Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The Riot is back on

The Digital Hardcore has returned. Oh yes, Atari Teenage Riot have reformed with some new noise and a few short dates. The Berlin filthy techno merchants, who last saw the light of day at The Big Day Out festival in Australia a decade ago have enlisted Brooklyn rapper MC CX Kidtronik to fill out the noise, and I must admit I'm really rather excited.

I first heard the band on a mix tape sellotaped to front of the sadly missed Deadline magazine in the early 90s. In among all the dreary jingly jangly indie pop was an explosion of sparkling techno called Midi Junkies. I was hooked in five seconds. A month or so later they were due to play a tour in support of Sheep On Drugs, but by the time they were supposed to play my nearest gig hall the tour had been cancelled. One rumour suggested that one of Sheep On Drugs had nearly died after the show the night before. Another that their bus had simply broken down. Either way I was devistated.

I heard little more of the band for a couple of years until one night our old chum John Peel played what I thought at first was a quaintly serviceable Huggy Bear-alike tune, which quickly magnified into one of the most blisteringly banging spots of gnarly techno I'd ever heard. It was like happy hardcore plunged through an industrial grinder and I wanted to know more. Of course dear old Peely forgot to say who it was after it finished, and it took me another fortnight to discover who it was.

The song was Not Your Business, a new, gnarlier stance for the band - and I was hooked all over again.

I eventually got to see them a few times live, but as time went on it was clear things were self-destructing. All this ended with Carl Crack's brutal suicide less than a week before September 11th 2001.

After a disparate bundle of solo stuff from the surviving members I was expecting the band to remain an anarchic nostaligia - until this morning, when I was forwarded a link to their new single - the fabulously boinging nose of Activate. The band are actively encouraging us all to download an early mix of it by mentalist Dubstep producer The Builder, which I would advise that you do right here.

Rumour has it that key member, the disturbingly aluring Hanin Elias has decided not to get involved, leaving founder member Alec Empire and later-comer Nic Endo to take up the mantle. They're playing a bunch of dates across Europe in May, including Camden's Electric Ballroom on May 12th - although I might suggest hanging on until August for their appearance at the rather ace looking Berlin Festival. The shows will either be utterly fabulous, anxiously grumpy or completely horrific - but whichever way they'll be joyously, unpleasantly memorable.

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