Category Archives: German Army

Darkly Takeover

Featuring : Axis Sova + German Army

(An instance of assimilation through 50Watts)

We broadly agree with James Murphy’s recent statement– “I like pretty music by people who make ugly music. I don’t like pretty music by people who make pretty music very much – it smells like a scented candle.

That is the reason why we love German Army and other Kill Shaman peeps. Kitsch is a collateral victim of their quest for something else. Beauty, Truth, the American Dream? All of these things can be defined by what they are not, ghosts haunting the grotesque tapestries they make with materials harvested from the night, and from the dead interstices between local TV stations.

Those places where the seams of reality bulge the ugliest, like festering wounds.

(This is the artwork for the tape btw).

The holy patrons of Kosmische spent decades hurling messages into Central-European skies. This was a low-tech blueprint for SETI, and also the Voyager probe. It ignored the warnings of H.P. Lovecraft aficionados fearful that these foolish signals would act as beacons for the world-destroyers and soul-devourers that lurk in interstellar space.

They may have had a point.

German Army’s music spills insidiously into our wholesome homeland like the whispering of shady agents preparing the grounds for invasion, would we by any chance be interested in joining their fifth column? Before we have a chance to answer (or contacting X-COM), we are strung by a synthetic monofilament vibrating with the echo of that old Kosmische howl, arrived after a journey into the Uncanny Valley and back.

We lay still, as our pupils fill with ink, truly sold on the idea of a better-integrated future.

German Army – North Small Map

Which is included in the nicely artworked & possibly quite sold-out Cattle Border tape in Clan Destine Records.

Axis Sova pull a similar trick in a different ecosystem. Their masters are not sidereal monstrosities, but the disembodied spirits that organised religion kicked out into the wilderness – the brotherhood of possessors that David Lynch has pointed his finger at in several occasions.

They await for their chance in the great hinterland, building traps like Mega-Satanic versions of Coyote with an exclusive line of ACME ordnance designed by H.R. Giger.

They transmogrify into hitch-hiking Baba Yagas, and thumb up their fleshless fingers in the middle of the night.

They inject sonic viruses in the brains of travelling rockers as they sleep in their touring trux, to make them make music that lures innocent listeners into the Great Nothing.

They ride in there, and return ridden. Just like this.

Axis Sova – Raising Hell

You can acquire Axis Sova’s fantastic ‘Weight of a Colour’ LP from Kill Shaman.

The devil’s in the eye shoot shoot.

Featuring : German Army

Julien Pacaud illustration sourced from here.

We like to think that someone else did it to us, pale-faced men with esoteric tiepins machinating softly in their wood-panelled boardrooms. If they hadn’t fooled us, we would have made the right choice. We wouldn’t have been the useful idiots and the yes-men of the meltdown.

The click-click-click of the joints in the legs of the bloated spider that we imagine dwelling at the heart of this conspiracy keeps us distracted from the interstitial hum seeping from within us. The realisation that our counterfactual is a fallacy, we wanted a pound of flesh, we were promised a pound of flesh, and a pound of flesh we got, pity it was rotten, we should have known better.

This realisation, awful like stellar roadkill, pokes its tongue at us, we don’t know if in mockery or fulfilment, probably both, and turns the seconds that follow into a stage, whence it sings the song we lie to ourselves to bury.

German Army – Wilson

German Army are the proverbial roman slave walking behind us as we stroll down the malls of late-era cognitive/cultural capitalism, whispering in our ear, you will decay, you will decay, to the beat of a Crash Course in Science and Brian Eno bio-mechanical abortion. Wilson is included in some work they have forthcoming in Amdiscs.


Featuring : German Army + Paco Sala

We enjoyed Drive as a modular collection of beautifully shot set pieces that could have been reordered in many a way. Its story didn’t matter, and neither did its characters (except for Brian Cranston, for sure).

Contrary to most of our friends, we didn’t enjoy the use of music in the film. Telling us what to feel at particular moments through the songs’ lyrics wasn’t too subtle. Of course, this doesn’t apply to Chromatics’ Tick of The Clock, which made us lay back in a stylishly deluded Michael Mann fever, or to Cliff Martinez’ stuff.

We also learned that it is physically possible to burst someone’s skull if you push hard enough, even if you aren’t a Locust warlord. Good going Ryan.

Anyway, here you have a couple of extra scenes that were deleted from that extended version of Drive that circulates through the lost highways of our imagination, in the spirit of modularity that we referred to at the beginning.

