DJ & Music Writer from the UK

Wumpscut – A Listener’s Guide

Compscut Part 1 – The Physical Media

If the studio albums weren’t enough, there are also many compilation and combined releases that collect various Wumpscut tracks that didn’t appear on the core studio albums.  Some of these contain important versions of particular tracks or even exclusives of note, but others are musical shovelware and are strictly for die-hards with nothing better to listen to.  And suckers like me who trawl through stuff like this so you don’t have to.

Wumpscut - The Mesner Tracks (Cover)

The Mesner Tracks was released in 1995, compiling tracks from the many and varied early-era Wumpscut appearances on various artists compilations (or ‘samplers’, as they’re known in Germany).  Many of these are alternate versions of tracks from the demo tapes or the Slaughtering Tribe/Dried Blood of Gomorrah era, though they’ve been remastered to bring them closer to current standards.  These are still examples of Wumpscut in its raw and formative phases, with song structure in particular not yet mastered, but since the most devoted fans prefer this material anyway, this collection still has value.

Highlights include on the only releases of the demo track Lindbergh on CD (never knww why it wasn’t on the other demo comps), and an updated version of War Combattery from the same era.  There’s also some interesting alternate versions, such as Black Death (Muted Texture) (aka ‘the instrumental version’), plus a few tracks you won’t find anywhere else.  UK Decay for those who like their beats noisy, Cold Cell if you like the those fem-vox atmospheric moments, and of course Mother.  Extended from the ‘We Came To Dance Vol. VI’ version (itself one of the all time great dark scene compilation series), it’s nearly nine minutes of hard, scything synths, near-ceaseless beats and vocals alternating between the vocoded and just-plain-harsh, though the touching lyrical stance shows Rudy does, deep down at least, have a human side.  It’s everything that’s good (and bad) about this project’s early era.

Preferential Legacy was also issued in 1995, primarily as a bonus LP on the ‘Bunkertor 7’ box set, but also as a limited-edition Ant-Zen LP on clear vinyl.  The popularity of vinyl records was at rock bottom back then, but it’s still worth remembering those who kept the format alive before the hipsters got in on the action.  The release itself is simply a compilation of selected tracks from the ‘Defcon’ and ‘Small Chambermusicians’ demo tapes, collecting most of the key tunes.  It’s something of a crown jewel for collectors with only 30 copies out there, but those happy with digital can obtain all these tunes (and then some!) more easily elsewhere.

Wumpscut - Born Again (Cover)

1997 saw the release of Born Again.  To all intents and purposes, it’s a remix album for ‘Embryodead’ filled out with a couple of other alternate versions and exclusive tracks.  Some of these have since found their way onto extended versions of the main album – for example, the Deejaydead mixes of “Embryodead” and “Angel” are really the Aghast View and Brain Leisure remixes respectively, and “War (Revenge And Nemesis Version)” is now known simply as “12 Inch Instrumental” – all worth having if you’re into remixes, but face it, you don’t need two copies under different names clogging up your playlist.  They also pull out one of the Haujobb mixes of “Die In Winter” from the American version of ‘Bunker Gate 7’ and also Wumpscut’s own remix of Aghast View’s “Vaporize” – the inclusion of Rudy’s mixes for other projects would later become a trend on the DJ Dwarf series.

There is some content that remains exclusive to this release. Only two strictly new tracks appear – “Wumpsex” is a competently programmed but not exceptionally interesting noise loop, whilst “Man’s Complete Idiot” is of curiosity value only.  There’s a few ‘Embryodead’ offshoots you won’t find elsewhere, of which “Is It You (Scintillating Mix)” is probably the strongest, a kind of 12-inch extended version that never made it to vinyl.    And of course – “Thorns (Distant Vocals Version)”, one of the few clean-vocal Wumpscut songs, and a rare moment of true beauty in a somewhat relentless catalogue.  Indeed, this version of this song was the selling point of the whole disc.

Wumpscut - Blutkind (Cover)

I’ve made several mentions of limited tape and vinyl version of Wumpscut’s early demos.  2000’s Blutkind was the first not-strictly-limited issue of these tunes.  Indeed, it was issued several times, initially as a double CD, but later as a single disc.  This release compiles several tracks from ‘Defcon’ and ‘Small Chambermusicians’ (though these are omitted on the single CD issues, featured as they are on other comps) plus unreleased material from the same era.  It’s all essentially in the same style – lo-fi adventures in dark electronics, and with the same target audience – compulsive fans and purists that “liked his early stuff”.  You know who you are.

