6th to 8th September 2019
NCN 2019 Day 2 with Hätzer, The Arch, The Cascades, Neuroticfish, Clan Of Xymox, In Strict Confidence, Laibach, Wires & Lights, Rosi, Desperate Journalist, Actors, Minuit Machine, She Past Away, Wolfgang Flür, Sonnenkind, Fields Of Mildew, Har Belex, In Slaugther Natives, Six Comm, Rroyce, State Of The Union, Shiv-R, Faderhead, Pink Turns Blue, Portion Control
Waking up way too early, but being rewarded by hearing someone nearby at the camping playing DIORAMA is considered to be a god start of the day. Instantly thought that they would be a great choice for another festival edition.
The impressions of the first day were still running through my head (especially the extremely catchy ‘Maskiner’ by SPARK! didn’t leave my side anymore). Since the morning was quite cold, the breakfast stand at the camping area was highly appreciated. Also the first coffee in the morning after a good first (and for some even second) festival day was a huge helper to start the day! The entrance to the concert area from the camping ground was a bit later than scheduled, so I had an actually nice and funny talk with others while waiting. Today, the line-up was as special as on Friday and we all were already extremely looking forward to the day while at the same time struggling to choose from all the perfect and sometimes really rare gems because many of them played at the same time. Music fan world problems. However, the program on Saturday promised many highlights and did not disappoint.
With HÄTZER, Thoralf Dietrich (JÄGER 90) comes along with another side project, live on stage currently supported by drummer Marcel Lüke (ZWEITE JUGEND). It is dedicated to the sound of the 90s, where Dark Electronic Music was established and almost got lost. The style is a typical one: clear and purist. There is that interesting basic idea to produce Dark Electro offside exuberant pad sounds. Many bands of the 90s made use of that awkward and suffocating stylistic element. In the end, HÄTZER sounds like a dark electronic offer for EBM freaks and fans of EBM and classic Dark Electronic music with a personal touch. The surprisingly melodic, rushing basic beat pushes the tracks forward and stays behind the aggressive and partially scornful voice of the lead singer with the fly mask. Who wants to listen to HÄTZER at home, needs to order directly at the HÄTZER website.
HÄTZER started with a delay of about ten minutes because LAIBACH, who were about to headline the Amphibühne in the evening, were doing sound check for hours in the morning and so the stage got free for HÄTZER only ten minutes before their slot was actually scheduled. However, they still managed to built-up pretty fast and so not to let the delay increase. This show was actually quite special, in a more sad way, because it was also the last show with Thoralf and HÄTZER / JÄGER 90 for Marcel Lüke (ZWEITE JUGEND and others) who has been playing drums in the band for several years. The gig was a good start to wake up to some catchy electro tunes. I haven’t seen HÄTZER ever before neither did I know much about the band. So the fly mask was an actually surprising element for me. But hey, why not. An engaging and powerful performance that woke up all the sleepy minds that made it to that early hour in front of stage. // https://www.facebook.com/haetzeroffiziell // Setlist: 01. Black Earth / 02. Your Memory / 03. Like A Paradise / 04. Surrender / 05. In The Tears / 06. Count Me Out / 07. Nobody
The Arch (Lina)
THE ARCH is an Electro Wave band from Belgium. A mixture of samples, synths, and guitars characterizes their music. The influence of every single element changed over the years, so it is not correct to put the band into the Crossover genre. While their most known track, ‘Babsi ist tod!’, of the debut album, ‘As quiet as…’ from 1987, is dominated by Wave and the typical, quieter rock guitars and a certain degree of hardness only comes into existence by the vocals, ‘Ribdancer’ (1991) is significantly harder. The sound is powerful und rounded. Songs from the younger band history instead sound substantially more electronic. Spherical keyboard sequences and partially female, melodic guest vocals are in contrast to danceable, beat-intensive songs. Regarding the band name: THE ARCH has different meanings. The Belgians try to build a bridge between mathematic, electronic music and organic guitars and a bridge between the 80s and the present.
Even though THE ARCH played relatively early this day a lot of people came to see them live on stage. Due to technical difficulties they started with a little delay. But the delay didn’t affected the mood of band and audience. Singer CUVG asked to audience to stand up from their seating and they did as commanded. And so a big party at the Amphibühne started. THE ARCH doesn’t do a big show, but there is no need for. Their music stand in the foreground and the audience enjoyed it a lot. Especially when the band played a new song from the coming album that will be released in October. // https://www.thearch.eu / https://www.facebook.com/thearchband // Setlist: Blood Chrystals / 02. Body & Angels / 03. Fates / 04. Babsi ist tot / 05. Joan’s in prison / 06. Eyes Wide Open / 07. Ribdancer
The Cascades (Marko)
Here comes best Dark Rock made in Germany. Friends of serious, Dark Rock with a touch of Metal get their money’s worth. THE CASCADES are what you call a really good live band. Their albums can be found in the Top 10 album rankings of Orkus, Sonic Seducer, and Co. In the end, this is not only the result of their catchy sound, but also the mixture of German and English lyrics. Although the band split up in 1988, their first album was released in 2001. After three more albums, there were almost 10 years of a creative pause, and in 2016, they returned with the album ‘Something to happen’, that was followed by ‘Phoenix’ in 2018. A drummer and a bassist accompany front man M. W. Wild, Morientes da Silva (guitars) and Markus Müller (keyboard) live on stage. Now everything was back on schedule at the Amphibühne and through the fast work of the technicians the time was caught up between the performances. THE CASCADES were received with loud applause. The band in their rocker outfits emerged from the fog after the first few notes.
