Various Artists – Ad Noiseam 2001-2006


There’s nothing like an anniversary as an excuse to put together a compilation, and German label Ad Noiseam has reached the very eminent age of 5 years old. The label has been a great home to experimental electronica of all types, and had excellent releases under its belt from artists such as Enduser, Larvae and Mad EP, but it’s to their credit that this 2CD+DVD compilation is comprised (on the CDs, anyway) of entirely unreleased material.
Much though I enjoy good noisy shit as much as the next guy, I would lean towards CD1 as my favourite. There are some exquisite sounds on here, from Mad EP’s dark classical-sampling hip-hop and Ukrainian Andrey Kiritchenko’s granulated acoustic guitars to Enduser’s collaboration with vocalist Kazumi — the lighter end of his beats, but no less junglist for that.
CD2 (appropriately black to CD1’s white) jumps straight in the deep end with Cdatakill’s “Yesterdays” — beats made of noise, and chewed-up vocals floating over the mess. It’s a very worthy successor his stunning (if over-the-top) version of “Strange Fruit” from a few years back on Low Res. Things continue with dark hip-hop, electro and breakcore from Bong-Ra, “The” Panacea (for some reason an old-guard hero to some in the breakcore scene) and others; Curtis Chip turns in another piece of melodic drill’n’bass, while Detritus’ razor-sharp beats contrast with the tinny-yet-forceful clatter of Tarmvred.
Double CD sets can leave the listener’s attention flagging at some point, but for me it’s the DVD that got left a little by the wayside. Watching through the videos, the general theme is of pretty low-budget affairs (and annoyingly they’re all framed in TV’s squareish aspect ratio, so the many widescreen clips are shrunk on a widescreen monitor). That said, the Bikini Bandits video for Bong-Ra’s “Sp66d d6mon (666mph rmx)” is fun, and Joel Trussel’s battling rock’n’roll cartoon Vikings for his video of Jason Forrest’s “War Photographer” have all the insanity required for JF/DS. The best is probably saved for last: Larvae’s own video for “Solo Shoots First” mashes up Kill Bill with Star Wars in a unique fashion. Anyway, the sound quality’s good, so effectively there’s 14 more tracks (give or take a couple of duplicates) for your enjoyment there.


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Radio broadcaster - Utility Fog on FBi. Cellist - FourPlay String Quartet. Web administrator, editor, reviewer, sporadic blogger, science fiction fan, bicycle rider...


  1. Panacea was a totally important d&b producer around 1997/8. He pushed the edges of techstep into a much darker noisier realm with his early relelases and created a bridge between the DHR sound and what was later to become German d&b. Prior to this techstep still had a clean futuristic sound, after Panacea producers everywhere started creating heavier midrange noisy d&b tracks (probably not as well though).

    There’s a great article coming up in Cyclic #14 which will reveal more . . .

  2. Cool. I can see his importance in the history; I’ve just always found him fairly boring in terms of programming and sounds. I never thought the DHR people were that adept, so when you’ve got Panacea remixing Belladonnakillz or Unit or whatever, it’s just that same old disappointing tech-step programming and lack of dynamics.
    I guess, though, he was as big as any name in that scene, which really was the precursor to all the heavy dark shit coming out now.

    I seem to recall at the time that people complained that Panacea was just sampling the beats off mainstream d’n’b records (Reinforced stuff, maybe?), albeit with lots of distortion ;)

    Tunng review being composed now.

  3. Yeah but if you go back to 1997 Panacea really did push things with his first couple of records. After that others took his lead. The No U Turn comp Torque in 1996 was the start of techstep proper (and didn’t really get surpassed in terms of cold, brutalist machine atmospheres – that ALSO worked well on the dancefloor).

    The whole drill & bass thing was kind of parallel to techstep at that time and was totally unconnected. I know you enjoyed the programming complexity of drill & bass at that time but it really had no place in the d&b scene back then. (if breakcore does now?)

    Back to your review – the Jason Forrest clip is probably the best low budget animated clip of the past 12 months. It is totally hilarious – the whole Viking heavy metal warrior thing is gold – and has been released on several magazine cover DVDs (Res Mag being one) as well as lots of film festival showings. Its on the Boards site if you are reading this wondering where you can preview it.

  4. Oh yeah, Pitchfork also have that JF clip in their 100 Awesome Music Videos feature – YouTube version. It is great.

    I know drill’n’bass didn’t have a lot to do with the d’n’b scene, but I preferred, and still prefer, the more complex break-manipulation in mainstream d’n’b too, which probably disappeared by ’97 or so at the latest. I’m sure that Exile’s drum’n’bass friends probably think he’s crazy for being into all that gabba & hardcore shit too, but maybe Planet µ and co are bridging the gap a little bit? Hard to know. I’m enjoying stuff by Breakage, the Inperspective stuff and other bits & pieces again now in the d’n’b world, but of course am more excited by breakcore on the whole.
    (Also really like the Boxcutter CD, even though in general the slowed-down or simplified drum’n’bass spinoffs have never really excited me.

    Hey! I’m meant to be reviewing Comments of the Inner Chorus.