V/A – Steinklang industries Disco 1994-2004

A very cheap label sampler to get better acquainted with the Austrian label Steinklang and the acts on their roster. Steinklang was founded in 1992 and has been pretty productive since. They specialize in power-noise and death-electronics from Austria and Germany.

Furthermore they have various imprints: Steinklang International, Steinklang singles and Steinklang live; Agitprop for ‘acoustic AGITation and PROPaganda’; Ahnstern for ‘folklore magico, avantguardia rituale, progressive folkrock’, centered around Allerseelen; Percht for ‘ Austrian and South-Bavarian Volksmusik’, mainly the works of Sturmpercht; and finally a new sidelabel for ‘ weird, experimental, atonal and avantgarde’, signified only by a mysterious animal symbol.

“Steinklang industries Disco 1994-2004” features 20 Steinklang artists with their ‘disco-tracks’, meaning they have hit potential on the harsher industrial dancefloors. Most tracks have been taken from regular releases, except for five tracks from forthcoming albums. The cd lasts no less than 89 minutes, something which I haven’t encountered before, on the back is a warning that it might not play on every cd-player. In the booklet accompaying the cd you can find a detailed Steinklang discography.

As said before, Steinklang mainly focuses on music in the industrial/noise corner. Of most artists present I have heard material before, though there are some new names for me. The majority of the tracks are harsh and violent attacks, including some pretty powerful material. Among my favourites are the mechanical, rhythmic tracks by Rasthof Dachau and Atrox. Painslut combines the walls of distortion with an ambient background, while Sektion B delivers a nasty piece of power electronics with very aggressive ‘vocals’. Operation Julmond can be situated somewhere between dark EBM and industrial, while the track of Legion Condor has ritual, technoid elements. Other new names for me are Viron and Simon SChall, who both seem to incorporate some minimal retro electro aspects in their music, nice.

After the rhythmic noise attack of DKF, the neoclassical atmosphere of A Challenge of Honour comes as a relief. Some gritty midtempo oldschool industrial tracks follow, mainly from the Agitprop sublabel, in which manipulated harsh voices often play dominant roles. Rather surprising in a positive way to me was the track by Radio Murmansk, who mixes the noisy elements with a danceable minimal electro melody. Leiche Rustikal has a dense, somewhat lofi sound with opera voices in the background, which is a nice effect.

The last four tracks could be an unexpected encore, if you are not familiar with the folky part of Steinklang. Allerseelen is present with ‘Gondellied’, to be released on the vinyl reissue of Venezia. As always a hypnotizing loop and a magical atmosphere. Riharc Smiles is present with the uptempo and festive medieval title track of their album “Last green days of summer’. Sagentoeter is a new act for me, but I suspect they are related to Sturmpercht, in any case they play a Waldteufel-like dark folk song. Last but not least it’s Sturmpercht’s turn with ‘Der Tanz Des Tatzelwurms’, a track of a sold out 7”, which will appear in a new version on a forthcoming album. A typical example of their ‘Bavarian Volksmusik’, which is best enjoyed with a large pint of beer.

artist: V/A
label: Steinklang
details: 22 tracks, 2005 [sk-comp]