- ATARI TEENAGE RIOT - - IS THIS HYPERREAL? - TRACK BY TRACK - BLOOD IN MY EYES -
Atari Teenage Riot "Blood In My Eyes" Human trafficking is a lucrative industry. It is now the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. Globally, it is tied with the illegal arms trade, as the second largest criminal activity, following the drug trade. Human trafficking usually affects women and children. The ILO estimates that at least 2.4 million people are trafficked for the purpose of forced labour around the world, nearly half, or 43 per cent, specifically for sexual exploitation, 32 per cent for labour exploitation and 25 per cent for a mixture of both. Half the victims of trafficking are under 18. Profits generated from the world’s 1.1m persons trafficked into forced labour are estimated by the ILO at US$3.8bn. The profits are by far the highest in industrialised countries (US$2.2bn altogether). In the other regions, profits vary between US$40m in Sub-Saharan Africa and US$776m in Latin America. The Council of Europe states: "People trafficking has reached epidemic proportions over the past decade, with a global annual market of about $42.5 billion.” Some might argue about the exact numbers of the statistics, but nobody can deny that this is one of the major problems of our time. Human trafficking is an issue most musicians would rather leave untouched. In popular music it's considered cool to show yourself with expensive cars, beautiful women, bling, champagne…basically everything that makes people feel envy and worship the artists who try to portray an image of being ‘successful’ (while the music industry is close to collapse - but that's another song on ATR's new album). The invisible message is: "Don't think – Consume!" We find this more and more sickening while the facts about human trafficking are out there… Of course it is a complex issue and ATR is far from preaching conservative morals. The first track "Blood In My Eyes" is being leaked as a teaser from the forthcoming album and has US-born Nic Endo (yes, the singer with the trademark Japanese face-paint meaning "Resistance") taking control of the mic and making her point in a very powerful way, previously not done by Atari Teenage Riot. She visualises herself in the place of so many women out there who are violently forced into prostitution by profit seeking scumbags. "Blood In My Eyes" is analogous to the revenge plot of ‘Kill Bill’ meets ‘Baise-Moi’ scenario she describes. (‘Baise-Moi’ is a film by French director Virginie Despentes and was censored by the French authorities in 2000. ‘Kill Bill’ was directed by Tarantino who also has a strong female character taking violent revenge.) At the same time alerting us that we become guilty if we continue to stand by and watch. In its early days Atari Teenage Riot laid down the blueprint for the combination of electronic music and riot grrl punkrock. Since then many artists have kept going back to that formula and integrated it into their sound. (There is no month where you can't Google the band's name and find reviews comparing artists like M.I.A., Crystal Castles, Sleigh Bells, Le Tigre, Pendulum etc to Atari Teenage Riot.) "Blood In My Eyes" is continuing down that path and taking it into the future. Straight-forward banging 909 drum machine patterns, massive guitar riffs, ear-splitting adrenaline rushing noises and powerful female vocals. Alec Empire explains that this huge sound evolved as a result of the bands earth-shattering live shows. ATR played big stages at major festivals last year, from Reading to Summersonic, their surprise show at Germany's Fusion Festival outside of Berlin in front of 20,000 people caused a mass stage invasion. They are announcing more headline slots for this summer: from Melt! Festival to Fuji Rock in Japan, probably their biggest show to date. What always worked to the group’s advantage was the fact that they can easily bring a medium size rock club to boil over, while they can also make the crowds move in a dance / electronic environment (ATR originated in the traditional rave underground scene). But their real strength is the rock arena: Put them in front of Rage Against The Machine; they deliver a show that people still talk about 10 years later. Put them in front of Placebo at biggest European festival, Exit, in 2010 and they deliver a sensational show no other electronic band can pull off right now. How is that possible? The ATR formula just works. It is exciting, it is meaningful and the group looks so painfully commercial, they often have to hide their charismatic stage personas behind intense strobe-lights. What always set ATR apart from the rest was that they have proper songs and that their overpowering physical live performance is still unmatched.
- ATARI TEENAGE RIOT - - IS THIS HYPERREAL? - TRACK BY TRACK - BLOOD IN MY EYES -