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„MASCHINENFEST TRACKS 1999 – 2014” is a lavish retrospective, based on the astonishing fact that WINTERKÄLTE performed at the MASCHINENFEST for the 10th time in 2014. This limited to 500 copies hand numbered edition collects all contributions to the legendary Maschinenfest compilation CDs in remastered sound quality, cut over two 12” records and thus maintaining the tradition of making available all Winterkälte tracks on vinyl. According to the concept this is not a “Best Of”, but a collection of concisely physical tracks with the club firmly in focus. Eight studio tracks, five of which have never been available in this or any other version on a Winterkälte release, enframed by two live cuts, the total ten tracks covering no less than 15 years of Winterkälte’s trademark, genre-defining drum’n’noise sound. The two heavy-weight LPs come in a special high quality foldout cover including the CD version of the album (HANDS D200) as well as 4 art prints and a sticker. The 2 LPs come in heavy weight black vinyl – the first 200 copies in 180g heavy blue transparent vinyl. Telling a rhythm’n’noise fan about the Winterkälte sound is like carrying sand to the beach, but it’s also notable that they have scored quite some crossover credibility as well – the intricate sound design and energetic groove work well for followers of all kind of electronic genres. Founded in 1991, their highly dynamic live shows with electronics by Udo Wiessmann and electronic drumming by Eric de Vries have become the other cornerstone, next to the studio work. The fascination of Winterkälte live performances has proven during many shows in Europe, North America and Asia. Among those, Maschinenfest shows have always been a special highlight, and in 2014 it will be their tenth MF appearance. This compilation reveals an astonishing continuity, from the first track “Warm Up”, very early Winterkälte which was recorded live from mixing desk in 1997 on the “pre-Maschinenfest” event “Musik in Elektrisch” to the live cut “Deep Sea Defenders” from 2012, a quality microphone recording complete with the sounds of the stirred crowd. The other contributions are quite manifold: Half of the tracks here can’t be found on any other release in any version, those being “TBT”, “Stop Exxon”, “Stop Plutonium”, “Structure 10” and “Fracking Siberia”. Furthermore, you will find a very early, primal version of “Greenwar Theme One”, the alternative “Cetraro” version of “Toxic Ships” and the original rough mix of the band’s considerable dance floor hit “Ban Depleted Uranium Weapons”. Enjoy the propelling time travel through Winterkälte’s drum’n’noise from past to present!
Following a string of festival appearances and some impressive awards for both their music and visual art, incite/ present their third album for HANDS. Eleven out of the 12 tracks are taken from their recent and their upcoming live sets, with the included large 16 pages art booklet - based on their video works - giving you an impression of their awarded skill. Nevertheless, “light spin” convinces as a musical work on its own, with its arsenal of abrasive sounds and glitches composed into surprisingly catchy tunes in the grey area between IDM, electro and industrial. Hard to pigeonhole, easy to enjoy for the electronic connoisseur. Since the release of “dare to dance” in 2011, incite/ have performed on 41 international festivals all over the world, from Moscow to Madrid and from Sao Paulo to Casablanca, including the 2013 WGT in Leipzig. The duo has also won three considerable awards: The Qwartz Award, Paris (Dancefloor category) 2012 for the track “glass” on the album „dare to dance“; the Visual Music Award, Frankfurt (Visual Music Live Contest) 2012 for music and video of „fire“ and the Visual Music Award, Frankfurt (Visual Music Live Contest) 2014 for „up & down“ (music and video again). While incite/’s debut “mindpiercing” (2009) was rather abstract and strict, “dare to dance” introduced a stronger physical aspect; the musical agenda of “light spin” now is incite/’s very own approach to the tune. Of course you can draw comparisons, to glitch pop, chiptune, IDM or the academic noise sound of Raster-Noton, but incite/ make it something very much of their own. And while the inexperienced listener might find this inaccessibly abstract, the seasoned electronic aficionado while catch himself headnodding or humming along to tracks like “footprints” or “duality”. And while there’s of course a range of moods and sounds, from the quiet and subtle (“illusion of safety”) over the noisy and unsettling (“time skating”) to the arcane (“harbour of mystery”), “light spin” appears convincingly coherent.
A year after the well-received debut album for HANDS, the electronic brain gives us a five-track-remix encore in a limited and hand numbered edition of 300 pieces, third in the CD-EP series which is exclusively only available over the mailorder or at merchandise booth of HANDS or the artist itself. Whereas “Anima Meccanica” succeeded in the balancing act between dance floor and home listening appeal, this time around it’s all about physical response, and five tracks of the album have been given the according treatment. 31 minutes of music that dares to exceed the boundaries of nodding heads! Let’s see what has happened: “Last Words” is featured in significantly extended and tidied-up dub version, “Instant Trauma” has been allowed to keep the industrial artefacts but has been taught the groove, “Vertebrae” - with its epic bass riff – has been infused with massively kicking beats, “Down the Line” has also been considerably extended and its appearance has been changed from noisy fuzz to grating minimal techno, and finally “Bad Ground” has also been infused with rhythmic impact. “Dance Meccanica” – mission accomplished!
New York-based Frank Mokros has already had a number of releases on HANDS, as four well-received albums under his electro industrial guise SYNTH-ETIK, also with his technoid project ATIV, now he (re-)joins for his sixth TOTAKEKE album. Under this moniker he has made himself a name for diligent sound design and deep electronica. Instead of sonic dabbling, he produces tight and poignant tracks. With “Me.Tem.Psy.Cho.Sis” he has created a very topical electronica album, with plenty of atmospheric moments, also successfully integrating the rhythmic impact of his past projects, the result being quite upfront – IDM with balls. Totakeke is an acquired taste, but one that’s easy on your buds – if you’re a seasoned electronic music listener. Me.Tem.Psy.Cho.Sis follows in the tradition of blending ambient atmospheres as in “R.Ai.Th”, “In.An.I.Mate” or the title track with piercing rhythms and a plethora of influences: “Por.Tent” is raw experimentalism, “In.Vo.Ca.Tion” or “Sysrq-“ have a very cinematic sound, and tracks like “Re.Ten.Tion” or “Trig.Ger” hint at how EBM might sound if it had dared to progress. The entirety of Me.Tem.Psy.Cho.Sis has a strong arc of suspense, from the dark intro over the rhythmic alternating with more freeform parts to the apex of “Com.Pos Men.Tis”, an irresistible rhythmic dance floor weapon. The general sound of Me.Tem.Psy.Cho.Sis is very progressive and unique, blending all elements into a coherent flow with the album’s storyline – highly enjoyable 70 minutes for the electronic gourmet.
With its fourth album, SYNTECH (now working as a duo) follow the tradition of never sounding the same twice, yet always retaining the core element of the Syntech sound, the tribal rhythm. “Only Ruins Remain” is by comparison the most gentle and introvert release yet, offering atmospheric downbeat tracks next to the club-compatible ones that are of course still to be found. Musically refined and with a warm and organic sound, “Only Ruins Remain” echoes the rhythm of the ritual and adds another attractive progression to the Syntech discography. While “Rising From the Ashes” had been a rhythmic monolith, “P’som Sett” had fathomed the noisier extremes and “Trans-Neptunian Objects” had invited the listener on a space voyage, „Only Ruins Remain“ takes a more personal stance, leaving room for thought and contemplation before picking up the pace. Long-time live collaborator Björn Boysen has now also joined the studio production of Steffen Lehmann. “Spindrift” and “No Sunlight” open the album on an intimate note, soft tones and slow grooves with a darker, spiritual note, before the acceleration of “Drive Hunt” evokes a gut-level response. “Electric Hellfire” then surprises with distorted digital detritus and stumbling beats, before “Salvager” leads back onto the path of cleanliness with the most technoid moment of “Only Ruins Remain”. Now the tribal dance may commence, with “For how Long”, “Ignorance”, “Mutations”, “Panic”, the drumstep-savvy “Mirrors” and the industrial-tinged “Harvest Season”. “Prospector” finally winds up „Only Ruins Remain“ with piano lines and solemn comedown atmosphere. Having long emancipated Syntech from the Greyhound sound, this is a bold step into a territory of its own, music in the grey area between genres and styles, yet irresistibly emotive and appealing, music to find comfort in when only ruins remain.
