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act 105 · asche · distorted disco · cd

tracklist:
the sound ov the shell. kiss the whip. riding on the atomic i.c.e. another kind ov being. t.v.-wasted. zapped. doom. inside the sarkophargus. peter, jesus & me. your bomb. testing show (for a green fuzz).

announcing asche's latest release "distorted disco" is by far the most difficult enterprise of the last months. beware - this record includes everything you've ever experienced in your musical life. "distorted disco" is on one hand the musical interpretation of asche's visual works, a soundtrack for imaginary movies, and on the other hand a vast mixture of simply any modern electronic musical style. not easy to approach, "distorted disco" combines roughness and variety and therefore is an excellent herald of the real 21st century. "distorted disco" - the album's title basically says it all. eleven tracks featuring at least one "common" style in each and every track. starting off with deep, droning, dark ambient influences over distorted beats, harsh rhythms and voices ("hello? anybody there?"). "distorted disco" reaches a first climax with a feedback orgy, heavy beats (machines!) reminiscent of some older logic records stuff, quickly followed by pure power electronics, loops and obscure voice samples.
then - short recovery phase - chill out-like rhythms encounter deep house beats, again followed by big beats giving reminiscence to legendary drum and bass artists. furthermore there's irritating feedback, frightening sounds, high-frequency oscillating noise and a detroit techno track mills would be proud of ... to put it simply - "distorted disco" is a mature challenge for the modern, intelligent listener - both working in the clubs or at home. asche zu asche - disco to disco. special leather digipack & embossing

asche discography 11.2k
1993: non apocalypse, c-60, fich art
1994: non apocalypse, cd, functional
1996: split with morgenstern, lp, ant-zen act40
1998: dto, c-90
1998: split with templegarden's, 10", spectre
2000: recycling art, cd. (live performance at the deadly actions festival 25.10.1996), nuit et brouillard
2000: recycling art, boxset (cd & video), nuit et brouillard
2000: distorted disco, cd, ant-zen act105

reviews:

the new empire
finally it is time to nominate a new album of the month, even if this album is a little bit older now. but i think the musical work on the cd rotating in my cd-player now is worth this little delay. i am talking of a record called "distorted disco" by the project asche. i guess one reason to make this album the album of the month was the title. "distorted disco" was somehow the motto of the last year, many releases showed danceable elements and offered technoid sounds to the listener and a kind of "wave" of drum&bass / rhythm-noise-crossovers flooded the club-scene. "distorted disco" seems to be a journey through different steps and aspects of this sound-development. brachial noise-tracks like "kiss the whip" are followed by rhythm-noise-pearls ("riding on the atomic i.c.e.") and within all the crashes, scratches, infernal loops and distorted drums you can find a very danceable techno-like track ("zapped") and very ambient songs ("t.v.-wasted") with many samples and voice-fragments. the crown of it all is an almost electro-rock/cold-wave-like track at the very end of the cd. the variations in the sound of the band are another reason why i like it so much. so many different impressions are not only mixed together in a single song but the whole album offers something new with every single track. it's fascinating how this mŽlange of sound-samples, ideas and noises reflect a year or maybe two of sound-development. "distorted disco" is a microcosm of the noise/industrial-scene and i think it is somehow a milestone - not a tombstone - on the road the music traveled in the last months. the last and maybe also the main-reason why this album became an album of the month is the fact that the title is really reflected by the music. the album is a source of material to a dj and i guess you can play two tracks an evening from this album and no one will guess it was really the same record... finally another listening-tip if you want to check out the record in the stores: number 11, "testing show", the track is expanded and after a short break you can hear another, additional one, the rock-like i mentioned before. album of the month january 2k

