Najbolji klingonski seoski industrijski bend iz '90-ih. Cijelo pleme svira na jazz-simfonijskoj rakiji (destilatu mnogih instrumenata) prije odlaska na ritualno proljetno pranje spolnih organa.
Assimilating elements of industrial, rock, jazz and surprisingly, classical music, the quartet known as Vampire Rodents use a collective of musicians plus samples to construct their albums. The core of the band consists of Victor W. (piano, synth), Anton R. (vocals, guitars), Daniel Vahnke (composition, sampling) and Jing Laoshu (percussion).
Lullaby Land (1994) streaming
The Vampire Rodents were an experimental industrial rock group led by guitarist and singer Daniel Vahnke, with other members playing keyboards, strings and percussion. Lullaby Land was the group's third album, its direct predecessor, Premonition being a mere hint as to full scale of the greatness they could achieve. Superficially the album is just another semi-industrial collage piece, copying likes of Foetus and Nurse with Wound, but only as one digs deeper is it possible to experience the true profundity within. Though it is heavily influenced by other industrial artists, it possesses an emotional and technical expansion previously unseen in rock music. This is an epic work of rock music (both in content and length), and in my opinion deserves a review which provides an in depth look at each track.
The album opens with the tense and dramatic Trilobite, possibly the most linear (but also one of the best) tracks on the album. From the very first song, the consistent pounding rhythms found in every song are ever-present, the only real feature that holds each soundscape together. Following this jaw-dropping opening, a short duet of chaotic strings plays before a harsh drumline and melancholic vocals are introduced - Catacomb. This track lacks suspense entirely, its crescendos are sudden and unexpected; They are outbursts without warning, further adding to the nightmarish atmosphere. As soon as Catacomb has faded, the incessant drone of Crib Death comes forth, being followed by some of the most horrific (Galas-esque) singing I've ever heard. This however, is not the main feature which most would find unlistenable; Rather it is the constant disorientating rhythm changes, adding further to the evocative ever-changing atmosphere.
If at this point you're noticing that I'm making the music sound rather unappealing, it's probably not for you (not that I want to put people off), but if from what you've read you're intruiged or excited - this album is a masterpiece. For the Rodents, as it is for many Avant Garde bands, the timbre and ambience trumps over melodic genius (not that this album is without some great tunes...Well, I think so anyway). They are not just deconstructing rock music with this record, they are reconstructing it in their own twisted way.
Another brilliant feature of this album is the sheer diversity of genres found within, perfectly showcased by the next song, Dogchild. Imagine late 80s/early 90s Hip-hop blended with unhealthy amounts of noise, jazz samples and cynical lyrics that I'm sure Zappa would've been proud of. This provides the perfect antithesis for the following song Gargoyles, a metallic horror story backed by metal guitars, screaming vocals and classical samples. Grace is of a similar nature, and is probably the worst on the album (despite having the most humourous context of lyrics). That said, every song on here is worth its salt and none let the album down, its true profundity manifesting itself through being greater than the sum of its parts. Tremulous, a 55 second track which sounds like Reich's work on loops, provides the transition from Grace and Glow Worm, which has a depressing mantra combined with some harsh atonality. Lullaby Land continues this, descending further into a calm insanity, and featuring Rathausen/Vanhke's best vocal display - itself being an instrument which fits perfectly with the ethnic gamelan-like rhythm section.
