Comprised of TaSziin Muerte (electro drums and vocals), Javelin Hortsmann (bass, synths and vocals) and Lil K Big Q (guitar and vocals), the Austin, TX-based trio of BLXPLTN (pronounced Blaxploitation) have quickly won attention across the blogosphere over the past year or so for a sound that possesses elements of anaarcho-punk, industrial electronica, hip-hop and thrash punk that bears a resemblance to Atari Teenage Riot, Ministry, Joy Division and others. The comparison to Atari Teenage Riot though should not be terribly surprising as BLXPLTN’s work is politically charged – but where the Austin, TX’s work differs is that it tackles the uniquely American issues of race, racial stereotypes, inequality, police brutality, racially-based policing policies and other issues that directly impact on communities of color.
The trio’s latest single “Auf Wiedersehen,” gets its title from the German phrase auf wiedersehen which translates roughly into English as “until we meet again.” And it’s that bittersweet hopefulness that influences a song that was written as a tribute to those whose lives were innocently taken by police across the country – and obviously, the song is particularly timely in light of the deaths of Akai Gurley, young Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Eric Garner and several others. As the band explains, “It is our hope for this song to be an anthem, a rallying cry. It is a tribute to too many lives taken by a police state under the specter of a ‘post-racial’ society, and it is a goodbye to our friends. We wish we didn’t have to write songs like this. Maybe one day we won’t.“ Interestingly, the song manages to point out the dangers of power and how quickly it can be abused in an increasingly unchecked police state; in some way, it suggests that although some remain silent to brutal, humiliating police tactics, that one day because of their silence, they will be one day be next.
Although bittersweet, the song manages to maintain a certain sense of righteous fury thanks to the dense layers of buzzing synths paired with howled lyrics while briefly paying homage to an old childhood song. Much like the band hopes, maybe one day they such songs won’t be necessary – until then, we have to protest.