Monday, 22 February 2016

Academy 23 - SDS Gegenseitige Vergeltungsmaßnahmen (1993) C60

I never quite worked out why Andy Martin asked me to join Academy 23, the group he formed in the wake of the Apostles. Either it was because he thought I was famous, having been a member of Konstruktivists (who I'm still not convinced were any better known than the Apostles had been), or because I represented a source of free artwork; but whatever the reason, it almost certainly wasn't because of my amazing musicianship. Well, whatever reason, I was glad to have been asked as Academy 23's uncomfortably titled Europe, Awake! remains possibly the greatest cassette to ever find itself saddled with the term industrial, at least to my ears. SDS Gegenseitige Vergeltungsmaßnahmen was more or less the follow up to Europe, Awake! thematically speaking, the second cassette having been an ill-advised collection of Andy Stewart covers, Donald Where's Your Troosers and the like.

This was the first material to which I contributed - mostly synth (an SH-101 I'd borrowed from Andrew Cox), although I played various woodworking tools and declared I am a good and efficient worker! in Russian on Arbeit Macht Freiheit! because I'd been learning to speak Russian at the time. I liked the letters, and Andy probably encouraged me because he had been learning German. I must admit I found it initially difficult adapting to Andy's methodology as I'm more accustomed to just turning a tape recorder on and seeing what the fuck happens, whereas Andy is very much someone who composes in advance.

So there was this, everything in German excepting the Wire cover (uncredited on cassette sleeve but mentioned in booklet). I'm not sure why it was all in German except for possibly good old why the fuck not? Andy claimed that our cassettes and one CD sold quite well over there, but it could just as easily have been his desire to parade his newly learnt language just to see if he could do it. I don't speak German at all, but am told by German acquaintances that he did reasonably well albeit with a slightly odd accent. Of course this also means that I have no idea what these songs are about. I doubt there's any overt tribute to Adolf Hitler here principally because Andy seemed to be going through a bit of a Marxist phase when we recorded this, as seems to be indicated by what I can tell of the titles, plus
Arbeit Macht Freiheit! is approximately Constructivist in spirit, meaning those Russian dudes rather than Glenn Wallis.

...and whilst we're on the subject of work making us free, yes I know - and there's a rune on the cover and it's all in German and the first paragraph makes reference to something called
Europe, Awake! Even given Andy's occasional nods in the general direction of Boyd Rice, the answer remains no, at least not beyond his having the political elasticity of a yo-yo depending on who he's trying to piss off at the time. He's come out with some utter bollocks over the years, but I wouldn't have remained friends with the bloke for the last three decades were he of Wakefordian stripe. If you're still not convinced, please take it up with the man himself.

So there you go. The tape originally came with a sixteen page booklet of essays (all in German I'm afraid) with some artwork by myself and others, which is included in the download as scans.


1 - Keine Krankheit
2 - Hell Leute
3 - Ulrike Meinhof
4 - Andreas Baader
5 - Uberholt!
6 - Die Fabrik
7 - Ein Gütiger Ungeheuer / Ein Held
8 - Weiss Mann - Schwarz Mann
9 - Vorgeschichte
10 - Aussetzenen
11 - Es Gibt Soviele Dinge Zu Tun
12 - Der Licht Dass Lichten Jeden Mann
13 - Für Nguyen Van Troi (Teil 1 & 2)
14 - Arbeit Macht Freiheit!
15 - Brudi An Die S-Bahn
16 - Noch Fällte Der Regen (Tiel 1 & 2)
17 - Wie Eine Flut Von Kraft Und Licht

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  1. I know you've been pestered about this before, but I don't suppose you still have the WAV files of the Academy 23 tapes? Any chance of FLAC downloads?

    The transition of A23 from this to the CD is quite remarkable, I'm more used to artists going the other way!

    Also, one of the War Drum tapes I think not available for download contained "This Hours Mine" was this a different recording/version to the one released by UNIT? If so, how can I hear it?! :)

  2. I'll have a look for the FLAC copies. If I don't still have them I can still save the Audacity files as FLAC so I'll try to sort something out this weekend if I get the time. That other This Hour's Mine was the same version. That WD tape was a a sort of greatest hits job so didn't seem worth digitising as all the tracks appear elsewhere.

  3. You didn't say, so maybe you didn't know or were keeping it on the down low, but "At the Academy" is a mashup of King Crimson's "One More Red Nightmare" and "Fracture", with a stunt from Tull's "Thick as a Brick" thrown in at the beginning. Nice.

    1. Thanks for the clarification. I knew there were some bits 'borrowed' from King Crimson, but didn't know which track or tracks, or to what extent.