The Digital Hardcore label has been responsible for putting a face on the
ferociously anonymous music of the hardcore-techno genre called "gabber."
In fact, at this stage in gabber's development, Alec Empire and his
Atari Teenage Riot, have rallied a roster of crazies behind them that has
the potential to rival
Warhol's, John Waters' or Edward D. Wood Jr.'s. So what better time than
now to round them all up on one handy compilation?
Empire bookends You've Got The Fucking Power with tracks from ATR at
the start and his own "Hard Like It's A Pose" at the end just to show you
who's really got the fucking power. The ATR are exemplary, 200-plus BPM,
hardcore ravers showcasing their simpleminded anarcho-politics and
rat-a-tat-tatting drum & bass beats. And the Empire track sounds fine
when there's not a 70-minute solo album attached to it.
But some of their brethren and sistren have already surpassed Daddy DHR in
subtlety and just plain interest. My favorite is Shizuo. His
anti-extravaganza was my favorite live show of 1997 and was probably the
closest I'll ever come to witnessing the bedlam that Stravinsky's "Le Sacre du
Printemps" caused May 29, 1913. The raver kids were there to get
pile-driven, but because Shizuo's tracks sound like an ATR song played on a
crappy boombox at the back of the stage, they began to pelt Hammer and his
motley crew with drinks when it was clear
that his lo-fi sludge would not allow them to bang their bodies.
"The Man" is very much in keeping with this aesthetic and is easily my
favorite cut on the compilation. The bass flails out of pristine control;
the watered-down beat patterns follow a logic only pre-competent Shaggs
drummer Helen Wiggin could understand; and a fuzzy Anime voice mumbles and
sings "Shizuo's the man!" over and over. By trading energy and volume for a
perverse catchiness, Shizuo proves that he most definitely does not got the
fucking power, and we're the better for it.
My other favorite track is Bomb 20's "You Killed Me First" which gets its
name from a great Richard Kern flick (kudos for sampling the scene where
Lung Leg offs Karen Finley) and sounds like an attempt to fuse Negativland
found-speech play with DHR caterwaul. Every other track on this compilation
overstays its welcome but each one gives up some sonic detail worth hearing
twice. So this is the perfect stocking-stuffer for that gabber dabbler in
your social circle. And it has a great selling-point that practically no
other techno-identified release can boast -- a 33 running length.