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Electric Independence

High school sucked. I was short, had thick-ass glasses, and dressed funny. I was bad at sports and wasn’t a huge hit with the ladies.
December 1, 2002, 12:00am

Video game music cont’d:

High school sucked. I was short, had thick-ass glasses, and dressed funny. I was bad at sports and wasn’t a huge hit with the ladies. But as much as shit sucked ass back then, I could comfort myself with one single thought: At least I wasn’t a gamer. There’s “geek chic” and then there’s “geek geek,” and those guys were the lowest echelon of geekdom. The butt of many jokes and the victims of a vicious cycle of wedgies, gamers were so beyond just being a “little quiet” that even the school priest didn’t want any extracurricular activity with them. But like they say, “Music is the great equalizer,” and there’s at least one record label that’s trying to change our view of these social retards. Art Of Perception is a label based around the idea of “adding soundtracks to subjects from the field of art and media.” Their first mission: make gaming cool. Working hand in hand with UK-based gaming company Games Workshop, AOP is releasing a limited edition of twelve 12”s based around species from the Warhammer battle games. The Sounds of Warhammer 40,000 series has already seen nine releases, each featuring two artists per release. So far Mike Ink, Johannes Heil, Kim Cascone, the Modernist, Rude Solo (aka Keith Tenniswood and Andrew Weatherall from Two Lone Swordsmen), Christian Morgenstern, Jimi Tenor, and Codec & Flexor have jumped on board with killer tracks in the dark electro, techno style. The latest disc, The Space Marines, features a pounding twisted electro disco burner by John Starlight (from Zombie Nation) and two tracks by German electropunk duo Kitbuilders on the flip. Definitely check that shit out! Comp of the month: The Kitbuilders also drop a sick track (“Tell Me”) on the latest comp from Detroit’s Ersatz Audio camp. Misery Loves Company (Ersatz) brings together 13 proto-electro artists from across the globe for 50 minutes of pure vocal-synth-drumbox action. With a track by label owners Adult. and some bombs from DMX Krew, Gold Chains, and Felix Da Housecat running buddy Tommie Sunshine (dropping the killer “Runway Runaway” — think New Order vs. B-52’s vs. Gary Numan), this release is shit-hot. Check out “Shakedown,” a track by Chicago’s Magas, who just put out an EP on Ersatz. This guy was a heavy hitter in the Chicago No Wave scene in the late ’90s (remember Lake Of Dracula?) and now his distorted neo-goth vocals squirm under minimal beats and cheapo driving synth lines. This guy’s one to watch for in the coming months. Also, Detroit native Goudron drops a sweet bouncing electro instrumental. Soundtrack of the month: On the seriously instrumental tip, Mike Patton’s Ipecac Records flips the script following the release of The Melvin’s last effort with Ectopia by Steroid Maximus (aka J.G. Thirlwell aka Foetus). SM’s album plays sort of like an electronic/organic pastiche, taking the best of Italian crime cinema soundtracks and blaxploitation and throwing them in an experimental blender filled with cheap Czech absinthe and liquid acid. The arrangements are killer and a must for fans of John Zorn’s cinematic shit. Format of the month: Just picked up three new 3” CDs from the Tigerbeat6 camp, all very, very sweet — Kid 606’s beautiful Why I Love Life, Aelters’ disc Volu Beit, and my favourite of the bunch, Kevin Blechdom’s solo effort The Inside Story. KB continues on the same irreverent tip as her Blechtum from Blechdom shit but this time more subtle, playful, and digital. A great release for fans of Felix Kubin and Dat Politics. Godfathers of the month: When people talk about the Madchester sound most of us think of electropop dance groups like New Order and Happy Mondays, but anyone worth their shit knows that UK’s A Certain Ratio was the first band to bring the fuse dance and punk stylee. Anyone interested in NYCs No Wave movement should pick up the retrospective out now on Soul Jazz. Surprisingly good album of the month: After totally making me want to gouge my eyes and ears out with rusty fishhooks with his last double album, cleverly entitled The Double Album, Italian tech-trance producer Mauro Picotto actually pulls some serious shit with his new disc The Others. It’s hard-driving techhouse with dancefloor-savvy appeal that is ideal for that off-your-shit 5 E’s and speed 4:00 AM madness. Just make sure you skip track 7 or you risk an extremely harsh Euro-cheese comedown.