Sunday, October 7, 2012

Atropine 1995-1996

A step back in time to 1996. Atropine had made a large amount of tracks in short succession during '95 and '96, some of which were a hybridization of Anstalt and Atropine which we initially called 'Chalybeated' comprising around 15 tracks. Later on a batch of 20 or so tracks dubbed 'Sudden Surgeries' which also never made it into circulation was produced. Some tracks survived censure though and one has even been recently re-sequenced. Those first batches of tracks are quite incoherent, drawn between the outright industrial, the darkly ambient and straight EBM with overtones, which prompted us to make a decision - splitting our efforts into two separate entities and effectively spawning Pogrom Synod. PS will be covered in a separate post at some point in the future.
Modulatex - originally from the 'Sudden Surgeries' tape, as re-recorded in 2009:

Angels Pass By Open Sewers (1996) was the first time that we made a deliberate effort to create an album of songs where there is a red thread throughout the recording. On the whole it's uniformly industrial in style and much effort was made in the processing of the vocals to ensure their complete incomprehensibility. It really has no bearing on what Atropine would become later on and stands on its own and is usually never referred to. The track 'Moist Corpse' was later resequenced and also appears on the first Pogrom Synod release 'Harn 88'.
Atropine - 'Lost Faith' from Angels Pass By Open Sewers:

Delving into the third workload of 1996, the abandoned and forgotten 'Ampuflication' - marrying the amusing concepts of amputation and amplification. It's not really all that interesting, but has its moments, most of which are related to the Angels Pass sessions.
Atropine - 'Desirous' from Ampuflication.

Now for the fourth separate recording project for 1996, namely our collaboration with Tarjei Krogh, dubbed the TEK Sessions. Click the link for the release over on LastFM. In recent times though an extra track we'd forgotten all about has surfaced and is presented as is, straight from the DAT. Again, different in style to everything else, which is the way we like it.
Atropine - 'Bhom Beyond' from the TEK Sessions.

Until next,


D/A Ailment - 1997

After the conclusion of Macrohelion as a project we were once again armed with proper samplers and much motivation and inspiration. In parallel to Atropine, we worked on yet another side-project which was dubbed D/A Ailment. During 1997 we made a full album of material with this project called Emit. It's yet again without a vocal track and features extensive use of the TB303 thoroughout, which is the main reason why it is not an Atropine album.

There's not much else to say about this project other than to present a track, so here goes:



Thursday, April 30, 2009

Macrohelion from 1994-1996 and beyond

As mentioned earlier Macrohelion appeared as a parallel side-project to Atropine and Anstalt because we were without a proper sampler for an extended period and quite frankly one just has to make music of some sort to feel good. Initially we were unsure what to do, but quickly discovered that the attack of the rack mounted FM-synth Yamaha TX81z was powerful enough to make quite passable bass-drums on as well as most other types of frequently used percussion sounds such as snares, snades, hi-hats, crashes and whatever else. When coupled with an Oberheim Matrix-6 and a Casio CZ-5000, we discovered that we could compose rather freely and as an added bonus we managed to make something with a novel sound. Much of what you'll hear in Macrohelion consists of those three synthesizers, but we also used the Roland Juno-106 and Roland Juno 2 to a lesser degree.

Of course, Macrohelion differs substantially from anything else we've done before or since which as I also mentioned had to do with a necessity to learn how to build a track with very few options open to us. In general the sound is less bleak and the tracks for the most part are rigidly structured. We even tried recording vocals for them, but we lost interest in that since we felt the vocals were detracting from the songs instead of adding to them. Also it was nice with a break from screaming all the time =).

On the third and final workload for Macrohelion it's becoming more and more apparent that we'd hit another dead end and with that we folded the concept altogether. Regardless, I think we came out the other end as more accomplished musicians and many lessons were learned as a result of making the 50 tracks that make up the entire production of Macrohelion.

Here are three examples of Macrohelion, one from each remaining tape:
Macrohelion - Undercurrents

Macrohelion - Exeunt
Macrohelion - Overthrown

Onto more recent events then:
As recently as late last year we had another look at Macrohelion and decided to revive it - at least to explore the project within a real studio environment. Things are a lot easier these days, but that is not without pitfalls of its own. So we made a couple of new tracks as Macrohelion, but we're not entirely convinced it's even remotely related. We cheated a bit and added digital drums and all the previously used synthesizers were discarded in favour of old analog equipment which were sequenced using a Kenton CV/MIDI converter and then recorded as audio. It's quite different, but in very much in the same tonal range as most other things we've made over the years. This is not the final version.
Macrohelion - Soldering Iron



Brief interjection!