seven
i knew asche was up to something different after hearing its track on "maschinenfest2000" comp. it did raise my eyebrows, especially comparing it with raw ambient sound of "recycling art." i am sure that if your heard the latter, the new asche would be a surprise for you as well (although the album title should have warned you somewhat; yet another radical difference from conceptual "recycling art"). it would be interesting to speculate about the trend that have surfaced this year. i do not want to accuse anyone with jumping on the bandwagon, especially if these attempts were successful, but i cannot resist the temptation to poke at the band or two. it has been slowly brooding over the years, starting with rhythmic sound of sonar, dive and hypnoskull, later adding some of the abrasiveness from imminent and maybe even synapscape. finally, this year it seemed to catch up with the rest of us, and we have been treated to a full offspring of quite impressive (yet veryÉ "trendy" in a good sort of way) acts. in the shortest period of time we got s.i.n.a., mono no aware, tunnel, more straightforward and rhythmic release from converter, cleaner and more percussion-oriented synapscape, and the list goes on (not to count all the demos and new bands moving in this direction). now for the tracks themselves - they fascinate from raw crunchiness of "kiss the whip" that with its very fitting distorted vocals and broken powerful rhythms reminded me of latest synapscape. following "riding on the atomic i.c.e." continues the trend with even more distortion and heavy loops in best latest converter fashion, spiced with quite a few nicely distorted frequencies. opening this track is almost squaremeter-like digital humming and miniature clicks, similar to very smooth dark ambience of opening "the sound ov the shell." "another kind of being" displays another kind of fasination with pure rhythms, this time more similar to celluloid mata's work on "invasion of" with the raw elements similar to sonar's "overdoseÉ" rough techno with distant torn frequencies of "zapped" immediately reminded me of richer version of pierrepoint's "technoid beats for a paradox movement." "t.v.-wasted" presents a nice break with a very clean flowing ambient piece with beautiful strings and overall soothing and pleasant atmosphere, something as unexpected as a pure power electronics assault of "inside the sarkophargus" where heavy frequencies move through crashing thunder strikes, cold mechanized noises. this track is saturated with uneasy, abrasive ambience. a few tracks towards the end are not as impressive, moving along the same rhythmic repetitious percussion lines, although a few ren & stimpy (?) samples on the last track will deliver a needed comic relief. surprisingly, i liked every single genre that asche tried on this cd. and there are several reasons for that. first of all, (and this is where "recycling art" theme resurfaces itself) it is a great interpretation of "best of" in this genre - from minimalism and digital perfection, to harshness and abrasiveness, from ambience to fierce rhythmic attacks - it has it all, and most of it is recognizable, yet put together almost in a best way possible. second, this album is plain fun - it is not overly dominating, it is rich, diverse and is both a sonic candy and a work that has more to offer once you look deeper. i am not sure whether it's just me, and i still cannot get enough of crunchy rhythmic sound, since almost every release that comes out sounds so damn good, or maybe the bands are truly doing a great job. i guess the only thing i can do is wait and see if i still would be that impressed with these albums in a year or two

vital weekly
if any noise band will ever hit the main dance-floors of your city, it could easily be german power electronics-duo asche. in their very own way asche manage to put streams of crushing power electronics into a world of hard punching, dance-able beats. changing between blasting rhythm-texture and static noise, "distorted noise" are both fit for physical outburst and for more reclined listening. after the slow dark ambient-opener "the sound ov shell", asche quickly breaks the sound barrier with the ebm-oriented piece "kiss the whip". after that, things begin to run really fast with loads of electronic uproar sounding like a "go berserk"-session between tech-noisist imminent (a.k.a. imminent starvation) and electronic rave-punks, prodigy. if asche's harsh yet danceable power electronics penetrates any local club, i will be the first on the floor. (nmp)

