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Gerechtigkeits Liga - Hypnotischer Existenzialismus

Fascinating new anthology (at nearly 72 minutes) from German Industrial music pioneers and an interesting slice of Industrial music history. The first four tracks were originally recorded in 1983, and released in 1984 on Zyklus Records as a 12-inch single 'The Games Must Go On'. This is followed by the Hypnotischer Existenzialismus LP (originally released in 1985 on SPK's Side Effects label) and finally, seven tracks from a concert at New York's Limbo Lounge in 1984. 'The Games Must Go On' still sounds invigorating. OK the electronics are not so sophisticated and the sampling is a bit primitive compared with 2005, but this CD showcases some imaginative use of multi-sampling techniques which were completely ahead of its time. It is 'experimental' music at its best: Challenging and demanding, but making your own senses work, no obvious tune or lyrics to hook on to. There is some Throbbing Gristle influence afoot here, but enough innovation to create a distinct sound. It is impressive how forward looking this compilation sounds; '40 Days' sounds like what we now call 'dark ambient', 'Dark Sanctus' is almost like 1990s nosebleed techno but recorded over ten years before. 'Volkermord part I and II' are a forerunner to Muzlimgauze, with Eastern beats and samples. 'The End And The Evolution' and 'Talion' are reminiscent of Cabaret Voltaire in their very early years with superb rhythm sequences. Other highlights include 'Oskopistentraum', which hints at the Industrial/Dance crossover which was to take off a few years later. This is a very worthy release, highlighting just how good the 1980's underground electronic scene could be. For more information go to (review by Mike Shankland)