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Welcome to SeeDarkly Sunday DisCOVERies:
a weekly exploration of goth, industrial, & dark alternative cover songs!
First time here? Click here for details from first entry.

Two and three entries ago I touched on issues of "appropriation" in a couple of different contexts. Today's Fourth Sunday Familiar entry follows the story of a popular cover whose origins and assemblage seems to deal with the same issue from an entirely other perspective:

Grendel - Zombienation V.2K5 (Zombie Nation's Kernkraft 400)

Zombie Nation, a collaborative project led by German DJ/producer Florian Senfter, released Kernkraft 400 on an EP in March 1999 and later that year on his first album, Leichenschmaus. ("Kernkraft"- German for "Nuclear Power", "Leichenschmaus" - "Funeral Feast") The EP included 4 remixes and a live recording of the track. The track was a popular underground hit in the UK and has gone on to be heavily used in many major sports arenas, with some mixes being played during games.

In 2003, EBM/electro-industrialists Grendel released their second full length album, Prescription: Medicide. On 1500 limited edition copies, a bonus disc was included that featured the first version of their cover of Kernkraft 400, re-titled Zombienation. Soon after the membership of the band changed and with their new line-up they beefed up the cover with a new recording of it in 2005 for their E.P., Soilbleed. The "V2K5" version includes several samples from the classic 1968 zombie film, Night Of The Living Dead.
Unfortunately, due to some copyright issues, both versions of the covers have been omitted from the "Redux" reissues of their originating albums.
Now while it might be that one of those issues dealt with the movie samples, since Grendel has had to deal with similar problems on some of their original music, it seems likely that in this instance it may have more to do with Senfter.

But why might this have been such a problem for Senfter? After all, the basic melody for his self-referential one hit wonder was originally from David Whittaker's Star Dust which was composed for the 1984 Commodore 64 game, Lazy Jones. Well, Senfter is reported to have been required to pay Whittaker some undisclosed amount for its use, though it's unclear if that happened before or after the single's release. Perhaps owing to such expense, he has since appeared very possessive of rights to the extent of taking offense to mash-ups, remixes, and other uses. Still it seems unusual that some arrangement couldn't have been made between Seftner and Grendel. Perhaps one day.

Kernkraft 400 is a bit-chipy sounding techno house track with somewhat dull vocals while Zombienation V2K5 has a far more bassy industrial dance rhythm, more fleshed out on the whole with the harsh vocal one expects from Grendel, and is without a doubt a huge improvement on both their own original and Seftner's.

The Cover:


(For V1 click here)

The Original:



Next week:
All this talk of zombies leads us right into OCTOBERWEEN! Kicking off FIVE Sundays of covers specifically suited to the Halloween season! (And yes, five Sundays means the fifth is A La Mode.) We'll start things off with an ode to a vampire from one of the walking dead!

Comments, suggestions, discussions, etc... welcome!

I spin next in October so check my schedule for details and join where ever you can if you like. ^_^

Explore the darkness,
-Xero

Previous DisCOVERies

Sep 18 - Bauhaus - Rosegarden Funeral of Sores (John Cale of Velvet Underground)
Sep 11 - Placebo - Running Up That Hill (Kate Bush)
Sep 04 - Azar Swan - Broken English (Marianne Faithfull)
Aug 28 - Sexwitch - Ghoroobaa Ghashangan (Originally Gönül Dağı by Neşet Ertaş)
Aug 21 - Echo and the Bunnymen - People Are Strange (The Doors)

Directory of All Previous DisCOVERies

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DJ Xero, Operative of SeeDarkly™

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