Special Feature FETISH 69: ATOMIZED. written by Christian Fuchs
*translatied Japanese text is here


Apparently, there are still a few people around who associate Austria and
its music scene with the country's notorious gemutlichkeit (a sort of
spiritual coziness): one nation under a chill out-groove, so to say. And
this in the face of a lively electronic underground that has little to do
with the - admittedly omnipresent - lounge biedermeier. Well... this calls
for action. Time to break surface, then, to hoist the flags, and cause some
commotion among the coffeetable-beats that float around so complacently.

And who should lead the assault but the one band that has always shunned the
straight roads in favor of the crooked ones or even the ditches... but not
without some glorious noise made along the way. A way, to be sure, that
bypasses the usual coffeehouse idylls and routines and has, if any, a
kinship to the unsettling movies of Austrian maverick directors Michael
Haneke and Ulrich Seidl.

FETISH 69 are back again.

Ever since the late 80s this peculiar name has graced a band that stood for
an incurable love for burnouts, outcasts, freaks, and weirdoes. Slightly
twisted guys themselves, frankly, the band has brewed up a scary concoction
that includes industrial soundscapes, flickering video loops, and a singer
who lets his obsessions run amok. In the early and mid-90s a new FETISH 69
line-up then discarded some of the experimentalism in favor of an all-out
wrrrock assault that took no prisoners. Cue AmRep singles, sleeves by
notorious artists Gunter Brus ("Antibody", 1993) and Joe Coleman ("Purge",
1996), and shows with spiritual brethren Melvins, Helmet, and Cop Shoot Cop
- the whole global network of high quality noisemakers. Maximum distortion.
Ototoxic terror. Sonic shrapnel.

Then, with nothing left to prove (and a few eardrums imploded), FETISH 69
took their greatest risk, a virtual U-turn. On "Geek" (1999), all that
remains from the days of yore are the perennial anti-social passions,
filtered through a radically personal worldview. The music, however, has
mutated and suddenly incorporates electronica. Dig this: the former full
frontal assault unit now features grooves and jazzy bits, if you believe it!
This daring developments amazes and attracts hosts of willing collaborators
and leads to remixes that feature similarly inclined aliens from all the zones between doom dub and breakbeat noise such as Mick Harris of Scorn,
Wordsound boss Spectre, Jim Plotkin, Tribes of Neurot, and Mego's Pita...

And now, here's "Atomized" - FETISH 69's new aural exploration on FVA

The musical vision, as of today: Gather all the splinters together and
construct something new that incorporates the entire history of the band
(plus some new surprises). Fuse 'em with the band's current fascinations and
obsessions (hauled from the no man's land between rehearsal room and hard
disk). Such as? Well, there's the schmoovy yet scratchy sleazy listening
tracks of Binder & Krieglstein, the solo project of Rainer, the drummer. The
idiosyncratic universe of guitarist Robert Lepenik, a pioneer of
improvisation who now co-runs electronica label Tonto. The violent
industrial attacks of Schlund, side-project of keyboard player Garfield. And
the ambitions and manias of singer and mastermind Christian "Fetish" Fuchs,
whose aim it is to exorcise his own roaring past via the fragile downtempo
pop of his side step Toxic Lounge. Mix, stir, atomize.

The result of all these eclectic and electric input gives "Atomized" a
highly individual sound that breathes rock ('n' roll) and simultaneously
pulsates in the spirit of the experiments that are conducted in the
avant-electronica bars of Vienna, Graz, New York, and Tokyo. And then,
there's the guests. Having already mixed FETISH 69's "Geek", Weilheim1s
master producer Mario Thaler (The Notwist, Lali Puna, Console) once again
brought his mixing skills to some tracks. "Cocoon" is one of them, a finely
wrought noir ballad that David Lynch would certainly endorse. Wolfgang
Frisch of Viennese dub innovators Sofa Surfers collaborated on "Detox", an
apocalyptic monster of a track that yet, paradoxically, echoes the
sensibilities of a DJ Shadow.

Concerning the lyrical content, FETISH 69's frankly insalubrious vision is
directed towards the dysfunctional limbo beyond our contemporary copy &
paste paradise. Injected with heavy doses of Baudrillard and Houellebecq,
Doug Aitken, David Fincher or Chuck Palahniuk, "Atomized" thus serves as a
sinister soundtrack to an embittered and disenchanted attempt of escaping
the traps of a middle class existence. Hardly a coincidence, then, that the
album closes with a cover of "We are all prostitutes", by legendary
funk-punks The Pop Group. "Department stores are our new cathedrals", as
Mark Stewart venomously groaned back in 1979, reflecting the all-too-normal
vacuous existence between shopping centers and swingers' clubs. An existence
that scrutinized by the above-mentioned Viennese master director Ulrich
Seidl in his social shocker "Dog Days". "On the way towards political and
personal perdition, Austria is one small but possibly decisive step ahead of
the rest of Europe", noted renowned film theorist Georg Seeslen about the
movie. So much for that notorious gemutlichkeit.

Now listen to FETISH 69...

"Atomized." Fetish69