Every now and again a great power electronics release comes along, and I’m pleased to say that this is one of them! Caligula031 is a sort of prostitution/degradation themed power electronics project from the fellow behind Italy’s Wertham. This Caligula031 has a glorious direct-to-tape sort of condenser mic sound that reminds me of the atmosphere of the timeless Throbbing Gristle record “Second Annual Report.” In fact, this release would probably sound wonderful as a vinyl record. Caligula031 has had a few other releases out besides this one, and after checking this out I would be very interested in hearing some of that earlier material. There is lots of stuff going on here, and the blurry, warm sort of soupy effect of the sound is deceptive in that you have to listen very closely to really appreciate everything that is happening. I have found that this tape is so pleasing to the ear and constantly engaging that it is equally as rewarding at full blast or a calmer volume… the high end is a well-utilized but contained element, and synthesizer-like sounds are used subtly to create backdrops and atmospheres that work almost more on a psychological level than a sonic one.
Although the subject matter is harsh, it is not presented in a “mean” or overtly hostile manner. There seems to be a genuine affinity and interest in the lifestyles of the degraded and sexually used women littered among European society. Particularly there, kidnapping and forced prostitution are epidemic. Not far from the border of Caligula031‘s native country of Italy, in the southern French city of Nice, there is a prominent strip near the water where streetwalking women are plentiful. Often times, women will be taken in with offers of jobs, then beaten and drugged, convinced to sell their bodies to whoever shows up with enough cash. Most often, the story does not end well, with a body worn and stretched out from manhandling and often abuse. There is nothing to protect these women in the presence of their johns, and unscrupulous customers will often try and get more than exactly what they paid for. In some cases, to see a prostitute is a man’s opportunity to get out all of his anger towards the women who refuse his advances. A person seeking to strip someone of their worth for anger, maybe just for fun. Either way, money is the deciding factor.
So, Marco (Caligula031, Wertham) presents here a rather accurate and condensed work of art that finely and tastefully expresses this brutal reality. The title track, “Slavetrade2000,” pummels forward with a brutal and propulsive synthesizer buzz and perfect, maddening harsh vocal presence. This track well summarizes the intentions and mood of this entire release, with an angry male voice informing a degraded human about their worthlessness. The feel of this release is scuzzy and genuinely disturbing, like an 70s horror movie with in-camera effects that look disarmingly real. The final track is a disturbed track that will likely give some sensitive listeners vivid nightmares. Cassette tape version has a very minimal presentation, fuzzy punctured one-sheet xerox in the traditional Filth and Violence style. I hadn’t heard any of the new stuff on that label this past year, but I was lucky enough to acquire a copy of this on tape, and distributors in both the USA and Europe should have some copies of this on laying around… definitely not a tape to pass up for fans of great old-school Power Electronics stuff. Extremely classy and lo-fi sound that is powerful and addictive… definitely one of the more memorable and powerful releases of 2012.
01. Date Rape In Wonderland
02. You Were Not Supposed To End Like This
03. Blonde/Drunk/Pregnant & Barefoot
05. Dimmi Cosa Hai Visto A Mostar
06. Foreign Bodies