atari teenage riot

London Riots August 2011 | By: Alec Empire

Tim Gauthier

About 15 hours ago or so I was listening to Obama’s voice over the internet…online radio…

I was doing something else, nothing important really… I had returned from Japan a few days before, but somehow this time jetlag had hit me pretty hard despite having played such energetic shows over there…

Sometimes in the past I felt nothing, but this time it was like that scene in Fight Club in which Edward Norton lays on the couch with his remote control, flicking through TV channels, suffering from insomnia. The only difference was that I had got rid of my TVset almost 10 years ago. I had three totally different books in front of me, couldn’t focus at all.

But when Obama came on, I suddenly felt a shot of adrenaline, I woke up. He was talking about how “Standard & Poor’s doubted our political system’s ability to act” – the US had been downgraded to an AA+ level. The debt level was increased, the problems far from solved. The information wasn’t what alerted me, it was the tone of his voice.

When Obama got elected, he convinced a whole generation just by speaking to them in a certain way, that democracy and capitalism will work out for everybody. We CAN change and improve things. Even though I come from a very different political standpoint and I am very aware of the power of the system, when it comes to the system changing individuals who tried to change it, I heard an honesty in this man’s voice which was rare amongst politicians. But suddenly what seemed to have changed mostly for me was his voice. It was the voice of a man who failed badly but out of respect for his listeners was performing a duty. The job of being President.

We live in a society which has no place for optimism anymore. It’s gone. Nobody wants to take the risk and predict a future, mainly because everybody feels powerless. Nobody even wants to take the responsibility and take matters into their own hands.

It’s stagnant. Establishments are regarded as fools. It is a constant battle between the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ and the ‘mob mentality’.

So while I was starting to feel like I was actually back in Berlin and awake, I looked outside the window, down on the street in which Atari Teenage Riot had played the peace demonstration on May 1st 1999. Thousands of people protested against Germany’s first involvement in an attack war since World War II. I remembered when I was on the microphone during a song and saw how the police beat into the, at that point, peaceful crowd. Of course the situation escalated, it’s all on film. Even though the images have become iconic and still give viewers the chills, but in my opinon they also tell a story of failure…

There is a long tradition in Berlin that the labor day, the 1st May ends in violence. In 1999 it was supposed to be different. The intent was to get across how serious people treat this issue of Germany sending their soldiers to war. The police failed, because they didn’t break up the crowd and things got out of hand. We all failed to get the real message across. The media had their images of violence, and basically a decade later, it seems perfectly ‘normal’ for German politicians to send troops into other countries.

Violence is always the result of people failing. Failing to communicate, failing to take responsibilities, failing to solve problems. Always.

Now the street in Berlin, Kreuzberg looks peaceful and quiet. Like it did a day before May 1st 1999 and the day after.

I turned back to my computer. The different news feeds were sending update after update. “Freddie Mac reports 2nd quarter loss, asks for $1.5B in federal aid”, “Bank of America now down -20.31%”, “Asia stocks fall after U.S. #stocks dive”, “Losses accelerating at Australian stock market; S&P/ASX200 index off 5%”

At the exact same time, more reports about looting in London, riots, clashes with police.

When European politicians discussed the crisis in Europe over the past weeks, you couldn’t help but get the impression that ‘the markets’ were some sort of wild untamable beast for them. One wrong word and bang, the swarm moving into another direction could destroy you. It makes people manipulate facts, makes people hide problems instead of solving them.

In situations of great stress and pressure most people just react to fear. When we want to understand the reasons for violence, we must look at fear first.

Once the snowball starts rolling, the destructive dynamic of it all can become so big, it takes a long time to heal and to repair the damage.

Vocalist Carl Crack sang in the Atari Teenage Riot song from 1993, an adaption of Sham 69′s ‘If the kids are united’ that

“the violence is a disease – it will become parts of our lives and our future if we don’t DO something against it! If we put our energies together it can be a very powerful era!”

The song was a reaction to the racist attacks by Neo-Nazis in reunified Germany which made most people call for more police, more laws, harder punishment. Carl was basically saying that we must act without waiting for the help of big brother government.

The link between Neo-Nazi ideology spreading and receiving more support and conservative right wing politics of the German government were clearly visible at the time.

