix of Gabi Grausam works choral pads and keyboard melodies into the rather uninspiring original – a genuine example of a turd well-polished.
  • DJ Dwarf 14 (Bulwark Bazooka): Eighteen tracks = Eighteen too many.  Four edits, ten remixes from the album, three further dead-horse-flogged versions of “Wreath of Barbs” and a Wumpscut remix for Advent Resilience, who I was amazed to find actually had time to record music of his own as well.  Only good as a collection filler, this one.
  • DJ Dwarf 15 (Blutspuker Tavern): Two track from the album and fourteen mixes from the album.  The best mixes from this album, heard in the boxset and Camp editions, were ones that didn’t try for a dancefloor-friendly approach.  These ones do, and hence vary from the tolerable-but-unexceptional (Cynical Front’s contributions) to spare-me-from-these-fucking-wubs (Nigen’s contributions).
  • DJ Dwarf 16 (Wüterich): Some edits and unremarkable mixes from the album and a couple of Wumspcut remixes undertaken for some-time mix buddies Skon and Adzix.  A low key ending for the series.
  • DJ Dwarf 21 (Fledermaus 303): 15 mixes from the album, plus a Wumpscut mix of the VVLV track “Telekatz” (no, I haven’t heard of them either).  W-mix regular Cynical Front again provides one highlight, a long and complex rework of “Nein Nein”, successfully building a number of additional synth phrases into the rather repetitive original.  The only other repeat play one is the E66vn Wuacalmole Remix of “Nazi Tabernakel”, toughening it up with some grinding guitar riffs.  Sacrilege for the elektro-purists, but right now I’ll take anything that catches my attention.
  • DJ Dwarf 21 (Remix Appendix): 38 further remixes, mostly from the Fledermaus album but a few older songs creep in towards the end.  Surprisingly, quite a few of the remixers are able to inject some fresh life into the rather turgid album cuts in attempt to make them fit for industrial-scene dancefloors that wouldn’t touch the originals.  However, there’s only so much you can do with something like “Squeal Like a Pig”, so it’s still a tiresome listen.  The backcatalogue remixes are quite extreme overhauls, proof that there’s nothing left to exploit here, either.   
  • DJ Dwarf 22 (For Those About To Starve): 18 tracks this time, sensibly focusing on “Justin Kohlenklau” and “Kühlwalda”, these being the two tracks most conducive to reworks that bring out any potential for DJ play. Some new names amongst the :W: regulars – Adsol’s keep-it-simple take on “Kühlwalda” was my pick of the bunch, compressing the vital instrumental elements into the original into a tight-packed adaptation that comes in under three minutes, but with so many options, you’ll likely gravitate towards another.
  • DJ Dwarf 22 (Remix Appendix): An almighty collection of 44 additional remixes, thankfully for the most part retaining the vital themes of the source material, getting reworks from near-ambient to the fringes of noise. A full on industrial metal version of Justin Kohlenklau entitled “Musanthrope Remix” is the real stand-out, rightfully opening the collection. Advent Resilience also reworks a couple of older tunes in a continued mission to remix the entire :W: backcatalogue. We didn’t need another Wreath of Barbs version, but the minimal piano take on “Remember One Thing” is a fresh take on a song which most of us had probably forgotten.
  • DJ Dwarf 23 (Giftkeks): All four originals get a fair slice of rework action – there’s also two Wumpscut remixes undertaken for other acts, and the ever-loyal Advent Resilience add a fresh remix of “War”. Attempts to Matteslied to turn “Draw Your Terminal Breath” into hardstyle and “Du Hast Kein Herz” into industrial metal are valid but only partially successful. The best mixes are by The Necessary Evil, who isn’t afraid to take music this obscure and make it catchy.
  • DJ Dwarf 23 (Remix Appendix): More is more, right? Fifty-five surplus remixes! Over four hours worth! On the plus side, several remixers really tapped the melodic potential of “Giftkeks”, with Matteslied going in for a full-on VNV ImpersoNation. The downside was far-too-many version of “Du Hast Kein Herz”, which didn’t have the same potential for creative reworks. Also a few new versions of old tune – Advent Resilience has moved onto “Thorns”, which worked well enough, whilst Eintritt Verboten delivers a drawn-out instrumental take on “Angel”. The Cynical Front remix of “Is It You” also crops up again – it’s one of the best ‘newer takes on old material’ but did we need it again?
  • DJ Dwarf 24 (Schlossgheist): 27 remixes this time, with all the four source tracks getting at least some attention. The remixers hands at work here are for the most part the same people who remix every new :W: track anyway, so don’t expect any really fresh insights, with almost every mix firmly occupying dark electro-industrial territory. It’s all “a new sequence here, a new motif there” with the “Tanz Den Tod” remixes standing out the most simply because the original track did so. One mix does make a reference to “Thorns”, but that’s about it for throwback content.
  • DJ Dwarf 24 (Remix Appendix): A partial cure for a swollen appendix, with a mere 28 extras, down from the previous years half-century excesses – though some of these are just instrumental versions of mixes from the main DJ Dwarf. Understandably, “Tanz den Tod” was again the most popular choice for reworks, though none of the assembled mixers either radically enhance the original or (as is often the case) utterly trash it, with the Sektor[0] mix winning out via the simple-but-effective deployment of retro-analog synth leads. At this this one wasn’t afraid to be catchy. There’s also some mixes of some older tracks here, mainly from the so-so mid 00s albums. This includes a few ‘long ambient’ takes towards the end – whilst not offensive to the ear, the whole thing is a bit of a no-score draw after extra time.

Or, if you were just here for the pretty pictures…..

Masters of Inheritance

Just about every Wumpscut album saw a vinyl release at some point, but these are now among the most collectible items in the backcatalogue.  The Bandcamp page offers the compromise option of downloading the vinyl masters in seamless audio format, each album delivered in two tracks (Side A and Side B), but if you think I’ve got the patience left to trawl though all of these playing spot the difference version-by-version, forget it.

I’ve covered the original demos in the main text, but you can also obtain DAT tapes of some of the more recent albums from Bandcamp as well – the ‘Inheritance’ editions.  I’ve skipped through these, they are mainly instrumentals and not-quite-finished versions of the final albums rather than radically different versions of anything.  Again, my patience is exhausted.

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