Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bomb 20 - You Killed Me First! / Anyday

Bomb 20 - "You Killed Me First!" / "Anyday"

In the July 1998 issue of The Wire, Rob Young offered up a review of EC8OR's World Beaters, describing the album as "perfect goading music to play inside a suit of intelligent body armour for 21st century exoskeletal soldier boys and girls." The same could be said about Bomb 20's Field Manual if it wasn't already spelled out so literally on the cover. The music? A violent pileup of television and film samples laid over splatterhouse breaks and distorted hip-hop beats. David Skiba was seventeen when he recorded this, or at least when he was signed to DHR. In another world better than this one, it inspired kids everywhere to embrace their ADD and lead to a new movement in sampling that didn't stop with Cassetteboy.

The liner notes in my copy of Field Manual seem to be missing a few pages. It's a long tract describing how political movements are crushed by governments, and how any up and coming movements can learn from the mistakes of others. Or at least that's what I think it's about. I have duplicate pages on the sections titled "Depoliticization," "History," "Individuality + Collectivism," "Social Revolution," and "The Untouchable State," and I think I'm missing the entire middle half of it. I doubt there's any way I can read the whole thing without buying another copy of the CD, unless I could find some helpful soul out there who (A.) is reading this now, (B.) has the CD with a complete booklet, and (C.) has a working scanner. I don't think that's going to happen. I am interested in reading more about Gladio and the Black Panthers, but I've had a hard time separating the good sources about these topics from the bad.

By 2001, if not already in 2000, DHR had fallen upon hard times. The death of Carl Crack on September 6, 2001, officially spelled the end of Atari Teenage Riot, and that in itself probably would have spelled the end of the label if it was even still functioning. But even if that had never happened, the events of five days later effectively ended the DHR's relevance. No amount of dystopian future-shock ramblings or calls for revolution and anarchy, no matter how loud or (at times) reasonable, could compare to what the world saw that day. Suddenly, their collective aesthetic seemed juvenile and pointless. Bomb 20 put out just one more album a year later on another label; fittingly, it was titled Reality Surpasses Fiction.

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