Total guitar Rock sound dominated their music. I had lost sight of this band over the years, but the cool, sometimes melodious songs, such as ‘Babylon’, brought the memories back. The band and the audience had a blast. The weather also played along on the second day! “Thank you NCN”, said the band to the fans several times during the concert. Now the first head bangers appeared in front of the stage and the applause grew louder from song to song. Both the songs sung in English and the songs in German were really good and matched the sound of the music. With ‘Ground Zero’ came a slightly older, political song. It came from the time of George Bush Jr., but unfortunately the song still fits today... ‘Ground Zero’ is also one of the songs that made it to 2017s “Best of” album by THE CASCADES. During ‘The Third Diary’ the singer threw three band shirts into the audience. This action was well received by the fans and rounded off the great performance of the “old” dark rockers perfectly. // https://www.thecascades.de / https://www.facebook.com/thecascadesofficial // Setlist: 01. Handful Of Fear / 02. Babylon / 03. Hexen Einmal Eins / 04. Ihr Werdet Sein / 05. Sea Of Love / 06. Ground Zero / 07. Tapping Me / 08. Dark Daughters Diary / 09. The Third Decade / 10. Blood Is Thicker Than Blonds / 11. Red Stars
NEUROTICFISH is a German Future Pop project of Sascha Mario Klein (music and vocals) from Bochum. The project was founded in the early 1990s. Musical idols are bands like SKINNY PUPPY, NINE INCH NAILS, or DEPECHE MODE. The band manages to create a fusion of Industrial, EBM, and Pop, and combines Synth Pop with Progressive Trance and Techno. In 2005, Henning Verlage became a fixed band member after he supported Klein as live keyboarder, co-producer, and remixer since 2001. After a last common performance at the Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig on May 11, 2008, the project split up. On July 20, 2012, Klein used the official NEUROTICFISH website to announce that he is working on a new album, and on March 22, 2013, NEUROTICFISH were back. Not only is ‘A Sign Of Life’ the title of the album, it is also the concept that gives a new definition of NEUROTICFISH. They are a rare phenomenon, give just a handful of concerts, limit their releases, and set targeted impulses that stand out of the background noise of the scene.
Hardly no NEUROTICFISH song does without the fear theme. What is fear? Where is it coming from? How does fear influence our life, our behaviour? NEUROTICFISH are no border crossers, because borders belong to the past. In autumn 2018, their current album ‘Antidoron’ was released. NEUROTICFISH played the first time at the NCN Festival and I guess they enjoyed their time on stage a lot. Singer Sascha commented that he was surprised how many people came to see them. After a calm intro the band played some danceable but emotional songs. The audience moved to the beat of the music and just felt the songs. The music is touching and the band is just sympathetic. NEUROTICFISH presented electronic music in their own special way. Even though it was their first time at the Nocturnal culture night, I really hope it wasn’t their last. // http://www.neuroticfish.com / https://www.facebook.com/OfficialNeuroticfish
Clan Of Xymox (Nastja)
CLAN OF XYMOX are the pioneers of Dark Wave and Gothic Rock. Since 1980, the band from the Netherlands creates impressive melodies guided by the dark music style. Although CLAN OF XYMOX belongs to the veterans, the musicians rock as ever. Dark days require dark music. Not imaginable what humans would do without people like Ronny Moorings. Founding members are Ronny Moorings from The Hague and Anke Wolbert from Eindhoven. During the period of study in Nimwegen, they decided to found the band CLAN OF XYMOX, but at that time, the name was only XYMOX. Their aim was to capture the atmosphere of departure of the 70s and 80s. The Neue Deutsche Welle with bands like DAF, DIE KRUPPS, DIE EINSTÜRZENDEN NEUBAUTEN, and GEISTERFAHRER spilled over to the Netherlands and inspired the two. After the band disappeared into oblivion in the 90s, they made their comeback in 1997 with full name and songs dominated by Gothic Rock. Albums that were released from 2002 tend more to Future Pop because of the use of Techno and Dance elements. CLAN OF XYMOX know how to make their fans happy.
Still today with new band members around Ronny Moorings, CLAN OF XYMOX is one of the most successful bands of the Dark Wave scene. Though CLAN OF XYMOX played in the daylight, the atmosphere felt more like for a headliner actually. The space in front of the Amphibühne was fully packed and it looked amazing from above. They totally rocked their slot and the audience was thanking them with a lot of dancing and applause. CLAN OF XYMOX are able to do something that is not natural and that is playing on the one hand songs that are real classics and that generations of Goths have been dancing to and on the other hand having a really refreshing and modern stage appearance. Once again I was just really impressed by it. Songs like ‘Louise’, ‘Emily’ or ‘Going Round’ were celebrated by the audience. CLAN OF XYMOX made us dance, dream and enjoy every moment in time. // https://www.clanofxymox.com / https://www.facebook.com/clanofxymox.official // Setlist: 01. Stranger / 02. Your Kiss / 03. Jasmine And Rose / 04. Louise / 05. Emily / 06. Hail Mary / 07. Leave Me Be / 08. Loneliness / 09. Obsession / 10. Muscoviet M. / 11. A Day / 12. Going Round
In Strict Confidence (Nastja)
Under the name of SEAL OF SECRECY, Dennis Ostermann started doing electronic music in 1989. The first serious attempts happened two years later after the renaming as IN STRICT CONFIDENCE. Since 1991, the German Electronic music band IN STRICT CONFIDENCE is part of the scene and definitely an absolute expert of dark music. Lead singer Dennis Ostermann knows how to inspire his fan base anew. The current album ‘Hate2Love’ was released in September 2018. Dark and romantic melodies that root from the electronic field, but are much more of that. The sounds go deep into your brain, and won’t let go of you again, while your legs start to dance. Filigree, complex arrangements are contracting by increased use of rough guitar chords. ISC create their own sound cosmos, where Darkwave elements meet pushing rhythms, and hard guitars meet filigree electronic sound structures.
Everything is enthroned by the dark voice of Dennis Ostermann. Hard, unpolished, and versatile are the attributes to describe their exceptional music that changed since their beginning, but always remained faithful to the Dark Wave scene. Another evening sky covered Deutzen in darkness when IN STRICT CONFIDENCE came on stage. The intro flew into the filigree guitar riffs and synth melodies, the drums giving the following ‘My despair’ the heartbeat. And of course the unmistakable vocals by Dennis that enchanted the Amphibühne in no time. At first we were happy that it seemed to be a bit warmer than the night before, until I felt the first few rain drops on my skin. The weather forecast actually did not show any rain until the night to Monday, so I was really surprised. The small and rare drops turned into glittery strings in the time period of probably one or two songs until the last ones tried to cover themselves with anything they could. But the performance and music were so engaging that not many decided to hide from the rain.
