More activism for a future from the past from German legend...
'Zukunftsmusik'

Spreading bad omens around a world already reeking of toxicity, International Deejay Gigolo, Euro electro/techno galactico and all round mix lord DJ Hell leads a death waltz with all the bug eyed alienation/alien nation of classic '80s new wave/post punk. All future primitivism and synths taking over the world, the haunting, hunting for emotion gets mown down by heavily processed vocals speaking from the side of a freshly gored neck.

‘Car Car Car’, the soft focus nucleus of the man-machine continuum, has eyes only for German engineering, even if some of the commentary is a bit like Baldrick introducing the automobile of the next dimension. But whereas a digital teardrop forms on ‘Anything Anytime’ from the deepest crypts of Castlevaynia, the explicitly experimental (and downright explicit for that matter) ‘High Priests of Hell’ and ‘Wir Reiten Durch Die Nacht’ crumple the album’s sheen like the confiscation of contraband in an 8-Bit prison of nightmares.

For the dancefloor which he fiendishly skirts around for the majority, ‘Guede’ will have you stepping cautiously and perilously, squalling horns sounding the death knell in a twisted mix of analogue dipping into the digitised, while atmospheric synth lines preside.

These horns return on ‘2 Die 2 Sleep’, wheezing in a rare moment of downtime, batting away interference until ‘I Want U’ makes a run for it. It’s the least subtle electro-house - even by Hell’s standards that brought in Diddy last time round on ‘Teufelswerk’ - but it does add to the album’s timeline. ‘Wild at Art’, with some greatly dramatic/OTT pianos, continues to turn the album into a performance powerplay, and a surprising appearance on ‘With You’ from the Stereo MCs brings the curtain down with authority.

‘Zukunftsmusik’ maintains a level of theatre showing that dystopia is still an engaging concept within touching distance, despite Hell’s splintering and spanner throwing. It may be too simple in its devilment and obvious in referencing Kraftwerk/Numan etc for some, but will serve as a shining light of synth work going beyond mere music for others.

7/10

Words: Matt Oliver

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