There were also a few more recent recordings.    Three alternate version of tracks from ‘Music From A Slaughtering Tribe’ feature, including an instrumental of “Soylent Green”, though these only really appeal to those wanting to pass fine judgement in terms of mixology.  There’s also a couple of newer compositions, of which Hang Him Higher is the real keeper.  The delicate harpsichord chime and panpipe motif a deceptive lead-in to the thumping beat that follows, a too-rare example of Wumpscut at his most dynamic.

Wumpscut - Soylent Green (Cover)

2002’s Liquid Soylent comprises solely of previously released material.  It compiles the ‘Deliverance’  and ‘Ich Will Dich’ singles and eleven of the umpteen mixes of ‘Totmacher’, including that 21-minute “Grave Digger Party Mix” found on the box set and Concentrated Camp editions of “Boeses Junges Fleisch”.  As previously discussed when I covered the album, none of these alternate version are compulsory listening. 

We also get Wumpscut’s entry in the ‘Remix Wars’ series, where two artists would remix three tracks apiece by each other.  Haujobb is other faction in this particular ‘war’, and thankfully both engaged in battle when at their respective peaks creatively. The dark pulsating mix of “World Window” conveys some real energy – the remainder on offer hear would mainly be of interest to those with an appreciation for both projects, due to the habit of both remixers to treat the task as a technical exercise than an outlet for creativity.   Note that this collection was later issues as a single CD entitled Killer Archives in 2006, missing out all the Totmacher mixes and hence giving the average listener a chance to make it through sanity-intact.

Wumpscut - Preferential Tribe (Cover)

Yet more ‘bits’n’pieces’ were delivered on 2003’s Preferential Tribe.  This 2CD set includes the previously limited ‘Music For A German Tribe’ and ‘Preferential Legacy’ LPs from previous boxsets plus another heavy dose of unreleased material.  The ‘German’ tribe recording are German translation of some early Wumpscut hits – Rudy’s native tongue suits the tone of these recordings well despite the occasion forced insertion of different syllable counts.  As for the Preferential Legacy, it’s a selection of a dozen tracks from the ‘Defcon’ and ‘Small Chambermusicians’ tapes.  It repeats much of ‘Blutkind’ and I wish they’d include ‘Lindbergh’ and ‘War Combattery’ on these collections, though these were possibly omitted due to versions appearing on ‘The Mesner Tracks’ (see above).

As for the additional material, the most interesting the first and (to the best of my knowledge) only time Wumpscut covered another artist by taking on Alison Moyet’s All Cried Out.  It’s actually a quite creative rework, certainly as catchy as 80s pop should be, but industrial-bands-covering-new-wave-tunes-from-Essex is old news these days.  In addition, there’s Wumpscut remixes of tracks by Der Blutharsch, Cleen and Das Ich, but none of them rank as Rudy’s best.  Also a couple of new tracks (nothing special here either) and finally some ‘Artefact Pearls’ – still more alternate takes and unreleased tracks.  Other than an instrumental version of “Hang Him Higher” (nice but as unnecessary as every vocals-taken-out mix there’s ever been) and the suitably stripped-down Dive tribute “God”, it’s all to be placed in the category of ‘could have been on the early albums but wasn’t good enough’. 

That’s it for CD miscellanies.  However, if you’re browsing the sale racks at your scene festival of choice, you might see some of the studio albums sold in ‘double packs’.  If you’re still up for collecting physical format releases, your options include:

  • The Bunketor Tribe Works (Music For A Slaughtering Tibe + Bunkertor 7)
  • Completer 1 (The Mesner Tracks, Born Again, Jesus Antichristus single also included)
  • The Cannibal Census Works (Cannibal Anthem and Body Census)
  • The White Works (Wreath Of Barbs and Evoke)
  • Boeser Junger Bone Peeler (Bone Peeler and Boeses Junges Fleisch)
  • The Dried Blutkind Of Gomorrha Works (Dried Blood of Gomorrha and the single CD version of Blutkind)
  • Fuckit & Schädling (what do you think?)
  • The German Embryodead Tribe (3CDs – Embroydead and the full Preferential Tribe double complilation)

Note that most of the albums are issued in their ‘vanilla’ state – a few token remixes sometimes fill up the available space, but if you want to hear everything, look elsewhere.

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