Those who stayed kept dancing and enjoying the dark magic happening on stage. At some point Dennis asked if it was raining and then added “let me come more in front”. So he actually went right into the rain leaving the area of the stage that was protected from the rain. Such a dedicated gesture! The setlist was a mix of old classics and new songs, the sound great and we were dancing in the rain until the end when parts of our clothes were totally wet. I only missed a bit more of spot light on the musicians sometimes, especially when HayDee started the beautiful dance with the wings for ‘Zauberschloss’ since the stage was really covered in darkness. All in a wonderful show despite the rain that couldn’t stop us from dancing // http://www.instrictconfidence.com / https://www.facebook.com/instrictconfidence // Setlist: 01. Intro / 02. My Despair / 03. Used And Abused / 04. Kiss Your Shadow / 05. Forbidden Fruit / 06. Mercy / 07. Seven Lives / 08. Set Me Free / 09. Morpheus (Clubmix) / 10. Prediction / 11. Engelsstaub / 12. Zauberschloss / 13. Somebody Else’s Dream / 14. Herzattacke
At first it only seemed like a good joke: LAIBACH, whose ironic game of totalitarian iconography was already a bit dated, had announced concerts in the last totalitarian country in the world. Then it slowly became clear: that was meant very seriously. And when the Slovenian band actually travelled to North Korea in August 2015, they were a bit worried that the cultural officials would not realize at the latest that LAIBACH did not take the attitude of wearing uniforms or Martial marching rhythms as seriously as the regime in Pyongyang. Well, it all went smoothly and differently than expected. An instructive documentary about the excursion into the realm of evil tells the whole story. ‘Liberation Day’ was released last year. And now LAIBACH delivered their overdue North Korea album.
It’s called ‘The Sound Of Music’, much like the kitsch movie shot in 1965, which tells the story of the arch-Catholic family Trapp, who make a splash in America with their children’s choir. While the film adaptation with the songs of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein is almost unknown to us, in America it is one of the most successful musical films ever. And in North Korea, too, they love ‘The Sound Of Music’. With a newly conceived show concept for ‘The Sound Of Music’ and with the support of Marina Martensson and Boris Benko as guest singers, LAIBACH returned to the German-speaking world to make other cities happy with their sound of music earlier this year. Many were curious how their show at a festival like NCN would be like. Would it be the ‘Sound of Music’ show? Would there be many classics? Let’s see…
LAIBACH are a really special band, something really different. If never seen that much people in front of the Amphibühne ever before. With the sound of drums and trumpets the band entered the stage. LAIBACH’s songs are a good mix out of calm and powerful songs, but all of them are really special and unique. The band got their own style and presented it perfectly at this year’s Nocturnal culture night. The voices of the band members matched perfectly and created a magical atmosphere. It’s hard to describe LAIBACH’s style, but if you ever get the chance to see them live you should use it and build you your own opinion. It will be worth it. // http://www.laibach.org / https://www.facebook.com/Laibach // Setlist: 01. Ti, ki izzivaš / 02. Alle Gegen Alle / 03. Leben - Tod / 04. B Mashina / 05. Eurovision / 06. The Whistleblowers / 07. Resistance is Futile / 08. Brat Moj / 09. God Is God / 10. Americana / 11. Geburt einer Nation / 12. Now you will pay / 13. Love in the beat / 14. See that my grave is kept clean / 15. Tanz mit Laibach / 16. Sympathy for the Devil / 17. The coming Race
Wires & Lights (Marko)
WIRES & LIGHTS is a band where the spirit of the early 80s in England meets the sound of Berlin of the 21st century. Behind the band name, there is Justin Stephens, former head of the successful band PASSION PLAY that ultimately split up after their last album ‘The Final Act’. “Already since a very long time, WIRES & LIGHTS is burning inside of me”, explains Justin his reasons to found that band. And now, the time has finally come. At first there was not much going on at WIRES & LIGHTS. Many people were still at the Amphibühne, because the concert there had been delayed as LAIBACH had needed more time for the sound check earlier. Finally the black-clad musicians began their set with a brisk guitar sound. Blue and white light lit up the stage, even although it was still daylight but not as sunny as it had been during the day before.
There was a lot of applause just after the first song ‘Anyone’. There followed a set of solid bass sounds and Post Punk. From around halfway through the concert it was pretty well filled in front of the Parkbühne as the concert by HÄTZER at the Amphitheatre was finished. Now, finally, with more people, the right setting for a concert was created. WIRES & LIGHTS also played their new single, ‘Sleepers’, to the Deutzen crowd, which was released just last week. Wow, the song was really good. From time to time the guitarist also played synthesizer. This was set up on an instrument box, which he pushed back and forth while playing. It was a great performance at the beginning of the second festival day. The German / English band said goodbye with ‘Going, Going, Gone’, another song from the upcoming album, ‘A Chasm Here and Now’. // https://wireslights.com / https://www.facebook.com/wireslights // Setlist: 01. Anyone / 02. Swimming / 03. Drive / 04. Electric / 05. Sleepers / 06. Going, Going, Gone
It is always a nice thing when bands of the present manage to create the sound of former times authentically and credibly. The duo ROSI from Bielefeld, consisting of Sven Rosenkötter and Mirco Rappsilber, definitely remains of the best dark music of the 80s. The self-titled “Tanzkapelle der schlechten Laune” was founded in 2014 by singer Sven, and Mirco joined the project in 2015. Since then, the two released the debut album ‘Grey City Life’ in 2016. What you get is an always danceable mixture of Indie, Dark Pop, and Post Punk. Their music can be classed between old THE CURE, BAUHAUS, SISTERS, and a bit JOY DIVISION, but with a more modern touch. The current album ‘Hope’ was released in July 2018. ROSI started their concert with the song ‘Höhle’ from the current album… with just a whistling sound and the voice of Sven. The next song introduced drum beats and later the guitar. The voice was very clear, interesting and memorable.
