DJ & Music Writer from the UK

Wumpscut – A Listener’s Guide

Silence…..Waiting to Attack

Wumpscut - Fledermaus 303 (Cover)

Fledermaus 303 emerged in 2021, the title a tribute to the Roland bass synth that the inlay would have you believe was used at least once on every track.  An iconic bit of kit, especially if you’re into tweakin’ and tweetin’ acid resonance, but in this day and age, it’s a device with little creativity left in it.  You could say the same thing about Rudy Ratzinger.  Whilst not quite descending to his early-10s nadir, there’s still too many clumsy song titles (Squeal Like A Pig, I Am Coronaer), undeveloped ideas and a general feeling of ‘Will this do?’.

The fact that the majority of the album is in German is something of a relief, as I’m spared having to know what most of these songs are about.  The nearest we get to a hook is the unsubtle opening number Nazi Tabernakel.  Sure, Nazi’s might be a valid target and have been since the 1930s – they’re just a really obvious target.  Mid-album, there’s a slow march Nein Nein which I confess I did return to a few times, but the remainder is heard-it-before-don’t-need-to-again.  To be fair, the German scene is full of artists who essentially repeat the same album every few years, but that gambit requires a modicum of real songwriting talent to pull off.  A concept-driven artist like Wumpscut can’t get away with that.

Versions: The album was released in various CD, LP and downloadable forms.  No box sets any more.  If you want the obligatory job lot of remixes, you’ll need to check out DJ Dwarf 21. 

The following year gave us For Those About To Starve, with Rudy electing to deliver a 4-track EP, doubled up to 8 thanks to the ‘instrumentals’, which might appeal to those listeners who don’t care for gravel vocals but won’t serve much value to the committed fans. Amongst these four, however is some of the strongest :W: output for years. Justin Kohlenklau has the instant appeal of a very-slightly-cheesy hook that could have been drawn from a low-budget horror flick but serves our purposes here.

Kühlwalda will satisfy those with more serious electro-industrial tastes of the angry-man-meets-angry-synth-school. Scared Half To Death revives the concept of a child voice providing a thing layer of innocence whilst the synths fire off salvos in every direction, and Nullum Crimen Sine Lege is timely reminder that Rudy can still do that slow-and-reflective thing, even if it’s no classic.

Versions: CD, 12″ vinyl and even minidisc (?) versions were released, even if many people would settle for download or stream these days. The remixes are on DJ Dwarf 22.

Giftkeks arrived in 2023, another EP consisting of four new tracks with an instrumental double-up. As is common with releases on odd-numbered years, it’s more cerebral than the more upbeat material from the previous year. This adds some value to the instrumental versions, as the lyrics are the weakest link here – German or English, the most notable text is the song title Draw Your Terminal Breath, as it’ll conjure up unwarranted memories of a certain Monty Python tune even if this song is devoid of any comedy content.

The staccato stabs of Silent Running are the high point musically, the other three tracks mainly serving as a showcase for Rudy’s sound design talents. A valid technical and textural exercise, but nothing that’s likely to win over new supporters – the existing :W: devotees will be happy enough that this prolific project, whilst lacking the raw anger of times past, at least still knows what all the knobs do.

Versions: It’s not Rudy without various obscure editions – CD, vinyl and minidisc on offer once more along with the easy option of download or stream. Remixes? You’ve guessed it – DJ Dwarf 23.

Onto 2024 and Schlossgheist. It’s the usual quartet of new recordings, although this time the added instrumentals are extended ’12 inch’ versions. Tanz den Tod is the obvious standout – a classic cut of dark electronic stabbing and scathing with a dual-language vocal that would likely appeal to the balance of :W:’s remaining fanbase. The title track brings back the occasional use of female spoken voices interspersing the electronic throb, whilst Killing A Spider and The Steifel offer the slightly-more frequent use of trite lyrical phraseology. Again, the reason for all these instrumentals becomes increasingly clear. It’s not terrible, just a case of “another year rolls by for Rudy”.

Singles and Version: There was a vinyl version – the existence of 12 inch versions should have been a clue, alongside the usual CD and download/streaming versions. 3rd party remixes? Head for DJ Dwarf 24.

If you think this is the end of the story though, think again. There’s plenty of material that was released outside of the main album series. Indeed, almost every note he’s recorded is available somewhere.  And that’s where we’re going next. 

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