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Hunting Lodge – Exorcising Nomad Souls Alan Rider discovers the secrets within Hunting Lodge’s latest reissue set

Hunting Lodge – Exorcising Nomad Souls

Alan Rider discovers the secrets within Hunting Lodge’s latest reissue set

by Alan Rider, Contributing Editor
first published: July, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

You can feel the influence of Leichenschrei-era SPK, Test Department, and Cabaret Voltaire looming large here, but Hunting Lodge were no copyists, rather they were integral contributors to that same early industrial zeitgeist.

Hunting Lodge
Nomad Souls / Tribal Warning Shot / The Harvest
(Winter Hill Recordings)

Back at the start of the 1980’s, Port Huron, Michigan played host to a musical collective of underground electronic artists, headed by the experimental/industrial band Hunting Lodge (not to be confused with the 2005 UK Noise act of the same name).  Formed by local record shop owner Lon C Diehl, Richard Skott and Karl Nordstrum, they also created a DIY label, S/M Operations, to release their output and that of similar artists. Influenced by UK Industrial acts Throbbing Gristle, SPK, Test Department and others, their first release was a live cassette of their debut performance, comprising of what was quickly to become their signature sound of tribal drums and industrial percussion overlaid with distorted synth noises and guttural shouts.  Another cassette album (Exhumed) followed, before a move into vinyl, firstly with 1983’s ‘Will’, then, what was to become an industrial classic, the 1984 album ‘Nomad Souls’.  This limited edition, book style, 3LP reissue set on Poland’s Winter Hill Recordings gathers together a remastered ‘Nomad Souls’, and an expanded version of the 1985 'Tribal Warning Shot' EP.  The set is completed by The Harvest (Live), a collection of live Hunting Lodge tracks from Chicago and Detroit circa 1984, previously only released at the time on cassette.  It’s a lovely looking thing, and sounds far superior to the originals, through the benefit of remastering using modern technology.  Although they disbanded in 1989, Hunting Lodge never really went away, resurfacing for selected live performances in 2011 and appearing on a series of archive collections and reissues, of which this is the latest, and, arguably, the best.

To appreciate and understand Hunting Lodge and their contemporaries, though, you really need to understand the social and political context they operated in (pre-internet, with the Cold War and the Berlin Wall always at the back of everyone’s mind) and the ability they had, back then, to operate underground, well off the musical mainstream, as part of what felt like a genuine counter culture.  The sounds on here (especially the live recordings) may seem at times to be random and discordant, but once you immerse yourself within it, this has more in common with hypnotic African tribal beats at their most basic than western rock, despite forays into neo funk bass riffs.  You can feel the influence of Leichenschrei-era SPK, Test Department, and Cabaret Voltaire looming large here, but Hunting Lodge were no copyists, rather they were integral contributors to that same early industrial zeitgeist.  Throw in elements of the Gamelan Orchestra, Nurse With Wound, Ramleh, Controlled Bleeding, or even The Fire Engines on acid and you’d be getting close to their sound. That is not to say that it is all po faced industrial machismo on show here.  There is an element of humour that many industrial bands shared, but which is often overlooked, demonstrated here on the closing ‘Church of Mike’ extra track, a prank played on Detroit radio station WLBS, where the band sent in a letter to their ‘Garage Band’ slot claiming to have set up a church (The Church of Mike) dedicated to one of their presenters, along with a tape of a ‘hymn’ which they said was played to the congregation as they gathered to worship him. The aim, of course, being to get the station to play the track on air.  The ruse worked and WLBS listeners were treated to the unusual experience of a commercial US radio station airing an experimental electronic track in their prime Drive Time slot!

Standout tracks are the excellent ‘Tribal Warning Shot’ (all versions) – which undoubtedly influenced Skinny puppy and Front Line Assembly, ‘God Loves The Rock Stars’, and ‘The Wolf Hour’, all of which have live versions included.  A surprise standout too is the untitled remix called, unsurprisingly, ‘Untitled (Remix)’.   Like most extended collections, there is repetition, and you will find alternative studio versions and a few live versions of the same track cropping up, but I can forgive that, as this stands as an evocative reminder and testament to an underground era in indie/DIY music, never to be repeated, and makes the ideal accompaniment to 2010’s ‘Shadows Out Of Time '82-'83’ 3LP collection on Germany’s Vinyl On Demand label.

Labels like Winter Hill Recordings specialise in unearthing and bringing out rare and experimental artefacts from the recent musical past that would otherwise be overlooked by more commercially minded labels like Cherry Red, with their interminable box sets.  They don’t do it for profit, as the audience for these non-mainstream releases will always be small, but we, at least, are the richer for it and in the veritable flood of releases and re-releases each month, this definitely keeps its head above water.


Essential Information
Hunting Lodge - Nomad Souls / Tribal Warning Shot / Harvest is available to order now
here

Alan Rider
Contributing Editor

Alan Rider is a Norfolk based writer and electronic musician from Coventry, who splits his time between excavating his own musical past and feeding his growing band of hedgehogs, usually ending up combining the two. Alan also performs in Dark Electronic act Senestra and manages the indie label Adventures in Reality.


about Alan Rider »»

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