At first the fans kept a distance from the stage with the first row starting about five meters from the barrier, although the gig was overall well attended. The band thanked the many people who had been there so early. The audience was grooving along gently, even with the slow songs. Then the guitarist stepped briefly to the microphone and also thanked the fans and invited them to shop at merchandise stand. For the final song with the title ‘Zustand’, Sven used a mini wooden instrument, a “soundfrog” from Tenerife. With this song, the concert ended with sounds as calm as it began. Overall, with the mix of fast and slow songs, it was a very varied performance from the Bielefeld band. // https://rosi-music.bandcamp.com / https://www.facebook.com/rosi.info // Setlist: 01. Höhle / 02. Schwarzer Kaffee / 03. Kaltes Land / 04. Gezähmt / 05. Trennen / 06. 360M / 07. Kopf / 08. Tanzen / 09. Rationale Liebe / 10. Kirmes / 11. Zustand
Desperate Journalist (Marko)
Melodically complex vocals on the basis of Post Punk guitar riffs and skipping bass lines lead to justified references to the 80s (THE CURE, THE SMITHS, SIOUXIE AND THE BANSHEES) and to THE ORGAN, a band that split up after just one album. Post Punk was never created at the software sequencer, but by guitars, bass, drums, and vocals. Singer Jo Bevan and her band mates Simon Drowner (bass), Rob Hardy (guitar, piano), and Caz Hellbent aka Caroline Helbert (drums) know that all too well. That’s why they use these instruments for their Post Punk revival sound. With the established setup and their sound of the 80s, around 2014 DESPERATE JOURNALIST became a much-noticed newcomer of the British guitar rock. In the north of London, the band was founded in 2013 in reminiscence of THE CURE. The name was adapted from the CURE song ‘Desperate Journalist in Ongoing Meaningful Review Situation’, which got its name because of a writer who picked their debut album to pieces. The Indie label Fierce Panda then asked the band for a contract. They signed, and at the end of 2014, the self-titled album was released, and in 2017, the album ‘Grow Up’ followed.
The Post Punk typical lyrics of DESPERATE JOURNALIST are based on their own existential fears, and by putting them into songs, there was an effect of self-therapy. Besides typical big names of the genre, they also admire bands like VIET CONG, BRIGHT EYES, and the early R.E.M. In the afternoon DESPERATE JOURNALIST entered the stage. The band was very eye-catching due to their interesting outfits and visually different from the other bands who played mainly in completely black outfits. And of course, there was this incredibly great voice. Yes, the voice of singer Jo Bevan was indeed one of my favourite voices of the whole festival. There was a great atmosphere right from the start and the song ‘Hollow’ really went down well. The fans were crowded in front of the small Parkbühne.
What a great sound! Sometimes I felt like listening to some bass lines from THE CURE. The cool music and the wonderful voice also attracted members of other bands to the audience, as for example members of WIRES & LIGHTS and SCREAM SILENCE were among the spectators. The band ACTORS also watched the performance from the side of the stage. The songs were full of energy. Even the songs which started relatively slow then exploded suddenly and picked up speed and completed a perfect post-punk party. During ‘Satellite’, singer Jo hopped around the stage. Time passed much too fast! DESPERATE JOURNALIST is definitely a band that should be viewed a few times in the future. // https://desperatejournalist.co.uk / https://www.facebook.com/DesperateJournalist // Setlist: 01. Murmuration / 02. Why Are You So Boring? / 03. Jonatan / 04. Hollow / 05. Happening / 06. Cedars / 07. Lacking In Your Love / 08. Cristina / 09. Satellite
The term “Post-Punk”, like many terms with a similar prefix, is firmly planted in a time in history, and signifies an added precision and experimentation to a thrilling genre that has echoed forward in both style and attitude. The Jason Corbett-led outfit ACTORS are standing on the shoulders of titans with their brand of the style, and could almost be referred to as “Post-Post-Punk”. In a period where we narrowcast rather than broadcast so fans and new music-seekers can firmly plant themselves in a niche, Corbett takes swings at creating sounds and production techniques that one would not usually find in a starter package of cliché plugins and samples. Backed by a stoic yet playful backing band, the frontman shows an enthusiasm while performing and recording that often isn’t seen or heard in his preferred genre.
Often seen at festivals as one of the only acts with live instrumentation, the velocity created by having a live group of musicians brings back the listener to a time where players actually performed alongside one another in the studio, rather than being comped or programmed. Those who choose not to embrace and study history are often lazy repeaters, but an act like this knows where to cherry pluck from the past and where to build upon it. Even before the first sound, the crowd was welcomed by singer Jason: “How are you all? Nice to meet you!” Then it started and the stage was coloured by blue and purple lights. This appearance was an interesting change for ACTORS, who are currently on a club tour through Europe. On exchanging a dark club for an open air stage, Jason said, “It’s not very “nocturnal” here... my skin burns!” It was really another warm late summer day with no rain and some sunny spells. All members were dressed in black, with keyboarder Shannon even in leather. In the meantime, the space was full in front of the stage, actually too full.