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of SYNTECH’s creation, HANDS releases a limited edition lavish oversize package containing the „Only Ruins Remain“ album plus the album “Decade” with 14 remixes by associates and friends. From well-known acts such as TOTAKEKE, DIRK GEIGER and PHILIPP MUENCH over favored newcomers like MORTAJA, DIRTY K and ECSTASPHERE to more obscure acts, this covers a wide range of styles from rough rhythm’n’noise over IDM, EBM and ritual ambient. A great tribute to diversity and friendship! Let’s take a look at what the fellow musicians have done with the intensely rhythmic, tribal-flavored tracks that are trademark Syntech: First up, new label mate TOTAKEKE has added a digital-sounding surface of glitches, while PHILIPP MUENCH turns his track into psychedelic, hypnotic industrial fantasy; MORTAL VOID surprise us with a classic dark electro tune, and RES-Q provide a bouncing bassline; DIRTY K are easily recognized through their filthy rhythmic noise beats, while DIRK GEIGER adds glossy electronica sounds; INDIVIDUALDISTANZ are a long-runnig dark electro project who have contributed not only a remix, but also close the album with a hot and smoking collaboration track with vocals; Ophelia aka ECSTASPHERE showcases her dark and brooding industrial sound, and MORTAJA and =MP45= let the listener plunge into percussive, ritual ambience; SIMON SCHALL stands for repetitive, abrasive old school rhythms, while Leipzig-based SANS FIN creates a lush rhythmic piece with a trumpet melody on top, and the wonderful TO TRAVEL WITHOUT ANY CERTAIN DESTINATION are about deepness and digital debris. A manifold display of talent, a dazzling array of electronic sounds and an appropriate birthday present to SYNTECH!
Time passes in moments – and Candy dedicates his 3rd album to the lapse of time, significantly boosting the harder aspects of the 16PAD NOISE TERRORIST sound, oscillating between harder drum’n’bass, drumstep and hard-hitting crossbreed style. Again mastered by DJ Hidden, featuring a remix for veteran performer Cristian Vogel and a collaboration track with Lynn aka Enduser, “Zeit” features the input of prolific guests. Presented in a remarkable 3D-print cover designed by Nicola Bork it musically stands out as cutting-edge modern, suited for inducing twitches in the dance floor crowd as well as splitting the listener’s brains proper in due time. The limited first edition includes a 3-D glass with hands-stamped 16pad logo. After the first two 16PNT albums dealt with the subject matter of utopia/dystopia, “Zeit” is inspired by the occupation with transience. Coherently, the sound appears more direct, grounded, and very much in the here and now. Starting with the drumstep beats of “Fright Night Overdrive”, then launching into the slasher intro of “Angst”, before the beats kick in hard and the stabs force physical motion. Only the slo-motion wobble of the 16PAD remix for Cristian Vogel’s “Deepwater” grants some relief, before “Boomchuck” and “Delynch” bang it up with thumping hardcore beats. From there, the album forges into more experimental territory, with metallic sounds and rhythmic overdrive (“Musik”) coupled with canyon-deep breaks and extended speech samples (“Zeit”, “I am a machine”), sick build-ups (“Moment”) – and the closing title “Endwerk”, featuring the trademark high pitches and anarchic structure of Enduser, along with an almost cinematic, melodic backdrop. It may be man’s destiny to perish, but every now and then it’s the pleasant surprises, the special moments that make it all worthwhile. With “Zeit”, Candy has created an authentic tribute to the lapse of time, an appeal to make the best of it – and a highly entertaining album of broken beats along with that.
Does the idea of passionate thinking leave you startled? PHASENMENSCH picks up the concept of his earlier work “Begegnungen” (=encounters) on his sophomore release for HANDS, a result of difficult, eventful changes in the social environment, yielding excitingly controversial situations. Musically, “Entschleunigungsprozesse” is an impressively mature, antithetic work: Full of emotional atmospheres, yet strict in composition, decidedly rhythmic, yet avoiding any harshness, highly melancholic, yet fuelled by positivity – a gentle and thoughtful piece of electronic music. On “Entschleunigungsprozesse”, Wolfram Bange aka Phasenmensch takes his clues from a philosophical concept (again): The central question is how to retain your originality and not deny your nature under society’s crushing pressure of conformance? How can you find time to actually think during the hastening of modern life? Important people come and go, alliances are formed and broken up, tears are shed and mistakes are made. Understand this as your chance to improve, and the potential is endless – just leave enough space to explore your true feelings, and the outlook is bright! “Entschleunigungsprozesse” may well be seen as a vehicle to escape the agitation of the outside world. For starters, “Vernunft und Leidenschaft” will set the mood with its gloomy intro, breaking into uplifting minimal rhythms. Everything appears integrally connected, from the quiet sophistication of “Alles verschwindet”, “Sommerregen” or “Vom Nein zum Ja” over the technoid leanings of the collaborative tracks with with Constructor and ICD-10 to the more industrial beats of “Heilige Momente” or “Funkenflug”. No less than three tracks feature Wolfram’s good friend Ophelia the Suffering, adding guitar and sounds to the brooding “Rost und Knochen”, as well as adding some rhythmic distortion to “Optimierte Gegenwart” as Ecstasphere and remixing “Vernunft und Leidenschaft” as Aphexia, adding aggrieved string sounds. The last word goes to HANDS label mate Hezzel, using gently distorted bass drones for his remix. The 73 minutes of “Entschleunigungsprozesse” are a meaningful timeout as well as a much recommended electronic music album – reason and passion in an unknown alliance!
Sound wizard Stefan aka Nullvektor delivers his 4th album for HANDS, further refining his betwixt-and-between trademark sound of industrial beats and dominating techno structures in a razor-sharp production, but this time around he also adds a new aspect to the Nullvektor sound: Introspection, conveyed through deeply atmospheric sounds and pensive lyrics on a couple of tracks. The scope of “Marathonmann” is as wide as from the noisy dance floor assault of “Grundeinstellung” to the Bpitch/Kompakt-style art techno of the title track. 58 minutes of excitement for the electronic initiate! Some of the tracks on “Marathonmann” have already been tested live to great success, and that are mainly the classically Nullvektor rhythm beasts, like the opener “Ohne Zweifel”, the upbeat noise smasher “Grundeinstellung”, the convoluted “Wiederholung”, or “Aufgewacht”, which combines scraping industrial sounds with a dubby depth. The title track features a haunting, sombre melody and sonorous vocals, somehow reminiscent of the WhoMadeWho style that took the techno world by storm. “Durch die Nacht” and “Ein letztes Mal” have strong industrial flavours again, while “Mörder” and “Wenn Du es tust” revolve around almost generic techno patterns and “Wenn Du es willst” is even more hymnic than the title track (are you shocked by the term “pop”?). The final track “Im Spiegel” is another surprise, all jarring downbeats and multi-layered sound effects. All in all, “Marathonmann” is a very adult album, with food for brain and body at the same time, with especially the more quiet tracks guaranteed to grow on you.
Polish veteran (and seasoned live act) Wieloryb delivers his third album for HANDS in a short time, and just what is the kind of metamorphosis to discover this time? „Root“ appears to be he most experimental and eclectic Wieloryb album so far – or should it be: The most mature and widely appealing? While this is of course still deadly efficient rhythm’n’noise, a lot of changes of pace make for a whole new structure, and subtle spaces between make the rhythmic impact appear even more crisp. In 2011, “Empty” showcased how versed Wieloryb is in creating rhythm, in 2012 “Namaste” proved mastery of the use of samples, in 2014 “Root” introduces Wieloryb’s proficiency of a wider range of sounds and emotions: Atmospheric backdrops and moody breaks increase the tension (“The Number of Fourth”), beats are slightly broken crossbreed style (“Orion”), and tracks like “Dead Robot” or “The Number of Second” could almost qualify as downbeat, in the Wieloryb universe at least. A number of tracks have a strong industrial hardcore flavour, like “Machine” or “Alphabet”, while “War” surprises with old school style noise textures. “Dead on TV” is a beast of edgy electronica and shredded beats, and at the end of a most diverse album we get two bonus mixes in yet more distinctly different styles: Eerie ambience (“The Number Three – Leed ambient version) and goa trance (“Spring –Noisetrance 44 second Remix Version”). You just have to love evolution – in general, and regarding Wieloryb in particular!
Meet the laZercowboys, a bunch of high-spirited astronauts who are hurtled into deep space after losing control over their technology… Concept meets catchiness on SaturmZlide’s second HANDS album, which soundwise features a gripping mixture of space atmospheres, vocoder voices, extraterrestrial grooves and, of course, tough industrial rhythms. “laZercowboys” is extremely club-compatible, but also a strong recommendation for home listening through its flawless production value - and its unique leitmotif. The intro “Earth Shine” sets the mood: Infinity, fear, unanswered questions – astronaut Raphael is the protagonist of this story who has to deal with exceptional circumstances. Helplessness threatens to drive him mad; a dark mood dominates his feeling of being “Lost in Space”. The trip is a fast-paced one, with the beats pushing and shoving along the “Cosmic Highway”. Raphael realizes he might already be aboard space cruiser 999, where in “Type 999 Boarding” rhythm’n’noise meets vaguely 90s style up tempo house sounds (speak of wormholes there!). Approaching “Canopus Flight” and the “Callisto Ghost” must be a true challenge, aggravated by heavy magnetic storms, or where those just nightmares? “Black, deep and vast” space lies before us, infinite blackness in sound and vision, but then “Super Type 999” propels the seeker onward (and just doesn’t it sound like an experimental cousin of an Underworld track?), and “Planet Home” is in sight – a two-faced 10-minute opus, where a banging rhythm submerges into lush ambience with the prog-reference that SaturmZlide wouldn’t do without. What matters in the end is the ultimate beauty of “Gaia”, and another genre hybrid, minimal electro pop with an industrial edge, a melody to die for, to protect its preciousness. “laZercowboys” stands as a testament of heartfelt musicianship, everything in place, intricate sound design. SaturmZlide can, but even more so he wants – thoroughly emotional and devoted electronic music!
