Blink and you'll miss them! All those completely brilliant mindfuck techno / hardcore dance records, I mean. Acts come and go so fast even the DJs have a terrible problem keeping up with all the crucial cuts. As I intimated last time, however, there are always certain labels that can be relied upon to deliver the goods again and again and again.
The Rising High label is one such which always seems to come up with a new twist on ultra-hard techno. It is run by the amiable Caspar Pound, whose first group A Homeboy, A Hippie & A Funki Dredd really smashed down the barriers between techno and noise with the classic Total Confusion [Tam Tam TTT 031]. Caspar's solo work as the Hypnotist recently produced the current scene's anthem Hardcore, You Know The Score [RSN 13], and his latest terror blast Head Strong 4 Life (under the pseudonym Dub Collective [RSN 21] is somehow even rougher still. It stomps so hard it makes James Brown is Dead sound like I Should Be So Lucky. As with previous masterpieces like The House is Mine, Caspar's work combines storming rhythms with distorted samples and swerving electronics that writhe back and forth through your skull. Check out the various remixes too, if you can find them; most of them bear precious little resemblance to their originals, or indeed to reality as a whole as we know it.
Other acts to love to death on Rising High include Berlin nutters the Bug, apparently something to do with West Bam. Even more than their startling debut, The Bug EP [RSN 10], their new single Bug 04 [RSN 20] shows just how far you can take electronic distortion and still - just about - maintain momentum and a beat. The bizarre Earth Leakage Trip, meanwhile follow a more ambient path to produce deeply atmospheric soundscapes littered with samples and waves of noise. Their latest, the Virtuality EP [RSN 17], is a tremendous follow-up to their stunning debut, the Psychotronic EP, released last year on Moving Shadow [SHADOW 1].
To cap it all, Rising High have just released a compilation of some of their finest moments. The modestly titled Techno Classics Volume One [RSNCD 1] is a 75-minute CD or double LP selection from the output of the label's best artists, including the Hypnotist and Earth Leakage Trip, plus Mike Ash's too-fast-for-mere-words Interface and the peculiar Friends Lovers and Family, the revitalised HHFD, Phobia, the ambient Irresistible Force and the dope-driven Project One. Must-Buy Selection #1. I mentioned the Kickin' label's Messiah last issue. Since then, the label has released their all-time monster classic There Is No Law [KICK 10], a rampaging cement-mixer of robotic voices, Hendrix samples, juddering machine-driven bass lines and general purpose techno mayhem. Search out and buy forthwith! Almost as essential is their newest sonic assault, Temple of Dreams [KICK 12] which runs a dreamy sample from Song to the Siren over a Shamen-style beat to splendid effect.
This was followed shortly afterwards by the equally desirable Evil Surrounds Us [KICK 13], created by the plainly doolally Wishdokta, which melds heavy drum patterns, samples from G'n'R's Welcome to the Jungle and a voice repeatedly howling <169>You're accused of being in league with the devil!<170> into a raging hurricane of sound and fury! More recently, Beans and Barley by Third Mind [KICK 14] (no relation, as far as I can tell, to the tedious London-based ethereal / industrial record label) is proving to be another classic floor-filler. It starts, against all expectations, with a plodding old folk song before swerving into a thunderous scream-along rave stomper interweaved with pulsating sequencer lines that sound like the sort of noise I always wished Front 242 would make if they could only get dirty enough.
Once again, for all those too remotely situated, or too damn useless to venture into their local dance or indie shop to buy these when they were around, there is a 'greatest hits' compilation from the label. Miss Champion Sound - the Best of Kickin Volume One [KICKLP 1] at your peril: ten tracks of storming industrial hardcore, including all your future favourites by Messiah, Zero Zero, Wishdokta, Kicksquad and the Scientist. Naturally, it is Must-Buy Recommendation #2.
The Outer Rhythm / R&S tie-ins are producing more great records too. C J Bolland's awesome Ravesignal III [RS 9131] includes the heart-stopping caustic electronic glide of 'Horsepower' and the no less brutal 'Mindstorm'. It has jsut been picked up by OR for UK release, and is therefore this issue's Must-Buy Recommendation #3.
Furthermore, due shortly over here from OR is the strangely named Jam & Spoon's even stranger Tales From a Danceographic Ocean [RS 9203], which veers from the Twin Peaks-sampling acid burn-out of 'My First Fantastic FF' to the deeply ambient, Spanish guitar-covered rippling 'Stella'. It is a more acquired taste, perhaps, but just the thing for a funny sunny day.
Finally this issue, Jumpin' & Pumpin' - despite having as bad a label name as I've come across - continue to throw out the occasional great record. Slammin' by Pandemic [12TOT 22] is a neat splicing of Mentasm / Charly swerves with more current hardcore stomps and piano breaks. Flag's Eruption [12TOT 20] is a slightly milder, more hypnotic offering, closer in sound to the purer electronics of US techno, but equally highly recommended.
However, and this really is the one to crawl backwards over broken glass to track down at any cost, there is another J&P release. It is by Future Sound of London. It is called Papua New Guinea. It is on 12TOT 17. It should be available everywhere. It was promo-ed last year but has now properly reappeared with an additional 12-minute remix by Graham Massey of 808-State. It sets a sample from Dead Can Dance's Dawn of the Iconoclast over a brutal ragga bass-line. It is my Must-Buy Recommendation #4. It is gorgeous.