11 November 2004


Well, there's nothing like a bit of adulation to raise one's spirits. But seriously, this new blog from the Old Rottenhat stable looks promising, particularly the excellent post on the state of American Industrial Rock (think Wax Trax/Ministry/Skinny Puppy). These are all groups that I have, at one time or another, taken a keen interest in. But not for many years now. Looks like I haven't missed much either!

It could be argued that Cabaret Voltaire were largely responsible for the rise of electronics-driven American angst-rock that developed in the late '80s. It's surely no coincidence that much of it, like the dreadful Nine Inch Nails, came along shortly after "Code", the Cabs' first album to be properly distributed in the States. Admittedly Al Jourgenson had been around for a while before that, even helping out with sequencer duties on Alan Vega's 1983 album "Saturn Strip" and is, I suppose, the godfather of the scene. But if one were to look into it really closely (which I won't) you could probably trace a lineage from "Code" to Marilyn Manson. Nothing to be proud of, but that's what happens when ideas get adopted, misinterpreted and bastardised. At least the Cabs can legitimately claim to have had a more positive influence on the American 'black' dance music scene. In fact, they were in Chicago working with House legend Marshall Jefferson on some tracks that would later appear on the patchy "Groovy, laidback & Nasty" album, when they got the call from Jourgenson to ask if they fancied popping over to the Wax Trax studio to collaborate on something. With Paul Barker, William Rieflin and Chris Connelly all in attendance at the session, it must have been a wild party, the results of which appeared on a Wax Trax 12inch "No Name, No Slogan", under the name Acid Horse (later re-issued in 1992 by UK label Devotion Records, which is the pressing I've got). Presumably the bare bones of the track were devised during that brief meeting in 1989. Then each party worked on their own version separately. Side A is Jourgenson and Barker's version and side B was produced by Kirk and Mallinder back in Sheffield. Here they are for any curious punters to compare...

MP3: Acid Horse - No Name, No Slogan (Wax Trax Version)

I'm not out to diss Ministry completely. There's bit of records like "The Land Of Rape And Honey" that I could still sort of appreciate (if I still owned a copy!). This is an enjoyable enough little romp, I suppose. I really can't think of anything else to say about it, to be honest. I quite like Connelly's disengaged vocals. Make up your own minds!

MP3: Acid Horse - No Name, No Slogan (Western Works Version)

Ah, this is better! But I would say that, wouldn't I? It's quite a curious approach for the time (late '80's)...sort of retro-electro flavoured with vocoder robot vocals, a bit like some of the Jedi Knights stuff that Tom Middleton and Mark Pritchard were doing a few years later. I'm feeling tha funk here. The whole track is over nine minutes long, which I thought was maybe a bit excessive for all the dial-up bods, so I've edited it down to a friendlier 4m46s. If anyone really fancies having the full track just give me a yell and I'll e-mail it to you. Anyone know where that Scottish-sounding bit of dialogue at the start comes from? Seriously, I'd like to know!

On a final, vaguely humorous note, all members of this 'super group' came up with alter-egos for the project, as follows:

Harold Sandoz (Richard H. Kirk - first use of the Sandoz moniker)
Alien Dog Star (Al Jourgensen)
Tennessee King (Stephen Mallinder)
Biff (William Rieflin ?)
"Gallopin'" Scorpio Saddlebutt (Chris Connelly)

Silly buggers...