Back in the early to mid 90′s, about the time Prodigy was causing a big stink about “Smack My Bitch Up” it seemed that the future of music was to become a hybrid of hard-rock infused with, what was then, nascent techno beats and blood-rushing synths, to create a new unholy Godzilla type rock-n-roll juggernaut – the next torch bearer of rock for the flagging grunge run. Atari Teenage Riot were an updated cracked-out Thompson Twins for this Brave New World. They had a multi-culti band with output comprised of insanely fast punishing techno beats and machined and sampled guitar riffs along with shouted rabble-rousing cheerleader type vocals. Granted, to many, these elements all at once sound like a terrible idea, and I would tend to agree, if only it weren’t for the fact that the whole project had the benefit of having Alec Empire at the helm.
Alec Empire as a DJ and producer, is a world renown titan in the electronic music scene. He was able to make a ‘band’ out of the sonically excessive elements that, individually, have too much speed and energy to even think of combining and managed to meld them into something impressive and anomalous. For whatever reason, and I am sure there are many, the new Techno rock that showed so much promise in bands like ATR and The Prodigy never really came to pass in the US, which, I suspect, had something to do with Notorious B.I.G and Tupac diverting people’s attention. That will end the lesson on today’s totally unsubstantiated, utterly unresearched, yet massively sweeping speculative theory. A test will follow.
Anywho, Atari Teenage Riot recently blazed through NYC and played to a packed house despite their decade old and scant back-catalog. The surprisingly young audience knew all the songs and seemed extremely happy to have the opportunity to see them come out of the woodwork again. I was among them.