This is a rather unusual edition of the Friday Ripple: although this show usually focuses on emerging young artists from around the planet, this week we're saying that some of the most exciting new sounds right now are coming from an older generation of musicians here in the Czech Republic.
Dekadent Fabrik is a Czech alternative supergroup, featuring DJ Satan a.k.a. Otto M. Urban (samplers), David Cajthaml (guitar), Ivan Bierhanzl (bass) and Mikoláš Chadima (saxophones). Each of these figures has a spectacular career in their own right; together, they have created a link between the classic sound of 20th century Czech underground music and 21st century electronica. You can hear the results on their debut album Fetish Now!, out now.
About the band:
OTTO M. URBAN (DJ SATAN) ranks among the Czech Republic's foremost art historians. He specialised in the phenomenon of decadent art, both in the Czech Republic and worldwide, and has written extensively on the topic as well as curating major exhibitions both here and abroad. His most recent major project was curating the controversial Decadence Now! exhibition of international art at Prague's Rudolfinum.
Otto: “It was my idea to bring together the older traditions from the underground music of the 70s and 80s which I always liked, with a new sound of electronica which is more adequate for my musical experience, and my musical history... I've been dealing as an art historian with the phenomenon of decadence since the early 1990s, if not from the late 1980s. That's my main field of interest but, on the other side, I love music, and in music I was always interested in the darker side of musical feelings and themes. But I don't play any instrument, so I need people to help make my dreams or ideas real. So I was very happy to meet with – the first is David Cajthaml, who is not just a great artist but also a very important musician. And he somehow joined my ideas and my visions, and we started together 2 years ago, almost, and it developed into the present stage.”
DAVID CAJTHAML is a renowned visual artist. He was also the guitarist of the Czech Republic's first punk band, Energie G – a short-lived late-70s project which drew unwelcome attention from the authorities after being featured in the British music press. In more recent years he has recorded with industrial trip hop group Davun, and with Monika Načeva.
David: “In '79 someone got the Sex Pistols album, and some other albums. And it was a big thing at the time, because before this I was listening to classical music, and all this rock 'n' roll wasn't interesting for me up to the Sex Pistols.”
MIKOLÁŠ CHADIMA first found fame as saxophonist with experimental jazz group Extempore Band in the 1970s. A short period of international success in the early 1980s was cut short when the communist regime withdrew his passport. He responded by founding the more overtly anti-establishment MCH Band in 1982, which performed illegally for much of the 80s. MCH Band continues to this day.
IVAN BIERHANZL has been part of most of the important Czech alternative music movements of the past 40 years. A classical musician, he began his underground rock 'n' roll career playing bass in Doktor Prostěradlo Band, a provocative 70s early underground group which he dryly describes as “a band created by fools from Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital.” By the end of that decade he was playing contrabass with The Plastic People of the Universe and DG307, while the 1980s saw him join modern classical ensemble Agon Orchestra. As well as Dekadent Fabrik, he can currently be found performing with Agon Orchestra, DG307 and MCH Band. This is the first time he has played dub style, something he is approaching with his trademark deadpan humour:
“It's a good relax for me, this bass ostinato... I was in Paris this week with DG307, and in the black quarter of Paris we were looking for guys playing drums and bass. But there were just white kids playing white reggae for old black ladies dancing in the street. So I have to go to Africa, probably, to see how to do it.”
Provocation? Of course! (If you're not a regular listener, Radio Wave's Friday Ripple is usually home to a lot of contemporary African alternative music). You can find a whole 2-hour show full of tremendously provocative musical fun in Radio Wave's streaming archive, mostly programmed by Otto M. Urban, David Cajthaml and Ivan Bierhanzl. As well as a selection of decadent music past and present, the band provide musical introductions to a range of historical figures including poet Jürgen Fuchs, terrorist Ulrike Meinhoff, playwright Antonin Artaud and Satanist Anton LaVey.
You can hear the whole thing on the Radio Wave Jukebox streaming archive: select Friday Ripple from the programme menu, and click the show marked 24.06.2011. The full playlist looks like this:
Dekadent Fabrik – Orgasm (Black Point Music)
Dekadent Fabrik - Morska Divka (Black Point Music)
Dekadent Fabrik - Ulrike M (Black Point Music)
Dekadent Fabrik – Artaud (Black Point Music)
Dekadent Fabrik - Bubenec 011 (Black Point Music)
Energie G - Co s tím mam dilat (live) (samizdat)
MCH Band – Krokodlak (Fist Records)
DG307 - Anarchistická milenka (Globus International)
The Plastic People of the Universe – Mary Wake Up (Shem Records)
Dekadent Fabrik - Kleine Insel (Black Point Music)
Dekadent Fabrik - Story of Charles Richardson (Black Point Music)
Throbbing Gristle – Subhuman (Industrial Records)
Anton Lavey - Satan Takes a Holiday (Amarillo)
Alexander Hacke - Sugarpie (Kool Arrow Records)
Agon Orchestra – Bell Set No.1 (Indies Records)
Davun - Shopping and F***ing (Black Point Music)
Portishead - Machine Gun (Island)
Monika Načeva & Tim Wright - Večer teskné nálady (Indies Happy Trails Records)
The Incompetents - Urinal Blues pt. 1 (Incognito)
Lumi - Banging in the Stars (EMI Arabia)
Aphex Twin - Shiny Metal Rods (Rephlex Records)
Dekadent Fabrik – La Decadanse (Black Point Music)
Porno Para Ricardo - El Cake (self-released)
If you're wondering, “Why are these legendary figures appearing on the weird English-language show in Radio Wave's digital ghetto, rather than, say, being celebrated on one of the bigger Cesky rozhlas stations as keepers of a unique and important Czech musical tradition?”, I don't know the answer to that one either. I am, however, genuinely honoured that they agreed to appear on Radio Wave's Friday Ripple.
Dekadent Fabrik's album Fetish Now! is out now on Black Point Records. The touring band is on hiatus for summer – watch out for more concerts in autumn.