• Praxis Newsletter

Praxis 25th Anniversary on Soundcloud: One track a day

Last week of November and first week of December 1992, the first two releases on Praxis appeared. A quarter of a century later the label still exists, an anomaly in the fast moving world of electronic music. To celebrate we are planning a series of events – and new releases.

And we are posting a track from each release every day for the coming weeks, starting now. They are posted in the order of the catalogue numbers (which wasn’t always exactly the order in which the records were released). The tracks will stay online for 25 days.
In this period we’ll significantly expand the discography section on this site and add lots of additional information and documentation.
As tracks will be deleted after 25 days we’ll compile some stats to see which ones were the most listened/liked/shared tracks.

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Praxis 25 Years – Party in Berlin @ Køpi 26-08-2017


Reserve the date!

Saturday August 26

25 Years Praxis Party in Berlin

Køpi – Köpenicker Strasse 137 – Berlin

We celebrate 25 years of Praxis Records, 20 years of Datacide Magazine and also 20 years of Sub/Version Records.

Datacide/ Praxis Soli with:

PSYCHIC DEFENCE

PROLE SECTOR

ZOMBIEFLESHEATER

DJKA LUCHS (LYNX!)

AMBOSS

PURE MANIA

EGON FRINZ

BASE FORCE ONE
_________________
MORE INFO SOON

EXPERIMENTAL HARDCORE / RADICAL BREAKS / MILLITANT NOISE & HIGH SPEED

Soundsystem By: Yaya Systems

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Scaremonger EP (Praxis 1, 1992) now on YouTube

For those who like to listen to their music on YouTube we just added Praxis 1 – Scaremonger EP to the Praxis Youtube channel.

More info, download link, press clippings in our discography:
https://praxis-records.net/scaremonger-scaremonger-ep/

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Nihil Fist: Hatecore Video online now

Just posted on the Zombiefleshaeter/Kritik am Leben YouTube channel: Nihil Fist’s Hatecore video from 1999

Four years before his debut 12″ for Praxis ‘Think & Destroy!‘ – Classic harsh riot sounds!

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Videos from Vinyl Resistance festival (first night), Lynx – Psychic Defence – Base Force One

The Vinyl Resistance festival in Monza took place March 3-5, and paynomindtous just uploaded video clips of all the performances of the first night, including Methackus, Pablito el Drito, DJ Balli, Lynx, Psychic Defence, Base Force One,  and A034. It was a great night!

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The Sound of Vision 1986-1992

Vision was a label project that I founded in 1986 and finished in 1992. The publications of Vision were not limited to cassettes and records but also included printed materials and visuals. These – fanzines, posters, t-shirts – like the recordings, received catalogue numbers.
Vision 1 was a zine and appeared in November 1986. While there was a subjectivist/romantic feel to it, there were also the first signs of a critical approach which later became prevalent in the label.
In a short article about Sonic Youth, for example, you could read: ‘Finally we reached the end of our cursed categories: “Punk”, “New Wave”, “Psychedelia”, “Avantgarde” etc. We are at a point where a band, in the shape of a recording or a performance, has to present an autonomous work, not to say a work of art. But the relation art – pop/pop art – rock’n’roll is already stressed, dubious. The end of this innocence certainly contributes to the general frustration, the absence of a “movement” (…) to insecurity and the well known prophecies of doom about the death of rock’n’roll, the evasion to short lived and unsubstantial revivals (…).’

Or in a review of the album 1000 Hours by the Sheffield based electronic band Hula: ‘Confusion seems complete, so that it seems doubtful that a spirit of our times will even be recognisable in retrospect’. Or: ‘The means of domination veer between conditioning and tear gas, between silent programming and pacification and if necessary the bloody subjugation of those anti-social elements that somehow eluded complete control’ in a review of Mark Stewart’s As the Veneer of Democracy Starts to Fade which was also described as ‘Dance music for our civil war parties’.

The ideas of the Surrealists, Burroughs’ Cut-Up-Methods, Industrial Culture, Post-Punk, the experiences of the bitter defeats of the early 80s squatting movement, the political reaction under Thatcher, Reagan and Kohl all came together and demanded to be processed in sound, image and word.