Almost until halfway back the fans were standing close to each other - that’s what you call a crowd puller. The sound and the show were professionally above average. A band of this quality has the potential of a headliner in Deutzen. ACTORS could definitely play on one of the bigger stages. Maybe one day they will return to the NCN Festival, maybe to the beautiful Amphibühne. “We have two more songs now and now it’s really time to go crazy” said singer Jason Corbett. After the last song, ‘Like U Want 2’ from the album ‘Reinamated’, the band said they are on tour and therefore have tons of CDs and shirts with them. “Buy something, spend your money on us!”, said the charismatic Canadians as a goodbye to their fans in Deutzen. // https://www.actorstheband.com / https://www.facebook.com/actors1984 // Setlist: 01. It’s Goes Away / 02. How Deep is the Hole / 03. L’appel Du Vide / 04. Slaves / 05. Face Meets Glass / 06. PTL / 07. Crystal / 08. We Don’t Have to Dance / 09. Let it Grow / 10. Bury Me / 11. Like U Want 2
Minuit Machine (Nastja)
The ladies Hélène and Amandine produce finest Synth Wave made in France, and as MINUIT MACHINE, they let their fans swing between fragility and danceability. The French duo was founded in 2013 by Hélène de Thoury (PHOSPHOR), who is responsible for the dark soundscapes, and those dark soundscapes are decorated with the vivid and imploring vocals of Amandine Stioui. It’s not the music consisting of a Synth Pop basis and elements of Cold and Dark Wave, that stands out specifically, but the singing performance of Amandine. Her relatively deep voice forms a successful contrast to the partially cool electronic foundation and creates a high recognition value. The profundity of the songs is supported by dense soundscapes.
Echo effects, spherically acting, sustained synths and a solid portion of minimalism characterize the calm songs, while pushing beats, light electronic sounds and synth effects of the 80s give drive and dynamics to the pacey tracks. And so the audience in front of the Parkbühne gets a very intense and enchanting performance. Hélène and Amandine formed a magical unity with the music and vocals. No wonder, there is the phrase calling what they do “Synth Religion”. I really like that term and it was easy to feel the meaning of it during the show on Saturday. A very charming, thoughtful, mysterious and spherical performance. While the duo was creating a unique soundscape, the audience dived deep in and experienced an almost sacral Synth religious ritual. // https://minuitmachine.bandcamp.com / https://www.facebook.com/minuitmachine // Setlist: 01. Chaos / 02. Fear Of Missing Out / 03. Ego
/ 04. DRGS / 05. Black is my anger / 06. Ballet / 98" / 07. Sacrifice / 08. Everlasting / 09. Empty / 10. Shell / 11. Prey/Hunter / 12. Battles / 13. Forgive me for my sins
She Past Away (Nastja)
SHE PAST AWAY is a Gothic Rock band from Bursa, Turkey, founded in 2006 by Volkan Caner and Idris Akbulut (member till 2015). From 2015, the keyboards are played by Doruk Öztürkcan. The decision to make songs in Turkish language was made for the first time with the foundation of SHE PAST AWAY. The musicians stated that it would be more natural and easier for them to express themselves. Meanwhile, the band moved close to Istanbul. The music of SHE PAST AWAY belongs to Post Punk, Dark Wave, and Gothic Rock and is heavily influenced by the music of the 80s. There is a special reference to Cold Wave by using drum computers and therefore, a cold and monotone attitude. The music shows influences of THE SISTERS OF MERCY, DAF, and GRAUZONE. SHE PAST AWAY brings back that era with a modern touch and Turkish lyrics, which make the band so unique.
Loosely speaking, their songs talk about ghosts, uncertainty, invalidity, religious and social pressure and exploitation. They do not try to transport direct messages; it’s more about their own living conditions. The Turkish vocals with a most possible deep voice has to be pointed out as a very own style. Long story short: uncomplicated, catchy, unambiguous, straight and thrilling songs. While the rain kept falling down, SHE PAST AWAY anyway attracted a huge crowd in front of the Parkbühne. While the show is quite minimalistic, the music touches the emotions deep inside. A lot of people were celebrating them in the darkness of the night and the changing lights from the awesome mirror balls and light installations right next to the Parkbühne. Many people were dancing, even at the area in front of the Kulturbühne where the music can be heard perfectly. // https://shepastaway.org / https://www.facebook.com/shepastaway
Wolfgang Fluer (Marcel)
WOLFGANG FLÜR, born in 1947, founded some amateur Pop bands in the 60s (BEATHOVENS, FRUIT, SPIRITS OF SOUND), until he met the musicians Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider in 1972, who named themselves KRAFTWERK. Music fans and lovers of Eurodance (or the haters) will listen attentively now. At the end of March, ‘Zukunftsmusik’ was released, the first common track with U96. WOLFGANG FLÜR is a music pioneer, a visionary, an author of books. From 1974 till 1986 he was fixed member (drums) of KRAFTWERK, and so he is one of the most important persons of the German music history. Already in 1973 he set standards with the unveiling of the first fully functional, electronic drums. Several album releases and international tours with KRAFTWERK followed. In 1986, WOLFANG FLÜR left KRAFTWERK because of the artistic standstill. Against the background of the Bosnian War, WOLFANG FLÜR founded the benefit project YAMO in 1993, and the debut single, ‘Little Child’, was released in the same year. In 1997, the album ‘Yamo - Time Pie’ in cooperation with Andy Toma (MOUSE ON MARS) was released via EMI Electrola.
Since the end of the 90s, the musician born in Frankfurt also is kindly regarded worldwide from a literary point of view. His autobiography ‘Ich war ein Roboter’ published in 1999, is available in five languages and in 2010 was honoured by the British “The Observer” as one of the ten best music memoirs. Besides his book tours, WOLFANG FLÜR aka MUSIK SOLDAT is still on the road as DJ with growing success. Since 2005, he is guest in Russia, Ireland, England, Israel, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Serbia, and the US on a regular basis. In 2011, FLÜR again gave proof of his versatility, and together with his partner Zuhal Korkmaz, he published his latest work, ‘Neben-mir-Rheinland-Grotesken’ at the Leipzig book fair; a collection of bizarre short stories. Moreover, since the beginning of 2011 WOLFANG FLÜR cooperates on an artistic level with Bon Harris (founder of NITZER EBB).