kaiju for electronic surveillance web zine
after two excellent cd releases, asche returns with its best work to date. possibly one of the most diverse and fun experimental/power noise albums of the year. this album has it all from dark ambient textures, hard pounding beats with processed vocals and even some harsher noise for the power electronics kids. "distorted disco" begins with "the sound ov the shell", so quiet at first you may turn up the volume just to hear it. a 5 minute + droning hypnotic ambient intro track to say the most. then "kiss the whip" kicks the aggression in with repetitive loops, almost dance floor beats, and catchy vocals that if you can understand them you will find yourself shouting along. this is by far my favorite track on the album. "riding on the atomic i.c.e" will test your listening capabilities with harsh high end tones and noisy loops and sounds which eventually becomes very beat driven with what i think is some sort of vocal sample and even a synth line *gasp!!. "another kind ov being" begins with crashing percussion and some noisy computer generated loops (rebirth maybe??) then tinkers off with some strange and chaotic sounds and sequences among heavy kick drums. "t.v. wasted" begins with almost a barking like loop with strange effected samples and a bass heavy beat that develops into a more melodic and chill track. "zapped" punches in with a scattery sample and a 4/4 beat layered with squarky 303 sounds leaning this track more to the dance floor. this track will definitely appeal to fans of the newer noisex sound. "doom" bleeds in with an eerie tone and building layers of sound and then incorporates a heavy and distorted beat with elements of jungle/drum and bass. "inside the sarcophagus" begins on an ambient tone and squeals in with high end noise and darker atmospheres. "peter, jesus, & me" begins with a very old school industrial sounding noisiness, but builds a structure with a great distorted dance beat, growly vocals and noisiness abound!! another favorite for sure. "your bomb" is full of looped noise, oscillating vocals and a thumping beat but never the less is a great song. "testing show (for a green fuzz" begins with a ren & stimpy sample (whoo hoo) and evolves in a fairly repetitious power noise floor filler with random strange effects on the sounds within. then the biggest surprise is not only the ren & stimpy sampled outro but the great cover of the cramps "green fuzz" as a hidden bonus track. so your probably thinking this is not quite the usual ant-zen fare. well it is, but it does cover a lot more ground in the electronic music genre than most of the other acts on the label, and i applaud asche on an excellent job doing this. "distorted disco" will easily make it on my top ten list for 2000, and i suggest it to anyone who likes power noise and more aggressive dance music.

modulazioni industriali
"distorted disco"  la prova lampante di come un titolo possa ben rappresentare gli umori trovabili tra i solchi digitali di questo cd. macchine impazzite che scandiscono il tempo , distorsioni e scariche elettriche che impregnano l'atmosfera di futuribili dance-halls . non c' scampo , ne pausa nell'interrotto turbinare dei suoni , il battito macchina regna sovrano e non ammette altra intrusione oltre a una voce distorta , degna di un cyborg impazzito , "hello ? anybody there ?" , disperazione , incomunicabilitˆ che lascia il posto non alla rassegnazione dei pi ,ma un assalto furioso allo stato di cose presenti . improvvisamente irrompono due brani che simulano la parodia di certa "techno" senza passione, ma si riprende alla grande con l'ultima parte del cd dove l'assalto all'arma bianca prende di nuovo il sopravvento , concludendo in bellezza con la grandiosa "testing show ( for a green fuzz )."

