What is it about self-destruction that draws a crowd? While standing in the audience at a 2011 Brighter Death Now concert in Germany, I picked up a sense of schadenfreude in the air. On stage was Roger Karmanik, obviously in an intoxicated state, laughing to himself while producing his signature haunting drones and harsh electronics. For a moment I caught his eye. There was something in his stare that unnerved me. I’ve seen this look before. Over the years I’ve worked with a number of individuals who have struggled through depression, through self-destruction. Some survived, others did not. Here was a man on the brink. Who else in the crowd could recognize it? Some are cheering him on, others nod sullenly in accordance.
At about the same time as this performance, Very Little Fun was released on Karmanik’s own Cold Meat Industry and distributed throughout the globe via Tesco Distribution. This three disc compilation (a limited edition 4 LP edition was also available, but not reviewed here) gathers material recorded between 1998 and 2005, some of which previously released on limited edition records or live recordings, others available now for the first time. For those familiar with BDN’s discography that would be right after the Great Death series up until Kamikaze Kabaret. This period in BDN’s history would include a slightly more aggressive sound, verging into Power Electronics territory, at least on the full length releases. “Very Little Fun” compliments this period with a dense collection of Karmanik’s most oppressively depressing material to date. For the inquisitive collectors out there, here’s a break down of what I’ve identified as previously released material or variations. It should be noted that some of these are different mixes or instrumentals of the versions presented on “Very Little Fun”, for example the track “37” has a different vocal mix:
- “No Salvation” – No Salvation / No Tomorrow (Anarchy + Violence: none, 1996)
- “Never Again”, “Why” – Why (Jinx: JINX 12-004, 2002)
- “Voices” – A Celebration of Misfortune (Jinx: JINX 12-003, 2003)
- “Slow Death” – Nunsploitation (Cold Meat Industry: CMI110, 2003)
- “Hunger For Love”, “37/Thirtyseven” – Destroy (Anarchy + Violence: none, 2004)
- “There Is Nothing Left In This World” – Breaking Down Nihil (Der Angriff: Angriff Nr. 37, Indiestate Distribution: IST 073 CD, 2009)