The small stage surrounded by trees gave the place a dreamy charm that did not quite fit with the honest music but still fitted into the pictures created by WOLFGANG FLÜR on stage. He alternated between the throbbing beats of the industry he is known for and which matches the general vintage facade on the screen in the background to newer futuristic sounds that were his way of continuing the Düsseldorf School. FLÜR took us on a journey through his world as a music soldier whom he emphasized with his stage presence and computer sounds and painted pictures that lead to an unforgettable event. Everything sounded harder than KRAFTWERK but this only showed that FLÜR could also serve the current streams of electronic music. But for the very last time to have used the constant comparison with KRAFTWERK something new: who is into electronic danceable music and likes to pair the whole thing with intelligence is in the right place during a WOLFGANG FLÜR show. // https://eloquence-wolfgangflur.com / https://www.facebook.com/musiksoldat
The day on the Kulturbühne was completely in the Neofolk sign today and started with SONNENKIND, a Folk project of its own. Home-grown songwriter tradition meets Neofolk and Far Eastern sounds. The lyrics are beyond traditional paths: reaction, mysticism, and esoteric are the cornerstones, and in between, there is always enough space for natural magic and delicate love poetry. The guitar sounds were very soft and invited you to sway. You listened to the lyrics and anyone who just liked to listen and think about the shallow music was in good hands here. For me it was a bit too slow to find the plucked guitar good so early in the morning. // https://www.facebook.com/Sonnenkind-185381024825310
Fields Of Mildew (Marcel)
FIELDS OF MILDEW is a minimalistic Folk project. Inspired by the so-called “Teufelsmoor”, the content of the songs is dedicated to the life of the late 19th and early 20th century. Central part is the people, their work on the fields an in the moors, superstition and the close connection to local myths. From a musical point of view, the songs particularly reflect the adverse living conditions affected by hunger, poverty, and diseases. The songs of FIELDS OF MILDEW seemed melancholy and you could understand the topics that occupied a field worker of the late 19th century. The music created the right atmosphere for the lyrics and the images that go through one’s head have been cleverly placed there by the singer. Very nice to dive into another world that does not just contain sunshine. // https://fieldsofmildew.bandcamp.com / https://www.facebook.com/fieldsofmildew // Setlist: 01. Instrumental / 02. Turbid Waters / 03. The Pauper’s Grave / 04. A Hunger Artist / 05. Bone Carver / 06. Nostalgia / 07. Circle / 08. Roads / 09. In The Drought
Har Belex (Marcel)
It sounds more like a joke saying that two EBM guys met and started to make Neofolk music. Actually, something very fabulous was created with the foundation of HAR BELEX. Behind the project, there is Salva Mainé (CULTURE KULTÜR) and PAIL alias Manix Salazar. With their debut album, ‘Chandelle’, the two from Spain produced one of the best Neofolk albums of the last years. Musically perfected, perfectly arranged and highlighted with Spanish, English, German, and Basque vocals, HAR BELEX sounds like they never did something else. Acoustic guitars, melancholic violins, pushing drums, marital hymns paired with bonfire music, extensive, classic instrumentation with subtle samples and electronic elements - the entire package is perfectly mixed.
HAR BELEX is Neofolk art at a very high level and a must have for every fan of that music genre. Onto the listener rained songs with Spanish, English, German and Basque vocals. Every musical drop acted as if it had to hit exactly where it does. By no means was this pure campfire music because the acoustic guitars and melancholic violins were supported by driving percussions and the songs were like hymns. These classic structures were supported by electronic elements. Melancholy some pieces came along, others were wistful and yet always had the story in mind. Very nice implementation and skilful presentation! // http://www.harbelex.com / https://www.facebook.com/harbelex
In Slaugther Natives (Marcel)
IN SLAUGTHER NATIVES belong to the pioneers of Dark Ambient (Ritual) / Industrial movement. Founded by the Swede Jouni Havukainen in 1985, he created just a handful material, but it belongs to the best of the scene, mainly released by the former top label Cold Meat Industry. With their bombastic sound, IN SLAUGHTER NATIVES are a big name since then, and they influenced the stylistic direction of the Swedish label Cold Meat Industry significantly. Heavy industrial sounds merge with bombastic Neo Classics and martial rhythms. The lyrics are dominated by terms like darkness, hell, damnation, misery, end time, death, or war. The vocals often disappear in the sound storm, and therefore do not come into play very much, but this is probably intended. Who is not so familiar so far with the typical charm OF IN SLAUGHTER NATIVES that leads into the abysses of humanity, can make first experiences with the albums ‘Enter Now The World’ (1992) and ‘Resurrection’ (2004).
The hard and yet meditative sounds of this Industrial Bossanova were a cleverly packed Industrial adaptation with folkloric influences. There was Ambient and Folk in the same piece and dense soundscapes were woven together, which in parts created such a discomfort that every extra drone made a cold shower running down the back. Whether it were the voices of the dead, their spirits, rituals with choirs, hard percussions and more aggressive beats, piano sounds or glockenspiel - each piece was unique and could be rediscovered at any time. IN SLAUGHTER NATIVES connected everything together, connected each one standing in front of the stage. Again and again there came something unexpected or extraordinary - just as the performance of this exceptional phenomenon was. // http://www.harbelex.com / https://www.facebook.com/harbelex
Six Comm (Lina)
Patrick Leagas does not need to be presented big. His music as SIX COMM and MOTHER DESTRUCTION since 1985 is known for its integrity and depth; it is always more substance than image. Although Patrick has never devoted himself to music full-time, and over the decades has had little interest in media presence and publicity, he has maintained a loyal fan base. In April 2013, he decided to spend all his time in music, has since performed several times and has begun releasing new and revised material to bring his music to the audience of a new generation through concerts and his label Kenaz. After several shows in 2014 it became silent around the project though and there were no live shows for five years until his appearance at NCN. SIX COMM and its side projects present music from Dark Folk over halfway Classical to Experimental, and most recently the fusion Industrial Tribal Metal, which Patrick calls “Dreamcraeft Engelcyn”: thoughts, dreams, performances and music of the Angles / Anglo-Saxons.
