Kulttempel, Oberhausen, Germany
5th April 2013
Haujobb, Underviewer, Pyrroline & Spherical Disrupted
The Ruhr valley in the West of Germany is one of the biggest urban agglomerations in the world, and this industrial region once famous for coal miners and steelworkers is arguably also home of the world's biggest Goth & EBM scene. The club Kulttempel in Oberhausen, right in the heart of the Ruhr valley, is about to become one of the strongholds in this stronghold area. One of the club's excellent events was the gig of HAUJOBB together with the FRONT 242 side project UNDERVIEWER, promising newcomer PYRROLINE and the Dark Ambient project SPHERICAL DISRUPTED.
SPHERICAL DISRUPTED is the brainchild of Mirko Hentrich, head of Audiophob Records and who also helped to organize this concert night. The dark and atmospheric soundscapes of SPHERICAL DISRUPTED were musically a bit offside from the other bands of the night, but still the gig set the mood nicely. Perhaps one could see the performance as some kind of live performed intro to the rest of the night, and as such it worked well. Knowing that one lonely man twiddling knobs isn't the most exciting thing to watch, Hentrich brought a video show with some oldschool-ish looking visuals which supported the ambient character of SPHERICAL DISRUPTED's purely instrumental music. A nice way to start the night, and during this gig the Kulttempel filled more and more with people. // http://www.disrupted.de / http://www.audiophob.de
Total: 7 / 10
PYRROLINE is a duo from Stuttgart, Germany, who just released their second album 'Ruins Outlast'. Starting in 2005, members Schmoun and Arnte first produced music under the name NORDSCHLACHT before they changed the name to PYRROLINE for the album 'Behind The Horizon'. So far PYRROLINE didn't manage to gather a bigger fan base and they still have a rather low-key profile, which is surprising when you look at the quality of their music. Often compared to the likes of MENTALLO & THE FIXER and SKINNY PUPPY, Arnte and Schmoun have a great talent for combining atmospheric soundscapes with synth hooks and driving electronic beats. PYRROLINE make classic Dark Electro in the best sense of the word. As a duo it might be difficult to translate such intense synthetic sound into a live performance, and the duo seemed to be a little nervous when they entered the stage. And throughout the rest of the gig. Perhaps it was also the lack of live experience, as I don't think that PYRROLINE had too often the chance to present their music live.
While Schmoun took care of e-drums and keys, Arnte delivered the vocals and played a few keyboard lines here and there. He's not exactly someone who hogs the spotlight and works an audience, he hardly moved behind his microphone stand. But this doesn't take away from the quality of the music, of course, and instead of forced showmanship PYRROLINE brought an amazing video screening with them. Simply the best visuals of the night! The video footage was compiled of sci-fi movie cuttings, animated graphics, scenes from computer games and photographs. It looked great, and the icing on the cake that all visuals were 100% synchronous with the music! Sound and vision mated well and ignited the imagination, which is quite apt for such cinematic music. The only little downer was that the volume was a bit too low. If the beats and sounds were just a little louder the imagination would have ran a little wilder, too. All in all a great up and coming band who probably need a bit more live experience but in the studio they are already masters, as you can hear on their CDs. // http://soundcloud.com/pyrroline / http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pyrroline
Total: 7.5 / 10
A very special act was next with UNDERVIEWER. No one less than keyboarder and producer Patrick Codenys and vocalist Jean-Luc DeMeyer are behind this name, and UNDERVIEWER are actually their first project they ran from 1979 until they joined FRONT 242. A top-notch addition to the night's line-up and an absolute must for all EBM addicts! The music of UNDERVIEWER is however not so much the grandiose, rhythmic EBM for which their main band is famous for but rather minimalistic synth pop with an experimental touch. If you know FRONT 242's debut album 'Geography' you have a good idea what UNDERVIEWER sounds like. On stage Patrick Codenys was almost invisible for most of the viewers as he stood with his keyboard rack behind(!) a video screen at the side of the stage. In front of the screen was Jean-Luc DeMeyer, mystically illuminated by the videos.
Although most people were not familiar with the UNDERVIEWER songs, after all there was never a record release from this old project, the performance was received very well, last but not least thanks to the compelling stage presence of DeMeyer. The classic FRONT 242 track 'Kampfbereit', from the 'Geography' album, was also in the setlist and welcomed by a roaring applause. For a short instrumental track DeMeyer joined Codenys at the keyboards - that is behind the video screen, making the stage basically looking empty. Perhaps a weird choice to some but quite apt for the weird embryonic electro pop of UNDERVIEWER. The best thing about this performance was probably not the music in itself but the attitude behind it, a somehow nonconformist and 'anti' attitude which is hard to describe in words. Or in fact rather simple: Let's do it differently! // http://www.front242.com
Total: 8.5 / 10
Now it was time for the headliner of the night: Daniel Myer and Dejan Samardzic aka HAUJOBB! Daniel Myer just left COVENANT after six years to focus more on producing other bands but he did not forget about his first band and main project. However, live shows by HAUJOBB are still a rather rare thing so the gig in Oberhausen was simply a must for all fans. HAUJOBB was started in 1993 and their first albums with hits like 'Eye Over You' or 'World Window' the then Bielefeld-based band quickly became a success in the EBM and Industrial scene. Often characterized as “Germany's SKINNY PUPPY” - a description which is more appropriate for the attitude rather than the music itself - the band soon left the beaten path to include elements from Techno, Drum'n'Bass, Trip Hop and other styles in their sound. Commercially perhaps not the wisest move but it fortified HAUJOBB's reputation as a highly innovative force and which resulted in brilliant albums like 'Polarity' from 2001 – and an abundance of side projects and spin-offs!
In 2008 HAUJOBB gave a farewell show at the Amphi festival in Cologne but in 2011 surprisingly Myer and Samardzic, who both moved to Leipzig meanwhile, returned as HAUJOBB with the brilliant album 'New World March' and even some more live shows. Opening with 'Letting The Demons Sleep' from their comeback single 'Dead Market' HAUJOBB entered the stage of the Kulttempel. Live HAUJOBB is completed by keyboarder and percussionist Manuel G. Richter and backed up by a photo slide show projected onto the backdrop. The show had a rather mid-tempo start but the band picked up the pace with 'Soul Reader' from the 'New World March' album and 'Renegades Of Noise' from the 2005 album 'Vertical Theory'. The sound was great and especially the qualities of Daniel Myer as a vocalist are worthy of mention, only the image slide show was disinclined to work. Too often the audience got to see a blue Hitachi logo instead of the HAUJOBB visuals.
Surely frustrating for perfectionists like HAUJOBB but for most fans probably just a little side note worth a friendly smile. The band roam through their back-catalogue, presenting old stuff like 'Dream Aid' from 'Freeze Frame Reality' (1995) and new stuff like melancholic 'Little World'. 'Let´s Drop Bombs', by the way available for free via the band's website, was introduced by Myer with the words “Once upon a time we called this Electronic Body Music”, and cleverly he added a few lines from NITZER EBB's 'Getting Closer' towards the end of the song. The longer the show the crunchier the songs and the better the crowd response. The biggest cheer of the night received 'Dead Market', though. A dark mid-tempo song with an anthemic character, and after all it's not a bad thing at all that a rather new song gets the loudest roar of the night. It should tell HAUJOBB to hurry up with a successor of their great last album! // http://haujobb-music.com / https://www.facebook.com/haujobbmusic
Total: 8.5 / 10
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.black-cat-net.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/vorndranphotography / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)