Dec 2011 28

A new medium to distribute and enjoy music!

Every once in awhile, a truly forward-thinking idea comes along that offers the potential for positive change in the industry. Jason Novak and his compatriots in the Cracknation have been staples of the underground music scene for almost two decades, pushing the boundaries of industrial, metal, and various forms of electro in their various bands. Arguably the most successful of the bunch, DJ? Acucrack helped to usher in a new wave of electronic musician with an eclectic, electronic mix, most notably experimenting with drum & bass. Never content to simply play other artists’ records behind a DJ booth, Jason Novak and Jamie Duffy together brought their diverse background to create a dynamic style that was as active and lively as their rock & roll heroes, but with the precision execution and expert programming skills of the most accomplished DJs. Their performances and mix sets are legendary in the scene, yet operating as an independent entity with the paradigm of traditional record labels offering less in the way of distribution at greater cost, the availability of the duo’s back catalog has been restricted primarily to their original albums… until now.

DJ? Acucrack - USB Bracelet

Ever the progressive artists, on the 2011 Acucrack tour was unveiled the USB Bracelet – a small four gigabyte USB drive connected to a rubber wristband to be worn, obviously, as a bracelet, containing all six of the past Crackmix sets. Available in limited quantities via the Cracknation web store, this is a fantastic product for Crackwhores everywhere for its rarity. The first four Crackmix releases have been long out-of-print, the first one originally offered merely as a cassette during the band’s tour with Curve; spanning the group’s career from 1998 onward, and featuring some of the most brutally addictive and aggressive DJ sets recorded. With artists as varied as Meat Beat Manifesto, Dom + Roland, The Prodigy, Lunatic Calm, and many others including Acucrack themselves, these much coveted sets are now collected here in all their complete, digitized, remastered glory. From the hard-hitting, big beat electro sound of mix I, to the darker and more energetic volley that is mix II, to the all-out drum & bass assault that is mix III, and the live mix IV recorded during the KMFDM 20th Anniversary tour, this bracelet is already better than any cumbersome box set. While mix VI is still in print and available for separate purchase, it does present the ultimate culmination of Acucrack’s experimental abilities, not merely moving from track to track as the rest of these sets do, but actually mashing songs up to create a whole new atmosphere of controlled chaos. However, the real treat is mix V, never before released except as a backing music track on the So to Speak DVD in the photo gallery section. As well, it is the only one of the Crackmix series comprised of only Acucrack tracks, making it perhaps the rarest and most coveted of the series.
However, in the opinion of this writer, what makes this release more significant than the material it offers to fans are the possibilities of the medium for other artists to utilize. While the nostalgia for analog formats of the past such as vinyl and cassette has given many bands and musicians options to expand a single product, technology still moves forward as CDs give way to MP3s and FLAC, which will undoubtedly lead to yet another great innovation in digital sound and distribution. As the record label industry remains largely based in its traditions, slow to adapt to the changing market and the demands of their consumers, the potential to rerelease out-of-print and rare material is still dependent on the labels’ assessments of the viability of such products. With more people listening to iPods and music on their laptops than on a CD, a USB bracelet actually becomes a resourceful and practical idea. Not only does it offer the fans more music but also another item of fashion; not just a ball cap or a T-shirt, but something the fan can both wear and listen to. And as stated, the potential for the music to be released on such a thing is virtually endless: box sets, DJ sets, remixes, rarities, B-sides, full discographies, videos, the list goes on…

Given that Cracknation has remained under the radar as one of the underground’s more revered collectives, it’s hard to say if the idea will catch on for other labels and artists to expand and take it to the next level. The only other example this writer has seen has been the Los Angeles-based Chamber of Echoes, releasing the debut double-EP Unbound + Set Free / Under Lock + Key as a USB Bracelet via their webstore. It is also important to note that there are costs involved in producing any item, including a USB Bracelet, so releasing in a limited quantity to what is a dedicated but small niche can only yield so much return. Still, credit must be given to Cracknation for employing such a fine idea. Who knows? In time, we may yet see them and the rest of the music industry churning out variations and expansions on the USB Bracelet. Only time will tell.
DJ? Acucrack MySpace
Cracknation Website
Carcknation MySpace
Cracknation Facebook
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)


  1. gortonfreeman says:

    DJ?Acucrack is a joke. I saw them open for KMFDM on their anniversary tour and it sounded like someone made a fucked-up genesplice of Martin Atkins and that asshole from Fatboy Slim, with a whole lot of shitty drum+bass that makes dubstep look like Bach by comparison. The only thing “legendary” about these pissants is that we’ve managed to tolerate them usurping what could have been an either: a) forgettable or b) decent opening act for other bands we actually want to pay money to see. Instead I’ll never forget me and my friends sitting by the bar at Thunderdome, trying like hell to stomach this glorified aural vomitorium for another five minutes before storming out the door without even getting to KMFDM or perhaps beating ourselves senseless with whatever large, heavy objects that happened to be nearby.

    But hey, maybe they were better in Atlanta that year. Let’s give ’em a fair shake!

  2. Strobe420 says:

    gortman, you are publically admitting that you’ve never heard an Acucrack song in your life?

    I don’t think you’ll be impressing anybody that’s coming here to read the article, then!

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