Alter der Ruine
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Alter der Ruine

Tucson, Arizona, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2005 | INDIE

Tucson, Arizona, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2005
Band Electronic Indie


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Alter der Ruine - I Will Remember It All Differently"

Within a ten year period, Alter der Ruine have released five albums, various EPs, remixes, unleashed a inescapable dancefloor anthem, split up, reformed, and drastically changed their style - without apparently alienating their fanbase along the way. This doesn't sound like a too difficult thing to do, until you look a little closer at exactly how the band have changed.

And they've changed a lot. First release The Ruine Process was an industrial noise album, that had great rhythms and punched pretty hard, while State of Ruin allowed a little more light and shade into the mix, and introduced vocals on the title track (as well the stellar A23 remix of it). This was where their first major direction change was made, as The Giants From Far Away was something of an epic bait and switch. The build-up to release suggested an album of deep seriousness, of epic scope...and the reality was a sometimes-goofy, frequently brilliant electronic album that toned down the noise, emphasising the grooves and a deft hand with clever, funny samples. It also, of course, unleashed dancefloor monster Relax and Ride It, that if the band didn't look like having so much fun with it live, I'd suggest was something of an albatross for the band.

My interview (linked above) with Mike Treveloni was in the aftermath of Giants..., and it became clear in the time after that perhaps weren't so great for the band. One planned album split into two, suggesting a glut of material, and it seemed something of a step away from the goofy fun of the previous year or two, and indeed the style changed again. Introspective, darker electronics took to the fore (the internal monologue vocals of I Am Drugs perhaps suggested just how bad things had got), culminating though in one of the band's greatest songs, the four-minute synthpop glory of Ghosts, taking on issues with booze in style, with sharp wit in the lyrics and a making a better stab at synthpop than many self-proclaimed synthpop bands have ever done.

It was, perhaps, no great surprise when Alter der Ruine announced their cessation in early 2012, but the widespread love of the band proclaimed after that by many perhaps had a hand in the band reconvening a year or so later (it also meant I finally got to see them live, too, at their anarchic, brilliant show at Resistanz in spring 2013), with a comment that the ADR to come would be radically different. They weren't wrong.

The first peek at the new ADR came with Lights, which was released onto the internet early into this year, and confirms the changes the band had mooted. This is elegant, downbeat stuff - no funny samples, no heavy beats - with a languid feel that seems perfectly appropriate for the warm summer that we're experiencing here in London at present.

The direction I had from the band when I received the promo access to the album, by the way, was to treat the album as a whole piece - in other words, to listen right through - and I'm going to cover it in that way. We head next into Tiny Wars and Quiet Storms, that is similarly downbeat in tone but has a quietly wonderful chorus that features Mike T.'s best vocal performance yet - the song wouldn't be half as affecting as it is without it. Horizon Slide picks up the tempo somewhat, and is perhaps the closest link to material from the "Son of A Bitch" era, having similar rolling rhythms and feel.

Stars strikes as an interlude, rather than a full track, barely getting going as the pretty piano work and reverbed drums peter out, and it seems a waste - it ends far too soon. Especially as the quasi-funk electro of Gift Horse sits a little oddly with the vocals to start with, before shedding the straitjacket to unleash another glorious chorus. It could then be argued that Will We Tear You Apart is the most mainstream electro track here, a more upbeat feel, a near-summery sound, and a ton of hooks - but even that is eclipsed by what follows

Plainly and simply, ADR have saved the best material on this album for the closing run. The first six songs pretty much exist to lead up to them, and the first of these simply brilliant songs is Quiet Crimes. A simple beat and Mike T's vocal get more and more layers of electronics to bolster them, before an urgent chorus with hooks like talons gets into your head (take one listen to this song and see how long it takes to rid the refrain from your memory. It'll take a while), and those synths. A mournful, elegant song.

I've already made Tundra track of the month earlier this year, and this is still as brilliant on the tenth or twentieth listen. What sounds like live drums (as opposed to the programmed drums that the band usually use) provides a steely backbone to twinkling electronics, minor key melodies and the sad, sad vocals that make the song as lonely-sounding as the titular location. This and Quiet Crimes before it make the following Poltergeist all the more surprising - the one time the band really kick up the tempo on the album, and it's marvellous. There are glitchy bass drops, a surging beat, and more vocal melodies that are simply great. The closing Leviathan buries the vocals rather, and again almost returning to the ADR of old, with beats that remind of what they were, but with a far darker edge than before.

