The most gruesome moments of Hotline Miami are not those spent redecorating lurid condos, motels and discotheques with splotches of arterial blood and flecks of brain matter. Those moments are a fever of pumping adrenaline & thumping disco, they are the fun moments.
The horror comes later, those times spent in your apartment in between phone calls, while it steadily descends into awful squalor and the walls close in on you like a Roman Polanski fantasy, this is horrible even before the actual hallucinations kick off – the pile of discarded clothes in the bathroom, reeking of gore, faecal matter and that pungent scent of fear you brought with you ‘from the job’, the tabloids whose headlines read like second-hand memories of what happened last night, the VHS tapes of video nasties whose drilling-killing characters & silent hit-men have nothing on you.
But then, who are you?
A cypher with a jacket, awaiting for a phone call, while a row of animal masks grim like Polynesian totems glare from the shelves, they are you – Rasmus, with an eye for secrets, Wilem, who rips and steals, Aubrey, the gun swine. All different, all brothers in episodes of violence that are the fun bit, and the self-reinforcing coping strategy you have devised. Blood washes blood, now that’s a control system out of control.
And then the telephone rings, pick a face, make some damage.
German Army are one of 20JFG’s favourite bands in the world. Their releases describe mutant strains of a virus originally engineered in the laboratories of the COUM conspiracy, and released into the world as a sonic code for the mass metamorphosis of people into drones, the painful integration of flesh with metal and plastic, an account of the first stages in the evolution of a hegemonic species of insect.
In Holland Village, the insinuations of beats in previous releases become a reality, the rumble of the viral machinery pumping copies of itself and massing them up in the cellular borders of invaded territories. If these armies had camps, and in their camps they burned fires, and around their fires they sang songs and danced dances, Abbasid Golden Age would be heard loud and terrible, the microscopic fractal of the Human League’s Being Boiled & other Electronic Body (emphasis on Body) anthems, a battle hymn for armies with that have no mouths, yet do scream.