His interests and inspirations are the ancient and the Neolithic, flora, fauna, roots and bones of the British Isles, his rejection of war and the institutions of the book religions, as well as some less known (and less revered) occultists and seekers of the 19th and 20th centuries. The band started with some technical difficulties because the microphone won’t work. While the technician tried to fix it singer Patrick tried to entertain the audience with reading poems and telling jokes. After the microphone got fixed a unique live performance started. With blue full face make up and dark, experimental beats SIX COMM guided us throw a great evening. Even though it started to rain the Kulturbühne was really well visited. The people just danced in the rain and enjoyed the experimental, gloomy music. // http://www.hagshadow.net/6comm
Without doubt, with RROYCE the spirit of the 80s comes alive. As their main source of inspiration, RROYCE save influences of Wave, Electronic, and Synth Pop in combination with their own compositions for the present time. The music of RROYCE comes along with a certain degree of morbid charm. In January 2013, the trio based in Dortmund was live on stage for the first time at the Underground Band Contest “Unbaco”. RROYCE were the best out of 64 bands. Old school meets newer elements of Wave, Electronic, and Synth Pop and is combined with an awesome voice and a lot depth. The RROYCE receipt is simple to explain: ballads, tempo, slow down, huge emotions, tons of lifeblood, music to dream and think about. With the mixture of synth sounds and Wave Gothic influences, their music reminds of the beginning of DEPECHE MODE, but the guys from Bochum do not name DEPECHE MODE as their musical role model: “We do what we like. We don’t want to be a copy of the 80s, but of course, we are influenced by it.”
12:10 feels literally like early in the morning, especially when it’s a festival and weekend at the same time. But RROYCE took the challenge and turned it in a party early in the morning at Weidenbogenbühne. What a performance! I bet the guys would also prefer to have a later slot and be chilling at the hotel at that moment, but what they did, was extremely cool and energetic. They presented a bunch of new songs from the upcoming album that will be released on 27th September 2019 with ‘Parallel Worlds’, ‘Full Speed, Half Sight’, ‘Someone Else’s Life’ and ‘My Dearest Enemy’. On 13th September they released a video for the song ‘Parallel Worlds’ as well. The reward for the powerful and very cheerful show was an audience that gave a lot back and fought successfully against its own tiredness. Also the crowd action was welcomed well, to start the day with a lot of energy and smiles. The perfect wake up call. For those who didn’t get enough, RROYCE will be on tour supporting WELLE:ERDBALL this autumn. // https://www.rroyce.de / https://www.facebook.com/RROYCE.official // Setlist: 01. The Principle Of Grace / 02. Who Needs / 03. Parallel Worlds / 04. Full Speed, Half Sight / 05. Pyroclastic Flow / 06. Someone Else’s Life / 07. My Dearest Enemy / 08. Run Run Run / 09. I Like It When You Lie
State Of The Union (Lina)
STATE OF THE UNION is a Future Pop Band from the US with lead singer Johann Sebastian based in Los Angeles, California. They create industrially touched Pop music for all fans of good melodies and profound lyrics. Melodic and good to dance on the one side, melancholic and playful on the other side. Their current album ‘Indupop’ was released in November 2018. Future Pop meets Electronic music and creates industrial Pop sound: ‘Indupop’. The music is inspired by the electronic bands movement of the 80s & 90s. Johann Sebastian, Jimmy Nimra and Jérémie Venganza are pure energy that radiates from the stage.
STATE OF THE UNION are cool dudes in leatherjackets and hair gel. Their powerful songs are the best proof that Mac Books and real Instruments work together very well. Surrounded by sunshine and pink and blue stage lights the band rocked the Weidenbogenbühne on Saturday. The music gave me a relaxed and lively mood. The whole crowd was dancing and enjoyed the happy and chilling music. STATE OF THE UNIONs music kinda feels like a 80s party in summer. // https://www.facebook.com/StateOfTheUnionOfficial // Setlist: 01. Encore / 02. Five Minutes to Midnight / 03. Enemy of the State / 04. Mindless / 05. Stupid Song / 06. Dead Serious / 07. Radioman / 08. Dancing in the Dark
The formation SHIV-R based in Australia, is THE new force of the electronic music world! Since 2008, Lee Bulig (KONG) and Pete Crane (VIRUL3ENT) combine the brutal club sound of the present with classic melodies, screamed and whispered vocals and a bloodcurdling, dark atmosphere. Aggressive beats with catchy melodies would describe their music in general. Comparisons with bands like COMBICHRIST, SOMAN, or REAPER are obvious, but do not fit in total because of the own SHIV-R style. They do not copy what was successful in the past, but they exactly know how to work. Nevertheless, one ingredient of the genre is adapted uninhibited: every single song becomes a catchy tune immediately. Another big plus factor is the rich variety of SHIV-R. Without crossing the genre borders too much, no song is like the other. With ‘This World Erase’, SHIV-R launched their second long player after their excellent debut album ‘Hold my Hand’ and the limited EP ‘Incision’.
The last album was ‘Requiem For The Hyperral’ from 2017. This year, SHIV-R were confirmed for some European shows: they performed at the Infest in Great Britain, the Summer Darkness in the Netherlands and the Nocturnal Culture Night in Deutzen, which was their premiere on a German festival. The performance was clear and quite minimalistic, yet powerful and very strong. Really enjoyed the gig itself, though probably a little more of interaction with the audience would have been helpful to get more energy back from the crowd. The Industrial sound was convincing and invited to dance, though probably an indoor location could have worked a bit better for this act. Anyway cool performance and Pete gave a lot of energy into the performance and into his pushing vocals. Authentic Industrial and Electronic music all the long way from Australia and totally worth to check them out more. // https://www.shiv-r.com / https://www.facebook.com/shiverindustrial
Behind FADERHEAD, there is producer and singer Sami Mark Yahya from Hamburg. During the last ten years he brought several Dark Electronic club hits to the scene. In 2017, FADERHEAD released the ninth album called ‘Night Physics’. The music is more mature and therefore more grown-up, and a precisely placed aggression took over. FADERHEAD’s style is something between Electro Pop and minimalistic House music, but there are also Aggrotech elements like aggressive vocals. Inspired by the EBM and Gothic scene, but also by bands like DAFT PUNK or FATBOY SLIM, FADERHEAD serves versatile songs with memorable melodies, emotional lyrics, rough industrial sounds and forward-pulsing drum beats. On stage, drums and keyboards support the electrifying inferno. FADERHEAD is like a lighthouse that stands out from the hard, electronic music scene.