The album's darkest section (I know what you're thinking, the stuff before sounded pretty dark - Not compared to this) are the six tracks running from Dervish to Nosedive. The former attacks the senses with a powerful rhythm combined with a piano melody. This, along with Rathausen's vocals is essentially the entire song, though it is important to point out that no amount of description will be able to do this music justice; there are so many samples and snippets of sound in every second that the music itself seems alive. This effect provides a very exciting aural experience, and repeat listens always rewards you with new levels of appreciation. After Dervish is Scavenger, one of the most relentlessly ruthless songs on the album, and in fact ever. It always reminds me of something biomechanical, a machine that is living and breathing, and this is just what the Rodents intend to do; They take us to another world with their album, the craftsmanship in doing so is where the talent lies, and is in my opinion more of a skill than composing catchy melodies (which I do hasten to admit is, when done consistently, a talent that is very rare). Exuviate plays like a constant crescendo that never quite reaches its climax, and when it does it is thrown away to calming synths, which smoothly flow into Akrotiri, one of the album's best. I cannot even attempt to describe this instrumental masterpiece in any kind of detail, though to give the reader some idea it consists of elements of spanish guitar, tribal flutes and baroque organs - not to mention the haunting violins, all of which combine to produce a masterpiece of the highest level. Toten Faschist is the most metal-like song on the album, with the heaviest guitar and drums, frantic shredding and occasional melodic sections give it that same variety that makes each track so strong. The darkness that has been so present in each song is fittingly ended with Nosedive, the simplest song on the album with a 4/4 beat, the repitious thudding never ceasing.
The most odd and also one of the most enjoyable tracks on the album, Bosch Erotique is a fit of giggles, renaissance/medieval melodies and sexual panting, definitely not anything like Hubba Hubba, which to me sounds like one of the more avant Kompakt releases, albeit it with some completely inappropriate (and perfect) samples placed here and there. Cartouche is an homage to the spanish guitar hinted to in Akrotiri, though taken to a much further extent. If other tracks on the album lacked suspense, the Hitchcockian marvel Awaken is the epitome of that trait, like a pin hoving above a balloon as it floats upwards. The sheer anticipation and the controlled ending give it a somewhat mixed message, though one which I respect, as it easily could've ended in a rather predictable loud bang. Another contender for the best track is the 6 minute Raga Rodentia, the perfect cross between the Third Ear Band and the Taj Mahal Travellers, with the Rodents' own blend of rhythmical delights of course. The album's finale is unlike the rest of the album entirely, it stands out as an ambient masterpiece, and is possibly the only cohesive whole within the context of the album.
So, concluding thoughts? Well, I myself believe this to be the most significant piece of music rock has to offer, a simultaneously ugly and beautiful album that involves and immerses the listener in a way very few albums can do. That said, it's not for everybody (and by that I mean most people), to appreciate it one must listen with both an open mind and open ears. One thing's for certain: After hearing this album all the way through for the first time, it won't be an experience you'll forget. - neptune at www.listology.com/
Clockseed (1995) streaming
The free-form industrial collective explores hip-hop and free jazz along with their brand of metal on this, their fourth album.
Gravity's Rim (1996) streaming
Like some warped and post-apocalyptic symphony, the Vampire Rodents collective swan dives into another remarkably textured, sample-constructed exploration of what it means to make music. With the opening "Chain" setting the stage, all hollow vocals and odd jazz twists and form breaks, it's easy to see how the Rodents intend to play out their masquerade. A remarkable assimilation of sound, sonics, and scope follows, from the avant classical "Prophet Clown" to the opening cello of "Ice Borers," which fuses that intent with dancefloor beats, all the way to the late album helicopter beats on "H.M.P.," creating moment upon moment of surprise. But it's no wonder that the Rodents' core of Daniel Vahnke, Victor Wulf, and Anton Rathausen have propelled themselves nearly out of Gravity's Rim this time. Helped along by the crème de la crème of industrial's nether regions, all guest vocalists, the band has sutured its own style with those of Chemlab's Jared Hendrickson, Spahn Ranch's Athan Maroulis, and Battery's Maria Azevedo. The result, which brings some of the Residents' more musical meanderings to mind, is a triumph. And, while Gravity's Rim will be distasteful to some, it should prove to be a tasty main course for the clatterers. - allmusic.com
Premonition (1992) full album:
War Music (1990)
Interview with Daniel Vahnke of the Vampire Rodents - conducted by Kevin A. Congdon & Jason J. Tar via e-mail June 1996Kevin: Could you give a brief description of what Sample-Based Composition is or what it involves?
