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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Various - "The Revenge of the Mighty Ant"

Artist: Various
Album: The Revenge of the Mighty Ant
Year: 2012
Label: Ant Zen
Genre: Rhythmic Noise, Technoid
Website: www.ant-zen.com


The Revenge of the Mighty Ant is a compilation of live material from Bollwerk 107 in Moers, Germany which took place in Feb. 2012. There are 3 tracks each from Ant Zen stalwarts Zero Degree, Frl. Linientreu, Roger Rotor, 100blumen, and Asche. While this was recorded live, for the most part the quality is good such that you wouldn’t know it if you had not been told. This is a digital release and the format works to its advantage in some ways, especially so in that it comes with high quality live shots of each act, one for each track.
Zero Degree
- It looks like there are 2 unreleased tracks and 1 track from their most recent Ant Zen release. I’m not familiar with any of these tracks but I really enjoyed them all. Pretty typical Zero Degree style: extremely atmospheric, tranquil, plodding technoid with IDM sentiments. They have a penchant for composing emotive melodies and building lengthy, hypnotic passages. Definitely repetitive, though I don’t find it to be detrimental; in fact their style makes for fantastic chill out music. The two seemingly unreleased tracks are "must hears" for fans of the band. They are only act here that is not noisy or harsh.

Frl. Linientreu
- This is the only act with whom I am completely unfamiliar. After hearing these tracks I am going to check out her other work for sure. These appear to all be previously released album tracks. “Echtzeit” opens with some crowd noise; this is the first time that you are aware of this being a live recording. These songs remind me of more distorted Angina P. Wistful melodies hovering over steady, distorted beats. “Echtzeit” is reflective and chill, while “Von Schrecken…” is very upbeat with crunchier percussion. The last track “Bubble” has nostalgic Nintendo-esque melodics over an Asche style beat. Overall, quite enjoyable and very “ant zen” sounding.

Roger Rotor
- Rotor presents us with a track from his most recent album, one from his previous album, and another that I don’t recognize. His music is dark, crunchy, raw techno. I wish I was experiencing this live rather than on recording, but I suppose this does justice to his music. The track I don’t know is “Beyond Beyond” and it’s a really upbeat, crunchy, pounding affair and a perfect track for playing live to dancing fans.

- I don’t like 100blumen, but I will say that they are a strange and distinct hybrid of noise and punk influence. These songs are experimental amalgams of power noise, punk, dubstep, digital hardcore, and related; all wrapped in a blanket of noise and bitcrushing. This is an act that I imagine would be powerful in a live performance, but doesn’t translate as well to recording.

- Asche presents 2 tracks from his recent Easter Island Phenomenon and one bside from the Stonebrain EP. “Something Evil” and “Knee Chopper” are my two favs from that album and both are driving, crunchy power noise tracks which exemplify some of the best the genre has to offer. “Home Crisis” is a crushing, oppressive noise track with a hellish atmosphere. I love it.

Due to being a live album, the overall sound/production is a little rawer than what you’d expect on a studio album, however it was recorded well and captures these artists’ respective sounds. Unfortunately, the songs that I am familiar with sound nearly identical to the album versions, and as such I can’t really recommend this for hearing new and exciting live cuts of songs. Nevertheless, it does work as a compilation if you are unfamiliar with these artists and want to hear some new music. Ant Zen did a good job of picking some of the best tunes from each project and showcasing them in one convenient set. While not exactly a must have for fans, if you enjoy power noise/ant zen and want to discover these bands, you won’t be disappointed.

Overall Rating: 8/10

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