In November of 1999 we played two shows at OSF (now Elektrostat). One by Pogrom Synod early in the evening, just to soften up people's heads with some nice easy listening and later on we played the first real Atropine concert. I say "real" because most of our previous shows had been in collaboration with Order of the Solar Temple.

photography : SHL@Bleed

This concert is now posted in its entirety on These are full-length previews for now. I may enable them for downloading if there is any interest at all. Nikko of Anax Imperator kindly lent us his voice on Shinkansen. This recording is completely lacking in quality, since it was recorded on a camcorder which was massively overloaded. However, this is my favorite to listen to as it conveys very poignantly what it was like at an Atropine concert back then.

Hope you "enjoy" it =)


A shift in activities 1993-1995

Time for another post then. Now where was I? Ah right...

In order to have some sort of place within Anstalt, it was imperative that we maintained some sort of normalcy and in general make synthetic sounds which people wanted to hear. Anstalt was at most times drawn between making accessible and danceable music and the more hardcore EBM type of music. Tracks like Human Input and Eternal illustrate this conflict perfectly. While Human Input is a frenetic assault of traditional EBM complete with angered vocals and a super tight bass-line, Eternal is a very repetitive and noisy trance techno track replete with hypnotic force. I'd post them here for sake of reference if I could, but they are not my tracks to post since I took no part in their creation. I might eventually check for permission though.

[edit] It would seem that - courtesy of Eskild - 32 old (and not so old) Anstalt tracks are up for grabs by checking this link and following the "more" link for another page of free downloads [edit]

After some concerts and live television appearances from Anstalt [I think I only ever personally participated in two Anstalt performances and that was at the release of Re-Incarnation of the Sun at Volapük and for a seemingly endless concert at Hulen in Bergen - which incidentally was the first time I met the amazingly splendid folks of Anax Imperator.] I remember it being stressful to be in a band which pulled in so many directions at once. Such a largish bunch of people, little or no resources combined with lugging a ton of gear including drum-pads and at least 4-5 synthesizers around the countryside makes for some tribulations. Anyway, my focus was not very accessibility oriented at the time [whereas now, I am a veritable pop-whore!] and Alx as well was very interested in experimenting with "abnormal" music of various kinds. I mean that's where we started out!

SNIPPET-ALERT!: This is more or less what the first ever proper Atropine song sounded like live @ Hulen in 1994 Caution! This is poorly executed and taken from the "12PM" Anstalt demo (ca. 1994) where it is dubbed the "Piggy Mix" (for good reason) =). Don't expect much. But it is a rare recording though. There's always that. The first incarnation of Haemorrhage was recorded in 1992.

So Alx (and sometimes me as well) made a ton of tracks in preparation for having to embark on the assembly of an Anstalt CD. This did not materialize while I was still in the band, and so Anstalt released tracks on quite a large number of compilations globally. During 1994/95 there was also a bit of collaboration between various Anstalt members and Industrial Heads who shared a studio in downtown Oslo for quite some time. A couple of other notable people who also had a studio in the same building: Nemlig Hemlig [AKA Masters Ov Møh] and Silver Ale which was a one-time name for the conceptual/elitist MAC-OS sound wizardry of a certain mr. Blokkum-Flø.

While Brilliance Without Phase was being assembled in the studio Alx was quite busy, but it also meant not having a sampler around since it was working double time elsewhere. This gave rise to a purely electronic construct called Macrohelion, and that project was worked on quite regularly from late 1994 to mid 1996. I'll do a post about this project later on. This music was made solely with synthesizers. No drum-machines involved, which made it quite challenging. Macrohelion is a very personal project meant to really get into chromatics and how to really compose songs properly, which means it was not circulated by us at all, thus only a few people have even heard about it. Three full 90 minute DAT-tapes and a stack of Atari song disks is where we're at at the moment. Converting them to MAC-OS will take time. Lots of time. More on the headway we're making in the aforementioned future Macrohelion post.

Anyway, it seemed pretty much clear over time that I had no real place in Anstalt - and since Alx wanted to keep busy doing all sorts of things (which is still his modus operandi), I left/got phased out of the band sometime during 1994/95. The input to Anstalt of Alx and myself was pretty much dimished as it was, and this is well-illustrated on Brilliance Without Phase where we are represented with only two tracks - the first called Default and the last which is called Self Destruction. In retrospect I see a lot of omissions which would have made the record more coherent, but hindsight is hindsight and what's done is done. In any event it is a nice audio document of the combined activity of a lot of people. Most, if not all of it used to be hosted by Eskild, but alas it is no longer possible to get downloads of this. The demos were better though and I still enjoy listening to them. On cassette.

Sorry if this post did not make as much sense as I had intended. It was a rather chaotic period and I guess this was destined to reflect in the post.

Until next time,


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The very beginning [1992-1993]

So then, where to start?

Back in the late eighties in our home town of Drammen (Norway) there was a large group of people who listened to all sorts of dark (and not so dark) electronic music typically issued by PIAS/Mute/Volition/Nettwerk/Antler etc. Some veered into the "industrial" and I guess I was one of them at that point heavily influenced by everything from ritual music to electronica to pure noise.