There is a connection between mob, political leaders and those who do nothing and watch in apathy…

How often did we think about that in Germany since we were children? I can’t count it… How did Facism happen? How could people let it happen half a century ago? So when you constantly deal with the consequences of that history, you will always reach the point where you must think about the dangers and dynamics of the ‘mob mentality’.

It spreads like a virus, but make no mistake. When riots and violence occur they are always the result of those in power failing.

When a corrupt system falls apart, it never happens in a ‘controlled’ and ‘thoughtful’ way (apart from maybe GDR in 1989 which is almost a miracle in history). Real riots are not lead by intellectuals who read Marx, so don’t expect it.

But also don’t step into the mainstream media mouse trap:

The August riots in London have nothing to do with ‘anarchy’, they are the fruits of capitalism and the consequences of government decisions.

If you think ‘mindless thugs’ have ‘nothing to do with society’ and your part in it, you might be part of the problem.

To make it clear: I don’t justify or judge anything. I am saying there will be more because the system doesn’t work anymore.

I don’t think in terms of morals, wrong and right. So when this stuff happens, it is EVERYBODY’s fault. mine, yours, theirs.

It is frustrating how some people let politicians & bankers set fire to whole countries’ economies and their future but now are in shock of the results. People who commented were speaking as if a natural, unexpected disaster came over them, one that they didn’t have any control over or could have not prevented.

I know everybody got used to torture & war during the Bush years. But here is a reminder: Violence is ALWAYS a failure and a sign of when things go very wrong.

Reading opinions of other music fans from the UK I realized during that quiet night in Berlin, that people repeated commentaries of mainstream media, but disguised them as their own opinions.

The reporters kept repeating the same words over and over again: Mindless violence.

You got the impression that either this was decided before they arrived at the scenery or they kept copying and pasting from each other.

What struck me is how they made “mindless violence” sound like a crime in such a way that you ended up suggesting that “thoughtful violence” is justified in our society.

I lean back and read Wikileaks Twitter “The BBC can interview the Taliban, but is apparently incapable of a single meaningful interview with a London protester. “protesters” or “rioters”, there are no interviews, but endless pathetic commentary.”

It makes me think… Why do people divide between rioters and protestors? Aren’t those as ‘guilty’ who stood by and watched how a whole generation of young people were put into a corner where there is absolutely no way forward anymore? Morally is there a difference between a corporation which pays workers overseas pretty much nothing for manufacturing trainers and teenagers who steal them?

Who is attacking your property more? The looters who throw a brick into your window or the government who lends so much money that your children won’t be able to pay off the debts?

I keep reading….

Oh yes, the first voices as expected, demanding more police & higher budgets for police …while cuts in education were totally ok just a few months ago.

Having more police on the street can only be a reaction to violence, while EDUCATION PREVENTS violence. (As logically as it sounds to us, it is a threat to some in power because then the whole passive consumer business model doesn’t work anymore)

All these things are connected.

There’s a unified axis of government and corporate power, lawless and unrestrained. That’s what we should talk about. Corporations exploit the power of the state to further enhance their power and the real criminals get away. There’s a class war going on… And it’s the rich who are waging it.

Our society has a huge problem to solve. Let’s identify it properly and understand it so we can start acting because “praying for london” won’t do it….


Alec Empire / Atari Teenage Riot waving huge Anti Fascist Action flag at Fusion Festival. (taken by Freda)

posted by Alec Empire for EYHO Blog Berlin

Atari Teenage Riot in WIRED Magazine

Tim Gauthier

Check out the write up and photos below taken from Septembers issues of Wired Magazine.

In 1997, Rage Against The Machine took a support act on their “Evil Empire” tour called Atari Teenage Riot. These radical techno-punks, with their veneration of the Atari ST computer that they used to control their synths, ruffled a few feathers. “The engineers would say, ‘You guys want to kill rock and roll,’ recalls Alec Empire, ATR’s Berlin-based frontman. “‘If everyone just put a computer on stage we wouldn’t have a job.'”

Today the band is touring Is This Hyperreal?, their first studio album in over a decade, at a time when information technologies pervade music. But the disruptive effect of the group’s hardware hasn’t been neutralised, says Empire, 39. Rather, it has evolved.