My first band was a trio called Flowers of Evil and we had the occasional live gigs in Basel. Soon it shrank to a duo, the drum part was played by a Roland 606 which we couldn’t properly program, so most tracks just had one drum pattern. We played NYE at the Alte Stadtgärtnerei, a recently squatted social and cultural centre (see below for a picture from its eviction with pigs heads from an anti-ART fair installation used as missiles against the police at the eviction in 1988) and produced a cassette with four tracks which became, in May 1987, the first sonic release on Vision.

Before that, the second edition of the zine came out: “turn to crime” including the Coil interview which later became the only text from the Vision zines to be reprinted in Datacide.

Quite a few things were happening in Basel at the time. First were the singles by Les Fleur d’Hiver and Falter im nächtlichen Raum released by Winterschatten, the only underground record store in Basel at the time. Then there were more rock (or guitar pop) oriented bands such as thE silencE crieS, The Hydrogen Candymen, Man Without Future and The Baboons.
Another line of development included the releases by 16-17, U&U, Hirnschlag and Melx, which were considerably more radical and aggressive.

Seeing Melx and 16-17 live was indeed a turning point for me and for the label.
Melx – Markus Kneubühler and Alex Buess – presented what hip hop could be after Mark Stewart: no compromise hard beats, scratches, distorted vocals, a treatment of intensification, disturbing and agitational.
16-17 on the other hand created a tsunami of electric energy making you feel like being catapulted in an ejection seat. Knut Remond hammering his unique beats, Kneubühler turning the guitar into a noise machine and Buess with a screeching overblown saxophone and screamed vocal shreds.

It was only logical that Alex and I soon started working together. I became a member of Melx and we recorded a second cassette. Melx re-explored similar themes, made versions and remixes. The same lyrics were used with different beats: ‘Are you already in a Coma?’, ‘They are going to Program you’, ‘I danced with a Zombie’.
Here different principles were at work than with songwriting in a rock format. Versioning, remixing and plagiarism first rose their head in dub and early electronic dance music and would later mutate into a kind of collective cultural production in some forms of techno.

The first two records released on Vision were two albums of Fluid Mask which showed early signs of a ‘Sound of Vision’, which would be further developed with the following releases. Already then a certain tension between a more experimental approach and more traditional songwriting became increasingly evident.

Despite including a remix 12” with the second Fluid Mask album the rock structures remained initially intact, which was also the case with the later LPs by Ix-Ex-Splue and Thin King. Especially Ix-Ex-Splue had been moving towards rock music from more noisy and experimental roots, while my own interests were going in the opposite direction of electronics, noise, studio work and remixing.

Alex Buess’ Wwolff 2.8.1. Studio was a place by the freight train station Wolf, deep underground. Concrete hallways lead to the laboratory in the bunker, far from any seasons. This was where most Vision records were produced.

The third vinyl record was The Metalhouse Masterbeats by Melx, a 4-track 12” limited to 250 copies which was conceptualised as a DJ Tool consisting mainly of beats which DJs and other producers were meant to use, abuse and develop.
Thus the record was not merely a sound carrier with superior sound quality compared to the cassette, but had its own particular properties. Alex kept upgrading the studio, adding further possibilities. One result was Victims of the Mixing Desk, where he applied radical remix concepts to previously published material from the Vision catalogue.
The studio became an instrument, the ‘Vision’ became more concrete.

In retrospect the most convincing shape this experimenting took was in the form of the LP The Electric Noise Twist. Here elements of industrial, free jazz, noise, improvisation were combined with influences from rock and dance. The beats were played by hand, but triggered samples, vocals shouted through a megaphone, the guitar played through a Korg synthesizer and completely mutated. The procedure was largely improvised, the result still sounds intense and unique today.

By 1989, records had completely replaced cassettes. This had some serious economic consequences as well as in terms of distribution. The cassettes usually had a run of 100 copies (sometimes less) and were mostly distributed by ourselves or by Calypso Now, a Swiss tape distribution. With records both costs and ambition were a lot higher. There would be studio costs, covers were printed and the first press runs (usually 500 copies) could barely cover these expenses. Finances had to be organised, distribution extended to other countries.
With this purpose, countless contacts were established and an international network of smaller and bigger distros, fanzines and magazines were supplied with our records.

