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act 143 · converter · expansion pack / expansion · 2x10" vinyl / 2x3"cd

in accordance with utopia, butcher, wires, rust, recycle, torment, unreal (live rmx), zombi, doom want more candy ?

known ingredients and new ingredients can be found here: the beats, the breaks, the distortion, the noises, the voices, the intensity, the agony, the ecstasy, the speed, the live rage, the death rape, the legend, the space needle, the loop, the groove, the artwar (salt), the mastering (metarc), the cd, the vinyl.

these sets contain unreleased studio and live tracks which were recorded by converter between 1998 and 2002. the two nicely designed expansion packs can be viewed as a link between 'blast furnace' and the forthcoming full length album on ant-zen later this year.

safety warning: hard candies can be slippery and can cause choking !

more of the artwar can be found in the photoalbums in the graphics section.

discography 02.2k3
expansion 1.3. 2x3"cd. ant-zen act 143.3. 2003
expansion pack 1.10. 2x10"vinyl. act 143.10. 2003
erode (w/ asche + morgenstern). cd-ep. ant-zen act123. 2001
firebloom. 12" vinyl. hymen records y026. 2000
blast furnace. cd / boxset. ant-zen act113. 2000
coma. 12" vinyl. hymen records y014. 1999
shock front. cd. ant-zen act83. 1999

converter website:


in a recent interview that i conducted with converter's scott sturgis, he indicated that he was growing slightly tired of the "classic" converter sound of endless, punishing rhythms and was slightly tentative about releasing the material that is to be found on these two 3" cds. most of the tracks on offer here were written for various converter live performances, along with one or two that escaped the final cut on the blast furnace album. starting with "in accordance with utopia", expansion 1.3.1 immediately grounds us in the classic converter sound with heavily distorted everything, but with slower rhythms and a more textural approach to the beats. i can see why it would have sounded out of place on the album, but here it serves as a nice, chilling opening before the punchy beats return with a vengeance on "butcher". this second piece is quite techno in its execution, reminding me of the hypnotic back-and-forth rhythms of monolith...only with way more distortion. with the next track, "wires", we begin to get an inkling of sturgis' discontent with 4/4 beats, as he relaxes into hip-hop styled breakbeats with subtle processing tweaks and even some uplifting melodies to create some very effective dynamics in the piece. the last track on this first 3" platter is another blast furnace out-take entitled "rust". again, it is clear why it didn't quite fit with the rest of the material, as it takes a calmer approach to the rhythms and gradually becomes more textural, almost like something from notime's dying planet album; it is perfectly at home here, though, serving to fade the disc out...paradoxically by becoming harsher - a nice little structural twist. moving swiftly over to expansion 1.3.2, we are presented with five more pieces from the converter live show, again showing a slight progression in the project's sound, yet nothing as dramatic as what sturgis has hinted will appear on exit ritual later this year. kick-starting with "recycle", we find converter in a more intricate mode of beat programming, with cleaner beats, heavier on the release, which give the track more of a groove and a slight warp records feel. following close behind, we have "torment" and a live remix of "unreal" (from the blast furnace album) - no surprises here, just classic converter: distorted and heavy as ever. the penultimate track is twisted voodoo-groover, "zombie" with its two-step timing and pseudo-caribbean synth line: a fairly light-hearted piece for converter, but still tremendous fun. the final track on offer here is the appropriately titled "doom". changing pace and direction every few seconds, the track is a manic exercise power noise and killer rhythms - taking the essence of converter and smashing it to pieces - almost a symbolic cleaning of palette before the release of the new album. certainly a far cry from the near endless slew of compilation tracks and remixes that have emerged from the converter camp lately, expansion 1 hints at the direction we will see the project take in the near future, while still maintaining the fundamental nature of the established sound. this is not the best introduction to the act, nor is it by any means an essential release, but it does let the fans hear some quality material that would have otherwise remained in the recesses of the studio. (gavin lees)

