Sunday, April 19, 2009

Alec Empire Vs. Elvis Presley

Empire recorded vs. Elvis in 1998 after returning home to Berlin from a tour of the United States with his band Atari Teenage Riot. As a method of escape from the digital hardcore sound he became interested in Elvis, watching all of his movies. Inspired, he collected two hours worth of samples and mixed them in his own particular style, the result of which caused his girlfriend at the time to leave him.

Originally intended for release on his DHR Limited label, Empire ran into problems when attempting to release the album as the Elvis samples were used without permission from the Presley Foundation. Concerned at the prospect of legal action Empire decided not to releasevs. Elvis on DHR, and instead pressed a few copies for friends and DJs. In a record store in New York in 1999, Empire to his surprise discovered a vinyl copy of the recording that had been pressed by El Turco Loco ("The Mad Turk"), an obscure label owned by formerMatador Records artist Khan.

The album is long out of print, but copies have occasionally been sold on eBay, as well as exchanged in MP3 format on p2p networks. Since the release is a bootleg, the tracklisting of the recording seems to in the incorrect order (ie the song "Last Message From The Soul" seems to be a introduction track) and back cover claims to be "recorded in the highest quality" but the sound is very poor.

The album has been made available for purchase as a digital download in the Hellish Vortex Online Shop.

A video was made for the track "You Ain't Nothing" by Empire's friend and collaborator Philipp "Virus" Reichenheim.

From NME: "...for 'AE Vs EP' is not only the biggest compliment Empire could pay Elvis, it's also the best Alec Empire-produced album for some time: experimental, totally punk and peppered with black humour. Possibly because there was no overbearing ATR agenda involved - he did it for himself and, hey, if anyone else likes it, how on earth did they get a copy? - Empire has taken the opportunity to go completely loco, smashing Elvis into fragments on 'Jailhouse Cock Rocks The Most' and 'You Ain't Nothing' and filling the gaps with super-trashed drill'n'bass and mangled electronica. Well come on now, what did you expect? Ironically, what raises this record above postmodern novelty status is that it actually sounds like an updated, crudely remastered Elvis album; however hard Empire tries to destroy and distort The Voice, it remains the one stable reference. Hence when AE drags EP through Hell backwards during 'He's Dead, That's The Way It Is', Elvis is still the epitome of cool".

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