In the same year – 1989 – I started working for RecRec, the most important distributor of independent and experimental records in Switzerland. Suddenly I was in the midst of the ‘independent business’. This accelerated learning processes which in turn had effects on Vision.
As much as we tried to counter it at RecRec, the ‘independent’ market was going in a direction where it became almost impossible to subvert the market mechanisms. On the contrary, we became factors within the game and were all too often forced to throw all our weight behind ‘big’ products, while more obscure records only sold very few copies.
The ‘independent’ scene, instead of challenging the mechanisms of the music business, increasingly replicated them. This was frustrating and disillusioning.

Around that time I came into contact with Situationist ideas at first through the English underground zine Vague. I got myself a copy of Society of the Spectacle and The Revolution of Everyday Life. Here I found an encompassing revolutionary critique of modern society. With the terms ‘spectacle’ and ‘recuperation’ it grasped exactly what I experienced in the small subsegment of culture industry where I made a rather modest living at that point.

Shreds from Vaneigem, Smile and Vague started appearing in lyrics of Fluid Mask, Melx and Electric Noise Twist.
When the Neoists called for an Art Strike 1990-93, which was supposed to cause not only a breakdown of the culture industry but an intensification of the class struggle and the downfall of capitalism, I was enthusiastic and distributed countless stickers declaring ‘Just Say No To Art!’ and ‘Demolish Serious Culture!’.

Nevertheless the momentum of the label was too hard to ignore and I continued to publish cultural artifacts. Amongst them was the first and only CD to appear on Vision, Knock Out – The Sound of Vision, a compilation and stock taking with previously released material by all bands plus Hirnschlag, a project of Alex Buess from 1984 which had never been published on Vision but could be seen as a precursor.

Around the turn of the decade, the parameters of the counterculture were subject to massive changes. The relationship of ‘artist’ and ‘consumer’ in Rock’n’roll had been a one-way-communication from the stage down, something that was increasingly replicated in the ‘independent’ scene. This was fundamentally challenged by Acid House and Techno. Completely new dimensions seemed to open up for a new collective counter-culture. Anonymity, white labels, illegal parties and festivals were for me a practical application of the demand to ‘Demolish Serious Culture!’.

After I moved to South London into a squat in late 1991, the dynamic of regular collaboration and constant exchange with Basel was lacking. The Vision-scene fell apart, most bands dissolved. [The significant exception to this are the collaborations with Alex Buess in the form of the 16-17 (Praxis 31, 1999), Cortex (Praxis 48, 2011) and ‘Skin Craft’ (Praxis 55, 2016) records.]

At this time I founded Praxis and Alien Underground and later Sub/Version and Datacide.
To make labels, produce and distribute records and printed matters were always methods of a cultural intervention, a metapolitical agitation.

When Melx said: ‘Magnetised human skins control the behaviour of people’, the aim was to short circuit this control and to express an antagonism towards official culture and aesthetics, towards state and capital. In the case of Vision this happened in a heterogeneous, confusing and sometimes confused way, and without a doubt all those involved had different viewpoints on this.
To me it was an intense learning process, and looking back I recognise myself much more at the end of these 5 years than at the beginning.

‘To go “further” today means to fight a guerrilla war in marginal cultural zones and to avoid a sidelining and ghettoisation as much as the cultivation of partial aspects as a reservoir of poses for the turnover of commodities’, it said in the last printed issue of Vision at the end of the ‘80s, and, ‘It’s not about the shock-value of extreme data, rather about definition; not about violence but about heightened awareness. Do everything in order not to be called as a defence witness in the case against the real world (to quote Breton). Discographies should serve as evidence in the face of this imaginary tribunal.’

Christoph Fringeli

originally written in German for

Lurker Grand/André P. Tschan: Heute und Danach – The Swiss Underground Music Scene of the 80’s (Edition Patrick Frey No121, Zürich 2012, ISBN 978-3-905929-21-8)

Translated and revised by the author for

Almanac for Noise & Politics 2016 (datacide_publishing, Berlin 2016)

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Prole Sector: Bass_Dubstep_Techno 2016 Mix

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Subscribe to Datacide – only 12 euros for 3 issues until the end of 2016

THIS SPECIAL OFFER HAS EXPIRED – SUBSCRIPTIONS NOW COST EUR 15.00

still a steal for what you get ! 