scott sturgis returns to the blistering domain of converter for the expansion pack, a collection of tracks recorded between 1998 and 2002, encompassing his previous outings on ant-zen (shock front in 1999 and blast furnace in 2000). packaged by s.alt as either two 3-inch cds or two 10-inch records, the expansion pack is a two-fisted assault of aural dynamite. "in accordance with utopia" staggers in on a distorted soundtrack, a warped classical melody which is rapidly buried beneath an onslaught of staggering noise as if an pack of elephants were tearing down a power sub-station. a slash and burn vocal loop pushes its way through the mix, struggling to be heard through the cacophony. the fury subsides, a gentler passage moving across the face of your speakers, before winding up again to a cataclysmic conclusion. what makes converter stand out from the caustic overload of other noise 'n' beat artists is sturgis' ability to make pure energy sound so appealing, so dynamic in its structure and rhythm. "butcher" is a club track for the steel cage set and sturgis plays with the pacing and the incidental sounds with a deft hand as he keeps the beats focused. splitting the nine tracks across the two 3-inch cds breaks up the overwhelming force of the tracks, doling out the fury in 20-minute segments. you have time to recover as you stagger through the vacuum left in the wake of "rust" to change the disc. you have time to inflate your compressed lungs and abdomen with air before the ferocious pummeling starts all again. the second disc is faster, sharper, more like a powerful set of relentless pistons than the destruction of a warehouse of charged battery panels. sturgis flirts with drum and bass on "zombi" and teases us with a techno pulse in "unreal (live rmx)," all the while covering us with a dense field of caterwauling static as if a squadron of fighter planes were dive-bombing the dance floor. i make it sound like listening to converter is a physically punishing experience and, i suppose if you have a good enough stereo system, it can be. but more accurately, this is a chamber orchestra of industrial machinery and sturgis doubles as the conductor and the electrician. the instrumentation is all thrown together, cacophony and chaos is the order of the day, and the resultant noise is then bent and shaped by the strong hand of the conductor into a sizzling, beating, howling construct. converter's expansion pack is music as a biomechanical force. it isn't for everyone; but if it does move you, you want to open yourself up to the sound and let it tear apart the very dna of your being. (mark teppo)

vital weekly
apocalyptic sounds from one of the true masters of power noise. entering the ant-zen camp with the debut-album "shock front" in 1999, converter quickly became one of the important flagships alongside imminent (starvation) and synapscape on the legendary label of rhythmic noise. from beginning scott sturgis (a.k.a. converter, ex-pain station travelled somewhere between danceable ebm and harsh waves of noise brutality. previous album "blast furnace" though took a step further towards the harsh territories. a great development that has been fulfilled on these two 3"-cd's, where the ebm friendly dance floor moments have been left behind giving way to some over-the-top power electronics swirling inside orgies of rhythmic distortions. tribal dance of the insane, rave of the dead or a dark sonic expression of the present global political situation...! no matter what we are dealing here, this is true sadistic excellence! (nmp)

gothic beauty
jungle-raver,techno-noise: fans of mlada fronta and mimetic will feel right at home amid music by converter. the parent label, ant zen, enjoys a diverse population of artsy ants! converter releases the expansion series 1.3 and 1.10 1.3 consists of two 3" cds and a tons of graphic art designs based loosely around negative exposure photography of archaic architectural structures and geography in fairly equal amounts. fans of crystal method and propellerheads should turn on to the more serious focus on harmonic noise as developed by converter. tracks feature lofty titles such as in accordance with utopia seem reflective of the mood of the musical movements of noise. whereas doom, wires, rust, recycle , and torment seem to convey the simplicity of the human interaction and promotion of decay both socially and environmentally. (jett black)