On the Atari, all of the musical data is hand-coded: every note, pitch bend and velocity. “It’s weird loading up information written in 1992 — I wonder who else could understand it. So perhaps the computer can now be seen as an instrument,” says Empire. “Then the question is how much more modern does music made on a modern computer sound?”

The group’s “glitchy” tones — a kind of designed imperfection — also have new meaning. From music to nuclear energy, “people look at technology as a religion and say, ‘This will solve all our problems.’ I’m very sceptical about that.”

To here to see the article on Wired.

Video: Atari Teenage Riot – Blood In My Eyes

Tim Gauthier

Atari Teenage Riot ‘Blood In My Eyes’ featured on Rodney on the Roq’s playlist! Time for Nic Endo to put focus on the main message of the song. She filmed this a few days ago.

With one of the most influential shows to ever hit mainstream radio, humble tastemaker Rodney Bingenheimer has significantly propelled the careers of artists like The Ramones, The Smiths, and the Sex Pistols. His show “Rodney on the Roq” has been on the air for over 35 years, developing him a reputation as Los Angeles’ kingmaker of up-and-coming bands. As one of the only radio disc jockeys to ever support the Punk/Rock/New Wave scene, Rodney has impacted mainstream music and molded it into what it is today.

See the full playlist on kroq.radio.com and click here to view the current tour dates for Atari Teenage Riot. atari-teenage-riot.com

Note: All characters in this video are fictional and they were played by actors.

Atari Teenage Riot wants YOU to be in their video for “Black Flags.”

Tim Gauthier

Atari Teenage Riot puts a great deal of thought into their videos and if you are an ATR fan and this is something you might be interested in, see below to learn more about “Black Flags,” the political ideals of ATR, and how to get involved.

 

 

 
 


Atari Teenage Riot – Black Flags (Viral)

Producer: Atari Teenage Riot
Editing and parts of the filming: Marty
Actors: ATR, ATR fans up to the world’s population

 
 
Concept:

Atari Teenage Riot wants to make a video statement with their new single “Black Flags” and involve their fans and others who support the idea behind the song.

In the past decade we have witnessed how dangerous corruption can be for ordinary citizens (from Fukushima to the financial crisis, we could even include the current phone hacking scandals in the UK in this. The list goes on. Almost weekly more shocking news is being published).

Corporate greed has too often put the lives of people in danger. Many ask themselves if Washington is still run by elected politicians or instead by the lobbyists of multinational corporations.

Citizens point the finger at individual politicians and try to blame them, however, it is becoming clearer and clearer that this is a global problem. There is a similar pattern in many different countries all over the world.

Historically, the Black Flag stood for not belonging to a certain Nation State (due to the fact that no national colours were used on it). For the band it means also that no individual can look at him/herself as superior to others just because of his/her national identity.

The mainstream media often looks at ‘consumers’ and labels them as ‘apathetic’. We see the exact opposite at our concerts. And not only that… The protests around the world indicate that at this point in time there is more political activism than ever before.

Cynics always find many reasons for not doing anything and being miserable. Often they say that the world is too ‘complex’ to get involved. We believe that even though the world is complex, there are some fundamental ideas which are powerful. Respect for another human being, for example, is a fundamental idea which grants great power.

If you agree to the basic principles of equality and freedom, join us and make a statement!

The visuals of Atari Teenage Riot videos have always been very important. Directors like Philipp Virus, Andrea Giacobbe, John Hillcoat, and Zan Lyons have done an excellent job in working together with the band and getting the message across to a wide audience.

Remember ‘Speed’, ‘Revolution Action’, ‘Too Dead For Me’ or ‘Activate’, we want ‘Black Flags’ to follow in those footsteps but with one key difference: We want you to be in it!

Atari Teenage Riot has started working on the video already. If you want to be in the video and show that you support the ideals mentioned above, please send us the following footage:

– take your mobile phone, webcam or any other camera and film yourself lip-synching the song (lyrics below)

– have a black flag in the background, or hold it while you’re lip-syncing. (The black flag motif will link all images together. If you don’t have one to hand, use a black t-shirt, pull it inside out, stick the arms into it…there you go.)

– you can choose any location for it. If you want to do it at home, great. If you know a crazy location, do it there. (In front of your school or university? At a shopping mall? With your friends at a party?)

– We will use fragments of all videos which are sent in and ultimately add all of you to the official video.