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Subscription for 3 print issues of Datacide, the magazine for noise and politics!

The price includes shipping to anywhere in the world.

Choose which issue you want your subscription to begin (let us know in the comments section of your order or paypal payment) and be the first to receive the upcoming issues hot of the press!

You can include back issues in the subscription, currently available are issues 11 (only few copies left!), 12, 13, 14 and the new issue 15! Also available are the 2015 and 2016 editions of the Almanac for Noise & Politics, which can also be included in the subscription.

Datacide is a magazine that covers experimental electronic music, from the avant-garde to hard dance music, their intersections with radical politics and counterculture, in depth political and historical analysis and critique as well as experimental fiction, poetry and visual works. In each issue there is an extensive record review section as well as detailed book reviews, comics and news items.

Datacide is not affiliated or part of any specific political group but engages in a revolutionary critique that rejects the historically discredited strains of leftism associated with Social Democracy and Leninism, drawing on the rich heritage of dissident Marxism, libertarian communism and critical theory instead.

Datacide is a critical voice in the increasingly irrational and rightwards lurching ‘post-truth’ times of conspiratorial world views and identity politics.

Find more information about the contents of the single issues on the DATACIDE WEBSITE!

[Note that if you don’t want to open an account in our online shop, you can also just send EUR 12.00 via paypal to info AT datacide-magazine.com stating which issue you want your subscription to start!]

Subscription rates will change on January 1st, 2017 and will be EUR 15.00 for three issues, starting either with the (then) current or next issue. Available back issues will still be EUR 12.00 for a pack of three (including postage), but this offer will no longer include the current or upcoming issues.

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Broken Pictures Taken with a Broken Camera – Praxis Crawlspace Continues (Autotoxicity 1997)

autotoxicityreviewsheet001
BROKEN PICTURES TAKEN WITH A BROKEN CAMERA – PRAXIS CRAWLSPACE CONTINUES…

All that is solid melts into the air… as winter beckons the pace and opportunity and diversity is expanded. There is always some kind of oppositional dialectic at work. Autonomy against conformity, refusal against palatability, movement against force, and all of these elements against each other. Datacide #3 is here, providing the central artery through which this unstable underground flows, forever decomposing before it can become a new nameable substance. Twisted polemic, fiction, interviews and multiple reviews. On the vinyl front there seems to be a lot to recommend. So what’s happening?

The Praxis / Pure partnership continues in the degenerate party mode with Subversion 002: Antichrist. This samples from the 1984 classic Nature Unveiled album which was built around a nihilist / atheist interpretation of Lautreamont’s “Maldoror” – itself a hugely influential polemic rooted in a twisting and twisted logic of shipwreck fascination, the brutality of nature and the dynamic of evil. The ‘antichrist’ sample comes heavily distorted, darkened and looped – the record adds a break and there you go. The music conjures the passage about christ forming into the body of a charging rhinoceros (a pure and good side to techstep?) only to be brought down and suffer gradual annihilation through the spirit of evil.

New Skin #1 (test press) is a rough cut 5 tracker of broken beats -heavy kick and distortion and visible silences which betrays a praxis influence. Jungle received on a hyper fast signal rate through a faulty scrambler to a bunch of k’ed up troops dug into a bunker. Patterns of extreme style meld together into an anti style. Infra-red night focus on a fast moving predator… coming… towards.. you. Certainly not about anything new emerging from the current, more a case of tiredness, decay, betrayal, taking things towards a precipice yet conscious of creating a cult. Almost like a celebration of absence… an absence of style, an absence of structure, an absence of celebration. Moments go against the grain… a thick bass scrape, well faded h-core memories… the final chapter in the DJ tools series – ‘anti-beats and anti-breaks (volume 1)’

Welcome to Violence / Base Force One (Praxis 27) is more chaos. 1>punk b-lines, marxist-leninist posturing, jackal hi-jacking the cluttered airwaves, manipulating the interference and fast flowing static 2>tech-breaks meets hawaii 5-0 and settles for a rave creation beat-em-up video soundtrack 3>trademark drilled out grooves and anti-funk flanked by cut-up montage and broken beats 4>antrap breaks (remember them?) usher in a return for the kickdrum. Shares an affinity with the previous release to refuse to atrophy into a particular style. The unsymphonised finishing.

