A companion EP to KMFDM's 2005 album HAU RUCK, RUCK ZUCK collects a number of remixes mostly created by the bandmembers themselves. Not all of the tracks sound radically different from the versions found on the original album: some more prominent electronica elements here, a little bit more crunch there ("Free Your Hate" sounds grittier than the album version). The feel is largely the same, even though the mixes sound a bit tidied up this time around, and, as is often the case with such remix enterprises, the added electronic parts sometimes reduce the initial punch of the songs -- but that doesn't mean the new versions aren't worth listening to. The two most noteworthy remixes move away from the sound of the original, however: "Mini Mini Mini," the band's cover of the Jacques Dutronc song, is spiced up with a number of swing music samples, and "Real Thing," as reconfigured by Nude, becomes a drum'n'bass exploration. The 40-minute EP also contains a new track: "Der Mussolini," a cover of D.A.F.'s controversial song, interpreted here as an industrial dance track with heavy guitars and an added flair of menace. The most curious track is the last: "Ansage" (meaning "declaration" or "announcement"), on which Sascha Konietzko, the group's leader, talks about his disdain for the current political situation in the United States. Of course, the group has handled the subject quite explicitly on their previous releases (2003's WWIII featured juxtaposed samples of speeches by George W. Bush and Adolf Hitler and wasn't too cryptic in its lyrics either: "Tell the people that they're under attack/By man-eating foes from Mars or Iraq/Mobilize outrage/Muzzle dissent/Send in the troops/Strike to pre-empt"), but Sascha's spoken word track draws even more attention to his message (provided you understand German). Now, KMFDM can be called a lot of things, but subtle isn't one of them -- and even though Konietzko's sentiments can be shared, his position is ultimately just as radical as that of the political leader he's attacking. Listeners easily offended by anti-Bush messages should steer clear -- but then, they've probably been avoiding this band for a long time. In any case, RUCK ZUCK is a solid, enjoyable effort -- it's not an essential purchase by any means, but it's a good companion piece for fans of the original album.
This review was written for the All-Music Guide on March 11, 2008.
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