Contains 'Youthful Pleasures', 'Zoll', 'Spray/Death/Ultra' and 'Roman Holiday'. The entire recorded output of the 'classic' Ultra lineup of St Degeneratus (Jon Carlson), Herr Mucke (Christoph Heemann) and Dr Tengelmann (Achim Flaam) along with lyrics, artwork and liner notes. Four disc set with booklet, each disc housed in it's own mini-LP sleeve, all of it nestled in a deluxe foil debossed slipcase.
"The abstract nature of the term Ultra, when referenced to these monsters of experimental music, becomes more tragically concrete if the listener thinks of Peter Sutcliffe or Gary Ridgway standing before a mirror and flexing his murder muscles to the sounds of "New Centurion", "Letter of Introduction" or "Wackelpeter" before stepping outside the door to start on a killing spree.
An American or European, perhaps even someone from Australasia, will almost always claim, "Impossible! Not in this town!"; "I knew him so well; he would never do that!; "This is a quiet community; such things never happen here." But Ultra's tracks, framed with vivid and dynamic textures of various sounds elements, exemplify what the late William S. Burroughs had written: "Art is making you aware of what you already know, but don't know that you know." What was thought unexpected and unwanted can occur, and often does, or will if you live long enough. When a mutilated corpse is found in your backyard one morning, you might want to ask yourself exactly what you and your house guests did the previous evening. Then you call a lawyer before the police arrive with a multitude of questions and forensic investigations begin. We all know the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared.
Tracks such as "Doll Rally", "The Process", and "Subway Etiquette" invade the consciousness with not simply a senseless violence, but with the kind of freewheeling and engaging manner that Ted Bundy played his own role -- his arm in a sling, he stands next to his Volkswagen Bug and asks a fetching brunette college student (her long hair parted down the middle), "Would you like a lift?" It would have been the witty girl, indeed, who replied, "Do you have a letter of introduction?" Bundy's ejaculations with such a specimen would have continued well into the late stages of her decomposition.
Ultra works with a feral intelligence and mysterious,satirical element that embraces themes of prostitution, abuse and immense obsession. A prime example is the Roman Holiday version of "New Centurion", which pummels the ears with electronic intensity, female screams, and an abrupt, shameless, and primeval lyrical attack. But then there is the fearful drone ambience of "Malaria", a disease which remains one of the deadliest in the world. It arrives from a simple bite of the world's most efficient killer, the Anopheles mosquito, perhaps in the middle of the night as you turn over on your pillow. An unwelcome visitor indeed, like shy Ed Gein interrupting a slumber party and skinning everyone before the sun rises. Death is everywhere in many variations, and Ultra reminds the forgetful that it can rap on anyone's door at an inconvenient moment.
The assorted soundscape manipulations that Ultra employs to accomplish its goals ask much of its audience. However, Ultra in return offers surprisingly rich, if sometimes disconcerting, rewards for the patient listener.
Would you like a lift? Consider the 4CD Ultra boxed set, Delirious Elaborations, newly released on Dom America (Dom US 22-IV), which includes Ultra's long-deleted three LPs, Youthful Pleasures, Zoll, and Spray / Death / Ultra, plus the original Roman Holiday CD. Just be prepared."-Sam McKinlay / The Rita