Battle Trax 003 – Industrial Bass Machine sees Scott Weiser get in on the act to beef up Phil Klein’s retro electro label. The tracks on IBM certainly plough a retro vein but they maintain that electro magic – the craft and guile – rather than colouring in around the contours. Everything is well (counter) balanced – beats roll, rise and fall, the sci-fi- samples and manipulated robot vocals are not overplayed (like on Battle Trax 002). Best track is ‘Devastate the Planet’ which is full-on and smart with breathing rhythms, chaotic breakdowns and a wicked sense of timing.

Metic ep / Audio Illusion – interesting label which has been used for Klein’s more hardcore based offering gives us a 5-tracker that thrashes between hardcore, electro and techno and has an overall feel of post-gabba that matches the intensity of atmosphere and phobia but dispatches with the diminishing dimensionality of that music. Draws on PCP dark-core in places, and goes for a slowed down but overlaid structure, such that your brain is pummelled into submission and then a melody seems to seep through.

Uncivilised World 001 – Ho A 4-tracker that uses 3 tracks to take hardcore to a new plateau, the fourth track being pretty indescribable(!) Fast french h-core cut up into beats forcing a duality – ultra speed and mid-pace techno with swoops, reverses, etc. Elsewhere there is distanced kick and foregrounded shard samples, low apocalypse blankets of sound bringing in new utilisations of the kick.

Uncivilised World 002 – Elektroplasma Big noises made about this ep such that the sheer anticipation in playing it and the slowed down, over-electrified textures makes it similar to the full-on industrial assault of Throbbing Gristle on my then tender teenage ears. The fact that it exists in (spite of) a post-techno world only adds to the exhilaration… it comes across on one side as a dis-carded flux of noises, not fitting in anywhere due to its raw inconformity. As with the previous ep (below the noise) pace is fucked around with, fast speed noises checking slow speed rhythms. Side two begins with a straight up h-core number trying to rekindle a lost battle to attain a pure intensity of sound structures – bomb blasts, piling machines, rocket launches, ultra-amplified thought processes and headache pulses? The final track is a breakdown of the previous into elements of pure noise that realign themselves into a tunnelled techno arrangement pulling in bleeps from the edge of infinity. awesome.

Uncivilised World 003 – ADC Slight paradigm shift for the Rome-tech school of broken beats. In line with UCW 1&2 there is more of an invitation (responsibility?) to foreground dark and strange textures, create hybrid patterns from mismatched perceptions. Creates – in this case- a dual sense of approach – almost 2 tracks over-laid to a dark ambience with silences and a complicated stop/start beat pattern. in some senses similar to the recent Somatic Responses ‘Passages’ ep on UFO. Very, very disorientating – hard beats that penetrate into your head but at the same time refuse to be compartmentalised in some music-perception process. In this regard I suppose it is true to one of the possible original traits of hardcore, but by now we have arrived at a situation of nihilist mixology – no peaks, no journeys, no atmospheres, no experiences to offer or share, no tricks, no egos, no stars, (no here comes everybody)

If UCW is being touted as the best new label of the year in the datacide gramophone awards then last years winner – Zero Tolerance – is still setting fine examples and benchmarks in sound innovation. The highlight of the label was the Centuria ‘Backlash’ ep (ZTR 007) throwing in an incredible mix of melody and rough sound, treating layers of memory with a paint stripping blowtorch (see interview with perpetrators elsewhere in this magazine). This cut was preceded by the house distortion ‘tribute’ of Neuroviolence (ZTR 006) and followed by the building site techno of Integer (ZTR 008). This latest release squeezes in an array of dropped clang sounds and horns, and concentrates on a more totalising rhythm – on one track there is a fat bass sound squeezed out of a keyboard similar to 80’s industrial funk moments (Slab, Hula, Severed Heads, etc). But the overall feel of the ep is a bit of a letdown – hard sequences jarring in and out of sync. Kind of in between a for and against techno without getting the best out of either stance.

Published as a review sheet by Autotoxicity in late 1997

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Praxis 51 – Noize Creator: The Future is Cancelled on Youtube

New addition to the Praxis Youtube channel:
Praxis 51 – Noize Creator: The Future is Cancelled

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