Firstly, the German Army outtake, which would have seen Ryan take an unexpected detour during one of his nocturnal motoric escapades, into the back lot of a meat processing warehouse, to rummage methodically through containers full of offal with that wholesome, somewhat absent smile of his, looking for an external manifestation (or exit) from that strange place within his head where all the violence comes from.

German Army – Cannibals Crawling

The sounds of German Army are legion, here they camouflage themselves in a Carpenterian fog, through which we squint at geometrical silhouettes sliding in a tectonic dance, the tonality is blue, the mood even elegant, if it wasn’t for that pervasive whiff of putrefaction.

Cannibal’s Crawling is included in the ‘Parte do Corpo’ tape coming out in Electric Voice. You can also buy the sounds, like we did, at this Bandcamp.

Secondly, Paco Sala’s contribution, which sketches with eternally liquid indigo an aural icon, dare-we-say totem, for Ryan’s otherwise materially mediated existence (the car and its engine, the scorpion jacket, the mask), an emotion that fluctuates within and beyond the fixed spatial parameters of that which can be designed, and thus, commoditised.

Perhaps a revenant of soft & tender curves floating ahead of his windshield, tantalising close yet unreachable, regardless of speed and mileage.

Paco Sala – Legacy Edition

Paco Sala’s ‘Ro-me-ro’ induces abstract truths from the personal epic of the people of the city, and re-renders them into bass, pitch, riddim and ululation, like Balinese shadows projected at the back of the discotheque by a light that cannot be found.

It’s out on Digitalis, and you can buy it from Boomkat.

What made the noises?

Louis Niebur, author of a book on the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop, reveals how in the 1950s, the advent of electronic sounds allowed programme-makers to use sounds that frightened people because they didn’t know what made the noises.

20JFG has always quite enjoyed it when we didn’t know what made the noises.  This may explain a lot.

For sheer, full blooded terror though, we turn the master of mental collapse in the face of primal fear Krzysztof Penderecki.  Listening to most of Penderecki’s vast body of work it’s not too hard to imagine where the sounds are coming from, you can pretty much make out the orchestra and imagine the well tailored musicians — sitting, in a crescent, at the foot of their conductor — losing themselves in Penderecki’s evocations.  But in this instance the air of refinement around the imagined performance simply amps up the fear.  As Kubrick proved only too well, polite almost banal society engaged in the production of horror is, itself, utterly terrifying.  No wonder then that he drew these themes together in The Shining.

From whose soundtrack this is from:

Krzysztof Penderecki – The Awakening of Jacob

Pendrecki did not compose this music for film, it almost feels like films were made to anchor his music to something tangible, something that can be switched of, end, have catharsis.  Bottled: from which the terror and implication of some of these sounds can no longer float around you like vengeful spectres.

There’s a great piece on Pendrecki’s relationship to cinema at Sound and Music here.

German Army return to the pages of this webzine — mainlining Post-Punk’s affair with Dub before shit got ‘angular’.  A mesmeric loop of percussion; a horn bellowing out in the distance, in the darkness, a warning of some psychic catastrophe.  These sounds are alien.  No imagined concert hall, just a mist shrouded landscape, slow movement on water and a voice between the ears speaking instructions.

In Kenneth Anger’s long lost adaptation of Heart of Darkness, scenes of suburban calm are underpinned with muscular malevolence.  The pain and horror of athleticism and ambition, arranged in a row along grey streets, bodies harshly illuminated by streetlights.  The fresh roads: a river leading to the stone walled house of Kurtz.  Kurtz here played by a video of Brando in The Wild One projected against a sheet, locked in a loop.

This sounds a bit like that.

German Army – Guinea Strongman

Guinea Strongarm is taken from German Army’s tape Papua Mass on Night-People which you can pick up here.

Headhunting for Hades

Featuring : Beau Wanzer, German Army + Tense

We have been preparing for the arrival of the Goddess of Death, she who unmakes all structures with a cold entropic wind, transforming signal into noise and magic into nonsense, draining the things we relish of their true substance, threatening the very existence of our tradition with a tidal wave of crud.

Her followers are legion, oblivious gulls filling the heavens with worthless shrieking, bloated toads clogging the streams with craft-less effusions. We shall harass the flanks of this incoming army in the wastelands of the North, meet it weakened at the very gates of our city, deploy our wicked weapons most grimly, and rout them after a ghastly flight, watch them run for the hills with a hearty laugh, and return to our halls, crack open a case of vintage brandy to sip slowly, puff on colossal cigars while the vilest sounds spill from our speakers.

May I introduce you to our champions?

//TENSE// has animated with his EMB throb many a bout of filthy cruising in the pleasure satellites that the Harkonnen troops favour during those rare intervals of R&R that interrupt their galactic warmongering.