14 years of FORMS OF HANDS - for the festival crowd the event itself is always occasion enough to create two nights of musical enthusiasm and amicable celebration. With no less than half of the 14 acts being debutants on the FOH stage, this collection of all exclusive tracks is as essential as ever: From the rhythm’n’noise acts like MONO NO AWARE or CACOPHONEUSES to the more technoid approaches of MONOLITH or CERVELLO ELETTRONICO to the edges of the HANDS sound spectrum with TATLUM or HYDRONE, this is a choice selection of the most upscale quality. FOH 14: Two nights of shaft tower shaking, which will leave many with ringing ears, happy memories – and bequeath the world this collection. Seven acts appear at FOH for the first time and represent the extraordinary musical range of HANDS with refills from their current (or recent) albums: From the grim crossbreed of TATLUM – from Russia with hate – over the archaic ambient sound of HYDRONE, from the physical rhythmic noise of the fetching CACOPHONEUSES to the crusty sound of HEZZEL, from the industrial-infused techno of CERVELLO ELETTRONICO to the ear-splitting digital hardcore mayhem of AMBASSADOR21 and the fuzzy dub techno of MONOLITH a wonderful combination of established acts and promising newcomers! PROYECTO MIRAGE also contribute a second helping to their recent album, a nice piece of steam techno, while the sophomore attendees settle for novelty tracks: LIBIDO FORMANDI add some gritty rhythm punch to their electronica sound and LAST DAYS OF S.E.X. corsets stiff industrial beats into a house structure (rather than a technoid one) – even noise can groove! The SATURMZLIDE track is a tongue-in-cheek electro tune with a frivolous Kraftwerk reference, guaranteed to wake the dead, even. Last but not least, regard the veteran performers: MONO NO AWARE doesn’t stray from his intransigent harshness and NEEDLE SHARING pleases with a captivating mixture of drumstep beats and cinematic atmosphere. In a time when various artist compilations have become a bit out of fashion, this showcase stands like one tower of strength for a musical vision, for a distinct and diverse label sound.
With Monolith an acknowledged veteran joins the HANDS label roster. “From Belgium to Berlin” – that’s not only Eric’s personal biography in short, it’s also the route that the sound he had its stakes in creating has taken: Partially club-compatible, entirely rhythmic and absorbing, this is premier league entertainment for contemporary electronic aficionados across the scenes, from the electro industrial underground onto the Berghain dance floor. It’s general knowledge that Eric van Wonterghem is a member of Absolute Body Control and Sonar, and that he has a notable past as Insekt, as well as under the Monolith moniker itself. On this behalf, “Crashed” is his 8th album already, and he can also look back at a string of live performances as well, forging his hypnotic and tribal rhythmic noise sound. This album shows the timeless facets of the “Belgian” sound that Eric van Wonterghem and his various fellow musicians have created over the last three decades, and that’s still newsworthy today: The icy, repetitive electro industrial sound, dominated by incisive rhythms with crashing cymbals and slight distortion, clinical and yet strangely warm and analogue has intrigued generations of underground music fans since its inception in the early 80s, and now it has arrived in the scene of Berlin, today’s minimal techno capital of the world, where it’s namechecked (and sometimes ripped off) by a new generation of producers. “Crashed” stands as good proof that Monolith is still capable of cutting-edge productions himself: A short, forbidding intro of static fuzz and swelling atmosphere (“No Escape”) and then 10 tight and rhythmic tracks. Some stand out as downright recommendations for the dance floor – following in the line of his recent vinyl 12” on Sonic Groove - like the rhythm noise/dub techno hybrid “Rotated”, the slightly EBM-ish “Crashed” and the hard-hitting “The Source”, while others draw from various other aspects: “Roadblock” is a raw, stomping boulder of sound, “The Victim” operates in rather purebred dub techno territory, “I Control Evolution” sounds rather klinik-al with its distorted 808 pattern and mock vocals. “10 Minutes before Blackout” finishes off an album that offers braindance and physical moments, done with expertise and a unique handwriting.
News from the east – with Latvian artist Hezzel HANDS presents another very promising newcomer. “Exposure” is a worthwhile and surprisingly mature debut CD, firmly rooted in the rhythmic noise industrial sound, but with some peculiar ideas - a grimy, eclectic take at the genre, an offering for the dance floor and for the armchair even-handedly. Hezzel joins HANDS with a reference of several net releases, including a split album with Tatlum, having developed an original approach at rhythm’n’noise during this formative period. When listening to the 15 tracks of “Exposure”, you can never quite pin down the tradition Hezzel draws from: “Brink Of War” is reminiscent of the 1990s acid-infused hardcore sound of early Aphex Twin, “Fuckstep” is driven by classically convoluted, distorted beats, “Test Negative” adds an unexpected mechanical groove, “Collateral” is a nauseating kind of almost-hardcore and “Wither” adds such a captivating melody one is tempted to call it “IDM”. But whatever you say, in the end, it boils down to a convincing, contemporary form of rhythm’n’noise. Hezzel never forgets the little twists and turns that keep his tracks dynamic and compelling: Melodic backdrops, effective breaks and the occasional sample. A good part of the album is obviously centred around the subject of war, nuclear warfare specifically, including the beatless “Second Chance”; the overall impression of “Exposure” though is not so much of relentless aggression, but of a rather distinguished album, with moments of contemplation, intensely atmospheric tracks like “Lay Low” and an almost psychedelic undertone (“Rasho”) as a counterpoint to potential floor fillers like “Cannot See”, a track in which all the aspects of “Exposure” seem to amalgamate.
Sandra and Joséphine aka Cacophoneuses have enchanted crowds since their spectacular appearance at the respected techno industrial festival Fondation Sonore in 2013, followed by nothing less than a Maschinenfest gig. Now it is time for their proper debut album via HANDS, which follows their self-proclaimed goal to move you inside (and) out. Hearty technoid beats and arcane soundscapes that set the myth of Lorelei to music, an album alluring the listener into the world of this fresh female duo, in the no-man’s-land between rhythm’n’noise and techno. The Lorelei is a feminine water spirit, who according to German popular culture by her murmuring bewitches men and in some versions of the myth even causes their death. In the musical adaption of the myth, Cacophoneuses stand in a tradition of the likes of Liszt or Shostakovich, so one could speak of an ambitious concept for a debut album, but they manage with ease: After the coarsely atmospheric intro “The most beautiful nymphs” the album holds eleven rhythmic tracks: From the tribal “You have bewitched me” with its psychedelic otherworldly sounds over the distorted technoid “With eyes full of stones” to the doomed “Obession”, from strangely atmospheric tracks like “French Kiss” to safe bets for the industrial dance floor like “Dirty Girls like dirty beats” or the closing title “Die of Love”, this is one tight rhythmic ride, starting slowly and sucking you in along the way. Soundwise the trademark sound of Cacophoneuses is somehow dubby hollow (rather than in-your-face harsh), which adds greatly to the subtle, repetitive elegance of this album. “The Myth of Lorelei” is a sincere recommendation to anyone into rhythm’n’noise with a strong techno flavour, a debut which convinces through its atmospheric impact coupled with the punch of the beats.
Heimstatt Yipotash, notoriously headstrong hybrid project, surrender their fifth album for HANDS: Highly political and subversive, “Mecanismos De Control” is an accentuated criticism of the Orwellian times we live in. Musically their unique blend of electro and industrial elements comes all of a piece; the leitmotif of (mostly) Spanish language vocal samples makes for coherent listening, and the intense rhythms will let you shake the chains of control - for sure! “Mecanismos De Control” follows Heimstatt Yipotash’s massive anniversary remix package, but actually picks up where the 2009 album “Urban Night Motifs” ended, in modern day metropolis. This time, the focus shifts from the urban structure itself to the people who live in it: Anonymous, working like the gearwheels of a globalized machine constantly mislead to work for accelerating economic growth. “Mecanismos De Control” denounces corruption in high finance and the politicians’ involvement in it (“Putsch”, “Banco Malo”), it brings up the lack of diversity in media (“Receptor Universal”), arbitrary police action and the various levels of state control in general (“Mecanismo De Control”). Musically it somehow suggests itself to drop the Esplendor Geometrico reference, not only for the Spanish language samples, but also for the raw and repetitive rhythmic backbone of all tracks. But of course Heimstatt Yipotash acts in a much more ample scope, with lots of diversified, contemporary elements to be found throughout the album: Spotless electro sequences (“Diez Segundos”, “Pulsador”), almost organic percussion (“Banco Malo”), shuffling all-but-grooves (“Magnetar”, “Rescoldo”), an electric harp in “El Mal Menor” and a swelling acid sequence in “Fuerza Devastadora”. And the final say goes to The_Empath, who transforms “Rescoldo” into a solemn lullaby for man, bereft of his dignity in the Brave New World of today. “Mecanismos De Control” works in the attractive contradiction of its dystopian theme and being at the same time thoroughly enjoyable, in larger parts actually dance floor compatible. A coherent, conceptually feasible and convincing album.
