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V/A – Sturmer III

V/A - Sturmer III

CD, Sturm, 2004

Upon opening the cover of “Sturmer III”, a sampler from the Latvian label, Sturm, you are greeted with this message: “Muzika from the land with 260 days of gloom per annum”. And it shows. This disc is not a friendly, nor a happy, compilation. It practically oozes dissatisfaction with each successive crushing beat – which is perfect if you’re a fan of harsh industrial.
The first half of the disc – in Sturmspeak, “upsturm” – consists of seven tracks of noisy, angry adrenaline just begging to be danced to. Definite DJ appeal here. Part two (“downsturm”) is far more antisocial in nature – lowered tempos and darker moods mark these offerings. These eight tracks project some of the most desolate ambience I’ve had the dubious pleasure of hearing.
Definite highlights would include Bios’ “Power Z”, which could be described as the aural equivalent of a short-circuiting tornado, and Anocodaine’s “Pain (Sturm cut)” – nine minutes of nearly unbearably bleak sonic torture punctuated by the occasional staccato burst of screeching percussive processes.
Altogether, this is a thoroughly enjoyable collection of cleverly sequenced glitches, distorted loops and driving drums. However, this appeal is seriously limited – I doubt if this recording will garner much popularity outside of the industrial/noise scene – except perhaps for adventurous fans of more experimental ambient or drum’n’bass (and even then, only for the “downsturm” selection). So, if you like your sounds dark and distorted, this is a great record – for both club and listening purposes; if not, steer clear, as “Sturmer III” is liable to cause lasting damage to both your speaker system and your opinions on electronic music.


— David vander Merwe

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