Reviewed by THE EPICUREAN
TOWER TRANSMISSIONS is surely one of the best industrial festivals in Middle Europe. The organizers Eric and Ina have always carefully selected the bands, but this year they excelled themselves with a line-up beyond good and evil. Besides well known bands reliably pleasing the masses (Thorofon, Pain Nail, TNB, IRM), they also invited different projects that are somehow overlooked due to their rareness (Dog Pop, Jarl), respectively new constellations of musicians teaming up only for this event (Nikolas Schreck & John Murphy, Institution D.O.L feat. Magdalena Kiselá, School for Cadavers).
SCHOOL FOR CADAVERS being Jon Ewans and Julian Percy (Last Dominion Lost) inaugurated the first day with a mix of old school synthesizer chaos (from laptop) and violent non-stop guitar noise shredding (reminding a bit of old Sutcliffe Jugend). A good start!
JARL started out with his typical long dark brooding drones becoming quite brutal and noisy in the second half, unusual for Jarl, but surprisingly good.
With PAIN NAIL being more rhythmic and loud the festival atmosphere was suddenly vividly present. Repetitive loops and live noise scratching with highly beautiful moments in the second track, Mikko creating subtle melodies by softly caressing an iron ring with his contact microphone. Some feedback action as a peak ended the 30/35 minutes set, which was the perfect length for it. Overall solid. Somehow I expected more creativity from a band being around for such a long time – with a composition simply based on one loop, each song ended as it began, and the whole thing seemed too easy and predictable for me. Nevertheless good.
NORDVAGR was just drone, which I personally cannot handle. So I spent my time outside chatting, which wasn`t a bad thing since the schedule was anyway so tight with simply too many bands performing both evenings.
To my surprise KE/HIL performed 90% of new material that night (new album to come soon). Their show last year at EPICUREAN ESCAPISM FESTIVAL in Berlin was already amazingly powerful and perfectly composed, and the new material is as demanding. Their set successively built up nicely with subtle throbbing drones and spoken word vocals as we know and love it (Klaus and Brigant always switching positions). The last track, which reminded me somehow of old VROMB, was a subtle, dark and psychogenic intrusion in our minds and the most gripping moment of their whole set. Highly excited for the forthcoming album!
THOROFON totally rocked the house, brutally energetic and entertaining, but with 1 hour playtime it was far too long. After 2/3rd for me the show was finished, so I left the hall before getting bored, in order to keep an overwhelmingly positive memory in my heart.
DOP POP started the night with excellent Brigant Moloch posing in the role of a TV show moderator (or rather circus entertainer?) entertaining the willing masses craving for media dispersion, which was probably the most wicked & surprising performance of the whole weekend. Musically more harsh and monotonous than I remembered from their records (which I don`t really know that well actually). In the middle of the set Brigant Moloch and Daniel Hoffmann (THOROFON) sang as a duo and started to distribute tiny Jägermeister bottles among the crowd. The idea of a fake “German Biedermann TV show” supposed to be understood as “a criticism of the ultimate consumption and perfection” with a constantly grinning moderator was perfectly staged. Same as the THOROFON set, it was a bit too long, which nevertheless didn`t weaken my impression. Bliss.
VILGOC, who was actually supposed to be the opener of the evening, but who had technical diffculties in the beginning, finally presented his plain HNW without any modulations – as far as I could guess the sound was exactly the same half an hour later when I came back from outside shortly before the end of his set.
TUNNELS OF AH, who looks a bit like Philip Best, was screaming the same phrases in his microphone over and over with a simple drone as background music. Something to relax inbetween the other strong sets. His backdrop video was only 10 minutes short, so it had to be replayed all the time, which was really annoying. And after pressing the play button for the 4rth time, Ulrich (who took care of the techical things during the event) decided to finally switch off the beamer, which I found very amusing.
I was really looking forward to NIKOLAS SCHRECK & JOHN MURPHY with excitement. With his red buddhist (?) dress NIKOLAS SCHRECK emanated an aura of spiritually and captivated the audience with new interpretations of songs originally sung by women (as I was told). My personal favorite moment obviously was an old RADIO WEREWOLF track conjuring ”The journey of death has come to its end (…) Now we are all going west“ (“Trinity” – disorder). Beautiful. JOHN MURPHY did a great job managing drums, all background electronics and even vocals at once. Simply great!
IRM presented mostly new material from their latest ”Closure…” album, combining the more experimental direction with their typical high pitched synth soundscapes, finally culminating into a wall of noise. Once again IRM manifested themselves as one of the most interesting and creative projects of industrial music.
I am not sure if INSTITUTION D.O.L. is supposed to be some kind of comedy project or some serious matter. However surely something very particular with a sense of “Wiener Schmäh”, which we all (non-Austrians) are not able to grasp. Though using the standard power rhythm`n`noise receipies, reminding me of Sektion B, “Barbie B.” added involuntary humor with his staccato vocals.
For the THE NEW BLOCKADERS lots of garbage was brought up to the stage, and they did a good job destroying it and eventually throwing it all in the cement mixer, which was standing in the middle of the stage. The backing track gave the realm of chaos a bit of a structure, and after a while it became more and more brutal. Nothing new, but solid, great entertainment.
LUMBAR PUNCTURE ended the festival with solid dark ambient industrial, known from labels like Malignant or Cyclic Law.