Sylvgheist Maëlström hasn’t taken much of his time to produce the follow-up to his HANDS debut “Skaftafell”. On “Pripyat” he deals with transformation and extinction of nature, thus he discards the majestic minimalism of the predecessor and adopts a very different musical language, with chunky IDM rhythms and dense soundscapes to portrait the numerous disturbances man inflicts upon nature – and the way nature reacts to that, reinventing itself. A heavyweight, unsettling electronica album that is topped off with crackling remixes by [basementgrrr] and Yura Yura. Pripyat is the “nuclear city” where the Chernobyl power plant is located. Abandoned after the infamous 1986 disaster, it stands a rude reminder of man’s ruinous effect on nature – and the inimitable way nature achieves a weird comeback after the seemingly worst blow. Such forbidding thoughts are the main preoccupation Sylvgheist Maëlström used as an inspiration for this album, and it shows soundwise: Heavy rhythms throughout, sinister melodies, throbbing bass sounds, all tracks saturated with sharp-edged fuzz. “Pripyat” flows in a multi-layered sound design, which creates a constant atmosphere of unease, quite appropriate for tracks dealing with the world’s worst industrial disaster in “Bhopal”, where thousands died due to exposure to toxic substances in 1984, or “Agbog Bloshie”, the infamous e-waste dump in Ghana. Even the most seasoned connoisseur of electronic music will be challenged to discern on first listen all the details to be found within every single track as even the comparably calmer tracks like “Prion” (a fatally infectious protein composition) or “Mountain Pass” overflow with sounds, not to speak of the massive noise-flavoured tracks like “Ajka” (a town in Hungary where an industrial accident caused a flood of toxic mud in 2010). The contributed remixes by [basementgrrr] and Yura Yura remain within the sonic framework of “Pripyat”, but add dynamic bass sequences and a noise rhythm respectively. As an album, “Pripyat” serves a dual function: Each of the tracks is strong enough to stand alone, as a whole they merge into an utterly disturbing, yet absorbing 78 minute trip, a reminder that man is dying in his own changed substance.
HANDS welcomes hyDrone, an act with a remarkable pedigree already, now ready for a proper debut CD release. “Chronos“ is a captivating, deeply atmospheric conceptual release about time and its perception, revealing influences from various eras of electronic music, pouring into a very individual musical language. Nine tracks plus remixes by Gjöll, Libido Formandi and Proyecto Mirage let you take a 57 minute lapse from the regular course of time! Preface: hyDrone is the alias of Panos Kouretas from Greece, who has got CD-R releases on Fich-Art and Le Petit Machiniste and a fancy vinyl on Sealt under his belt, as well as a performance at Maschinenfest - the accolade of the industrial scene. Now it’s time for Χρόνος, an album which truly deserves a distinguished presentation. Takeoff: The opener “Carefully and patiently [we are counting time]” draws the listener in with vocal snippets, atmospheric parts and insidious bleeps, while “Always late” moves along accordingly slow in eerie halfstep mode. “Whenever” is a grainy drone piece, “Backwards” fuses bass heavy drones with a cinematic melody and the title track draws heavily from 70s Kosmische Musik in an ambient mode. “Passing time” is a masterpiece, the perception of time during a human being’s lifespan in a nutshell, seemingly accelerating, while the actual pattern never changes. With “Chronotaraxis” we have finally left the time continuum for good and are prepared to plunge into the psychedelic ambience of “Time is running out of time” and “To maintain the balance”. Overtime: Jóhann Eiriksson aka Gjöll contributes a fuzzy, Raster-Noton style drone piece, Libido Formandi turns out a nicely accessible electronica track and also label mates Proyecto Mirage get the final say with archaic, analogue distorted beats. Epilogue: Far from easy listening, sometimes demanding, this album is a treat for anyone into atmospheric electronic music. Panos displays a knack for sound design and composition, the result being well-defined and yet complex, abrasive and beautiful at the same time. Worth your time!
Spanish veterans Proyecto Mirage present their 7th album – and their most mature and atmospherically diverse effort yet. Dedicated to the history of technology (which started with invention of the steam engine) the album title represents the elements that are unmistakeably Proyecto Mirage: Prompting rhythmic noise with tough beats, often blessed with Alicia’s trademark electro-clash style vocals. An established recording artist since 1999, Spanish duo Proyecto Mirage may be best known for their energetic live performances and their dance floor tracks. On “Steam Tech”, fans will find what they expect – and some surprises as well: The opener “Morlock Ritual” is dedicated to a sci-fi character, a steaming instrumental track with various layers of rhythm. The vocal tracks come in various speeds and moods, with Alicia’s deliverance ranging from clinical to sleazy: “Cold Fire” and “Rhythm Of Locomotive” are classic Proyecto, salacious industrial rave, “Pray In Binary” and “The Alchimist” appear in an old school sound, while other tracks are actually more songs, like the downbeat “Evil Machine”, the almost-electro-wave “Came To Know” or the beautiful, hymnic “Smoke And Noise”. Then there is “Tesla Coil”, dedicated to the high voltage generator, a moody industrial fantasy in which the feedback drones are assembled to what could nearly be called (beware!) a melody. And of course there are some fine pieces of steamtechno, pushing the tempo as you desire, like “Flying Biocopter”, “Rhythm Of Locomotive”, “Peg 100 Experiment” (strangely reminiscent of Richard D. James’ Caustic Window alter ego) and the hard-hitting closing title “Mecha’s Attack”. “Steam Tech” is assembled with a strong awareness for industrial and electro history, yet completely up-to-date in its production value, and especially the songs on the album provide an enormous crossover appeal. Proyecto Mirage stay true to – and develop - their very own, unmistakeable sound. So ride this steam-powered train and enjoy the raw energy of the industrial revolution!
HANDS welcomes a catchpenny addition to its band roster: Ambassador21, the Belarusian duo who have brought their digital hardcore sound to electronic and industrial festivals worldwide and look back at a plethora of releases since the turn of the century. “X” is meant to tie up loose ends, with nine unreleased and seven compilation tracks from the period of 2005-2012 showcasing their arsenal of sound: Hard electronics, samples, heavy guitars and Natasha’s sandpaper vocals are the ingredients of this sonic Molotov cocktail! Ambassador21 are surely active activists, and their efforts have put them in the upper tiers of the digital hardcore scene. Highly political, cultural renegades, they are quite a memorable display on stage, energetic and charged. Such is also their music, and the 16 tracks on “X” bear witness to that. Some tracks have previously had a wider public exposition on prolific festival compilations, like the abrasive electro punk opener “Dope Off” (Kinetik 2010), the ultra-noisy “Elvis vs. Batman” (Maschinenfest 2005) or the midtempo-rhythmic “Unhappy Day” (Elektroanschlag 2006). Others have been hidden in more obscurity so far – “Beat.By.Beat” for example is a thumping piece of electro thrash which has now found its way from Bandcamp onto a physical release. But it’s the exclusive tracks that put the icing on this cake of course, and there’s plenty to discover: “Zensyou66” is nightmarish and obsessed, “X-Rage” turns out a grinding hardcore/speedcore killer, “Operation Touch Gun” features Hypnoskull – and a well-known track in a so far unheard rework. The live edits of “Make It Loud” and “Power Rage Riot Death” up the ante noise-wise, while “Face Your Future Killers” (recorded live nowhere else but at HR Giger Museum!) shows the “band” sound of Ambassador21. Clocking in at well over 70 minutes, “X” is one for the fans as well as for those who wish to discover the force that is Ambassador21: A creative outlet for rage and aggression, and the desire for change, heartfelt, loud and proud! Fuck All Systems!
Shorai is back with 15 X 5 = 75 minutes worth of promiscuous electronica, clattering beats and (well) lots of interference. An adventurous trip through glossy, dehumanized sound design, staying well clear of any preconceptions. Shorai is an act with a distinct trademark sound and identity, and “Interference” is an album rich with details and noisy delight. Fernando Garcia is not known to rush it with his output as Shorai, this being only his 4th album for HANDS in 10 years. While defying all categorization, he has been termed “the missing link between Kraftwerk and Winterkälte”. If you stick to that comparison, while the preceding “It Was Listening With Mechanical Precision” was more on the accessibly atmospheric side, “Interference” marks a bold return to rough and edgy territory. The album starts right off with the bulky “Spectral Overlap”, teeming with punchy shuffle beats, piercing noises and grating loops, while the next track of the same name tones it down a bit. And with number three, “Modulated RNA” and its convoluted reverence to early EBM you’ll notice you’re hooked to the unique sonic universe of Shorai. All tracks on the album have something to do with interferences, for instance "Sn Meets Sqr" references the "marriage" between a sine wave and a square wave which results in an interference between them, while "Background Radiation Always Shines On TV" mirrors the harshness of the signal you can see as “snow” interference on a dead TV channel. The entire album follows a unique logic and works in a pattern that is determined by the fact that each track clocks in at exactly 5.00 minutes. It’s within that framework that Shorai unfolds his infinite plethora of ideas. Encounter the moody downbeat of “Looking In The Scrap For Spare Parts” (it really sounds the part), the upbeat stomper “Demasiadas Notas” (which might even find its way onto the dance floors) or the numbing glitchcore of “Harmonic Cross Ratio” and “Waveform Over Japan”. In all its diversity, “Interference” is strongly recommended to be listened to in its entirety to savour its full impact - let all those flavours of electronic music mix into this unique, timeless whole. Shorai is an acquired taste for sure, but one that will be acknowledged and highly rated by electronica aficionados!