The video will be online and we will fill in the blank spots more and more over the coming weeks until the new single is released. But the process will not end with the release of the single. We have remixes coming! So if you have a great idea that you can put in place after the release date, do it, we will keep adding as long as we are getting material from you all!

– If you want to support the idea but want to do so anonymously, you can cover your face. No problem.

– Please always send in a video link to this email : blackflags@atari-teenage-riot.net
(don’t attach the files directly please.)

 
 

Up to the release of Black Flags Atari Teenage Riot will perform at these festivals:

29.07.2011 KR-Seoul, Jisan Valley Rock Festival
31.07.2011 JP-Yuzawa, Niigata, Fuji Rock Festival ’11
01.08.2011 Alec Empire does instore DJ set in Tokyo
12.08.2011 CH-Le Locle, Rock Altitude Festival
13.08.2011 DE-Hildesheim, Mera Luna Festival
26.08.2011 FR-Charleville-Mezieres, Cabaret Vert
04.09.2011 US-Seattle, WA, Bumbershoot Festival

Right now the band is working out a way to access the public area and film it with you!
So make sure you bring a black flag or wear a black t-shirt, you can appear together in the video with ATR.

Any questions?

Just ask! 🙂

 
 

Now to the next step…

If you want to go a step further, we want to introduce you to

“Corpsing” – the silent protest for all people who have died as a result of corporate greed.

Planking has been probably the most fun trend since break dancing. When ATR waited at an airport in Southern Europe, they did quite a lot of planks in the silliest locations, until some airport authorities tried to stop them. (Yes, it was after a huge concert, no photos were made, and no tweets were made…) From that the idea of “corpsing” developed through public appearances of Anonymous and from the acts of political activists in China!

How can one make people pay attention to something very serious and important if adverts scream at you all the time until you shut down all senses?

ATR has already tested it in some places in Berlin to see the reaction.

Alec Empire lay down on his back, like a corpse, and put a black flag over his head/face. Apart from it being a very strong image, many people stopped and did what they are supposed to: Ask a question! To our surprise people from all kinds of backgrounds immediately understood and supported what we were talking about.

So if you have a friend or another person who can film you corpsing/protesting in silence, PLEASE SEND IT IN.

The release date of Black Flags is only days away from 9/11. When we realized that it has been ten years, and when we looked at how many have used deaths of real people for their own political and economical greed since then, the original idea of the song made so much more sense again.

If you agree, film yourself in public places, even on the dance floor, wherever you can raise awareness and send it to us!

We will include you in the video.

 

Video: Steve Aoki & Atari Teenage Riot LIVE – Black Flags (Tony Senghore Remix)

Tim Gauthier

Atari Teenage Riot performed the brand new Tony Senghore remix of their hit, “Black Flags”, alongside Steve Aoki on the Dim Mak stage at the Optimus Alive Festival 2011 in Lisbon, Portugal this past month to an eager crowd of fans. Check out the video below…

Atari Teenage Riot – “Is This Hyperreal?” Out Now!

Tim Gauthier

Purchase Physical Copy:

Purchase Digital Copy:

 

 
Atari Teenage Riot “Is This Hyperreal?”
Release Date: June 07, 2011 (Digitally) – July 26, 2011 (CD in stores)

 
Is This Hyperreal?, Atari Teenage Riot’s first album released through LA future stomp label Dim Mak, is an acetylene laced documentation of ATR’s re-ignition after an eleven year silence. Produced, mixed, recorded with Alec Empire, Nic Endo and new ATR member CX Kidtronik (Saul Williams / Nine Inch Nails) at ATR’s fourth studio release was made at the Hellish Vortex studio in Berlin.

Tracklisting
1. Activate!
2.Blood In My Eyes
3. Black Flags
4. Is This Hyperreal?
5. Codebreaker
6. Shadow Identity
7. Re-Arrange Your Synapses
8. Digital Decay
9. The Only Slight Glimmer of Hope
10. The Collapse of History

A cultural cold war divided upon class lines, a new age of surveillance, heroes’ incarcerated in the worst conditions possible for speaking out against the military complex, a corrupt press core owned by multi-national corporations and raised to repeat sound bytes. This is the post-cyberpunk world on the brink of collapse Atari Teenage Riot’s fourth album Is This Hyperreal? is born into. Every track is an iridescent explosion of nervous energy requesting your attendance in Atari Teenage Riot’s campaign party of education and awareness. Having influenced a generation of M.I.A., Crystal Castles, Le Tigre, Sleigh Bells, and Pendulum, Atari Teenage Riot is a welcome shot in the arm of the music industry.