Sami and Joel entered the Weidenbogenbühne to the intro of ‘Night Physics’, the track from the same-titled current album. Engaging and powerful, the energy sloped immediately over to the audience and after a few moments we all were celebrating together. The space in front of the stage was filling pretty decently already moments before the gig started and the crowd was ready to take what it gets. Along with classic and aggressive hymns like ‘Generation Black’, ‘Destroy Improve Rebuild’ and ‘No Gods, No Flags, No Bullshit’, FADERHEAD also presented some ballads - ‘Them Skinny Witches’ that was especially appreciated by the big guys as Sami jokingly noticed. In between there were two completely new, yet unreleased songs - ‘The Other Side Of Doom’ and ‘From His Broken Bones’ from the upcoming album ‘Asteria’, release on 4th October 2019 that will be celebrated with a gig at Kulttempel in Oberhausen.
To mention are the incredible interaction skills of Sami who not just has something to tell about his songs, but is also addressing to the audience, in general or to individuals, which creates a really strong connection with the people during the shows and makes them entertaining on both sides. Also the new songs were welcomed well - though just “about 3 people” right there had heard them before. At the end the pure gratitude about an amazing gig and very welcoming audience spoke out of Sami who seemed very happy about how great the atmosphere at the NCN turned out. ‘TZDV’ closed the slot with an immense power and jumping crowd through all the rows. For more live action with FADERHEAD check out the tour dates next spring. // http://www.faderhead.com / https://www.facebook.com/faderhead // Setlist: 01. Night Physics / 02. Generation Black / 03. Know Your Darkness / 04. The Other Side Of Doom / 05. Destroy Improve Rebuild / 06. Them Skinny Witches / 07. Sick City / 08. From His Broken Bones / 09. No Gods, No Flags, No Bullshit / 10. TZDV
Pink Turns Blue (Lina)
There is a handful of bands you will fail to get around in the Gothic Rock scene. It starts with JOY DIVISION, and next in line are BAUHAUS, SISTERS OF MERCY, FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM, and THE MISSION, further THE CURE. Another great band is the German PINK TURNS BLUE from Cologne founded in 1985 by the Dark Wave fans Mic Jogwer and Thomas Elbern. Pushing Gothic Rock with the charismatic voice of Jogwer characterize the sound. At the beginning of the 90s, founding member Mic Jogwer moved to London and his band underwent a stylistic change, and now the sounded like many other British bands. Ten years later, the band split up, but they reunited in 2003 and performed at the Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig. With their 2016 album ‘The Aerdt’, PINK TURNS BLUE went through a return to the old sound of the 80s. The band finally arrived back home.
Especially remarkable is the creation of a fascinating atmosphere with only three instruments. Three people - vocals / guitar, bass / keybords, drums - reduced, intensive, pushing Post Punk, played live with so much power. Now, Mic Jogwer and his two band mates put their captivating, serious singing, atmospheric guitars, bass, and drums forward. PINK TURNS BLUE delivered us emotional classic Post Punk at its best. A big contrast to all those Electro acts on the festival, but they still fit in. There is no big show or long speeches, just pure music. Mic’s voice is melancholic and emotional. His voice melted my heart and I guess most of the people in the audience felt the same. The band shows a real good and sympathetic charisma and it was a great joy to see them live on stage. // http://pinkturnsblue.com / https://www.facebook.com/Pink.Turns.Blue.Official
Portion Control (Lina)
PORTION CONTROL were founded in 1980 and belong to the most known acts of the electronic genre. They describe their music as Electro Punk or Hard Rhythmic Electronics. PORTION CONTROL are considered as the great-grandfathers of EBM. Bands like SKINNY PUPPY, MINISTRY, FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY, and NINE INCH NAILS credit them important influence. But even Pop bands like DEPECHE MODE or ORBITAL like to point out their pioneering role. Unfortunately, PORTION CONTROL never was able to turn that importance into hard cash or success. In 1987, the band split up frustrated, and years later, they started the Techno project SOLAR ENEMY, but it also proved unsuccessful. After the millennium, PORTION CONTROL reunited. The EBM / Industrial pioneers are sound perfectionists. They attach importance to a high density and intensity of their music. Which band is in the position to say, that their most successful phase happened 30 years after foundation? Obviously, not many. The meaning of their early works is impossible for PORTION CONTROL to exceed, because there is not enough music-historical context.
Electronic ideas are culturally established for a long time, many styles and innovations are explored. A serious and passionate task was to get better with every sound that once was discovered, and to give it the attention it deserves. In recent years, their EBM / Electro releases sounded fresher than ever before: timeless, but not trendy or retro. PORTION CONTROL show that aggressive and danceable music must not sound like distorted Techno. After a long intro with only a minimal light on PORTION CONTROL started their show. Sadly it rained a lot, but still there were a lot of people that came to see the band and stood right in front of the stage and danced in the rain. PORTION CONTROL’s sound is pure, aggressive and advanced EBM that is really danceable. And so the audience did. I wasn’t in a good mood because of the rain, but to hear the music and see all those people dance make me happy again. And so I also danced in the rain and had a really good time. // https://www.portion-control.net / https://www.facebook.com/PortionControl
So, also the Saturday turned out extremely diverse and full of surprises and happy to goose bumps moments. The music spectre at NCN is unique, so is the atmosphere. While the four stages offered so many possibilities to dance, listen carefully to the magical things being created on stage or sing along, the hideaways throughout the Kulturpark give room for long conversations, relaxing or just listening to the music on the next stage without too much of hustle around. Even the rain in the evening couldn’t destroy the atmosphere and so the party went on in rain capes until the early morning.
All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet) and Marko Jakob
Written by Nastja Iz, Lina Neike, Marko Jakob, Marcel Lüke, Daniela Vorndran & Katja Eberhardt (translations)