Let’s celebrate ten years of Maschinenkrieger kr52 and Disraptor joining forces in their intention to stir up industrial dancefloors big time. On their third album for HANDS they provide lots of rough and rhythmic DJ food, but they also consider some experimentation. rhythm’n’noise the way it’s supposed to be: Dirty, hypnotic and thoroughly physical! “rotTEN years” also marks the 5th anniversary of the German duo joining HANDS, which has brought them to the attention of a wide audience and secured them some remarkable success. Their agenda is to make people move – which sure is a noble task when executed as skilfully as they have been doing it. Listening to “rotTEN years” is somehow like watching a kid grow up: Right from the start it reveals its descent from the rhythm noise genre’s gene pool – shuffling beats and washes of distortion (“Loading”), a heavy kick drum (“oh My Presents”, “Shuffle Dynamics”), inscrutable vocal samples (“Tone”) and insane compression levels (“Break Core”). The tempo mostly ranges from fast (“CHM05”) over very fast (“Helldone”) to insane overdrive (“Hit and Drum”). But as kids grow up, they will extend their range, try to chart new territories, and things get more complicated, too: “1,5 gray” slows down and turns up the impact of the rhythm, “Beltra” sports a substitute melody of highpitched noises resounding in your ears forever and the closing tracks of the album (“Kiitos”, “Post MorTEN”, “Gallery”) are fully drowned in noise mayhem. So for the more adventurous listeners, there are rough edges and digressions found throughout. Nevertheless “rotTEN years” is essentially a dance floor album, powered by a sense for a hypnotic almost-groove and lots of breaks that effectively lighten the mood - be sure to encounter several of these tracks in the clubs!
Cervello Elettronico, another well established act since 2001, joins HANDS and presents his own brand of industrial-tinged techno on the 13 tracks of “Anima Meccanica” - an idiosyncratic blend of atmospheric backdrops, occasional distortion, tempting beats and apt quotations from electronic music history. The album glistens with polished production value and will prove a gadget suited for all intents and purposes in an electronic household. The “electronic brain” is the brainchild of Los Angeles based producer David Christian, who has made himself a name with numerous live shows in North America and Europe at important festivals like Schlagstrom, Elektroanschlag. Prolific remixes have been produced for the likes of Lenny Dee, Leæther Strip or Terrorfakt, and of course there have been well-received album releases on Crunch Pod and Rustblade. His tracks have made it into the playlists of Techno DJs like Adam X. On the HANDS map, “Anima Meccanica” puts Cervello Elettronico in the uncharted territory between the industrial dub techno of label stalwart Orphx and the distinctly technoid side of Nullvektor – with some electronica experimentation thrown in for good measure. A number of tracks, for example “Last Words” , “Vertebrae”, “Too much too fast” or “Instant Trauma” are what could be called relaxed industrial techno - darker atmospheres and convoluted midtempo beats which regularly shift and change in tempo. “Vertebrae” adds a gritty bass riff which sounds as if it was lifted from a 1990 Sheffield track, while “Impact” is a rather experimental, soundtrack-like interlude. Some dance floor food is also to be found: “She’s got Damage” convinces with infectious beats and warm distortion, “Down the Line” is even more reduced and noisier and “Pulse” carries a strong dub techno/minimal vibe. “Animalism” takes off for space, “Source Code” surprises with Kraftwerkian vocoder quotes and bulky electro beats and “People are still People” plays with an EBM-ish bassline. After a good hour the album comes to its conclusion with the fuzzy beats of “Splinter”. “Anima Meccanica” is intelligent, it’s danceable, but the IDM tag would definitely not give consideration to the multitude of ideas and the skill with which Cervello Elettronico uses a number of influences to create something with a trademark sound. “Anima Meccanica” is a high quality, entertaining and coherent album with an absorbing atmosphere!
From Russia with hate comes Tatlum, a producer who has already made himself a name through net releases and performing live on upper slots of industrial festivals in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and
Latvia. His HANDS debut “Mechanical Rite” is a coherent brew of hardcore and breakcore beats, dark atmospheres and spur-on-samples in a glossy, crisp production of ear-splitting loudness. Producing music since 2003, and having performed alongside the likes of Igorrr, Hecate, Ambassador 21,  Synapscape or Wieloryb recently, it’s time for Moscow resident Tatlum to step into the spotlight as a recording artist, and “Mechanical Rite” is sure to popularize him in the industrial and breakcore scenes. Tatlum derives his moniker from a magic stone, told of in an ancient poem. The Gaelic term "tathlum" means a "concrete ball" which the ancient Irish warriors sometimes used to make out of the brains of dead enemies, hardened with lime. This martial-meets-mystic attitude can also be traced in the music of Tatlum. Even though the ten tracks of the album are quite beat-heavy (with quite some real moshpit floorfillers among them), it works almost like a soundtrack album, all chips off the same block, a crossbreed of syncopated breakcore, 180+bpm bass thumps, the odd wobble and chiptune-ish melody fragments, all shrouded in sample-heavy, dark (and sometimes almost D’Argento-style) atmospheres composed of buddhist chants and eerie overtones. Tatlum cleverly sustains the listener’s attention by constantly adding new sound layers and shifting the tempo: The opener “Calling” for example follows a steady build-up, from a reverberant downbeat over hard-hitting (and old-school) breakbeats to straight hardcore. “Akalaha” employs what sounds like a toasting cyborg, while “Answers” is very cinematic. “Kill” has a strong electro vibe, ”Lifeless” is perhaps the most noisy/ experimental track on “Mechanical Rite”, while “Darkness” is definitely the most relentless banger, and in the closing track “Rite” the beats sound almost organic. “Mechanical Rite” really lives up to its title, fusing shattered, mechanical, metallic sound bits with ritual bleakness and long melodies. Craftily produced to entertain those who like their beats hard and their attitude black, this is a very promising debut.
Number 13 in the HANDS encyclopaedia: The secret of a long-term success is to embrace evolution, yet remember your roots. This is what the 2013 label festival compilation accomplishes again, with a tasty mixture of established acts like WINTERKÄLTE, ORPHX, GEISTFORM, XABEC and NULLVEKTOR, promising newcomers like PHASENMENSCH, KAIBUN or YURA YURA and a popular repatriate: AH CAMA-SOTZ. And while rhythm’n’noise remains its backbone, the label’s sound appears more diverse than ever. Packed to the brim with 14 tracks by 14 acts, this is simply essential (again). 2013 sees the HANDS family return to the impressive shaft tower of Bönen. On stage, more acts than ever before: Seven concerts on each of the two festival days – and this compilation CD is the event’s legacy. As always, their contributed tracks appear in the lineup’s running order: The opening act in 2013 is KAIBUN, tuning in to “Radio Outcast”, a bouncy industrial techno track representative of their debut album, followed by also newcomer PHASENMENSCH with a clean and crisp 4/4 dance floor tune with an extended, ultra-atmospheric break used for some “Introspektion”. Then come the repeat offenders: WIELORYB with their crunchy rhythm’n’noise and HEIMSTATT YIPOTASH with a genre-defying, stumbling electro track with earworm string samples and shredded spoken words. XABEC has announced to call it a day as a live act, he says farewell with a mock ritual piece merged with an EBM-ish melody. Barcelona-based GEISTFORM hit it harder than on their recent album, “Fotonic” has a tough rhythmic foundation, almost hardcore style, on which they pile their trademark analogue fuzz. Then it’s welcome back AH CAMA-SOTZ, who gives us “The night is cold and the air is clear”, a cinematic, almost comforting electronic ambient piece. The first act for day 2 is YURA YURA, newcomer from France, with a strong contemporary rhythm’n’noise track with melodic undercurrents, whereas LE MODERNISTE sports a relentlessly rough and noisy attitude. The already established act TALVEKOIDIK also debuts at the FOH festival in 2013, he paints the acoustic portrait of a “Rainy Dawntown”, with fragile atmospheres and beautiful piano lines. HYSTERESIS keep inventing new micro genres: “Bitcrush” is “chiptune meets guitar riffs vs. rave stabs” in a rhythmic pace accelerating from halfstep to total overdrive. NULLVEKTOR delivers a bustling rhythmic piece with lots of little details hidden among the noise, while the Toronto based ORPHX’ “Exit Strategy” is much in their recent style of industrial-infused dub techno. In the end, it’s left to WINTERKÄLTE to put the icing on the cake: “Structure 13”, unmistakeably WINTERKÄLTE, just strangely different, foot-tapping, with an irresistible shuffle beat, pushing their drum’n’noise into new territory. If you’re into quality electronic music with an edge, there is only one thing left to say, (and that’s for both, festival and compilation): Enjoy!
