This week's TT is inspired by a number of things, but triggered mainly in the most recent-sense by Carl's question the other day, and what I have noticed as a DJ in the EBM/industrial scene. So what is the list about? Dancefloor fillers. Not just any old dancefloor fillers, but the ones that are truly guaranteed to stuff the dancefloor each and every time they are played – a kind of 'DJ Emergency Kit', if you will. So let's start with the really bloody obvious.
This Shit Will Fuck You Up
Everybody Hates You
Where else to start but here? The one artist that never ceases to get requested (repeatedly), that seems to be all that some people listen to, and this is the track that will fill the dancefloor quicker than any other Combichrist track (which really is saying something). It is also probably where the sometimes worryingly misogynistic lyrics first appeared. Lyrics aside, this is probably one of the definitive dancefloor tracks – a thumping, mid-paced beat lays waste to everything else, but with enough hooks to keep everyone interested.
A good reason for these two being lumped together, of course – they both use samples from the same film. Full Metal Jacket has been a target of sample-using electronic/industrial artists for years, and two of the latest are these (Combichrist, of course, has also used samples from the same film recently in This Is My Rifle – another dancefloor filler on it's own!). Grendel's take on it, drill marching/chanting and all, probably goes overboard by stuffing in as many samples as possible, and relegating actual vocals into the background – but as dancefloor fodder it works well. Modulate, on the other hand, used in the main just one line from the film (the titular "…Skullfuck" bit of course) and created a monster sleeper hit in the process. Happily enough Modulate have been able to build on that and branch out with further tracks, while it appears Grendel are doomed to simply repeat their massive hit ad infinitum, if their recent album Harsh Generation is anything to go by.
Call The Ships To Port
Perhaps the last truly great track from the "electro/EBM/futurepop" movement that was so popular in the late 90s/early 00s, this has been around now for five years and still shows no sign of losing it's popularity. Despite it's apparent quest for "depth" and "feeling" (I never did work out what the hell the song is about), it was the pounding jackhammer of a beat and the astonishing, rave-like synths that propel the chorus into the stratosphere that secured it's place as a dancefloor fixture. Covenant have never made a song a wonderful as this before or after, and the likelihood is that they never will.
Front By Front
I wonder sometimes whether it could ever be possible to get bored of this track. The definitive EBM track (and quite probably one of the most recognisable industrial songs of all) is now just shy of 20 years old, and somehow still hasn't dated. Name almost any electro-EBM band and they owe Headhunter a debt at some point or another – and the album it comes from (Front By Front) is pretty much perfect after all these years too. Somehow, the existence of countless remixes of this track (the Headhunter 2000 release added another sixteen, and at last count I think I have over twenty remixes of this somewhere or another) have not diluted it's appeal, either. [The Video was somewhat iconic, too]
Bind Torture Kill
Bind Torture Kill
Intriguingly, either people have very short memories or change tastes very quickly. Old SC dancefloor favourite Hellraiser is barely heard any more, in the main supplanted by this – the title track of SC's rather dark album about serial killers. Another track (and album) that could justifiably be accused of misogny, it is nevertheless a hulking brute of a track, building gradually into a cracking dancefloor-filler.
Often a difficult one to DJ with, with the right crowd this will pack any dancefloor. Why "with the right crowd"? Well, it's somewhat more extreme, for a start – thumping beats and squalling electronics fight for space and frequently trade places, while a vocal sample elbows it's way in every now and again. Rather less cerebral and nuanced than much of the output of all three artists involved, it remains a punishing dancefloor track that has more than it's share of followers still.
Nothing really complicated about this whatsoever – although it begins with a shrill scraping metallic effect, don't let it put you off. The rest of the track is built around a pulsating beat that I defy anyone not to want to dance to. The closing vocal sample says it all: 'Cyber-Industrial for Hyperactive People'. Damn straight.
Hold Your Colour
Shifting genres a little, it is amazing sometimes what crosses over from one scene into another – and here is one of the latest to do so. The trick to "crossing over", of course, is a catchy tune – and this is most certainly one of those. A drum'n'bass track of the kind that makes your feet twitch as soon as you hear it, and the fact that Radio One played it to death kinda helped, but a track this good was never going to remain "underground" for ever. Of course, the real boost for Pendulum was that Prodigy remix, and that, and at least four other Pendulum tracks, could be substituted for Slam and have the same effect on the dancefloor…
Light It Up
This song would never have made it here without Stromkern's storming performance in Infest last year – before that, it was a track that despite it's obvious anthemic qualities had never really broken through from a cult audience. All that changed post-Infest, though, as everyone suddenly had the album, and recognised it from all the previous plays…It remains it's unique sound, too – no other band have ever really tried to merge the worlds of industrial and hip-hop, or at least not to this effect, anyway.