Could this truly be their fond farewell, or could it be mere set up for tour upon tour directed towards sucking every last cent out of their adoring fans? Well, the latter seems more the style of dinosaur rockers of the 70’s, and not this subculture deep-house, gothic institution that has had more speculations on the meaning of their name than hit singles.
If the former is true, and Adios, their fourteenth full-length album, is a final farewell to all KMFDM fans, than it is a fine passing of the torch to the hundreds of new techtronic pop bands vying for top seats in the charts. An insolent chuckle from German born Sascha Knoietzko and Tim Skold at the innocent and tame dabblings of the new wave techno scene. Contained within the ten tracks of Adios is a superb mix of the anarchaic fueled fury of the 80’s and a full awareness of what their genre has become. A full range of heavy electronic beats that fly in the face of conventional drum and bass seem to call out to DJs everywhere and say, “I bet you’ve never thought of that.” The best part being, that KMFDM does it all without samples.
They are what you might call a primary producer for the DJ population. They are part of that enormous but unseen population that lay the beats and press the wax for spinners around the world to cut deep grooves into as they work to make everyone hot and sweaty. If you are a DJ, and you’re thinking, “Yeah, so,” check out the first two tracks, your needles will love them.
The title track screams through the speakers at a speed somewhere near 200bpm, furious at a lost love and happy to leave, and “Sycophant” follows almost relaxingly afterwards. Thankfully the boys know the meaning of their vocabulary unlike english counterparts Prodigy who seem to think that Psychosomatic, and Psychopathic are synonymous. Throughout their 15 plus-year-career, KMFDM’s music has tended to be smarter, more seductive, and more creatively programmed than other bands of their type, and that’s not just because it’s bilingual. Perhaps it stems back to their first performance where Konietzko and now estranged Udo Sturm performed for an art exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris. The arrangement consisted of a synthesizer, five bass-guitars strategically placed, and four polish coal miners whacking away at the foundations of the building.
A high point of the intelligence of this album is found in “Witness.” It is a song that could only come out in the full swing of millennimania, comparing the image of the sky-watcher who welcomes abduction to the pleasure/pain mix sought out by sadomasochists. It has to be the S&M anthem of the 90’s.
KMFDM may have disbanded in January of ‘99 but they left us with something to remember them by. For all of you who are greatly saddened by the loss of this dynamic group, fear not. Skold and Konietzko are working on a new project named (oddly enough) MDFMK. If you don’t know why, I’m not going to tell you.