Various Artists - Anthony Rother Presents We Are Punks

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  • Anthony Rother and his Datapunk label sure have a knack for self-aggrandizing poses. After Rother’s semantic-clarifying and defying ‘This is Electro’ (a double CD and DVD box set compiling his best takes on gritty electroïd techno released last year) and the ‘Sex with the Machines’, ‘Art is a Technology’ and ‘Popkiller’ (nothing less!) albums, here comes ‘We Are Punks’, a triple-CD (!) mixed compilation relating Datapunk’s story so far. Founded four years ago by Rother, the label is dedicated to the Offenbach-based producer’s own dystopian vision of what electro-tinged techno – we’re talking cold, repetitive vintage Detroit ‘Man Machine’-type bleeps here, not the currently ubiquitous D. Ramirez-sponsored big-room electro-house – should sound like, and ‘We Are Punks’ serves as a suitable introduction to the label’s rigid but rewarding release ethos. Selected by Rother himself and mixed by a certain Zielioo (yeah, I don’t know him either, but the mixing is definitely secondary and utilitarian here), this four-hour compilation takes you to the seedier sides of the German underground and serves as a Who’s Who of the country’s recent neither-minimal-nor-maximal, less mediated electronic scenes. There, strident cuts from Gregor Tresher (‘Neon’, ‘Still’), Boys Noize (‘Jaguar’) and Johannes Heil (‘The World’) are rubbing shoulders with subtler productions from Bodzin & Huntemann (‘Black Sun’) or Kiko (his recent amazing ‘Tragolta’, signifying a slight shift away from his usual Italo-influenced productions). Truth be told, though, sound-wise, Datapunk is actually quite close in spirit to what Gigolo Records used to release during its influential and harder first four years; incidentally, Gigolos such as Terence Fixmer and Hell himself are also appearing next to a bunch of old (‘Bad to the Bone’, the Sven Väth collaboration ‘Springlove’) and newer (‘Moderntronic’, ‘Thank You’) Rother tracks. His overall sound never quite changed during his decade-long career, as all of his fifteen cuts on here confirm, but you somehow have to admire his stubbornness sticking to the inflexible vintage electro codes even hardcore followers like Adult. deserted a long time ago. But even though Datapunk’s back catalogue is all pretty intransigent, it doesn’t mean Rother and his cohort don’t know what a pop hook is. Exhibit A: Rother’s still-elating ‘Father’, here in all its vocal glory on CD2, is a pop song so stirring and uplifting and melodic and just fucking perfect you can even forget Erick Morillo felt for it too two years ago and asked Harry “Choo Choo” Romero to butcher/remix it. Yes, it is a song that accomplished, and it sits perfectly well next to darker cuts such at ‘Back Home’ or the DJ Hell EBM-tinged collaboration ‘German Body Machine’. Hats off, too, to newcomer Xenia Beliayeva, whose vocal techno (singles ‘Nanotubes’, ‘Ultra Glamour’, and ‘Hellraiser’, or her sinister remix of Rother’s ‘Don’t Worry’, all present here) sounds like a belligerent song-based Elektrochemie. These tracks alone are worth the admission price and are a nifty reminder that even though everyone’s eyes and ears are still tiredly directed either at the Panoramabar, ‘Speicher’ 12 inches or Balearic Cocoon parties, there are thriving, vital and much-needed sonic forces coming from the German digital punk peripheries.
  • Tracklist
      Disc 1 01 Unknown Artist - Intro 02 Anthony Rother - Bad To The Bone 03 Datapunk Rockstars - Klartext 04 Billy Nasty - Imperfection 05 Väth vs. Rother - Springlove 06 Gregor Tresher - Neon 07 Hell + Rother - German Bodymachine 08 Xenia Beliayeva - Nanotubes 09 Bodzin & Huntemann - Cheap Tricks 10 Anthony Rother - Punks 11 Boys Noize - Jaguar 12 Johannes Heil - The World 13 Terence Fixmer - Passion Disc 2 01 Artist Unknown - Unknown To Millions 02 Terence Fixmer - Hold Me 03 Bodzin & Huntemann - Black Sun 04 Xenia Beliayeva - Ultra Glamour 05 Anthony Rother - When The Sun Goes Down 06 Boys Noize - Are You In ? 07 Anthony Rother - Youth 08 Boys Noize - Achtzig 09 Gregor Tresher - Still 10 Anthony Rother - Father 11 Anthony Rother - Back Home 12 Hell + Rother - German Bodymachine Bonus 13 Anthony Rother - Dreamin 14 Artist Unknown - Tank Disc 3 01 Anthony Rother - Moderntronic 2 02 Anthony Rother - Roses (This Is The End Remix) 03 Xenia Beliayeva - Hellraiser 04 Anthony Rother - Don't Worry (Xenia Beliayeva Remix) 05 Kiko Tragolta 06 Anthony Rother - Moderntronic 4 07 Elektrodrei - Sensorized 08 Anthony Rother - Thank You 09 Kiko - Electric Burst 10 Anthony Rother - Moderntronic 1 11 Frank Kusserow - Spread Your Wings