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Atari Teenage Riot – Live At Brixton Academy 1999

Label: Digital Hardcore Format: CD

 Atari Teenage Riot ‎– Live At Brixton Academy 1999 Recorded at the end of an exhausting world tour in November 1999, with Hanin Elias out of action and Carl Crack gone loopy, as the sleevenotes describe Alec Empire and Nic Endo “were finally standing in front of a sold-out crowd of 4,000 people, Nic and I felt like we were in a bubble, a capsule, cut off from everything around us.” With their support slot for Nine Inch Nails marking the opportunity to give the Industrial Rockers’ fans some real noise, as much as to get the frustrations of the tour out of their psyched-up systems, Atari Teenage Riot let go the Digital Punk song structures, and with an opening cries of “Digital Hard Core!” an an ironic “1234!” let slip some of the most poundingly atonal music they’ve ever recorded.

This is a document of a live shop, but the audience noise can hardly be heard under the weight of effects in revolution, phasers set to kill, never mind stun. A cathartic blast for the band, no doubt, and a fucking gruelling one for the listener as much as the audience too. But it has a calming, eye of the hurricane feel in there as well; feeling the almost physical presence of the digitalized noise spluttering out from speaker to ears and back becomes a naturalised sound, and immersive environment. When the echoes calm to a muttering pulse, it becomes curiously gentle by comparison, buffeting back for a scream of cross-bled unnatural harmonics and the occasional hint of demonic vocoder improvisation from Crack.

The set and the CD lasted 27 minutes – it sometimes comes across more like a small aeon’s worth of prowling, glaring audio bile – but varied bile at that. Tidal ebb and flow of rushing noise; sirens wailing a gush of Zen alarm, freeform keyboard bleeps and buzzes merging into surging roils of the sort of noises your mother probably wouldn’t even recognise as music, let alone like, that kind of thing – though it might depend on the mother in question. How would the metal muthas take it? Apparently, they weren’t that impressed, but fuck ‘em if they can’t take a (serious) joke. A pre-Y2K blow out, just in case the world did end, this CD will come in handy for New Year’s Eve 2000 when the real fun might just start.


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