April 12, 2005 at 2:51 pm #47790
i was checking out more stuff on j + phillip virus (luisa’s brother + videomaker of a few dinosaur jr/fog videos) when i found this article which mentions a band called zeit … which j was in …
has anyone around here ever heard of this ?
By TIM PERLICH
There’s nothing subtle about the breakbeat blitz of Berlin’s Atari Teenage Riot.
Blasting past the 200 bpm threshold with a concussive blare of distorted bass and grinding guitar samples, the bounding Riot crew — Alec Empire, Hanin Elias and MC Carl Crack — are hard-wired for an electro-revolution.
Don’t be fooled by the pulsing strobe lights and the arcane-looking sampler-and-drum-machine setup. This ain’t no disco, and ATR ain’t foolin’ around. More than simply being louder than Swedish death metal and faster than Rotterdam gabba, ATR work from a radical left-wing political agenda. And they aren’t at all shy about screaming fuck-the-system rants over their pummelling sonic assault.
Although ATR are being lumped in with the electronica buzz bands, they are the complete antithesis of the ecstacy-embalmed techno-ravers dead set on earthly detachment.
In fact, ATR’s ruthlessly uncompromising protest noise is much closer in spirit to the antiestablishment thrust of the MC5 or even the early Sex Pistols than the innocuous rattle of the Prodigy or the Chemical Brothers.
ATR also has the business savvy to wreak serious, long-term havoc. In a record-company shell game worthy of rock and roll swindler Malcolm McLaren, a 21-year-old Alec Empire signed ATR to Phonogram UK in 93, then split a year later, using the nonrecoupable advance money to start up his own Digital Hardcore Recordings label without ever delivering Phonogram an album.
He has the rap down cold.
"I am an anarchist," Empire insists with a straight face in the crowded stock room of Austin’s Waterloo Records. "The system we have now must be destroyed. When we perform our music, we feel we are creating this vibe like putting fuel to the fire. This false harmony made up by the government, industry and the media, which tries to convince people ‘Everything is great’ must be destroyed or at least disturbed.
"One of the most important points of what we are trying to do is to encourage everyone to live an anti-fascist life. I hate all these power structures — the prison system, the police — these are things I cannot accept. For us, it’s not a question of whether or not we have a chance to bring about change. We have no other choice."
Living in Germany during the fall of the Berlin Wall and the rise of the neo-Nazi movement has made the increasing fascist threat all too clear to Empire and the members of his racially integrated group. (Elias was born in Damascus and Crack is from Swaziland.)
But rather than respond to the racial violence in Rostock during the fall of 92 by joining the house nation’s Love Parade for peace, ATR, in a defining moment, chose to deal with the issue head on by recording Hetzajagd Auf Nazis! (Hunt Down The Nazis!).
An overt anti-Nazi stance might not seem all that gutsy on this side of the Atlantic. In Berlin, however, it’ll get your records banned, your tires slashed and you can expect a few death threats on the home answering machine. ATR thrives on such confrontation. Expect more fallout from their apocalyptic latest album, The Future Of War — soon to be released in Canada (with different tracks) by Grand Royal/Outside Music as Burn, Berlin, Burn!
"The only reason we decided to make music was because we were pissed off with our situation and we wanted to get our feelings out.
"The Berlin Wall coming down in 1989 had a big effect on us. There was a whole new nationalism that coincided with the reunification.
"Right now the neo-Nazi movement is four times bigger in Germany than it was in 1992, but no one seems to know or care about that. It’s very sad that this younger generation has no vision. Nobody wants to change their situation.
"Most people in the techno scene just agree with anything that’s put before them. When the police closed down all their clubs in East Berlin, they didn’t protest, they just said ‘OK’ and watched television instead."
From the moment Empire heard hiphop, he was less interested in television than perfecting his helicopter spins and popping technique as a breakdancer.
A consciousness-altering collision with punk rock then inspired the guitar-playing Empire to form a band of his own, Die Kinder. It was Empire’s desire to set his punk aesthetic to hiphop beats that would ultimately give rise to ATR.
