“The beats of my heart….this gift is yours. I reassess my life. For once I’m really needed.” – – “The Gift” (CL)
Something special arrives today; special..not simply for the quality contained herein but for the opportunity to support someone whose music and friendship we so appreciate.
Heaerts Combine is the 25-track digital-only release from Claus Larsen & John Mirland’s appropriately titled label, LAEBEL.
From LAEBEL: “The industrial scene is connecting talents and combining hearts on a series of benefit events and this release. Heaerts Combine: an international compilation of 25 bands representing EBM in all its varieties. The goal is to raise money for living and medical expenses for Claus Larsen and his husband Kurt Grünewald Hansen, who unfortunately is very sick, making it difficult for the couple to earn their living through touring.
From the opening notes of Claus’s introductory track, “A Man, A Life, A Legacy (Tribute To David Bowie,” I am immediately taken back to the days between Legacy Of Hate & Lust and Self-Inflicted. Knowing what impact the latter made on me, I was instantly hooked on this compilation.
At first glance, this 25-track compilation is a stunning achievement when you consider the assembled artists who were so kind enough to donate their time and art for this cause. But in the case of Heaerts Combine, taking into account many of the nuances within some of the tracks, each listener is destined to take away an emotional impact both on the scale of the project’s focus and specifically in some of the songs. But we’ll get to that in a bit.
Emotionally, SKOLD absolutely KILLS it (in a great way, of course) with his cover of Leaether Strip’s “White As Chalk.” I hadn’t heard Skold play treated acoustic guitar since his work with Shotgun Messiah years ago. What a stunning track and he even captures Claus’s likeness vocally.
Stylistically, the tracks on the compilation are extremely diverse. From ebm, industrial, synthpop and so on… from the emotionally heavy to the whimsical, silly but up-beat track from For All The Emptiness; their cover of Jonny McGovern’s “Texting On The Dancefloor” to the deeply heavy “Mark Of The Beast” from Dawn Of Ashes who have made their way back to the industrial/ebm world. Caustic even represents a noise-infused, beat-driven track representing the sonically abrasive end of the spectrum with “Beating Off A Dead Horse.” 11Grams’ “Immortal” reminds us a bit of the feel of Claus’s beginnings in the age of “Leaether Strip Pt. II” and “Razor Blades.”
W303 brings to the table, “Micro – Species,” their dark-ambient, synth track that is a bit reminiscent of something we might hear from the quieter moments of Serenade for the Dead I or II. Glass Apple Bonzai’s “In The Dark” is a trip back to the magic of 80s film soundtracks with the various analog synth hits and an aura of Oingo Boingo. Mortiis closes out the release with the sick groove-laden remix of “Perfectly Defect.”
I will guarantee you will take away some kind of emotional connection from this release; whether it’s a memory of the first time Leaether Strip’s music made an impact or the first time another artist turned you on to his work. But today, with Heaerts Combine it’s not about taking…it’s about giving back.
One of the highlights for this writer was the disturbing and haunting track “Absence” by the criminally underrated Ludovico Technique. As I passed over the bridge this morning listening to this track, my mouth dropped as I heard an audio speech sample that had been used by a good friend of mine in his band years before he suddenly passed away; “Take this mild drug and you will have a nice sleep without any nightmares.” What does this mean in the grand scope of the compilation? Maybe something only to me. Maybe nothing at all.
But then again, maybe it’s a nuance that is symbolic in a way; a way that exemplifies how we all reading this were positively affected in one way or another by our friend Claus Larsen. Whether it has been his music or more importantly his friendship and his spirit, we love and appreciate all that he’s given …. to us as individuals and Heaerts Combine (d),
Available NOW, digital-only via Bandcamp. All proceeds go to Claus and Kurt.