This darker edge is one of the many things that make this album so affecting. The mood generally is sombre, but with the odd exception this isn't allowed to overwhelm the brilliance of the music, which appears to be a culmination of almost everything Alter der Ruine have done so far. They've tried many styles over the past ten years, clearly learned a lot, gone through a lot in their lives, and come out the other side wiser and better. A fine addition to an already impressive body of work. - A Model of Control

"I Will Remember It All Differently"

If you’re a regular round these parts, you’ve maybe noticed Alex and I priming the pump for I Will Remember It All Differently for a while. We’ve been keen to highlight Alter Der Ruine’s sixth LP not only to let folks know that the band’s back for another full tour of duty after their brief breakup a couple years back, but also to communicate just how much of a jump in sound Michael Jenney and Michael Treveloni, plus new full-time member Tamara Jenney, have made with I Will Remember It All Differently. The side benefit of this has been allowing the album to simmer in the headphones for about a month. I’ve appreciated being able to dip into I Will Remember‘s untested waters time and again until its currents became somewhat familiar, but I don’t think I’m close to ferreting out all of this record’s charms and techniques, let alone how to go about reconciling it with the band’s existing discography. Those might be irresolvable quandaries, but I can’t help but keep trying in the face of a record this damn good.

There’s no sense belaboring the obvious: this is the best album Alter Der Ruine have released by a long mile. But the exact form that said landmark has taken, the new musical and thematic territory the group is pushing into, is just as remarkable as (though perhaps inseparable from) any plaudits tossed out free of context. Yes, longtime hands will be able to connect the glitchier parts of I Will Remember‘s percussion and the pinched sequencing to the band’s earlier work. But there’s just no precedent for the emotional frailty which can be felt in each of Treveloni’s words, in the slowly building melodies which are simultaneously mournful and strident.

Between “Tiny Wars & Quiet Storms” and “Stars” you can get a Cole’s Notes sense of I Will Remember‘s climes. The former’s full of impressionist imagery but is strangely urgent; “Drink up to pretend the hounds don’t lie,” Treveloni advises, but the foreboding in his voice and the tight guitar chime set against choral pads lets you know no one’s fooling anyone with stopgap measures. “Stars” is an almost too-painful look at a relationship intact but forever altered by tragedy, its gut-punch paradoxically strengthened by a sparse yet reassuring arrangement.

It isn’t all painful self-examination, but even when I Will Remember heads out to party it’s wearing a brand new set of clothes. “Quiet Crime” delivers a radio-ready chorus that has a great “Muss es sein? Es muss sein!” question/answer structure amidst noir paranoia. Am I overstating things by referencing Beethoven in connection with a band still maybe most known to punters as “the guys who did that ‘moustache ride’ song“? That’s entirely possible, but such are the rhetorical extremes to which a record this unexpected has driven me. Things close on the mysterious, chilly, and slightly processional electro-industrial bounce of “Leviathan”, with muted pads and hushed vocals bringing Haujobb or Seabound to mind. There’s a disaffected coolness to “Leviathan” that’s separate from the rest of the album, and while its rhythmic structure does clearly hearken back to the band’s past, another album with its wintry programming would feel like yet another entirely new mode for the band.

Sitting square in the middle of the record, “Will We Tear You Apart?” remains the highlight of I Will Remember for me, containing as it does just about every one of its strengths and advances: an anthem slowly rises from a plainly stated condemnation and declaration of war, becoming stately and beautiful as synth melodies coalesce around the repeated assurance that “We’ve seen who you are”. It’s a bizarrely comforting and warming song given its language of retribution and pursuit; I’ve tried listening to it from the perspective of the just convicting the hypocritical as well as from that of a tortured narrator haunted by Kafkaesque dream police. I’m not saying that “Will We Tear You Apart?” needs a resolution, but the brain can’t help but field test interpretations as the tune works its way onto the queue again and again. It’s a solid analogy for how arresting and deep I Will Remember It All Differently has shown itself to be; it weaves immediate magic yet eschews simple resolutions. Highly recommended, and a definite album of the year contender.

Buy it. - I Die: You Die

"Resistanz 2013 - Corporation, Sheffield - 30/31-March 2013"

"Taking that break was actually the best thing I did all weekend, too, as things got seriously odd from this point on. Part of the credit for this can be taken by Alter der Ruine, whose long-awaited debut UK show was one of the most anarchic shows I've seen in the scene in a long, long time.