The return of vinyl, the return of Ah Cama-Sotz – HANDS celebrates with a must-have collector’s item HANDS B040 in a limited run of just 300 numbered copies including: one six-track picture LP of the new Album Murder Themes II) with over 40 minutes playing time (HANDS V067 and a bonus CD version of the album (HANDS D191). Musically this is continuing from where “Murder Themes” left us in 1999: The deepest, darkest abyss of human psyche, painted in thick drones and obsessed with horrifying subject matters. “Murder Themes II” proves to be very classic Ah Cama-Sotz, a conceptual continuation of the album which was part of the 1999 limited edition of “Terra Infernalis”, the picture vinyl sporting the iconic Ah Cama-Sotz bat on one and an angelic statue on the other. All six tracks remain beatless throughout – no distraction from the bleak topic of murder. The opening track is Theme eight, “Most Evil”, an upsetting collage piece featuring a documentary rant about female serial killers, while “The Sound Of Hell” adds string sounds and angelic choirs. Theme ten is aptly titled “A Dawn Without God” and goes back to documentary samples at length, dealing with David Lewis Rice, who murdered an entire family in 1985 out of religious fanaticism. “Resurrection”, renders the mood of “The Sound Of Hell”, before the 12th Theme, “I Will That Men Pray Everywhere” centers around voice samples and adds clearly electronic sounds, determining a present tense reference for the first time on the album. “Bless Those Who Persecute You” is the 13th and last Theme, the most noisy, industrial piece of the album with an eerie build-up structure and documentary samples again. Not for the fragile characters, not for the dance floor crowds, “Murder Themes II” is an artistic statement about the evil that men do; it requires active listening and an acceptance of dark thoughts.
“Covering the Orient, the Middle-East, Western culture, the Unknown and the Unspoken” – the perfect subtitle for Ah Cama-Sotz’ 2013 album, which covers all of these aspects, summarizing and enhancing all which has made this project a prime act in the Post Industrial scene in the past two decades. Ah Cama-Sotz is known as the brainchild of Belgian musician Herman Klapholz, well respected in both, the darker and the more rhythm-geared Industrial scenes. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, ACS can look back on a string of praised releases and a large number of acclaimed live performances. After three self-released albums, “Obsession Diabolique” also marks the return to the HANDS label, and it sure is an appropriate gift for the occasion. “Obsession Diabolique” covers the entire range of musical styles ACS has explored throughout its career, from noisy collages over dark drones to electronic beats and distorted rhythms. “The Orient and the Middle-East” have always been a fertile source of inspiration for ACS, and this album contains a number of pieces based on organic rhythm patterns and ethnic chanting, like the feverish opener “Rapture of the skin” or the carnal fantasies of “Roots of eternity” and “Interludium IV - un jardin sur le Nil”. “Children of the sun” and “Interludium VI - le peuple de l’éternel” are even compatible with the Bhangra dance floor - speaking of crossover appeal. “Western culture” is also represented on “Obsession Diabolique: The broken beat smasher “Bring the noizz” appears twice, in its fast-paced original version and a punchy raved-up remix by Hysteresis. “Wir Wollen Tanzen (freaks come out at night)” is a firm DJ weapon with technoid appeal and “Rain” presents a more minimal Electro style with upfront vocals. “The Unknown and the Unspoken” have always been the trademark of Ah Cama-Sotz’ work, and an ACS album wouldn’t go without eerie collages like “Interludium I - monde imaginaire” or “Interludium II - les terres sauvages”. “Interludium III - la malédiction de l'ombre” adds orchestral grandeur, “Interludium V - submergé par des flots d'images fantasmagoriques” plays with documentary samples and “Rayah-kum” seems to summon all the creatures from the underworld. The album is concluded with “Postludium - tristesses de la lune”, an ethereal organ piece with angelic choirs, also very typically Ah Cama-Sotz in its melodic, sinister way, conjuring up images of silent films, eras long gone. Herman Klapholz manages to cover the past and the present of the Ah Cama-Sotz sound and reach out to the future, integrating timeless atmospheres and contemporary rhythm patterns, all with a trademark sound. A multifaceted album suited for novices as well as seasoned ACS followers.
“Seeds” is the second Nullgrad album, and quite a step onward for them. Possibly the label’s boldest foray into techno territory yet, it charts new territories of deep, heartfelt electronic music, always on the verge of club-compatibility and superb home listening. Whereas the Nullgrad debut “The Shepherd’s Satellite” featured upfront rhythms and strong Industrial flavours, the follow-up is quite another cup of tea with the only obvious link being the trademark space atmospheres featured throughout the album. The leitmotifs of “Seeds” are Buddhist monks’ chants and the sounds of weather – not samples, but actual field recordings taken by Matthias on his extensive travels of Southeast Asia, giving the album an attractive uniqueness. The backbone of “Seeds” though is the rhythm, bouncy Techno beats in the 120 bpm range - and the groove of all grooves. Understated and distinguished, Nullgrad explores various styles of related origin: Consider the elastic Dub Techno of “Ascent” or “Departure”, reverb and kick in the right and tight combination, or the Minimal Techno of “Reveal” with its slightly grinding basslines and the sublime bleeps. “Realize” marks a recurrence of classic Electro influence, including the robotic vocoder voice. The moody “Once” and the more uptempo “Insight” draw from the mid-90s transitory genre of Intelligent Techno, a time and age when compository sophistication and physical effect were no contradiction in Techno music. “Detach” stands out as the fastest track of the album in which tribal beats meet urging chants, picked up and reworked in the following track “Reborn”. The title track perfectly sums the album up by exhibiting the previous elements again. “Seeds” works perfectly as a listening entity, nevertheless each track stands strong on its own as well; moreover, each track leaves you the choice – home listening or DJ use? – and isn’t that just the very best you can say about a techno album?
Le Moderniste, a well-established act in the Rhythm’n’Noise scene joins HANDS in 2013 and releases “Too Rough Is Never Enough” - the title implies the roughness that’s indeed a predominant feature of every Le Moderniste track, and of course you can expect a number of lean and mean weapons for Industrial dancefloors. But also the album has a lot of variation and complexity to offer, with atmospheric interludes, dismal undertones and changes of rhythmic pace. Misanthropic entertainment at its best! Laurent Delogne has been active under the Le Moderniste moniker for a while already, and the 2011 album “Tohuwabohu” (on Le Petit Machiniste) was very well-received. So now it’s time to move on to the HANDS roster – with “Too Rough Is Never Enough” as the pleasant result. The album provides roughness on the surface alright, and works in a conceptual structure: Taint / Infect - An eponymous headline for tracks 1-5, providing a steady buildup, luring the listener into Le Moderniste’s dark spirited world. “Controlling My Subconcious” opens the album bleak and beatless, before the rhythm kicks in moodily with “At The Edge Of The End”. Power, aggression – and speed – increase continually from here. Dismantle / Annihilate – Tracks 6-9 are dedicated to rhythm frenzy. If you’re looking for club food, you’ll find it here: “It Creeps Into My Mind” is bound to move the crowds with its commanding rhythm and the effective breaks and bleeps. „Anthropomorphism“ and “Paranoid Delirium” push it to the speed limit Industrial Hardcore style. Raise / Evoke – The thrilling centerpiece and outro of the album, tracks 11-17, which carry a stronger experimental note, an almost psychoactive aura. “Ischemic Accident” offers an eerily atmospheric relief after all that beat overdrive. The rest of the album sports a Power Electronics kind of sound, focussing more on texture than beat, but nevertheless appearing in a rhythmic shape, so that a track like “Vorerst” may also appeal to the daring DJ. “Thalamus Influx” deserves special mention for its spine-tingling bell sounds and hypnotic structure, before “The Rite – Salvation Paid In Blood” leaves you to live with your own demons again. “Too Rough Is Never Enough” is an album that surely doesn’t reveal all its facets upon first listen – repeated exposure is recommended to fully appreciate all the details that appear within the framework of the album concept. What’s most important, while a lot of it appears to be negative in attitude, you very clearly feel that this is album Laurent Delogne's own private monster, very much heartfelt and sincere. So, do you dare to let it grow on you?
