NME (New Musical Express , London UK) review:
"One of the pleasing side effects of the general awesomeness of The Big Pink and Patrick Wolf is the light both artists have shone on the often overlooked work of Berlin techno-punk overlord Alec Empire. With his former guitarist Robbie Furze’s band in the ascendant and Patrick Wolf’s recent single ‘Vulture’ featuring music written by him, the time is ripe for this mini-album, bridging the gap between last year’s acclaimed ‘The Golden Foretaste Of Heaven’ and a new full-length due later this year.
It’s a handy little primer, too, a concise and powerful cocktail of the Empire staples of terrifyingly intense digital punk (‘Control Drug’, ‘TOT’), and left-wing politics (‘Baby Skull’), but also heading into more ambient, emotional territories on the title track and a more minimal, sultry feel on ‘Vampire State’.
‘If You Live Or Die’, featuring Furze, adds something of
The Big Pink’s bleeding-fretboard romanticism to Empire’s hectoring vocal onslaught, while ‘1000 Eyes’ flirts gritty, fuzzy, Royal Trux style alt-rock. It’s music that’s hedonistic, nihilistic and rigorously positive all at the same time. We’ll leave you to fill in your own ‘...strikes back’ joke.
After the critical acclaim of 2008’s, ‘The Golden Foretaste of Heaven’, Berlin’s favourite anti-hero, Alec Empire releases ‘Shivers’, a 7 track mini album that serves up as a little taster for his highly anticipated new album out later this year.
This is the most recent output from The Hellish Vortex, the production team founded by Alec Empire and Nic Endo. THV is based in a studio warehouse space in the centre of Berlin; it’s design reminiscent of Kubrick’s, ‘Space Odyssey’.
Last year, Empire announced a change in direction, a departure from his signature digital hardcore sound and called it – “The Sound of New Berlin”. This sonic revolution has brought about an influx of hipster collaborations in the form of Raveonettes, who got their single remixed by Nic Endo and Alec’s mutual pairing with one, Patrick Wolf, who’s Berlin musings have led to the hotly tipped single, ‘Vultures’. Blogosphere and NME favourites, Big Pink have also appeared on a few tracks off the new album.
Alec Empire's output has never been higher and more diverse than over the past months. Those who remember him as the industrial noise terrorist he once was when he appeared on the cover of Kerrang! magazine many years ago, should think again. Never one to be pigeon holed, Alec has worked with a myriad mix of artists like Thurston Moore, Jon Spencer, Dan The Automator and Definitive Jux bad boy, EL-P for example.
The track ‘Baby Skulls’ is the perfect representation of “The Sound of New Berlin”. This is electronic music the likes of which you have not experienced before. Berlin is the city with the most hedonistic club nights anywhere in Europe. A city that doesn't allow compromises when it comes to getting your next kick. The only way to survive and evolve is to keep on reinventing yourself to stay ahead of the pack.
‘If You Live or Die’ features Big Pink's Robbie Furze on guitars and a Big Pink remix is also on the cards.
This is Alec’s revolution and 2009 looks set to be the year of the Empire.
‘Shivers’ will be released on digital format (iTunes has a full live concert as a "bonus" feature) via Eat Your Heart Out Records, and will also be available as limited edition special packaged CD.
1. Control Drug
3. Baby Skulls
4. If You Live Or Die (feat. Robbie Furze from Big Pink)
5. Vampire State
6. 1000 Eyes (Film version 2009)
Alec Empire’s ‘Bass Terror’ (20 tracks from his early break core rave era, vinyl tracks first time in digital format)
Alec Empire wrote scores for four films in 2008:
1. Tadanobu Asano's, ‘224466’, Asano is well known from films such as ‘Electric Dragon’, ‘Ichi The Killer’, ‘Mongol’.
2. The highly controversial film ‘Chaos Days’, a film based on the German Punk scene in which the lead character shoots a corrupt policeman. The film has literally caused riots when it premiered across Germany and made headlines in the German tabloids. (www.eyho-blog.com/2008/10/07/chaostage-premiere-causes-riots-in-hannover-last-weekend/
) It will be released in over 50 cinemas in Germany this year. As the 10th anniversary of Atari Teenage Riot's legendary performance at the May 1st riots is draws near
), the police expect more outrage, especially in this current climate of crisis.
3. Russian cult photographer and director Miron Zownir's, ‘Phantomanie’ with legendary actor from Werner Herzog films, Bruno S. The preview at this year’s Berlinale Festival left the audience shocked and polarised. Zownir and Empire had created an audio and visual nightmare experience, which has been rarely seen on screen, coupled with lush, textured shots of Berlin. The film is currently being overdubbed in English language and can be seen at international film festivals later this year.
4. Austrian director Richard Wilhelmer created his film ‘The Golden Foretaste of Heaven’ based on Alec Empire's album. Empire and Endo wrote the music for it and appeared in the film. It premiered at Austria's ‘Diagonale Festival’ and went down like a storm. Tickets sold out within the first hour. The mini album ‘Shivers’ features the film version of ‘1000 Eyes’.