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March 2020 New Dark Age

Filed under: Uncategorized — doktorjohn March 15, 2020 @ 2:28 pm

Occulture Feb 28, 2020

New Dark Age had the pleasure of a visit to the landmark shrine of postpunk nightlife,downstairs at the Pyramid on Ave A in lower Manhattan.

We were there at the invitation of Giselle DJNegrarose, who was serving once again as guest deejay. The relatively-new dance night, Occulture has been going strong every 4th Friday since last June, successful mainly on the skills and repertoire of Resident DJ Zvetschka, whose deep background in dance soundscaping goes back to 2002 when she acquired fame for spinning pouty post-punk, wicked wave and darkly danceable industrial at famous club night Contempt (1998 — 2003).

DJ Negrarose – Aimee Grasic – Dina Verbena

In 2019, founders Aimee Grasic and Dina Verbena set about to organize a dance party night that would both serve the present and yet evoke the glory days of the New York underground music scene with heavy emphasis on the electronic sounds of EBM, Dark Techno, Freestyle and House.

DJ Zvetschka’s command of rapid-fire, simultaneous multi-track cueing and thoughtful layering fit the bill perfectly.
Noting that all three ground-floor participants were of the feminine persuasion, they decided to basically keep it that way. Thus, even guest deejays are chosen from the fair sex both to support and boost the presence of women in the position and maintain a level of consistency in Occulture’s trademark brand. They are, however, considering if and when to have male disc jockeys on a guest-basis from time to time.

On the final Friday of February, before the virus quarantine hit the scene, we had the pleasure of listening to DJ Negrarose alternate spinning with the famous Zvetschka, and took particular satisfaction when she added a beloved track from New Dark Age’s ideal list of favorites, namely the inimitable Skinny Puppy’s “Assimilate.” And the consistently feminine atmosphere – including mixologist Nette Moreno – was a decidedly pleasant touch for those of us admirers of the female gender.

“How Do You Feel Today”
Rotersand
Metropolis Records

This is the sixth studio album for futurepop German electronic band, Rotersand, founded in 2002. Lead singer Rasc (Rascal Nikov) is backed by fellow-founding members, Gun (Gunther Gerl) and Krischan (Krischan Jan-Eric Wesenberg). This album, consisting of eleven tracks is outstanding on its own, yet is typical of their exceptional body of work, noted for clear emotionally moving lyrics, gripping, articulate themes and irresistible rhythms. Oh, and did I mention lush, affecting melodies? Yet with this said, the album holds some welcome surprises.

Starting with a melodious, deeply musical first track, “Who We Are Now,” that employs dance rhythms only sparingly, the album moves next into the bizarre, album version of the 2019 hit single, “You Know Nothing.” This delightfully obsessive and furious song is reminiscent of the 1966 novelty classic, “They’re Coming to Take Me Away,” popularized in 2005 by fellow futurepop-sters Neuroticfish, but instead being jocular it is industrial-strength angry.

The third track, “Silence’” is a pleasant, electronic piece with has an intimate, restrained sound until about three-quarters into it when it becomes an emotionally-wrenching entreaty. Next up comes “Blind Vision” which features (as do many other tracks on the album) strong, plaintive vocals combined with hypnotic, exciting rhythms. After that comes “Blind Vision,” featuring the kind of mechanized, EBM beat that denizens of dance floors adore, enhanced with interesting synthesizer sounds and powerfully sung, delightfully dismal lyrics. A similar description applies to the equally danceable fifth track, “Whatever.”

But the sixth track, “Elements,’ is a passionate ballad that brings out another side of Rotersand, although I doubt the crowd would have trouble dancing to it. And the seventh track zooms along on the mesmerizing monotony, interrupted by ethereal wailing vocals that mingle with it and definitely enhance it. It may be the most seductively delicious track on the album. For the sake of brevity, all I will say about the eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh tracks is that each and every one of them is – in its own way – a superb entry into the oeuvre of electronic music with creative as well as genre-specific standard sound, instrumentation and enchanting vocals.

Genesis P-Orridge (1950 – 2020)

This month saw the passing of Genesis P-Orridge, lead vocalist of the pioneering industrial band Throbbing Gristle. P-Orridge, born Neil Megson in Manchester, the U.K. in 1950, founded the confrontational, transgressive and subversive artistic collective COUM Transmissions (1969 – 1976) along with Cosey Fanni Tutti and numerous others, all of whom were influenced by Dada. In 1975, s/he (P-Orridge’s preferred gender pronoun) founded Throbbing Gristle along with Cosey Fanni Tutti, Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson and Chris Carter.

In 1981, s/he founded Psychic TV along with Alex Fergusson, but eventually some twenty or so collaborators had joined the experimental video art and music group. In 1995 P-Orridge married h/er second wife, Jacqueline (Lady Jaye) Mary Breyer, with whom s/he engaged in a bizarre project of what they termed “Pandrogeny” in which they underwent body modification surgery in an attempt to “unite” as a single entity, resembling each other. Lady Jaye died in 2007.Throbbing Gristle disbanded in 1981 but re-formed in 2004. S/he had two daughters by h/er first wife, musician Paula P-Orridge (nee Paula Brooking).

On March 14, 2020 the “Godparent of Industrial” and icon of the avant-garde/underground, counter culture movement died after a long struggle with leukemia.

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