recycle-your-ears
Even though he has been active in the noise / dark scene for over 7 years now, this is only the second studio album by Asche, the first one being "Non Apocalypse", released by Functionnal in 1994. After a comeback later this year with the "Recycling Art - live" box and CD on the french label Nuit & Brouillard, here is finally the long awaited and very talked about "Distorted Disco". A couple of very successful concerts this year (and a CDR demo version of this release) have allowed his audience to hear that what he's into right now is very different from the long and tribal soundscapes of "Non Apocalypse". After all, the word "disco" is in the title of this record, and it's not so surprising, in consequence, to get a rhythmic, very danceable and constantly energetic CD. After a calm intro, "Kiss the whip" sets the pace: distorted beats, noisy layers, saturated voice, fast rhythms. You've got it, Mr. Asche now plays rhythmic noise, and it seriously seems like he's ready to become quickly one of the best of the breed. His sounds are definitely catchy, and his rhythms and anthems are everything you need to fill a the dancefloor of your distorted disco. Same thing with "Riding the atomic i.c.e." that starts like a Synapscape track and ends up like a Converter mayhem in order to introduce the rocket fuelled "Another kind of being". Things change with "TV-wasted", that has the lounge aspect of PAL's "Release": softer sounds, no distortion, repetitive voice samples and a background trancey loop. "Zapped", slightly faster, is in the same mood, but integrate some acid sounds. But the things get heavy again with "Doom", that mixes a "Non Apocalypse"-like soundscape with a deep repetitive beats and some very distant voices. "Inside the Sarcophagus" is more ambient, and reminds of Asche's old works, or of Templegarden's, his project with the girl of Morgenstern and the guys of Synapscape. It's not time to go to bed yet, and "Peter, Jesus and me", "The Bomb" and ""Testing show (for a green fuzz)"wake you up with perfectly crafted rhythmic noise attacks. It's fairly obvious that Asche has a lot of experience behind him, since these three tracks are incredibly good, moreover for somebody who is, in a way, a beginner in this subgenre. The CD ends with a creepy but funny untitled track ("Green Fuzz"?)that sounds like distorted electronic rock: classic patterns, weird melodies, and groovey voice running through saturation. "Distorted Disco" has ben announced with plenty of superlatives that didn't lie. This is of course a must buy for people into rhythmic noise and Ant Zen. But it also have other, more clubesque or innovative dimensions that should appeal to people looking for fresh sounding electronics executed by a veteran in a great day.

side-line no.34 january/february/march 2001
opening with an obscure droning atmospheric track, Ôdistorted discoÕ progressively takes off with the intrusion of distorted rhythms and harsh screams in the background. cut after cut, the power oscillator rises without ever fading, integrating repetitive droning electronic sequences, turbulent voiced sample manipulations and deep techno house beats. rough and modern at the same time. asche kicks twice more ass as sonar does. and the use of repetitive vocal samplings in combination with frightening ambient sounds provides this album with an additional dimension that pushes Ôdistorted discoÕ towards the camp of Ônot easy listeningÕ chaotic modern electro industrial music. the futuristic disco-techno ÔzappedÕ emerges from this album as something cleaner and different evoking the latest release by pal for example. an interesting release of energy and chaotic industrial noise with a touch of modernity. (tsf)

orkus nr.02 februar 2001
dunkle ambient-soundscapes, treibender minimal techno, ÔechterÕ noise-industrial, electro, atmosphŠrischer hardcore drumÕnÕbass und, und, und... es ist wirklich bemerkenswert, was fŸr eine enorme bandbreite elektronischer musikstile das projekt asche hier in eindrucksvoller qualitŠt zum besten gibt. wie der name schon andeutet, sammelt sich auf distorted disco viel verzerrtes und (uneingeschrŠnkt) tanzbares, komprimiert auf elf tracks und satte 72 minuten. nur zwei ambiente stŸcke sorgen fŸr eine kurze ruhepause zwischen harten beatlines, fiesen sprachsamples und verzerrergeknirsche. trotz der gro§en spannweite wirkt der sound von asche noch irgendwie homogen, denn das projekt kreuzt alle dargebotenen spielweisen von elektronik mit einem verharmlosend als gewalttŠtig zu bezeichnenden industrial-appeal. wer einen soundtrack fŸr endzeitliche zerstšrungsphantasien im manga-stil sucht, wird mit den detailverliebten drunÕnÕnoise-spielchen von asche mit sicherheit einen volltreffer landen. besonders der hidden track im funkigen industrial-electro-jazz-gewand ist ein echter brŸller. (alexander maciol)

