Viva Negativa! A Tribute to the New Blockaders Volume I: UK
At War With False Noise. ATWAR064. CD
Viva Negativa! A Tribute to The New Blockaders Volume II Europe
Auf Abwegen. AATP28. 2XCD
Viva Negativa! A Tribute to The New Blockaders Volume III U.S.A.
Important Records. IMPREC262. 2XCD
Viva Negativa! A Tribute to The New Blockaders Volume IV Japan
Uplink Records. ULR023. 2XCD
[Observant visitors will realise that volume one of this collection has already been covered elsewhere on this blog. I include it here so as to give a fuller picture].
What you have to realise is that these releases aren’t just CD replications of the original Vinyl On Demand, two boxes, eight LP’s job that appeared a few years back. With artists from the vinyl version not making it to CD and vice versa that makes these seven CD’s unique releases in their own right. Plus, the artwork is different [each release comes with a booklet crammed with Richard Rupenus’s distinctive collage work] and for those who were lucky enough to grab one of the first 250 VOD boxes [me] there’s the small matter of a seven inch single containing the collaborative work of Rupenus, Meixner and Imustak which you still need to get the box to own.
But where to begin on a set that includes 85 artists? A stripped down artist by artist, blow by blow account would test the patience of all but the most determined so lets just say this; having sat and listened to all these discs numerous times over the last few weeks I feel I can honestly say that there’s just a couple of duff tracks. Not bad considering there’s 85 to go at. This brings me to the conclusion that the cream of the noise world managed to fuck up twice over 85 tracks - not a bad return. For the cream of the noise world does live in these releases, all of them lining up to pay tribute to The New Blockaders who without doubt will always be the most influential noise group of all time.
Styles vary widely across each disc and across the set as a whole so its to each compilers credit that you don’t have to listen to track after track of harsh noise. For whilst some artists do dabble with the face melting blasts of material inspired by the likes of Live at Anti-Fest others take their cue from the more disturbing scrape and bump of Changez Les Blockeurs. From field recordings to voice cut ups, to Orb like ambient burbling to harsh noise and free jazz skronk [the latter three coming courtesy of Controlled Bleeding who I must admit had me baffled for a while - either that or there’s been a balls up at the pressing plant]. So dipping in anywhere gives immediate satisfaction. In fact if I were so inclined I’d put all these discs into a multi CD player and play them at random. For while its neat and tidy to have all these artists compiled into their own country it would be just as rewarding hearing them come at you lottery fashion.
But who stands out? Plenty of people; Runzelstirn and Gurgelstock, Emil Beaulieau, The Haters, Incapacitants, Giancarlo Tonniutti, Dave Phillips, Vom Grill, Grunt, DSM, Alexie Borisov, Zbigniew Karkowski, Aaron Dilloway, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Ideal Fire Company, Bloxus, Plexia, KK Null, Astro, Putrefier, Dieter Müh ... its a pretty long list. Vom Grill’s angst screamed glass smashing seems to encapsulate the TNB ethos entirely, ergo ‘to create you must first destroy’, R&G’s offering contains electronic squeals that are pitched at such a high register that they appear to all but disappear out of hearing range - dogs may be interested here. There’s much to admire.
Of those who sup from the Changez well Nobuo Yamada, Putrefier, Kazumoto Endo, Jerome Noetinger, Macronyhmpa and Keith Fullerton Whitman shine brightly. The pure noise merchants are in abundance too of course but its Emil who deserves a pat on the back for doing what he does best. Thats not to forget the ear pummeling as dished out by the likes of Ramirez, Grunt, Government Alpha, Astro, M.S.B.R. and K2. Voice cut-ups and vocal manipulation arrives with Sudden Infant, Kommissar Hjuler, Mama Baer [both with individual contributions] and the enigmatic Japanese artist Embudagonn 108 who introduces his ‘New Blockaders variations’ before buggering about with his radio cassette recorder [something else he also announces] and then um … singing. Then there’s the analogue merchants, the field recording specialists, the electro-acoustic gang [Christian Renou take a bow], the tape manglers ... its a varied bunch who went and got themselves inspired by The New Blockaders.
The track that stuck out on the VOD issue and appears here too is RLW’s ‘Manifesto [For The Next Generation Of Blockaders]’. An outsider piece of music concrete capturing snippets of children’s conversation, violin scrapes, random strums on an out of tune acoustic guitar and a squeaky dog toy which pans around your head like an annoying fly and then there’s the kids playing recorders ... badly, steam organs deflating and a school orchestra cum band singing a Beatles song in Flemish [possibly]. Oh, and I’ve yet to mention Prurient, Wolf Eye’s, Z’EV, John Wiese, Carlos Giffoni, Thurston Moore, Jim O’Rourke, Asmus Tietchens and God knows how many others artists and bands working in noise.
Viva Negativa! is an impressive achievement and for some will act as a starting point for further investigation but whether you’re new to this game or have been around as long as The New Blockaders have, these are still essential purchases.
[One other thing - insert the American discs into a media player and you’ll find the tracks don’t correspond to the track listing as included in the booklet. Not that I played all this on my PC, I have a stereo that will bring plaster off the walls, I just found it confusing]