Only two of the band made it across to perform: Mike Jenney on drums and samples, and Mike T. doing the vocals and some electronics. And the sheer energy released from the stage throughout the whole set was really quite something - as was the sheer musical variety they packed into a forty-five minute set.

There was the old-school, straight-up (very fast!) industrial of Demon Missile, the vocal-led industrial funk of I Am Drugs (complete with the deeply odd lyrics that appear to be an internal monologue between a drug user and his drugs), the belting electro of Boozetooth, and then the utterly wonderful, delicate synthpop of Ghosts. And this was all within the first seven songs! Also squeezed in there were three new songs, all wildly different and suggesting that a new album will be just as enthralling and eclectic as the last few.

As we might have expected, though, things closed with a riotous Relax and Ride It, complete with a fair proportion of the crowd sporting fake moustaches (as arranged beforehand) - but what the band didn't expect was a mass stage invasion by other bands, resulting in most of them mooning the crowd with appropriately drawn moustaches...on their bare arses. They then stuck around to bang cowbells and Dave from Cease2xist took the mic while Mike T. got lost in the maelstrom, marvelling at just how nuts things had become.

Needless to say, it was a damned shame to see the set end. One of the most fearlessly experimental and accessible industrial/electro bands of their time, who manage to a keep a keen sense of humour to all that they do, it was fantastic to see them live at last, and indeed to see them return after their short hiatus. The massive buzz that this set caused afterward, and the grins on everyone's faces, suggested that I was not alone in my joy." -


2014 so far has been a great year for electronic music – in the last few months alone, I’ve had the pleasure of listening to and writing about the likes of 3TEETH, Seeming, and Randolph & Mortimer. And here we are now, sharing with you a band that’s new to my radar: Alter Der Ruine.

Alter Der Ruine is on the softer side of electronic, but they weren’t always this laid back. Hailing from Arizona, their roots are in powernoise. Nowadays, though, their atmospheric and layered synth tones are a great way to soundtrack your summer. “I Will Remember It All Differently” was released on July 8 and is available as a digital download and also as a physical CD. Remember those? (Please buy the CD and support physical media!)

Michael Treveloni provides the vocal work, and the immediate quality that stands out is that he’s not trying to sound like 85% of the other synth acts in existence. In a field that tends to get very same-y, Michael shines through with his raw vocal performances. No over-production here. Michael Jenney and Tamara Jenney round out the act, with the three collectively taking part in the music creation and programming.

The layering on “I Will Remember It All Differently” is masterfully created. The effect is top notch on a good pair of headphones – the listener will definitely notice the tiny nuances in the background layers even more on headphones or a good home audio system than through computer speakers. You can test it out here:

If forced to compare I Will Remember It All Differently to other existing music, it mostly gives hints of early 2000s Hybrid and A-Ha releases (this, not this). The electronics from Alter Der Ruine, combined with Treveloni’s vocal performances, put the band on a higher level. The versatility from earlier releases compared with the new album is quite astonishing – upon first listen, it’s impossible to even tell that this material has been created by some of the same people. However, as different as all their releases are, each one is an A-level album in its own right. I Will Remember It All Differently is an A+ piece of music from an incredibly diversely talented band. -


Still working on that hot first release.



Powernoise. It all started with powernoise and a dream to make a fierce racket. Founded in 2005 by Mike J (drums, programming), Alter der Ruine has always been a sort of strange desert anomaly. Like David Lynch describing a fever dream using synthesizers, it's magic, and it's weird. 

Operating out of Tucson, Arizona, the trio cut their gums and sharpened teeth in the electronic underground scenes; playing multiple countries, festivals and all manner of venues and parties that wanted something different. And Alter der Ruine is different, in a way that catches most people off guard. They are not shy. They have no qualms about making people pass out from dancing. There's a strange energy at work within their camp; and the more you dig into their world the more peculiar it all becomes. 
Because of their range of influences and challenges imposed upon themselves, Alter der Ruine's sound is not the easiest to pin down. A groovy synthpop jam is just at home next to a wall of pulsing, distorted electro funk. That's their bag. Chaos is what butters their bread. Alter der Ruine don't settle down and don't make things easy, they just ask you that you bring your face so they can get in it. You'll be glad you did. 

Band Members