Previously, during the summer of 1990 some friends and myself on a Z'Ev/Einstürzende Neubauten trip brought some horns and various other paraphernalia to an abandoned factory which is now the locally famous Union Scene and recorded some almost purely percussive improvisations under the guise of C.C.D.D. Metacübin. This resulted in a ninety minute mass of mechanic H-beam mayhem dubbed "Xhalc Lauret" - quickly forgotten and destined to dwell in a cardboard box where the original tapes still lie to this day. The people involved in this were T. Hoel, S. Tolpinrud and myself. I may or may not make an edit here and place a snippet of this as I seem to remember a track which worked pretty well, placing a couple of microphones in an extremely large metal tank drumming on the sides while playing a horn into it from above. All in all it was an important formative experience with sound and it's potential.

A couple of years passed and one sun-filled afternoon Alx invited me to his place to check out his synthesizers and recording gear. Needless to say we immediately started creating and recording using some, by today's standards, very primitive sound sources. At the outset we had no computer synchronizing the MIDI-data, so the internal sequencer on our borrowed Roland W-30 digital sampling workstation did a pretty good job of doing what we wanted it to do. He'd borrowed the W-30 from a friend of his called Andreas (not of Conetik fame!) with whom he had been involved in a musical project a few years already. Alx had also bought an Oberheim Matrix-6 which still remains one of the most amazing synthesizers ever, the manual making a staggering point of the limitless possibilities available to us. In addition to this we were using a Roland Juno 106 and some effect machines like the Alesis MidiVerb and a Korg echo machine. And samples. Many samples. Some from field/home recordings, some from television, some from movies or most any source you'd care to mention. The result of this was not always very good, but it was a start. I think around thirty tracks have been rescued from old tapes. At the time we called ourselves "Die Pleite" - which was intended as a working title for whatever came next. The following track is the first we ever made and is completely improvised.

Time passed, music got made, connections as well.

Being a part of a gang of EBM fanatics we had of course heard about this really good retro EBM band (actually several bands in one!) hailing from Oslo called Anstalt. This band had like 10 members and was an umbrella group for several internal projects evolving with time and mood a few of which were Agenda, Murderous, Genetic Twins, Beta Frequency etc. We met up with T.E.Krogh (TEK) at a party, tapes were exchanged and within a short amount of time we were installed as part of the group. I guess it's not an exaggeration that we brought a more agressive atmosphere to the band. Back then Anstalt consisted of T.E.Krogh (Beta Frequency/Oceania Indigo/Zomorodia/Sinus/Son Tarjeiav/The Order/Oslo Synth Band etc.), Eskild Trulsen (Beta Frequency/Superskill/Havana Acid Club etc.), Jørgen Aase (Agressiva/Hexacon), Truls A. Bakken (Industrial Heads etc.), Rune Kruse (Zomorodia etc.) as well as Alx and myself.

TEK was also in the process of setting up a label, which eventually manifested itself in Psycho Active Records who released four CDs of incredibly independent Norwegian electronic music from 1994 to 1999. During the first year of Die Pleite being introduced to Anstalt a lot of things happened. We tried with variable success to cross-breed Krogh's very distinctive style of programming with our own which was perhaps not too honed at that point. Some tracks became very nice, like Strych 9, which ended up on Dunkelheit's compilation CD "The Re-Incarnation of the Sun" alongside some pretty great artists like Remyl (our heroes!) Red Harvest and Piledriver.

The original version Strych 9 (to be posted here later on) was programmed by TEK and Alex sometime in 1993 with some hastily prepared lyrics written by me. At the recording studio we were having some major problems getting the engineer to make distorted vocals without feedback being the main result, so after some trial and mostly error I decided "Fuck this shit!" and winged a vocal approximation instead with only the slightest hint of distortion audible. There was only one vocal take which is all it took. Somewhere Tarjei has a video-tape of the entire session in which a sizeable number of Anstalt tracks were committed to the Ampex reels =).

Courtesy of the Anstalt soundcloud, listen to Strych9 here:

The next post will cover our decision to split our (Alx and mine) efforts in two (later more) parts - Anstalt and Atropine - which was born in 1994.

Atropine Chronicles


This blog will attempt to chronicle and document the various stages of the Norwegian 'industrial body music' band Atropine from 1992 to 2008 and beyond. The reason for the creation of this blog is that a project to revive and revamp the band and it's various other aliases from the original TOS/Atari diskettes and the MIDI- and song-data therein is underway. Only partial documentation remains and since Alx and myself are not entirely through with Atropine this blog should not be viewed as an obituary.

Atropine resides on the Internet in a few places both as images and sound. A recent version of the debut workload "Master Raze" is currently posted on as a free download. Soon though, this blog will also have unique material with which to compare the new to the old.

Posts here will be infrequent but sooner or later I will have summarized the entire history of the band.