Daniel: Sample-Based Composition (SBC) is a new version of writing/recording music without the limitations of traditional musical training or the active participation of live musicians to produce the raw sound sources needed to produce a sample file. SBC isn't much different from the process of making a mosaic, an animated filmstrip or the avant-toon tape splicing of Tod Dockstader in the 60's. Instead of using razors and tape, for the last decade (or longer, if you were wealthy back then), the sampler has made the same process much cleaner, safer, and much more efficient. Some samplers, like most of the Rolands and Akais, are more useful than others for composition purposes. Prospective buyers should always thoroughly investigate an instrument's capabilities and limitations before investing. Many samplers were never designed for complex compositions requiring extensive sample files. In order to design the really good stuff, there are no computer shortcuts. SBC is more analogous to setting type on an old printing press. Tiring and tedious sometimes, yes, but what can be done with the final result is well worth it. At least most of the time.
Jason: Why do you bring in so many guest vocalists on your work? What first prompted you to start using guest vocalists?
Daniel: I have to give Chase credit for the vocal casting, given my lack of personal contacts in the business. My interest and curiosity especially in view of increasing the experimentation of the voices were piqued. It seemed a great idea to give completed tracks to obviously talented lyricists & singers. It gave the music's end result an entirely different shape from what I would probably come up with. My lyrics & vocals are sometimes limited considering the musical scope, so it's always a big help when I make new contacts and great talents like Athan Maroulis and Maria Azevedo.
Kevin: Are there many other singers or musician which you would like to, or are planning to, collaborate with?
Daniel: For the Rodents, at the moment, vocal-based songs are yet to be planned. A sixth V.R. album is on the shelf. I plan to release it as an instrumental-only 75 min. CD late this year or early in '97 depending upon financial circumstances (or when, like the others, 'Gravity's Rim' inevitably collides with the indie-distribution atmosphere and disappears.) So, in other words, vocal plans for what will actually be the seventh V.R. album (and most likely the last for some time) won't be made till Dec.-Jan.
I'm currently working on a separate project with Athan Maroulis called Alchemia. I don't see that out till Nov. or so. Mainly because Spahn Ranch is recording their new album now (it's killer) and a tour is surely in the works. I'm always open to working with anyone who is really curious SBC and it's possibilities, but, to be honest, I'm afraid such interest is in short supply, as usual. My P.O. box is always open to 'audition tapes' if anyone's interested. Many 'Rodentia' personnel obtained their membership status merely by sending me DATs of improvised or written figures and fragments of sounds for me to sample from and store and to mix in with the rest of the sample library (e.g.: Koci, Benghiat, Escalante, Laoshu, Geist, and for the most part, Akastia as well).
Jason: I read a post from Fifth Colvmn that you would be touring in the Summer or Fall. Is this true? If this is true, what lead to the decision to actually do a tour? What about Andrea refusing to tour, will you find someone to fill in for her?
Daniel: Well It would be nice, but as always, it depends upon funding and interest. San Diego, LA, and SF shows would be a given, but a full scale tour would require more support. I still don't want to tour a bunch of metal bars full of little boys in short pants, so alternate venues (school auditoriums, churches, universities, etc.) is a priority, but I feel comfortable now with touring as a trio: Me & My DAT, a cellist, and a guitarist. More than three would be a crowd except for hi-profile with guest vox shows. Now, all I need are those two musicians. Andrea CAN'T tour. She's not an American citizen, and like Victor, has a well-paying faculty job and stable life that could only be disrupted from the attentions of the "depressed teenager media", as she calls it. Again, if any cellist or guitarist is interested, I'd love to see some tapes in the mail box! My last cellist backed out after last month, so it's back to the drawing board.
Kevin: Since you have many side projects out, will you continue to release material under the Vampire Rodents name?
Daniel: Aside from the completed instrumental sixth album and the seventh album (w/ vox), which should be ready by mid-'97, I don't have any plans for the rodents. I will, however, re-release the first two V.R. CDs on my own VRP label late this year at a low price and including a half-hour of unreleased tracks. VR 6 may also follow on VRP if FCR decides to pass on it. Eventually, I'll re-release all seven V.R. CDs in a $40 box set just to make sure the rest of the market's V.R. inventory becomes impossible to sell. Ha Ha. It's always the fan that's getting screwed in this business (along with the Rodents and the countless others) and there will be a time when all these, uh.. 'imbalances' will be addressed and corrected. But, that's all I can say at the moment. The clock is still ticking
Jason: Any progress on the research aspect of the band (like the 28-note octaves) or any grants on continuing the research? (Also, who or what entity is sponsoring such research?)
