Techno Animal

Techno Animal formed in 1990. A mechanoid manifestation of Justin Broadrick and Kevin Martin’s increasing appetite for studio explorations, the name was a practical abbreviation addressing the concept of a technological animal.

The pair met when Martin booked Godflesh’s first-ever show. They shared the same taste for musical intensity and general extremity, and after various God and Godflesh live/tour convergences, Martin invited Broadrick to appear on The Pathological Compilation, produce God’s first recording "Dum Dum Slug" and co-produce the group’s first single "Breach Birth". Both were increasingly thriving on a musical diet of contemporary classical, dub, obscure soundtracks and various electro-acoustic oddities, in addition to their blatant lust for punk-driven noise in all its agitational forms. Realizing neither could fully incorporate such influences into their day jobs, due to the inflexible demands of the Metal fraternity in the case of Godflesh and the practical problems recording God’s big band, they began electronic experiments as Techno Animal.

Increasingly immersed in the magical potential of the soundlab’s capabilities and its alchemical transformations, the debut album Ghosts was a non-conformist response to the harder, faster, louder "arsequake" fraternity. It was an LP which acknowledged the creative tension of exploring noise’s polar opposite, the deafening sound of (near) silence. Written at a time when samplers had finally become affordable, but based on rudimentary CD loop experiments, T.A. had been seduced by the disorientating language of delays, reverberations, phasers and flangers. Their rejection of compromise and freedom from structural/promotional considerations also intensified the unorthodox output. Released on Martin’s Pathological label, the album has been subsequently bizarrely cited by Kid 606 as a formulative influence on his splatter punk recordings.

Ghosts was not followed up until 1995, by the schizophrenic sound of the twin discs of Re-Entry (Virgin). Respectively titled "Dream Machinery" and "Heavy Lids", the former was fuelled by the bastardization of club culture, the latter an attempted translation of fictitious film scores. Inviting esteemed guest Jon Hassell to contribute trumpet parts added to the sense of otherworldliness.

1995’s Tribal Gathering festival proved to be a major influence on Babylon Seeker. Jeff Mills’s electronic avalanche, the magnetic minimalism of Plastikman (Ritchie Hawtin) and the total madness of the Jungle tent indelibly marked T.A. and propelled them ever closer to club culture’s hyperactive frenzy. They felt they’d found their target, yet it was the rhythmic thrust of hip hop that was the basis for their dub-heavy bodybeats.

On hearing the mutant hip hop on the first volume of Electric Ladyland, and noting Force Inc’s Achim Szepanski’s eclectic tastes in music and literature, T.A. felt they found a like-minded spirit. After contributing to several volumes of Force Inc/Mille Plateaux’s Electric Ladyland series, T.A. were invited to join the Mille Plateaux tour of Europe in Winter 1997, alongside Alec Empire, Porter Ricks, DJ Spooky and DJ Rush. 1997’s Techno Animal Vs. Reality was a soundclash/remix album featuring Ui, Tortoise, Porter Ricks, and Alec Empire, whose admiration of T.A.’s headfuck 4/4 guise as The Sidewinder resulted in the joint offering Curse Of The Golden Empire on Alec’s Digital Hardcore label.

The album’s blueprint was recorded during the tour’s down time, but after witnessing T.A’s fever for blasting raw freestyle hip hop in the van, Empire suggested the 4/4 rhythm parts be replaced by funkier overdriven breakbeats. He also had T.A. warp out his rhythm tracks and repeat the maniacal intensity of The Sidewinder’s deconstructional chaos. Significantly, by teaming up with Anti Pop’s Beans, it was the first time they’d worked with rappers since God worked with New Kingdom and Gunshot, or Godflesh with Sensational on Pain Killer’s Buried Dreams.

In 1998 T.A. decided to compile their singles and compilation tracks alongside unreleased remixes and experimental segues as an infernal imaginary FM wavelength show called Radio Hades. It was the during this period that Techno Animal established a growing rep as uncompromisingly creative remixers, scrambling tracks by Iggy Pop & William Burroughs, Stina Nordenstam, Einsturzende Neubauten, Ex Herbie Hancock Jazz fiends Pat Gleeson & Bennie Maupin, The Rootsman, Jon Spencer1s Blues Explosion, DJ Vadim, Dälek, and 2nd Gen.

In 1999 T.A. approached close comrade Thomas Köner (Porter Ricks), with a view to extend the dub-hop promise of "Demonoid," maybe the most successful collaboration on Techno Animal Vs. Reality. Having completed the long playing tradeoff with Porter Ricks for Symbiotics, Techno Animal embarked upon a tour of Europe, supported by heavyweight allies, Wordsound’s Spectre and Sensational.

After prolonged negotiations, Techno Animal have signed a worldwide deal with Matador. As a precursor to the new T.A. album (tentatively entitled The Brotherhood of the Bomb), Matador released the Dälek soundclash single, "Megaton" b/w "Classical Homicide" as part of their Hip Hop 12" Series late last year, and release the "Dad Man’s Curse" 12"/CD5 this spring. Techno Animal are rapidly compensating for the slow start to the Y2K.
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