“Activate!” starts the album with Atari Teenage Riot’s most concise statement of intent yet. On a backing of explosive 1991 hardcore jungle synths, super collider bass kicks, and guitar shrapnel Alec , Nic, and Kidtronik spurn us into a campaign of equality, activation, and eradication of ignorance.

In “Blood In My Eyes” Alec Empire merges his chiptunes style first shown in 1999’s Nintendo Teenage Robots album with the sound of Crass exploding out of the trunk two cars over. Contained within Nic’s first lead vocal in Atari Teenage Riot tells a tale of enslavement and revenge for all of the women lost within our global human trafficking problem. “Blood In My Eyes” is a riveting electronic punk rock diatribe, paying homage to the feminine retributive subtexts espoused by cult films like ‘Kill Bill’ and heavily censored French art-house offering, ‘Baise-Moi.’ “Black Flags” is a low slung, subwoofer punching, anthem announcing Atari Teenage Riot’s support of Anonymous’ grassroots human rights campaign.

We’re allowed a brief respite to catch our breath during “Is This Hyperreal?”. The album’s title track slow cooks with seething analog synths reminiscent of Vangelis’ score for Blade Runner, symphonic percussion and a gurgling acid line are the soundtrack to the birth of a cyborg. “Codebeaker” is a stomping electro rockabilly stormer. Rubbery basslines command your posterior to action; sawtooth guitars swarm your head as Alec and Kidtronik lead us onto wall street to ask the question of “What went wrong?” Dim Mak label boss Steve Aoki’s vocals add an LA Hardcore vibe to give it that much more of a brutal punch.

“Shadow Identity” is Nic’s second lead vocal of the album and the most unexpected hook. On top of a New Order bassline and what sounds like a drum line made performed by an obsolete automotive assembly line Nic interweaves a narrative of blood diamonds, global trade and consumer awareness. “Re-arrange Your Synapses” is a new gabber punk classic. The 909 drum machine speeds up to a blurred fever pitch as Alec and Nic dive bomb verses painting a near future world of post net neutrality legislation where access to money and corporations control the public’s access to information on the internet.

Atari Teenage Riot saves their most straightforward electro romp for “Digital Decay”. Showcasing a thick gurgling bassline, razor taunt snares and Nic as a floating artificial intelligence prophet. “Digital Decay” would fit perfectly into one of Aoki’s legendary DJ sets. “The Only Slight Glimmer of Hope” is dripping with uplifting brash, sing-along, sass-bag vocals and deep driving modular synth work. “The Only Slight Glimmer of Hope” is Atari Teenage Riot’s legendary effortless synthesis of Crass, Throbbing Gristle, and Kraftwerk.

“The Collapse of History” immediately makes itself known as the most unexpected and welcome Atari Teenage Riot song ever. Throwing listeners for a complete curveball Alec flexes his 90s hardcore influence by intertwining stadium sized jungle breakbeats with a national anthem. Nic transforms herself into a pop dance diva and brings her sassiest vocal performance of the album. The mind glue chorus celebrating the overthrow of corrupt institutions hits your like warm sunlight after an all night rave. As ATR ends the album “Humanity will win in the end.”
 


 

 

Atari Teenage Riot featured on Rodney on the Roq’s playlist!

Tim Gauthier

With one of the most influential shows to ever hit mainstream radio, humble tastemaker Rodney Bingenheimer has significantly propelled the careers of artists like The Ramones, The Smiths, and the Sex Pistols. His show “Rodney on the Roq” has been on the air for over 35 years, developing him a reputation as Los Angeles’ kingmaker of up-and-coming bands. As one of the only radio disc jockeys to ever support the Punk/Rock/New Wave scene, Rodney has impacted mainstream music and molded it into what it is today.

See the full playlist on kroq.radio.com and click here to view the current tour dates for Atari Teenage Riot.

ATR – Blood In My Eyes by DimMakRecords

New US Atari Teenage Riot Tour Dates

Tim Gauthier

Atari Teenage Riot is touring the United States this Fall. See below for live footage, 2011 tour dates, and ticket links!

