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Grind It Up, Grind It Up, Ra Ra Rudy!


In the early 90's, Rudy Ratzinger was a club DJ in Germany who spun and fell in love with all kinds of electronic music, from gothic to industrial. He started putting together some of his own work soon afterward and was soon on his way to becoming a big name in the genre. With influences that range from Skinny Puppy to KMFDM. Although he's been fairly prolific since starting out, many of his releases weren't as available domestically (or nearly at all, as two of them were cassette-only releases in runs of under 100 copies) until the compilation of this 2-CD, 33 song set. Not only that, but he also offers up a large slew of previously unreleased tracks, as well as two brand spanking new ones.

Unlike the dancier sounds of labelmates like VNV Nation and Covenant, Wumpscut tends to get a little bit more sludgy on most of the earlier tracks, while on others a bit of a newer edge comes into play. The dates on the creation of the tracks spans 9 years and while some of them sound a bit dated, the release flows pretty well given that consideration.

The release actually starts off with a new track entitled "Hang Him Higher" and it shows that Ratzinger is only getting better with time. Offsetting some pretty chimes and synth strings with a thick, pulsing beat and distorted vocals that recall work by the aforementioned Skinny Puppy. While their are tracks like the simple "Stomp" (from one of his very early releases Small Chambermusicians) that feel more like incomplete thoughts than full songs, they're offset with interesting instrumentals (from the same release) like "Crucified" that bring to mind work by Muslimgauze if he threw a little bit of gothic sounds in the mix. "Pornography" (from his very first release Defcon) samples Jello Biafra and sounds a bit dated with it's layered synths and electro pulses, but is still interesting as a document of how the groups sound has progressed. The two-part "Run Like Hell" cranks the BPMs up a bit with stutter-step drum machines and a grimy synth line.

The second disc follows suit with a bunch more tracks that range from older songs from earlier releases to songs from the vault and one new one to lead things off. Again, probably the best track on the disc musically is the newest song, and it runs on a faster beat and a sample of the ubiquitous announcer of movie trailers that works into the aggressive track nicely. He even tries his hand at an ambient track ("Frozen Images") and it works quite well as a break from the heavier cranking as it pulses along like a quiet stream with layered, shimmering synths.

One of the coolest parts about the release for fans of Wumpscut will be the rather large multimedia piece on the second disc. Although there are only four sections (with pictures, FAQ, lyrics, and a direct-link mail-order), the two sections are completely packed with information. The pictures section not only includes album artwork for all releases, but tons of fan art and pictures of fans as well. If that weren't enough, lyrics to every single song also appear in the lyrics section. It's simple, but there's a lot of interesting information, and if you're a fan that appears, there's no better thank you from the artist. Basically, the release boils down to being more of an appealing one to fans because it fills in the back catalogue and while there are some solid tracks, the newer material by the group is much more better. It's a great compilation of early work, though, and lots of fun for the hardcore Wumpscut "blut kinder."

Rating: 6.25