PHASENMENSCH joins the HANDS roster with a deliberately genre-defying album that covers the entire range from ambience over downbeats, Industrial sounds and uptempo dancefloor smashers (both broken and straight) to noise. “Tagebuch eines Eremiten” features remixes and collaborations by NEEDLE SHARING, PHILIPP MÜNCH and many more. It is held together by a knack for atmosphere, providing a pleasant and coherent listening experience – so feel free to browse through the pages of the hermit’s diary! Phasenmensch was started in 2009 as a creative outlet by German-based musical autodidact Wolfram Bange. The intention was - and is - to provide a sonic vehicle for the conservation, reflection and communication of emotions and thoughts. Phasenmensch creates music intuitively, without a target audience in mind; it’s all about expression through sound. Clues are taken from Wolfram’s preoccupation with language and philosophy as sciences, especially with the individualist worldview of existentialism. So far Phasenmensch has produced four self-released CD-Rs. “Tagebuch eines Eremiten” is a big step forward, not only because of the attention it will receive as a HANDS release, but also because it features strongly refined recording techniques, a range of analogue sounds and a list of renowned collaborators. The album is conceptually based on a process of self-discovery, the quest for meaning in the face of freedom and almost unbearable individual responsibility. Musically it is far from headstrong though, a very enjoyable and physical experience: The opener „Rotoskopie“ starts with airy atmospheres before it gets more and more condensed, with pulses and compulsive beats closing in on you; “Rigorismus” and “Thesis” are equally sample-heavy on a lighter note, before “Friedlich. Freudlos. Endgültig neutral“ surprises with an almost generic techno beat which is twisted and distorted to perfection. DIRK GEIGER contributed sounds to the pompous, arcane “Nebel” while DECUNTSTRUCTIVISION added to Epoché what comes out as an atmospheric tech step. “Inferno aus Sand” and “Rastlos” provide some calmer, soothing moments, before “Anschlag bei Nacht“ [feat. ICD-10] crushes everything at high-velocity Industrial Hardcore pace and “Poesie der Verstörung” closes the regular part of the album with a purifying noise collage. Overtime: “Rotoskopie” is remixed by PHILIPP MÜNCH who adds some outerworldly uptempo metallic beats, “Thesis” is remixed no less than three times, the results being a playful tech step piece by NEEDLE SHARING, a glitch fantasy by ACCESS TO ARASAKA and ambiental bliss by DALOT. Very electronic in sound, very eclectic in nature, “Tagebuch eines Eremiten” is a debut which is convincingly determined, a real treat for those who have a heart for diversion and a taste for quality.
Illogism is the debut album of Belgian duo Kaibun, who are Laurent Delogne (who is also known as Le Moderniste) and Marie Hubart. Their objection is to create a project with an uninhibited approach at Industrial music, a musical hybridization influenced by several styles of electronic music such as Minimal and Dub Techno, Electro and Rhythm’n’Noise. Expect 16 intensely rhythmic tracks with a gritty tribal feel, all clocking in between 4 and 5 minutes, a guaranteed high-octane listening experience. “Kaibun” means “circle sentence” and is a Japanese equivalent of a palindrome, a sentence that reads the same from the beginning to the end or from the end to the beginning. Kaibun is a female/male-entity with a leitmotif of rejection and attraction, of positive/negative interlacement. They intend to travel at the border of bastard electronics, to deliver honest, punchy danceable tracks, efficient and straightforward. The album title "Illogism" is (a nonexistent word) deducted from French, owing to the idea that people like to categorize and label music by genre – Kaibun like to counteract that way of thinking and give people unclassifiable music: Incongruent, illogical. The joint creation was not easily conceived at first as the two band members come from different musical backgrounds: Marie draws inspiration from Techno, House and Electro, whereas Laurent feels at home in a sphere of noisy, minimal, cold and aggressive music. The wedding of all those styles - without opting for a rotten compromise – was a result of several months of hard work and quarrels. The album contains a number of well-bred musical hybrids, with an ongoing upbeat pace and that joyous little dirty sound always on top. Apart from that, varying percentages of sonic heritage may dominate: The opener “101 Reasons for Accepting the Binary Monster” marries distorted beats with an entrancing melody, epitomizing right away what Kaibun is all about, the beauty and the beast. Some tracks have rather self-explanatory names, such as the hypnotic “Brazen Loop” or the acidic Industrial hardcore track “Gotta Get Into Hard Clipping”. Not less than four tracks reference drug abuse and addiction, and all of them are very much on the verge of Techno and Industrial, interlaced by the joint aspect of repetitive strictness. “Lollipop” is a bit of a novelty track, with obvious samples and a hyper rave speed, which is also present in “Who killed the Taketoomuch Man”, there treated with atmospheric bleeps. And no, there’s no beatless respite from the enormous dynamic that presses “Illogism” from start to end, so you may consider using this whenever you wish to be propelled: While working out, driving in the car or twitching on the dancefloor – or simply for accelerating thoughts while sitting in the comfort of your armchair. Wherever you may roam, you will appreciate the one-of-a-kind positivity of Kaibun!
Yura Yura is a new discovery among the ambitious and promising acts operating in the field of Rhythm’n’Noise, now releasing its proper debut on HANDS. Having made itself a name for a live act that includes a spectacular dance performance -featuring the dancer-choreographer Macha Mélanie, the CD is essentially the sound of Frenchman Grégory Yura: Gripping, bouncy Rhythmic Industrial with abrasive atmospheres, a massive package of 15 tracks and over 70 intense minutes. “Yura Yura” name is actually a Japanese onomatopoeia meaning “swaying vibration”, swaying from side to side, swaying, swinging, meandering like smoke, shaking, waving. The album starts with track that also carries a Japanese name: “Unagi” with its growling noises, space bleeps and the moody distorted downbeat is a perfect opener for the album. As the title implies the album deals with sexuality – not as a carnal act, but as a cultural and psychological phenomenon. The tracks on “Be Sexual” achieve their powerful impact not by a “harder, louder, faster”-attitude, they are actually rather minimal and repetitive. Grégory Yura really stakes out some territory of its own, by combining the analogue hypnotic structures we may know from genre pioneers like Esplendor Geometrico or Sonar with effective breaks and a clean, modern sound design. The title track may stand as an example – a shuffling noise beat, stripped down to its bare essentials, and an intermission with a short collage of incomprehensible vocal snippets. Not every track may qualify as a DJ weapon, but some surely do: “Holokine” or “Wolf” feature uptempo beats with the right punch to get the crowds moving, while others explore a more experimental approach, like the gritty fantasy of “Shize” or the closing title “Moon” with its 80s style Electro beat. What is remarkable about this album is, that while the ingredients are classic Industrial – noise, distortion, samples, dark atmospheres, the result is strangely uplifting. The upshot of listening to “Be Sexual” is that Grégory Yura presents us with a very individual approach to rhythmic music, really working in the line of the onomatopoetic band name, Yura Yura is about music that will simply make you sway: „To >Be Sexual< is being you and I, it is to accept and recognize our constitution of human being, from puzzles and mysteries that make us unique, singular. In a certain way, the drives oscillate; sway, faster or slower, louder or softer, on the side of life or on the side of death.”
Mono No Aware are a truly veteran HANDS act, brought to the light of public with the first infusion of label artists around 2000, and with a steady history of releases and performances since. Mono No Aware stands for two things mainly: Unadulterated massively crowd-subjugating Rhythm’n’Noise power, and a subject matter relating to aspects of Japanese culture. For this album Leif Künzel has chosen the concept of Tatemae and Honne as a reference point: The term describes the dichotomy between a person’s conduct and publically uttered notions on one hand, and one’s true emotions and aspirations on the other. What is considered schizophrenic in a Western society permeated by a belief in psychoanalysis is considered necessary in Japan, in a society forced to live together on a crowded island. So can you then conclude that “Tatemae” is an album produced to match the public’s expectations? The first 13 of the 15 tracks are all rhythmic, so much is sure, but the outcome varies greatly: Some tracks are slower, shuffling Rhythm Noise (like the nearly groovy “KFF”), some have an oppressive Power Electronics taste (“Negum”, “Alive!”), some tracks kick it Industrial Hardcore style (“Bari X2”, “Twyster”), some move along below club-compatible tempo, like the build-up-structure intro “Freigaenger” or the moody “MMM”. And yes, some tracks are classic Mono No Aware, a rabble-rousing hyperactive intro followed by rhythmic onslaught. The most archetypal examples of this are “Jadoo” and “Blackbox”, and it’s those two that also get a bonus remix treatment: Wieloryb redo “Jadoo” in the style of their “Namaste” album, with oriental samples and stop-and-go kickdrum, while Dirty K keep “Blackbox”, well, dirty. After all that bustle there’s two more to go: “Datum des Verfalls” and “Augen auf und sieh!” are beatless, almost Dark Ambient pieces. “Tatemae” proves to be truly Mono No Aware, but it’s Mono No Aware in 2012, with an updated crisp production giving it a modern appearance, featuring quite a bit of variation and detail that renders it fit for use at home as well as in the club.