"Late in 1991, we started speeding up breakbeats — they had to be faster so we could combine them with a punk sound. We later discovered people in England were also speeding up hiphop beats.
"Then, in 1993, came ‘the dark sound’ from producers like Busy B. They didn’t use guitars but it was very close to what we were doing — fast tempos, lots of noise and a similar dark energy. We would play those 33 rpm records at 45 rpm and mix them with old punk singles. That was an important step for Digital Hardcore."
Even if the anarcho-punk side of Empire would like to see the system torn down, while it’s up and running he’ll exploit it for all he can. So besides recording and touring with ATR, he continues producing acts like Killout Trash, Ec8or, Shizuo and the Sonic Subjunkies for his Digital Hardcore Recordings label, while releasing swooshy electro-ambient solo albums on Mille Plateaux.
In the works are a couple of collaborative side-projects. One, apparently, is a rock group involving filmmaker Philip Reichenheim and, oddly, J Mascis, and the other is a studio showdown with Simeon of the influential Silver Apples.
"J Mascis and I have a band together called Zeit, which is like a private project. I’ve known him for a while now. We once supported him on a German tour, and we see each other every now and then. I liked the old Dinosaur stuff and he liked Atari Teenage Riot, so we thought it would be good to work together."
A few major labels have also expressed an interest in working with Empire, yet for the moment he’s sticking with Beastie Boy Mike D’s Grand Royal operation. It may not be the best way to get his releases into stores, but the networking benefits — such as scoring an opening spot on the Beck tour, which plays Varsity Arena tonight (Thursday, April 3) — are hard to beat.
"Why tour with Beck?" Empire blurts defensively, "Why not? He asked us to do the tour with him and it made sense to us at the time. I know that 95 per cent of Beck’s audience will probably hate us, but I like confrontation. It gives us more energy!"
NOW APRIL 3-9, 1997
ATARI TEENAGE RIOT, with the ROOTS, opening for BECK, at Varsity Arena (275 Bloor West), tonight (Thursday, April 3). Sold out. 978-2011.
ATARI TEENAGE RIOT
* 1997 The Future Of War (DHR); Sick To Death EP (DHR); Not Your Business EP (Grand Royal)
* 1996 Deutschland Has Gotta Die! EP (Grand Royal)
* 1995 Delete Yourself (DHR); Speed EP (DHR)
* 1993 Atari Teenage Riot EP (Phonogram); Kids R United EP (Phonogram)
* 1992 SuEcide Pt.1/Pt.2 EP (Force Inc.)
* 1996 Les Etoiles Des Filles Mortes (Mille Plateaux); The Destroyer (DHR); Low On Ice (Mille Plateaux)
* 1995 Generation Star Wars (Mille Plateaux)
* 1994 Death EP (DHR); Hardcore Gal EP (DHR)April 12, 2005 at 3:17 pm #108605
further to that i guess philip reichenheim is philip virus’ real name …
+ interestingly … philip reichenheim is listed as the photographer on dinosaur jr’s hand it over …
Hand It Over by Dinosaur Jr.
Kevin Shields Vocals, Engineer
Brian Paulson Engineer
John Agnello Mixing
J Mascis Multi Instruments, Producer
Bilinda Butcher Vocals
Dan McLaughlin Engineer, Keyboards
Brian Sperber Mixing Assistant
Mike Johnson Bass
Maura Jasper ?, Label Design
Andy Wilkinson Engineer
Dinosaur Jr. Main Performer
Philip Reichenheim Photography
John Yates Engineer
Greg Calbi Mastering
Tiffany Andorc Vocals
Kurt Fedora Bass
George Berz DrumsApril 12, 2005 at 3:20 pm #108606
well, when it rains, it pours … seems philip reichenheim was the photographer on martin + me as well
Martin + Me by J Mascis
J Mascis ?, Main Performer
Philip Reichenheim PhotographyApril 13, 2005 at 12:39 pm #108607
I’ve always wanted to buy some of his prints but couldn’t find any anywhere.April 13, 2005 at 1:13 pm #108608
he seems v.big in germany … maybe you should check out some german websites …
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