Firewire: A Tribute to the Manzini
City Centre Offices

A Tribute to the Manzini is an unusual offering in many respects. It's a twenty-six minute mini-album that sounds unlike anything else in the City Centre Offices catalogue but its origins are unique too. Firewire is comprised of Frederic Stader (aka Din ST, DJ Maxximus, Fever) and Carl Crack (Karl Bohm), yet Atari Teenage Riot fans will already know that ATR co-founder Crack is no longer with us. So how did the recording come about? In brief, after meeting at a Cologne rave during the ‘90s, Stader and Crack decided to collaborate on a project but, after recording commenced, Crack died suddenly in Berlin on September 6th, 2001. The thirty-year-old singer had suffered from alcohol and drug problems, and his life had also been crippled by mental illness. After his passing, Stader vowed to complete what they had started, hence A Tribute to the Manzini. As stated, the sound deviates dramatically from CCO's usual pristine melodic electronica. In its place we get seven tracks that teem with a druggy, hallucinogenic ambiance and weaving, disorientated melodic structures. To his credit, Stader situates Crack's vocals in challenging contexts throughout. On the haunting “Open Ur Eyes,” Stader couples Crack's echo-laden vocal with a distorted fuzzy beat. A bizarre disjunct pervades the next song, “No One There,” as the languid vocal is underlaid by a hyperkinetic beat, meandering synth melodies, and theatrical piano flourishes. The brief “The Driver is the Soul and the Body is the Motor” is nightmarish, while Stader surrounds the unaffected vocal on “No Exit” with grinding rhythms and buzzing electronics. “Every Day” is even stranger, with Crack's soulful multi-tracked vocal dropped onto a pounding gamelan-inflected percussion base. While the cumulative impact of A Tribute to the Manzini is disquieting, Stader deserves credit for pursuing an admirably experimental route in this tribute.

April 2004