Daniel: Oh-yes, progress is always being made, but there is a degree of 'thematic stagnation' going on in the burrow after following vocal-based song structures for so long now. The quarter-tone research can't happen till the equipment becomes available, but I see that degree of research (along with my future work in ultra and infra sonic compounds) some years away when I have the 'luxury' to spend 16 hour days in the lab.
As for finding a sponsor for SBC, that's a bit like finding a fairy godmother these days. With the 'dumbing-down' of America reaching it's critical mass phase, investment in anything linked with the phrase 'avant-garde' is impossible without leaving the country. IRCAM, are you listening?
Kevin: When was Daniel Vahnke first incorporated into the band? and why? Is Daniel now the main person behind the Rodents or is it still largely a collaborative effort?
Daniel: Well, sorry guys, but I am the 'band', basically. Just wanted to avoid that 'idiot savant' or 'wunderkin' kind of labeling from the start. Victor contributed greatly to the first two V.R. albums, but I used my alter ego/evil twin alias of Anton Rathausen simply to confuse and manipulate as well as to give my different vocal 'characters' an individual identity (I'm on medication now). Collaboration outside of the vocal guests just hasn't happened that often, even though I've invited it for years. I don't know what the clinical term for 'fear of composition' is, but MOST musicians suffer from it and in many cases it becomes more severe according to their level of 'professionalism'. Which is why I've always said SBC is feared more than anyone can know right now. It is an entirely different language that is "user-friendly" ONLY to the novice and the amateur and THAT is why it is the mortal enemy of the status quo I like to call "The Musician-Candlemakers Guild". But, the entrenchment of rap and techno into the mainstream put the first nails in their coffin. Hopefully SBC demonstrations in front of juries in the near future will finally put them in their proper place.
Jason: On the 'Gravity's Rim' insert, it states Daniel does the vocals. Why the switch from Anton? (Honestly, they sound very similar to Anton's, so I was wondering if the insert is misprinted?)
Daniel: Yes, you caught me. Now let's see how many people will believe it. I have about as much credibility as a record label saying "The check's in the mail, dude".
Kevin: What lead to the new release being on Fifth Colvmn instead of Re-Constriction? And why are there 25 tracks listed, but only 24 are actually on the CD? Does it have anything to do with the fact that the name of the missing song is called "Smartass"?
Daniel: Well, historically, it would have been pointless, since Cargo couldn't do much with the two CDs I gave them and seemed absolutely clueless as to how to respond when the press unanimously raved on the band. So, no response and no press quotes in the ads was their strategy. Since Cargo is primarily an American Rock Music label, this was expected, so I don't want to act like the innocent here. I knew what I was getting into. I've worked for cartels and organizations in this country before. No difference. Of course, this has nothing at all to do with Chase. Re-Constriction is not a financially-autonomous label, so the buck starts and stops somewhere else. Chase is an excellent PR man and my friend for life, but HE DOESN'T SIGN THE CHECKS. I'm really sick of people dissing Chase for matters that are out of his control (like money and distribution). Basically, he's just an under-appreciated and underpaid employee of Cargo, Inc., and I'm amazed that some major label hasn't snapped him up yet.