In his relentless remix of Disconnect Myself, Beau Wanzer takes it to the next level in pure necromantic techno styles. This one is for the Sardaukar.

//TENSE// – Disconnect Myself (The Beau Wanzer Adjustment)

I dare you brave DJs to drop it in Sonar at 5 O’clock in the Morning, Ishimura that dancefloor.

German Army headhunt for hades with the zest of the Children of the Corn, if only their harvest grew in a forlorn industrial park, and He Who Walks Behind the Rows had the perverted allure of one Genesis P. Orridge.

Folded Skin reaffirms them as one of 20jazzfunkgreats favourite acts to play before going out skirmishing: an abattoir raga whose bass resonates like a glass harmonica performed upon vats overflowing with rank blood, grafted on Cluster’s mechanised motorik chug after a 180 degrees deviation. We don’t even dare trying to decipher the lyrics, least our evil thoughts turn into evil deeds.

German Army – Folded Skin (Vox)

German Army have diverse releases coming out on Skrunk Up, Hobo Cult and Night People. Keep your antennas up.

And here is the lovely video for the instrumental version.

Notes: Images above related to William Hope Hodgson’s literature, and Moebius sketches for the Dune adaptation that never happened. General vibes inspired by Ursula K. Leguin’s and M. John Harrison’s fantasy work.




Testing is the future, and the future starts with you

We stare aghast at the dynamics of nerd media convergence, and in particular a modern zombiggedon that has not managed, over several years of rotten meat barrage and hick vernacular, to produce a single moment worth a footnote in the original opus of Master Romero (the exception being Left 4 Dead and its sequel). Or perhaps it did after we gave up on it all.  Is the Walking Dead any good?

It’s not so hard to take things to the next level. Let us lucubrate.

The population dynamics of a world infected by a zombie holocaust would clearly result in the extermination/retreat of the human race from large swathes of the territory. Potential scenarios following from this:

[1] A zombie famine perhaps slowed down by gory feasting on the thriving wildlife, or mass migration to new areas populated by humans. Only retarding the need for…

[2] A zombie enlightenment where the unthinking hordes develop some basic organisational skills, and start harvesting humans for their brains. And if not…

[3] A zombie lethargy, where the undead slip into a coma until humans come back from a safe haven where they have gathered in numbers to recover their strength. But of course we prefer…

[4] To assume that zombies derive nourishment not from alive flesh per se, but from intelligence stored in brains, which replenishes their decaying nervous systems with neuroelectrical energy. From this follows that, if by the time the zombie holocaust takes place, humans have managed to deliver on the promise of Artificial Intelligence, then zombies will move on to feed on the data infrastructure once they are done with real people. Zombies against robots. Moore vs Fulci. Biomechanical carnage. Come on people, this is surely someone’s wet dream. Make it happen.

Which brings us to today’s musicks. One would be hard pressed to find a more fitting candidate to soundtrack the industrial death clash of that final scenario than the psychic commandoes after whom this humble blog is named.  Throbbing Gristle. Yes. Savour the words like an innocent child after taking a bite from the putrid apple. We should do this more often, whenever we feel lacking in the energy required to make sense of modern culture, visit Gristle La and get purified.

Start the test.

Throbbing gristle – Adrenalin

Adrenalin was included in a 7’’ the other side of which was Distant Dreams (Part 2), which you may have heard in one of those era-defining Soul Jazz Compilations. It captures in its aerodynamic envelope the nihilistic momentum of the man machine synthesis with which life in this planet steps into the next level, to the stern metronomic crack of a dominatrix whip. Think Patrick Cowley’s Menergy, and then reverse the polarity.

And let us continue with the TG vibes down the ill-lit corridors of a hopefully abandoned abattoir, by the bony hand of German Army. They are a minimal synth project involving members of Bipolar Bear/Turrks and former Spits, and their Calypso Host is up there with the best cuts from Chi-town’s nocto-liminal renaissance (e.g. Beau Wanzer or Alex Barnett) – although they don’t hail from Chicago.

German Army – Calypso Host

Slash! This is the bit in Escape of LA where Snake slips into the cellar of the cosmetic surgery clinic hosting those faded celebrities who had their skeletons extracted, smooth is (supposed to be) beautiful. You can almost picture an H.R. Giger/Black Dice spawned reincarnation of Doctor Phibes freestyling on his organ, sounds refracted and distorted as they course through vats overflowing with sentient, abominable flesh.

Picture above is of course from Stalker, just imagine Snake Plissken somewhere in there.