Big Strong Remix: Rexx Reclaims a Scene Classic

Tanz WaffenRexx recently dug deep into the Arkana archives to update and modernize a special Rexxtended Mix of the underground club classic “Big Strong Man” by former ZYX Records recording artist Tanz Waffen.

The project, whose name translates from German to “Dance Weapons”, was formed in Austin, Texas around 1984, born of the ashes of another act, Secret Six.

Oriented around founding and principal members Jeff Campbell and Nanz Campbell, the band often augmented frequent live shows with additional percussionists  and multimedia.

Like so many other electronic dance projects of the day, Tanz Waffen can partially attribute their success to exposure gained from their involvement with

lene-lovich-tanz-waffen-frank-kozik_1_c9315dbfba64aa4c6f8d05a938f7a158leading DJ record service Razormaid, whose legendary producer/partner Joseph Watt remixed four of the bands tracks for inclusion on sampler releases.

In 1988 the duo met and befriended new wave star Lene Lovich, marking a pivotal point in the young band’s career. The two would team with Lovich as part of her touring band, a union which also afforded them the opening slot on her tour and introducing them to a nationwide audience.

 

 

A single 12″ release, 1990’s “Big Strong Man” on ZYX, is all that would surface officially from the band’s catalog. (A single-sided self-released cassette featuring five tracks from the act in their 1984 infancy is highly-sought after early synthpop collector’s gold.)

By 1991, Tanz Waffen had evolved to Voodoo Dali, which integrated fellow Razormaid obscurity Mark of Kane (their “Heavy Cross” is Xymox-esque genius and a staple in Arkana’s playlists for nearly 30 years) into a new project performing songs from the TW repertoire.

 

 

Tanz Waffen - Big Strong Man (Rexxtended Mix by DJ Rexx Arkana)

 

Stream the special Rexxtended Mix of “Big Strong Man” directly from the band’s Soundcloud page:

https://soundcloud.com/jeff-campbell-43/tanz-waffen-big-strong-man-rexxtended-mix

 

FGFC820 at Terminus Festival: Because Democracy Thrives in Canada

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This Summer, FGFC820 mark their return to Canada with a special performance at Terminus Festival: Shockwave. In the wake of the demise of the popular Kinetik Festival and its successor, Aftermath, Calgary’s Terminus Festival has become the leading scene gathering in the Great White North. This year’s edition features a stellar mix of established acts (Mesh, Tr/st, Leaetherstrip) and the absolute best of the up and comers (Boy Harsher, Empathy Test, Actors). Full lineup, tickets and further info all at:

www.terminus-festival.com

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New Modern Mix Nods to the Old School

Club Hate 2017 Cover

Boys Noize: Overthrow
ESA: Bad Blood Will Out
Street Fever: Run
Tannhauser Gate: Obsession
Phase Fatale: Spoken Ashes
Statiqbloom: Phantom Eye
Silent Servant: Self Hypnosis

Arian 1: It’s My Soul
Boy Harsher: Motion
Caustic: Drugs Kill (Coldkill Mix)
HFF: Provoke The Wound
Inva//id: Forgotten
The Invincible Spirit: Nein
HAEX: Bloodtoll

IN THE LATE 80s and early 90s, mixed tapes (and, eventually, their CD replacements) were like miniature audio museums for avid music fans like me. Each deliberate homemade dub a carefully curated compilation reflecting the tastes and moods of its maker.

I think I must have made mixed tapes for nearly every girl I had any interest in, the level of interest easily betrayed by how deep the catalog tracks ran on her tape. As a DJ, mixed tapes afforded me the means to rebroadcast the signal “off air” or outside of the club. It also gave me a chance to experiment with soundscapes and architecture and the money I made selling mixes typically went to feed my vinyl addiction, which begat more mixes, ad infinitum.

Many of the things for which I am nostalgic from that era belong to the past, but the appeal of the mix tape – or what we’ve now taken to referring to the non-media specific term “playlists” – endures. As does my urge to play music for people.

And so I present to you CLUB HATE, a modern mix of contemporary industrial and electronic artists, bearing the namesake of my original DJ/events production company through which I released so many former mixes, so many years ago.

I have enabled the track here and on Mixcloud for playback. If you would like to request a link to a downloadable MP3 file or for those who may wish to financially enable my vinyl addiction via PayPal donations,  do so at: rexxarkana@gmail.com . As always, thanks to those who listen, share and re-post.

Club Hate 2017 Complete Art

Clan of Edits: The Story Behind Bruderschaft’s “Trigger”

Rexx and RonnyWriting the follow-up to  Bruderschaft‘s 2003 mega-single Forever was quite the curious process; a sequence of casual coincidences mixed with some legacy compositions from the desk of Dracos von Strecker. Add a dash of unintended outcomes, perhaps the single biggest of which might have been the struggle to voice the album opener, “Trigger.”