Feast your eyes on this double CD edition, packaged in an oversized CD cover with beautiful printing, released in a limited edition of 500 copies and including the fullength “Honne” exclusively besides the regular album “Tatemae”. If you consider Tatemae, the publically accepted face, you may also want to look beyond and find out what someone is really about: “Honne”, the true feelings, the real craving, personality unveiled. But what is this about? Musically, the bonus album “Honne” is truly a “more”: More beatless, experimental sound structures – six out of the 15 tracks fall into that category (and that’s a surprise for sure!). More rough, unpolished noise - consider “Wabi 11” or “Absiomed”. More tempo, just consider the insane beats per minute of A-B. More remixes, one being a shorter version of Dirty K’s “Tatemae” remix, the other being another version of “Jadooo”, a banging hardcore version with rave stabs, contributed by newcomer Detuned Destruction. And more surprises yet: “4 The People” has a very attractive crossover appeal, combining Rhythm’n’Noise with rockist riffing. And also among the lot, the definite DJ weapon – Oomxl, grooving and moving forever! As said, only 500 copies will be available of this double pack – and while the two discs are of course two sides of the same coin, they are two sides sporting a decidedly different sonic design!
Rafael Espinosa returns with his 5th album in 10 years – a kind of anniversary so to speak. “Data Transmission” is packed to the brim with 17 tracks and nearly 80 minutes of sound intending to abduct you into a retro-futuristic fiction. Ideas of an imagined futuristic industrial music crop up in your mind, of huge transatlantic copper wires, of old-fashioned fiercely humming microwaves, men in protective gear with Geiger counters, a world in sync with progress. As opposed to previous albums, Geistform mostly refrains from using upfront rhythms on “Data Transmission”, but instead creates an electrifying steady flow of sound. From the opener “M-Metric” with its low key beat patterns to the stipulating conclusion “Direction” this album works as an entrancing whole, sucking you into its world of minimal beat patterns and acutely buzzing analogue noise. Miraculously you find yourself nodding your head more and more steadily as it goes – “Data Transmission” is a classic piece of Geistform, working in a tradition of the likes of Kraftwerk, fellow countrymen Esplendor Geométrico, label mates Orphx, Pan Sonic, Sleeparchive and in certain moments the minimalism of Raster-Noton as influence but of course without sounding like any of them. Geistform have created an album out of time, not linked to a specific genre or era, totally devoted to its intention of data transmission - which is in essence communication. It will remain an eternal enigma how music that’s so abstract and contained on the surface can generate such a groove and stir the emotions of so many.
Hysteresis is back with their second album for HANDS – the return of the purists’ nightmare!? Surprise, surprise, “Manifest” emerges as the most consistent full-length the boys from Belgium have ever made, as all 12 tracks are cooked from the same basic ingredients (in varying percentage): Muscular midtempo beats, hyperactive breakbeat stabs, heavy bass riffs, cinematic melodies, political samples and lots of sounds lifted from the Rave/Hardcore gene pool. Of course Hysteresis will not leave you with an all uniform output, so they have added different flavor toppings to each track. The ingredient list reads: - Metal riffs (We do not forget) - Degressive modulations (Sektarism) - Agitated Ragga Jungle (What needs to be done) - A primitivist distorted bassline (Echt) - Dramatic changes of tempo (Glorious Food) - Whispered female vocals / cheesy 80s synths (Nothing) - A tabla tune (Springtime Phatty) - Ethno samples (Sleazy Trailers) - The Dubstep wobble and B-movie excerpts (Braindamage) - Revolutionary rants as an explanation for the album title (Manifest) - A full-blown anti-imperialistic piece of Dub (Regular Pattern) - Industrial beats, it’s on HANDS after all (No Focus) Please be aware that any track may contain traces of any of the above! Manifest proves to be a strong album and enjoyable listen, a fine example of modern bass music tapping into its various traditions. Imagine The Prodigy had further explored their experimental ideas on “Jilted Generation”, or the Big Beat genre had taken a turn into Avant-garde alley, the result could have been something like that. But for now, Hysteresis has done a proper job about that!
After two albums Steffen Lehmann further develops his Syntech alter ego with a limited edition EP, whose 300 copies will only be available directly via HANDS mailorder or at selected concert events. (It’s noteable that “EP” is also a matter of perspective, but as „Rising From The Ashes“ and “P’som Sett” used up the entire storage capacity of a CD, the eight tracks, 42 minutes of “Trans-Neptunian Objects” obviously qualify as such in the Syntech universe.) Speaking of universe, that’s where Syntech takes us, introducing to us eight objects in the Solar System that orbit the sun at a greater average distance than Neptune. Those are dwarf planets, cubewanos, plutinos, scattered disc objects and some which are hard to classify – just like Syntech’s musical style: With “Trans-Neptunian Objects” Lehmann moves even further apart from the Industrial grit and pounding noise terror of Greyhound and ventures into space soundwise. The prominent features on this release are very organic sounding tribal beats, complex rhythms that allude to the earlier days of IDM (when its Techno heritage was still clearly audible) and deeply atmospheric melody lines. The opener “Pluto” (surely the most well-known Trans-Neptunian object) is a tribal fantasy at dub speed, before “Haumea” summons the dancefloor crowd with its irresistible, sweeping beat work. From there on we explore the darker realms of the Solar System: In the uptempo “Orcus” you will encounter a hookline that sounds like a slaughtered jazz sample, “Sedna” sports the most upfront space/sci-fi style melodies, “Varuna” is a deep dark breakbeat track. “Eris” closes the journey back where it began, on a lighter, tribal note. Syntech presents a clear concept, a sound of its own and a surprising variance that demands your attention – again!
After the whale had kept below the waterline for almost two decades, it resurfaced in 2011 with its HANDS debut “Empty” to take the scene by storm – and now delivers the follow-up just a good year later. A lot has happened since, Wieloryb have played the stages of FORMS OF HANDS, Maschinenfest and other renowned festivals and received praise from critics and punters alike (which is rare enough). „Namaste“ is the phrase and gesture of salute used in India – which is where Wieloryb take us: Blending hard beats and Rhythm Noise with ethno samples, that has been done before (Wieloryb did it on “Empty” themselves), but mostly these efforts were one-off novelty tracks. Wieloryb have now picked up the idea and use it as a concept for the entire album. The 13 pieces on “Namaste” are all intensely rhythmic and sample-heavy, providing a diverting listening while the recurring Indian theme serves as an atmospheric hook. Throughout the album there is of course plenty of scraping, pounding Rhythm Noise, like the opener “Bangalore”, “Nagpur” or Punjab”. Other tracks stray somewhat off the path: “Haryana” marries pounding beats and ethnic chanting with a soothing ambient trance melody, “Walk In The Himalayas” is a polyrhythmic tribal fantasy and “Ramu-Ki” an Industrial Hardcore track with breaks that induce an instant rush of euphoria. Towards the end the album even accelerates its speed with the last three tracks “Chak Malook”, “Kalkuta” and “Zuo” - hypercharged stop-and-go kickdrum beasts! “Namaste” is not recommended for yoga lessons (unless the participants are very advanced I’d say), but a can’t-go-wrong for anyone who likes his beats hard. Nevertheless this goes way beyond the boundaries of simple Rhythm Noise, with complex and intelligent ideas that will definitely appeal to your third eye – Namaste!
Greyhound present their 5th album in eight years, and they have surely achieved to become a household name in the Rhythm’n’Noise scene. They stand for almost orthodox, as-hard-as-rocks tracks which they produce with remarkable consistency, and for their remorseless sound they are celebrated regulars at festivals like Forms Of Hands or Maschinenfest. “Prototype” is of course a self-reflective album title, as Greyhound are very specific about their concepts. It is an album about interpersonal communication and mental pressure up to the individual limits, thus it is the reflection of personal experiences, memories and emotions collected over of a year’s time. This information is enciphered in 15 intensely powerful, aggressive Rhythm’n’Noise tracks with commanding beats. Greyhound leave it to the listener to unscramble the emotional message that lies hidden among the noise. A full listening session of a Greyhound album may be as demanding as an intercity ride on a Greyhound bus, as they never tire, never falter from beginning to end, from the opener “Can you feel it?” with its catchy beats up to the claustrophobic last track “Fade Away”. Inbetween Greyhound denote “If Noise Would Be My Language” – which it obviously is… And be aware of the “Brain Stalker”, a track that will be haunting you forever with its sonorous undertones. The quiet things happening in the background (and there are lots of them) are what makes “Prototype” more than a collection of functional tracks but also an album suited for home listening. Of course Greyhound’s proclaimed creed of undiluted Industrial is an invented tradition, which is clearly proven by the crisp sound production, but one you will gladly embrace. “Prototype” works on two levels: On the surface it is a two-fisted rhythmic attack, underneath a multi-facetted introspection, a balancing act which seems impossible enough - but is accomplished with ease!
Large combat shoulder bag made of olive green canvas with adjustable shoulder strap. 100% cotton. Black HANDS flock print. 3 inside pockets. Size about 34 x 24 x 12 cm or 13,4’’x 9,5’’x 4,7’’
Large combat shoulder bag made of black canvas with adjustable shoulder strap. 100% cotton. White HANDS flock print. 3 inside pockets. Size about 34 x 24 x 12 cm or 13,4’’x 9,5’’x 4,7’’
Heavy shoulder dj bag made of black flat surface truck tarp with adjustable shoulder strap. White HANDS logo print. Big storage space and additional inner pockets. Size about 37 x 29 x 13 cm or 14,6’’x 11,4’’x 5,1’’