That said, the moral reason for jumping Cargo was for the simple fact that my 'Clockseed' advance was cut in half simply because I was foolish enough not to send it C.O.D. As a result, the half-check shows up three months later. Welcome to show biz, kids! To be honest, though, this happens with nearly all labels (although Cleopatra has proven to be a welcome exception). I can't say I really care. The labels serve their purpose they're capable of. The only important thing to me is that my recordings are released in a historically linear fashion. One or two thousand dollar advances are not worth delays (whether they appear or not). If I work for a department store or a record label, I just assume most American business institutions are just varied forms of organized crime (with excellent CPAs, of course). Eventually, I expect most of the V.R. albums to sell quite well, but that is easily 5 or 6 years away. Most of my potential audience hasn't grown pubic hair yet. If labels continue to treat me like a tax write-off, I should have most of the SBC catalog available cheaply through my VRP label. That's why I encourage everyone to do everything DIY through direct Internet & postal sales. The days of the 'rock' label and all it's baggage will soon be over. Most bands are signed to be some fat old fuck's boat payment, anyway. So, good riddance, I say. Besides, there's less room for good ole American graft in the future's Internet sales system. Too many eyes double-checking the people who can't count. It would be nice if people were tested for math and writing sills before the tattoo count. I hope to have my label up and running again within a year.
As for track #25, "Smartass" was a song that had to be chopped due to last minute time restrictions given by the plant. Of course, the artwork was already printed. Quite common situation, really. I'm used to long waiting periods for pressing dates, but Fifth Colvmn amazes me with how fast they can get stuff pressed and shipped. Ether Bunny and 'Gravity's Rim' both took a week each. So, next time I'll get the artwork done after the mastering.
Jason: How do you construct the lyrics to a song? To me, it is very fascinating and very intelligent, while often being very humorous as well.
Daniel: Thank you. When I write lyrics, I only write between the instrumental 'gaps', so to speak. I try to avoid repetition and the obvious, of course. But, most importantly, I try to keep the comedy quotient fairly high without resorting to propaganda (although I've heard of odd comparisons to Seuss, Vonnegut, & Nostradamus). I don't want to preach to the converted or the perverted. As I've often said, I'm only interested in reaching those few thousand (?) people out there wanting to take up SBC for themselves. V.R. was designed to be an influential tool, period. Nearly every V.R. and E.B. song is an etude or problem-soving in arrangement exercise to those few willing to learn from them. Many V.R. pieces are quite static and 'sewn' for that purpose only. But, it's the few, the proud, the workaholic that I'm really after. As for the comedy element, I believe you can focus someone's mind on a subject longer with laughter, not anger, as the catalyst or stumulant.
Kevin: The logo that appears on each Vampire Rodents release, what is its significance and name?
Daniel: Name? I don't know. A Vahnk? Ha Ha. No, it's just my name. I don't know about it's histroy. The 'uncle' who gave it to me died when I was six. It's simply an I.D. marker I use for reasons impossible to explain. Consider it a Rodent 'brand' or trademark, or something like that.
Jason: Besides Dilate, Recliner, Ether Bunny, and possibly Pillow, are there any other projects that any of the Rodents have appeared on?
Daniel: Dilate is Victor Wulf's ambient project on Cleopatra and Tracer is more experimental project he's also working on. The second Dilate release will be a double-CD out in the fall. Ether Bunny is my favored child right now and begin the second album in a month or two. I'm looking for any E.B. contacts I can make in the animated and comedy film biz, as well. Recliner was simply a name Chase used for the VR/Babyland songs on the compilation CDs. Pillow is a non-existent proposal to work with 16 Volt from Chase. I wouldn't hold your breath on that one. I will require an advance IN ADVANCE this time, of course.
As for other projects currently in the works, my twin 'adult-contemporary new-age sythpop' projects - Alchemia & Obsidian - are both completed musically ( and 90% of Obsidian vocals). I'll be wrapping up another project called Taint late this year as well. A bit more techno-oriented Rodent mutation, that. Only three songs done so far, though. I'll be needing a dozen vocalists for that one, so any volunteers? No label or release info on these three projects, yet. Ask me again in a couple of months.
Kevin: Are 'War Music' and 'Premonition' still available? And if so, how? It'd be nice to add information on acquiring them on the site since I've received several requests.