nachdem scott sturgis, besser bekannt als das ein-mann-projekt converter, an verschiedenen remixes z.b. für hypnoskull gebastelt hat, bringt nun ant-zen ein aus zwei 3"-cds bzw. zwei 10"-vinylscheiben bestehendes "expansion pack" heraus, um die zeit bis zum nächsten album, das dieses jahr noch erscheinen soll, zu verkürzen. die auf diesem doppelpack enthaltenen und bisher unveröffentlichten tracks entstanden in den jahren 1998 bis 2002 und bieten mal wieder besten elektro-noise, wie man ihn aus dem hause converter gewohnt ist. mit "in accordance with utopia" fängt das erweiterungspaket noch etwas gemächlich an, doch gleich bei "butcher" gibt's ordentlich was auf die boxen. fetter beat, verzerrte sprachsamples und schräges klaviergeklimper machen diesen track zum killer. wieder was zum abstrampeln für die tanzflächen. viel ruhiger wird es danach auch nicht mehr. die folgenden, rhythmischen dröhneskapaden verschaffen lärmenden hörgenuss vom feinsten. einige tracks herauszuheben, fällt da etwas schwer. besondere erwähnung sollte auf jeden fall noch "doom" finden. hier zeigt scott sturgis ab und zu in kurzen passagen, dass auch er zu spielereien fähig ist, ohne jeden song in eine feste struktur zu pressen. denn obwohl "expansion pack" ohne zweifel wieder einmal 1a-(converter-)qualität besitzt, wäre bisweilen ein wenig mehr abwechslung wünschenswert. alle sonar-fans sollten sich den live-remix von "unreal" anhören. besser hätten es dirk ivens und eric van wonterghem auch nicht hinbekommen. und was bleibt zum schluss noch zu sagen? eigentlich nichts, ausser dass dieses "expansion pack" die spannung auf das nächste converter-album steigen lässt. (veit)

converter's expansion pack comes in a damn cool package. a silver, ziploc (yes, the ziploc function actually works!) static shielding bag (complete with "attention: observe precautions for handling electrostatic sensitive devices") houses two 3" cds, each in their own little cardboard sleeves. very unique packaging. always a plus. this album is the teaser to the new release, expected later in 2003 on ant-zen, including some new tracks as well as unreleased older material and live tracks -- heralded as a link between "blast furnace" and the forthcoming album. unmistakably, we have converter here. obviously, as that is the title. but this is good ol'classic converter. the beats, sounds and distortion we have come to love and crave, that has made the rhythmic noise genre established. unreal (live rmx) stands out as the real club pleaser. when listening to this on the "big" sound system at the club, it definitely gained appeal. i may not be the best reviewer to be objective in this case, as i'm a rather big converter fan, and tend to feel that, usually [but not completely], he can do no wrong. my bias of course being apparent to my love of all scott sturgis' music, converter and side projects. however, i'm not sure that i find anything new and "earthshattering" in this release. it's solid and delivers what we have come to expect from converter. nothing to complain about there! it makes a nice companion to anyone's converter collection and, naturally, is a lovely tease for things to come (for those of us anxious for new converter!) (razorgrrl)

impressive. i was expecting a lot less of this album because it is an "in-between releases" type of cd. converter is just quality. scott blows my away with tracks like "in accordance with utopia," "recycle" and "unreal (live rmx)." i would rank this release ahead of "shock front" on the must have converter list. the cd is well laid out, it takes you on a journey through some of the best rhythmic soundscapes i have ever heard from converter. great cd all around, and the packaging is inspired. (prospero)

chain d.l.k.
gee, this new converter double mcd (and available also on double 10" format) is a blast. it's almost three years ago that i reviewed their second cd "blast furnace" and at that time i was amazed by the sense of symphonic weirdness built with distorted rhythms and vocal samples. this new expansion contains nine new tracks recorded between 1998 and 2002 and one of them ("unreal") it's a live mix. what catched me immediately about converter's music and about this latest in particular is that each track has got new ideas and new solutions to the granitic sound they play and this is a good thing if you think that there's no melody involved. on the label's website is reported that this new work is a link between "blast furnace" and the next one that will be released at the end of the year. well, i can't wait to listen to it as this sound is taking me over...

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