blackharvest 4.0
bizarrely named album, considering that asche aint exactly the village people. distorted vocals, crashing beats, crushing noise and the odd touch of ambience. for the majority of the album this is an excellent interpretation of what noise music is all about. the only thing that i could say that would knock them into top marks is the lack of change of rhythm in the majority of songs so therefore not really challenging your senses. however i do recommend this cd if you like your noise, well... noisy. i can imagine asche come across blistering live and if you turn this cd up, itÕs monstrous. (tony)

prospective 1/2001
todayÕs power electronic bands appear to have a much more healthy attitude that before. the usual walls of harsch noise are now being made accessible for the more untrained ears. we got more ÔeatableÕ rhythms and varied sounds that before. what was considered extreme is on its way to be ÔmainstreamÕ and indeed tolerated. morgenstern and asche together with a few other power bands show the way for a lot of younger and up-coming artists. morgensternÕs cold serves a real massive dish with heavy distorted vocals/voice sections and a repetitive wall of wonderful sounding noise. while listening to this album, i am being brought up and down, back and forth, kissed and torn apart. thrilling! asche are probably the most commercially eatable one here. everything from deep ambient parts, via pure power electronics to heavy gabber-like beats with extreme power. if you havenÕt tried some of this music and usually prefer more massive electronics, i can only recommend these bands. future rave for really boiled minds (atle marcussen)

neural
una composizione di atmosfere solo apparentemente (in)quiete di fruscii elettrici e oscuri ambientalismi dark che si dileguano rapidamente per lasciare il posto a power electronics, beats distorti e ritmi picchianti e veloci. soundtrack ed esercizio di riflessione, sample efferato di stili e ironico feedback sporco in tutto la sua purezza, quest'album intriga, ammalia, senza il bisogno di stupire, ma usando le lame dell'ignoto e i graniti delle basse frequenze.

zone51
du meta projet synapscape, dont les origines se perdent dans le passŽ avec morgenstern et ars morendi, vient un nouveau disque sous le nom de asche, projet solo de a. schramm aussi connu sous le pseudonyme ex am. dŽcrivant son genre comme de la musique basŽe sur des boucles sonores avec des influences ambiantes et power Žlectronics, cet album aurait pu facilement para”tre sur l'Žtiquette hands qui se spŽcialise dans le power noize. pourtant il est paru sur ant-zen et c'est convenable. ant-zen est la base du techno”de industriel moderne et asche va au-delˆ des frontires du noize rythmŽ. aprs une intro plut™t tranquille, kiss the whip nous montre le techno•sme moderne de asche. ajoutant ˆ la nouvelle tendance de faire des chansons avec des sŽquences vocales comme s.i.n.a., synapscape et d'autres, on voit vite que ex am est capable de crŽer de superbes chansons rythmŽes. riding on atomic i.c.e est un vrai assaut aux sens. cette chanson commence comme une de synapscape et se termine comme une de converter pour introduire la prochaine, another kind ov mayem. une chose ˆ retenir, cet album est nŽcessaire ˆ tous les fans de techno•de rythmŽ. les prochaines ont une tendance plus club, comme l'album release de páaál. moins de distorsion, des sons plus doux, des sŽquences vocales rŽpŽtitives. mais l'assaut n'est pas terminŽ. on revient au techno•de hyper rythmŽ avec peter, jesus & me et les suivantes. excellent album sur une des meilleurs Žtiquettes techno•des.