Daniel: You can get them from Chase at Re-Con. (619-483-9292 / 4901-906 Morena Blvd. / San Diego, CA 92117-3432) or from me (Box 56576 / Phoenix, AZ 85079) for $12 each. Please make the payment out to me regardless of from whom you order.I will re-release both in expanded versions when I start VRP again. 'War Music' is still out on Dossier, but it's a $25 import at Tower and wouldn't suggest buying it anyway, since Dossier hasn't paid me a cent since 1990. Distributors in America still owe me thousands from unpaid 'Premonition' shipments. Which is why, in the future, I will only sell to stores and distributors C.O.D. or pre-pay only. Let them fuck someone else over next time. A rodent never forgets a debt. It's so easy for people to forget that pay-up is always cheaper and less painful than pay-back.
Jason: Has there ever been any video work done to accompany any of the pieces? Either live performance or MTV-styled videos?
Daniel: No. It may or may not happen. Definitely not a priority. Whatever V.R. gigs we can scrape together will be filmed. So maybe something in '97, but I'm more interested in cartoons. I'd rather work with an animator who utilizes SBC techniques in that medium. The SBC principles are applicable to everything from genome mapping to astronomy. It is simply embracing a shotgun/chaos approach to research and experimentation in order to achieve greater and more detailed progress in one's work. But, that's another lecture.
Kevin: Is all the music recorded by the different artists and then sent to one main Rodent to piece together, or is this more of a "democracy" whereas all musicians get together and work on the finished product as a whole?
Daniel: There can be no democracy in SBC outside of the individual, really. At least not in the way it is defined in orchestras, rock bands, etc. Of course, the idea is excellent if it could be done. However, I have yet to see three or more composers working together become more creative or productive than a single centered composer (ie: Xenakis, etc.) But maybe it's just my historical perspective. I think my problem is that I want to work with scientists, not artists. I don't understand the meaning of art in a world as profoundly moronic and dangerous as ours. I think that the concept of a sampling " unit" is a great concept. Perhaps a trio composing of (1) Primary sampler, recorder of sound source DATs, and sample file librarian, (2) Secondary sampler, sample editor & copier, Loop & Ostinati writer, sequence editor, and a (3) Composer, arranger, sample & sequence editor. But that kind of discipline and organization is hard to achieve at present. I build my sample library solely from CDs and DATs from all kinds of sources. My attempts at training other at SBC have been pretty depressing, generally. I haven't given up, though. I still offer SBC tutoring/seminar courses to any trio of perspective composers. No different than giving piano lessons, really. A Montreal package was set up to go once, but the distance costs are too prohibitive right now. With most 'students', it's just a work ethic thing and a fear of notation problem for most. Nothing that can't be learned in a few days. But, it IS the slacker 90's. I don't want slackers for an audience anyway - I want hackers, actually.
Jason: Are there any other bands today who adhere to the SBC ideals or are you the only ones to your knowledge?
Daniel: I'm sure I'm not the only one. It's just common sense. SBC, in some form, is so wide-spread and pervasive now, that it's inconceivable that others aren't doing it. The classical music world is even embracing (slowly) the sampler as a tool of composition (and hopefully - performer). That's why my long-planned SBC Symphony #1 will be released with an SBC Cello Sonata by mid-'98. Again, IRCAM, IRCAM, I need the money, honey.
Kevin: Anything you'd like to add?
Daniel: The future of modern music depends on DIY ideals and laissez-faire methods run through the security of the Internet and a soon to be booming private secured mail franchises system (could be 5-7 years from now). The main reason I insist upon having a big mouth about everything (I am truly a rat that bites the hand that doesn't feed me) is to give honest and first hand information on what not to do in the industry. There is no industry. It is dying on the vine along with the rest of the U.S. retail economy. So I want to warn others that the future is in self-sufficiency, period. Create, make, package, and sell your work BY YOURSELF. If 3-5 of you can coallesce into a company or label, almost anything is possible. Labels in the future will hopefully be master computer programs capable of giving only honest & accurate data on sales and distribution patterns, etc. ACCEPTABLE LEVELS OF HUMAN ERROR are the primary cause for much of the vanishing merchandise in the indie-distribution network. But, let me go on briefly to another related rant.
