Review Revue: Holger Hiller - Oben im Eck

Until I pulled out this record and saw one of the most elaborate sticker-based conversations I’ve yet witnessed in the history of this series, the name Holger Hiller meant nothing to me. (This is why we do this, right? To expand our horizons and learn a little something about our musical forebears?) Nor, despite four years of high school German, did the phrase “oben im eck,” which Google tells me means “top of the octagonal.”

The controversy here mostly seems to center around whether or not the music on this album is derivative of Einsturzende Neubauten or not, with a few digs thrown in at Skinny Puppy for good measure. If that doesn’t sound like the kind of thing that could fuel a raging rhetorical battle, then you haven’t hung out at many college radio stations.


Ex Palais Schomburg vocalist. This is brilliant and clear . . . industrial folk. Kind of? Play loads.”

“Yes this is brilliant. Try something off side one. Lots w/lots of vocals. The German language just seems to be so suitable to industrial music.”

“FUCKING GREAT!!”

“Holger as in Bul’g'aria. -Kaiser”

“Not as in Folger’s instant. People in the know about names like this should rule.”

“If ‘The Kaiser’ had his stuff together, he would get a peasant scribe to translate the lyrics for those of us not familiar with this absurd method of communication. -Herr Rosencrans”

“Listen closely. Almost every song on here is a bad remix of different Einsturzende Neubauten songs. Is this a rip-off LP?!?”

“Honestly Allen, have you listened to this record? About the only similarity between this and EN is the German vocals.”

“Yes, he did. I was there. I did not notice anything stuck in his ears which would affect his ability to hear the difference. Too bad Skinny Puppy doesn’t rip off EN or will they just put out a remix of a classic such as ‘Assimilate’? In short, Allen, pull your head out of your ass! -DR”

“Is DR short for DRill sargeant [sic]? Go wash yr. mouth out with soap!”

“It is original. Besides, Allen, if people don’t know who Clairol’s talking about, they can learn from listening to this record, or asking others who know. I thought that was the point of what we do. Oh, HH may have influences, but he uses them as a starting point to create something on his own, not just to throw on top of a turgid beat while singing like the Tasmanian Devil, as those Skinny Puppy gents seem to want to do.”

“Parts of this sorta sound like that Hat Voi project. Really cool. I mean really cool. But little resemblance to EN, I’m afraid, Allen.”

“HEE WACK!!”

“Better to be a drill sargeant [sic] than Ms. Clairol an day.”

“Oh, I love it when you’re so brutish! xxoo, babe, Clairol.”

“Tell me that ‘Warm Glass’ doesn’t sound like ‘ZNS.’”

“Warm glass doesn’t sound like ZNS.”

“I don’t even know why I bother to tell people around here - but, for the record: ‘Warm Glass’ = ‘ZNS’ and the bubbles in ‘Die Blatter, Die Blatter’ are like ‘Negativ Nein.’ I didn’t mean to offend anyone around here. God knows, they’re so nice I wouldn’t ever want to do that. All I was doing was pointing something out!”

So, now that we’ve all cooled off after 25 or so years... does ‘Warm Glass’ = ‘ZNS’? You be the judge!

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