Electronic EP Review: Hieronymus FTP, Tanzkrankheit
Tanzkrankheit is a fascinating EP. It’s a unique idea to explore the sound of a particular language and how it relates to a particular type of music. In this case, David de la Hunty (Hieronymus FTP) wanted to explore the affinity between “grinding” electronic music and the German language.
As one writer observed1, German has a certain “ungainly precision” to it and that feeling is definitely present on Tanzkrankheit. The perceived harshness and the cultural cues we get from German seem to give everything an industrial quality. It was a unique thought and I have to say it works for me. The combination of our expectations, as English speakers, of how German should sound and the actual sounds of the language that creates a unique feeling.
The music itself is throbbing, solid, bass heavy dance music. It has the ability to shake and move, filling everything with energy. I guess it wouldn’t really be dance music without that ability but it does remind me of the music that would have been part of golden era raves.
It seems to me that David de la Hunty wanted to emphasize the industrial aggression in his music. Everything churns, grinds and thumps with an intentional violence. There are crunchy, glitchy moments over heavy bass beats and the music heaves witih a dark force that propels the tracks onward, interacting with the perception of harshness created by the German language itself.
Tanzkrankheit also has something to say about society and the world we’re living in. Not only was de la Hunty interested in the actual sound of the words, he’d clearly also been thinking about their content. This is especially true for “Noch Mehr” (Even More) where the lyrics send a powerful message about the path humanity is taking when they say, “As the environment feasts on the children, like an animal/Politicians say what we should believe/As long as the money rolls in.” He’s not pulling his punches here at all and it adds to the overall impact of the album.
There are also moments of humor on Tanzkrankheit. I realized that the vocal sample on “Tauschungsmix” is a recipe in German, although the inflection and tone of the voice is a great deal more dangerous and threatening sounding. It was a nice touch that gave me a chuckle as I was listening to the track. It leavened the overarching darkness that pervades the EP, for all of the energy of its beats.
I enjoyed Tanzkrankheit for its combination of industrial sounds, driving beats and exploration of the sounds of German. On top of it all, David de la Hunty has made some comments about where we’re at as a human species and what makes this current moment so dangerous and relevant. If this is the level of thought and detail that he puts into every project, I’m going to want to hear where he takes his music in the future.
1. John M. Ford from his short story Chain Home, Low