electroage
asche is another one of those weird mutants from the ant-zen family, falling somewhere between the abstract work of silk saw and the bombastic converter's assault. not easily approachable, distorted disco manage, with an overall success, to be an amalgam of what rough electronic music can be and the many faces the genre can wear. this utterly eclectic release goes almost everywhere rough electronic music can go. from haunting synthetic ambiences like the opening the sound ov the shell or inside the sarkophargus to heavy and harsh powernoise tracks like riding on the atomic i.c.e or the colossal your bomb; or from nearly drum'n bass moments such as the hidden track to twisted techoid moments like another kind ov being; distorted disco may jump from a style to an other, but remains an homogenous album. distorted disco's most brilliant moment can be found on zapped, an impressive work of intelligent dance music where chilling soundscapes and computerized voice samples encounters an harsh and deep house rhythms. here, like on your bomb, asche demonstrate its true power of making cutting-edge dancefloor killers. as well, due to its various styles, distorted disco can be hard to follow for certain listeners, but is certainly not derivative. though, it would have been maybe more interesting if asche could have concentrate on one or two styles instead of several ones, asche truly excels in rough electronic music, specially when it comes for harsh dance-monsters like zapped or your bomb, and this album demonstrate what loud and heavy electronic has to offer for the new millenium.

seven
asche is the solo project of a. schramm, a former member of the seminal experimental german group ars moriendi (which also featured, among others, p. mŸnch of synapscape). schramm has been hard at work for the past decade, not only with asche, which has a discography dating back to 1993, but with side projects tempegarden's, morgenstern and monokrom. distorted disco is the project's second release in 2000, following a live disc on french label nuit et brouillard. it opens with a calm, fluid, ambient introduction, "the sound ov the shell," which acts as a buffer between silence, sanity and the distorted web of beats that immediately follow. "kiss the whip" keeps a marching pace of sharp, grinding loops and snarling vocals backed by hard percussion and intermittent voice samples that crop up often throughout the disc. unobtrusive porn samples, however clichŽ, cross fade into the next track, which marches on with mechanized rhythms, a relentless, pulsating, technoid beat and countless other layers that all meld into one sweat soaked conglomerate of percussion.
"another kind ov being" is like an industrial strength alternate reservoir dogs soundtrack. a lengthy, recurring dialogue sample between harvey keitel and tim roth is manipulated and spread out over the track's seven minute length, replete with harsh metallic clangs, distorted beats and what sounds like nails being rhythmically scraped down a glass window pane. all of these noises, including a glitchy, computerized sounding loop, are perfectly intertwined with one another. one of asche's greatest skills is taking all of these elements and molding them into one distinct whole, as if they were all meant to be together. even the dialogue samples are worked into the base of the songs; they don't merely sit on top of the finished mix like an afterthought. even though the disc is called distorted disco, asche still manage to mix things up and iron out the static into smooth beats and electronics, such as with "zapped," which could almost masquerade as a standard dance track. it retains the overall sensibilities that fit it in with the rest of the disc, but seems to clean itself up with sharper, more straightforward programming. "inside the sarkophargus," on the other hand, is one of the more challenging tracks: an acrid, caustic noisescape which culminates in a shrill, piercing frequency.
distorted disco is a well rounded release that marks a strong return to the ant-hill for asche. and given the number of side projects the prolific mr. schramm works with, you can count on hearing a great deal more noise from him yet.

tentacles
distorted disco features a continuous listening experience filled with relentless rhythm textures and an interesting use of sampled material. the tracks blend almost seamlessly into each other for an interesting audio experience. according to the information inside the cover, this recording was created during a three-year period, and the end result demonstrates what can be accomplished with the right amount of technical attention and creativity. overall, this cd has a gritty, crunchy feel, but the segues between tracks are almost ambient. tv -wasted is a wonderful example of creative sampling that only needs minimal instrumentation to keep it going. a variety of voices are used in conjuction with bell-like keyboard tones to create a captivating musical recording; the vocal samples sound like individual instruments. riding on the atomic i.c.e. has a definite machine feel, but also a constant rhythm that would lend itself well to the dance-floor. another kind ov being demonstrates the percussive noise of this album, but again manages to maintain an almost ebm feel during its transitions into samples and a kraftwerk-like keyboard cameo. it is not very often that i can listen to a cd from start to finish without hitting the advance button at least once, and i am relieved to know that there are still some recordings out there with that kind of credibility. (k.f.)

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