Many might be surprised to discover that our original vocalist on demo versions of the track was none other than goth icon Ronny Moorings of prolific Dutch darkwavers Clan of Xymox.

A long time fan of Moorings’ work, we first met in 1997 when I was hired by his label at the time, Tess Records, for college and commercial radio promotion of Hidden Faces. The album’s lead singles, “Out of the Rain” and “This World”, were as strong as anything the artist had done, in my opinion, and we ultimately charted the LP to College Music Journal’s Top 100 and RPM Charts.

Bruderschaft Return

Several years later, I was excited to work with him again, this time artist-to-artist, on a new track from one of my projects. Sadly, somehow, it just didn’t….work. I rushed Ronny’s vocal tracks to the studio as soon as I got them, but we just couldn’t place them in a way that did them justice. I don’t know if it was the tone or the tempo – Dracos could undoubtedly explain the physical audio conflicts in more scientific terms – but it just never felt right. It was no fault of Ronny’s. Here we had this amazing, legendary voice at our disposal, and we just couldn’t get the damn thing to reconcile. Turns out, it wouldn’t be the last time.

Disappointed, but not yet ready to scrap the track, we decided to try again, this time with German singer Florian Schäfer (Silence Gift/Noyce™). Schäfer took an entirely different approach than Moorings had, but in the end the same result, perhaps intimating the source of the problem may have been the song itself. Vocals just weren’t fitting for some reason, no matter who supplied them.
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By now, the EP itself was starting to feel like a bad idea, a metaphor for my life at the time. And yet, in darkness there is light, as they say. Working with Ted Phelps of Imperative Reaction on his remix of the title track, I was introduced to Clint Carney, vocalist/founder of System Syn and erstwhile IR live member. Forewarned that a pair of pretty impressive pipes had already given this track a go before him, Carney bravely took to the task of “Trigger.” It wasn’t spot on first time through, but by some miracle the sound meshed. All three singers had given it equal effort, but forever reason predicated by fate, Carney turned out to be the man for the job. A few more revisions and we were exporting final wav files.


It’s never been my favorite track on the record, probably because Ronny’s not singing it and I know he could have been. Yet, I’m still glad it’s there. It’s still vintage Clint and it still means a lot to me. Maybe now when you hear it, it’ll mean something more to you, too.

 

 

80sObscurities: Cooler Than Thou, Dig It?

So here’s some rivet head history you might find interesting, particularly for fans of Vancouver/scene bastions Skinny Puppy.

In the mid-80s, John Hood was a well-known doorman and party promoter in the apex era of New York City club life. Before he would contribute to the soundtrack of director Beth B.‘s 1987 cult classic film Salvation! – which famously also includes tracks from New Order and Cabaret Voltaire – his The Hood dance project debuted with the “Cooler Than Thou” 12″ in 1985.

A minor hit in the danceterias of the day, the track was programmed by New York (via Switzerland) producer Roli Mosimann, himself best known for his involvement in art noise project The Swans. Shortly after this release, Mosimann would also co-found the Wiseblood project with erstwhile industrialist J.G. Thirwell (Foetus).

Future involvements would include contributions to The The and That Petrol Emotion, but Molimann is also famously linked to our central characters: Skinny Puppy. The artist/engineer was initially pegged to produce the band’s notoriously difficult 1995 opus “The Process.” Unfortunately – or perhaps not, depending on your perspective – Mosimann was never able to command creative control of vocalist Ogre and the band eventually lost confidence in his ability to complete the job and he was replaced  by long-time collaborator Dave “Rave” Ogilvie.

 

The Hood Puppy Story

Perhaps the most interesting part of the story, however, is the striking similarity between Mosimann/The Hood’s “Cooler Than Thou” and Puppy’s popular “Dig It”, released a year apart. I’ve mixed them up for you, so you can judge for yourself.

Another instance that proves that truth is often stranger than fiction.

Beats for Bodylab: Rexx to Feature Classics Set in NYC in September

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NYC old school EBM beat factory BODYLAB returns to Nublu (62 Avenue C, Lower East Side) on Friday September 22nd. Rexx will join erstwhile NYC industrial artist DJ EISDRIVER, event host and resident DJ. In honor of the party’s one year anniversary, Arkana will spin an exclusive set showcasing tracks from the “Your Alltime Classixx Collection” from Germany’s Infacted Recordings, curated by ex-Zoth Ommog-er and Lights of Euphoria mastermind Torben Schmidt. Entry is $5 at the door/21+ only.

Visit the BODYLAB Facebook group for more information.

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