[gigpress_shows scope=upcoming artist=2]

See what people are saying about the new Atari Teenage Riot album!

Tim Gauthier

“Few bands have ever detonated as powerfully in the underground as Atari Teenage Riot. Put simply, they were the conscience of electronic music. They were a band that sounded the way you always wanted The Prodigy to sound. A band akin to Black Flag if that outfit had existed in an age where every home had a computer. And their influence burned big and bright.” – NME New Musical Express

“ATR are very much part of this process. Electronic pioneers, they have not lost their edge. The series of recent gigs and the tantalising free download show that Empire and his droogs must return to the frey full time. This is noise at its life-affirming and dramatised best.” – The Quietus

“Welcome back Atari Teenage Riot! Deutschlands Techno Punk Skullcrushers have risen again!” – Mojo Magazine

“The trio were as fiery as a bucketful of wasabi. At one point, Empire tore off of his shirt andcarried on as if it were the year 2000 all over again and all that mattered was pure energyand sonic assault. At times the songs ran together, one sounding much like the next.The show was plainly terrifying. It’s rare in a world now ruled by Miley Cyrus and JustinBieber to hear music that is so angry with itself and with everything else around it.But ATR’s overwhelming energy is difficult to deny, and difficult not to admire — preferablyfrom a safe distance.” – Spin Magazine

“For the record then, not only is Empire one of the smartest rock stars working the field, but he’s also the least boring by miles. Make no mistake, ‘Activate’ is the most exhilarating, futuristic and punk rock single of the month.” – Artrocker

“Everything from electroclashs dirty rappers to MIAs fuzzy, distorted new beats bear the hallmarks of their Digital Hardcore label and sound.” – The Guardian

“It is a literally bruising return that will hopefully last longer than the dates currently scheduled; despite Empires ongoing solo success, his stage presence is never stronger than when performing these songs with his ATR cohorts.” – Sphere Mag

“There have also been many changes in the wider world of electronic music, and its pleasing to see that ATR have evolved in a way that takes this into account, while retaining their signature sound.” – Shout4music

“This song has a gentle whiff of wild marchs on the streets, doped by at least 130 dB. Think riots, excesses and protests. Think anti-governemental and anti-fascist actions. Think mayhem.” – The 405

“ATR did not only introduced the world to a whole new sound they mixed punk attitude with electronic music.” – GlamScam

“ATR will always have a place in my heart. To be honest they were one of the first bands to get me to appreciate electronic music at all. With a perfect balance of punk attitude and electronic chaos, they created a style all their own.” – The Big Stereo

“Make no mistake, ‘Activate’ is the most exhilarating, futuristic and punk rock single of the month. (…) ATR arent like any other band. Theyre the only group that could have cut a record with Rage Against The Machine and have it be their meekest recording. Theyre the only group that iTunes have censored on the grounds that their music could create riots! Ten years and several line up changes makes no difference to tonights immediate onslaught of rave, punk, screaming and pounding gabba. The finale consists of the fiercest white noisesquall of the evening, and the audience’s reaction (moshing, screaming, crowdsurfing, shoes flying through the air) seems to indicate they dont care either.” – Artrocker


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Is This Hyperreal?
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Blood In My Eyes (Single)
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All About: Atari Teenage Riot (via rdio.com)

Tim Gauthier

Crafting quasi-political music with a punk influence and techno beats, German band Atari Teenage Riot paved the way for a new genre called digital hardcore when they emerged in 1992. After a 10 year hiatus, they reformed and released their fourth studio album today, Is This Hyperreal?. Learn more about this intriguing set of musicians in this “Five Questions with the Band” and playlist by clicking here.


Would you like to understand how Atari Teenage Riot’s brains are wired? Good—there’s a playlist for that, compliments of the band.

Atari Teenage Riot Beef With Apple Over Riot-Inducing iPhone App

Tim Gauthier



 
Recently reunited German electro-punk spazzes Atari Teenage Riot are still causing controversy. ATR’s iPhone app has been delayed by the German iTunes store due to a dispute over its content. The free app is set to feature every ATR album, song, and video, as well as photos, news updates, and more. But it also included something called “Riotsounds Produce Riots”, an audio player that features sounds that ATR used at a May Day protest in 1999, at which the band members were arrested. …read full story here.