Rock is dead and everything associated with it - producers, attorney moles, touring strings of monkey taverns, eight-song albums every two years, interviews about nothing at all, jamming, tattoos and leather, pain and aggression, whining whining whining, videos, the fat one's tax write-off, corrupt and incompetent distribution systems, greaseball bar mangers with gold chains & a Camaro, the production of movies soley to sell soundtracks, anorexia and bulimia, 250-word vocabulary for lyrics, beer commercials, and anything else that reeks of male hormone poisoning. Rock rhymes with cock for a good reason. It is the 20th-century institution for keeping the male-dominant status quo alive and well no matter how alternative or PC the lyrical and PR content is. The ape will always come out ahead in the rock world, make no mistake. The mosh pit would be very inviting at a Hitler Youth rally in '37, you can be sure. So, the point is, don't kid yourself about why anything is done the way it is in this industry. You're here to entertain the Suit's kids and that's IT. That's going to change, isn't it, boys and girls? - www.sonic-boom.com/
The Vampire Rodents, a project of Toronto guitarist/vocalist Anton Rathausen (real name Daniel Vahnke) and keyboardist Victor Wulf, were possibly the greatest composers of collage-music of the decade. War Music (1990) merely set the existential tone of their opus by juxtaposing recitals of horror stories against industrial music performed by Neanderthal men on stone instruments. Premonition (1992), featuring Andrea Akastia on violin and cello, transposed that program to another dimension, making music out of a frantic collage of sources. On one hand, the combo created a music in which sound effects, not instruments, became the element of composition. On the other hand, they retained the feeling of jazz and avantgarde chamber music. Their savage art of montage reached a demented peak with Lullaby Land (1993). Rhythm permeated this work at least on two levels: a disco/funk/house beat that propelled the track; and the pace at which snippets were glued together to form "songs". At both levels the verve was palpable. The songs were gags, and each gag was an assembly of cells. It was entertaining, and it was terrifying. The whole recalled the grotesque and unpredictable merry-go-rounds of Frank Zappa's early works and the Residents' early suites. Vampire Rodents' "lullaby land" was set in a Freudian nightmare and that nightmare played at double speed in a very chaotic theater. Clockseed (1995) added more instruments of the orchestra and more drum-machines, and offered a more linear, rational and focused take on the same idea. It was another symphony of chaos and multitude, that, indirectly, harked back to composers of urban cacophony such as Charles Ives and Edgar Varese (and composers of cartoon soundtracks such as Carl Stalling). It was still a cannibal and schizophrenic art, that continuously devoured itself and that continuously changed personality. Gravity's Rim (1996), instead, returned to the format of the pop song, thus closing an ideal loop. Layers of samples merely provided the "arrangement" for the melodies carried by the vocals. Vampire Rodents' art shared with Dadaism and Futurism the aesthetic principle that avantgarde and clownish novelty should be one and the same. - www.scaruffi.com/
Vampire Rodents was the name of an industrial music and experimental rock band formed in Phoenix, Arizona, although its core members originally came from Canada. The band was formed by singer, guitarist and composer Daniel Vahnke (aka Anton Rathausen) and keyboardist Victor Wulf. Andrea Akastia (violin, cello) joined after the re-release of War Music in 1991. The band was well known for their use of guest vocalists on many of their songs. Although almost all of the instrumentalists credited, such as Jing Laoshu and Consuelo Buenviento, were fake. Daniel Vahnke was primarily influenced by classical and Avant-garde music, whereas Wulf was more focused on Ambient music, and both styles contributed to the mood of the band.
Across their five album career, they appeared on four different record labels, including Dossier, Vampire Rodents Productions (their own label), Re-Constriction Records and finally on Fifth Column.
As well as Vampire Rodents, Vahnke also had a side project called Ether Bunny, and Wulf had a solo effort called Dilate, which released two albums on Cleopatra Records. The Rodents also collaborated with Babyland to create Recliner, which released a few songs direct onto compilation albums, and later onto full VR albums.
While the band was mainly active during 1988-1996, Vahnke has expressed his desire on his Myspace page to restart the group, however there has been nothing new produced.
In January 2008, Daniel released on his Myspace page raw material from the proposed side project Pillow which was to be done in collaboration with 16volt. - wikipedia