Ganser, “Odd Talk”

Ganser - Odd Talk

Ganser
Odd Talk
No Trend Records

Discussions of post-punk (including those native to this site) often speak of its mood as if there’s a direct corollary between it and a certain type or style of instrumentation. Is it “dour”? Well, then of course we’d be talking about slow, low-key bass guitar heavy music. Is it “anxious”? Then we must be in the sort of up-tempo, groove and jagged guitar territory which lights up dance floors every few years. The latest from Chicago’s Ganser throws all of that out the window. Odd Talk has moods, to be certain – it’s a frustrated record, an uneasy record – but it reaches them with clashes in sound and an almost pastiche like approach seemingly designed to keep the listener on edge.

Some of the above restlessness in instrumentation and feel can perhaps be explained when the influence of original no wave on Ganser is considered, both musically and spiritually. Guitar and bass rarely speak the same language let alone move in the same direction on Odd Talk, and the results are disquieting from the start. It’s often left to the vocals, traded between Alicia Gaines and Nadia Garofolo to guide the tracks, and they’re rarely heading anywhere comforting. “Don’t disappoint, don’t overdo, don’t die, like, really die” Garofolo demands of herself in opening track “Comet”‘s personal reflection.

Brief interstitial pieces of music, some sampled (the bossa nova-type rhythm at the end of “YES NO”), some originally composed (the gentle synth refrain which opens and closes “Revel”), offer respite from the oppressive and clattering sound Ganser pursue, but that’s short-lived. The churning and borderline atonal fretwork of “PSY OPS” certainly feels like the musical equivalent of its namesake. A more permanent resolution comes right at the end, in the form of an out of left field shoegaze number, “Touch Insensitive”. The regretful and mournful lyrics which make up much of the rest of Odd Talk are still in place, but clad in Medicine-like garb some degree of succour is finally reached.

Their first full-length after two EPs, Odd Talk is far more fragmented and discordant in its delivery than Ganser’s preceding work. Ironically, that sense of fragmentation and difficulty gives the group a much firmer identity. Regardless of its apparently perpetual state of unease, the experimentation of the record’s construction give Ganser a new purpose and intensity.

Buy it.

Odd Talk by Ganser

Michael Idehall, “Prophecies of the Storm”

Michael Idehall
Prophecies of the Storm
Ant-Zen

Like his previous releases for Ant-Zen, Michael Idehall’s newest Prophecies of the Storm is an exploration of his self-coined “seancetronica” sound. In practice, the Swedish producer/performer mixes up ambient, power electronics and rhythmic noise signifiers into a whole, with a strong streak of esoteric thematics and personal poetics shaping the mood and tone. As with all his work, Idehall himself is something of a focal point, his rich baritone intoning ritual chants and secretive whispers that further highlight the arcane bent of the music.

Even by Idehall’s standards, there’s an opaque, impenetrable air to the music on Prophecies of the Storm. Moments of clarity exist, like on the cleanly mixed drone n’ noise number “Gordian Knot”, but more often the album uses washes of noise and bass (“One Who Sees All”, “Another Prophet of the Storm”) or cavernous reverb textures and glacial loops (“Bear Nemesis”, “In the Dark Vapour”) to blur the edges of each composition into obscurity. Sometimes both approaches meet in a controlled cacophony, as on the slow-rolling “Another Prophet of the Storm”, whose pulsing beat creates a visceral, physical reaction even at lower volumes. There’s a weight to how each song is rendered, as vast fields of slowly expand, growing in mass and then dissipating with surprising transience. You would think this mode of operation would best lend itself to lengthy track times, but only one individual track breaking the five and a half minute mark, a secret sign of Idehall’s reservation as a an arranger.

Still, the album is forceful, and its intensity is both discomfiting and beguiling. While its vastness and carriage has the effect of making the music harder to parse, it also draws in the ear, as whirring, crackling energies flit across the stereo spectrum, beckoning. Idehall works that push-pull of exceptionally, hiding himself in behind simile and ducking sonic elements in the mix, while still showing enough of himself that he himself isn’t lost. Oftentimes the record’s explorations feel like a kind of metaphorical chase, as Idehall forges forwards through unmapped territory, sometimes disappearing briefly from the listener, and then reappearing in the distance, or even right in front them. The lack of an easy path for pursuit is part of the experience, Prophecies of the Storm‘s uncertain destination its central appeal. Recommended.

Buy it.

Tracks: April 16th, 2018

What a weekend it’s been! Verboden is officially in the can, and after four full days of cramming in as much live dark music as we can, we’re pooped. So pooped, in fact, that we thought this would be a great week to turn things over to the community in the Telekon Slack channel we run with Talking To Ghosts. The crew there are talking about new music non-stop, and with the mix of artists and aficionados we have, we knew they’d come up with a great slew of tracks!

Lana Del Rabies

Maenad Veyl, “Talon”
Lately I’ve been very hungry for a specific type of EBM/techno fusion, and while perusing the “ebm” tag on Bandcamp, this track from Italian techno producer Thomas Fereiro (AKA Avatism) under the moniker Maenad Veyl grabbed me very hard indeed. With a gritty metallic staccato to the dominant synth riff and deep, echoing percussion, the ebbs and flows call back to a classic acid sound that sits this track down in good company with the current crop of techno producers pulling influence straight from the backcatalog of EBM’s halcyon days. – Hexcession (FKA Pathogen)
The Acceptance ov Not Knowing by Maenad Veyl

Gör FLsh, “Long Roads”
Hailing from Québec City, Gör FLsh blends heavy metal, industrial and a dash of EBM and whips it into a frenetic track that challenges the electronic genre. Durand’s seamless mixing of complex sounds begs one to don the 80′s metal jacket you wish you had stashed in your closet and to rock our with fingers raised. A little retro, a lot modern and thoroughly fun. – Aisha
Long Roads by Gör FLsh

Lana Del Rabies, “Vicious End”
Under the appropriately transmutative name, Lana Del Rabies, Phoenix based artist Sam An continues to confront the chaos and uncertainties of this anxious world with her harrowing and visceral work. Released March 23rd on Deathbomb Arc, her new album, Shadow World, offers an unflinching blend of punishing rhythms and unsettling vocals – revealing darkness and a personal intensity, equally on display, as seen in the video for Vicious End. In producing Shadow World, Sam An writes that she found herself dealing with an incredibly difficult year, partly due to the current political climate, but also for personal reasons. She states: “I felt a lot of darkness in the public consciousness as well as a lot of darkness in myself. Things happened that were out of my control, things happened in situations where I lost control of myself.” This seems to underline a tone of deep purging presented in Vicious End. Its repetitive dissonance and uncomfortably pure catharsis shares a beautiful expression of honesty cut clearly through the noise. – Brant Showers of ∆AIMON

Peter Turns Pirate, “Jaw Drop”
The one man force of nature known as Peter Turns Pirate is back at it again with a new EP. “View As Strange” features five new tracks and as an added bonus, tracks from his last EP. However, this particular track is a favorite of mine. A hard driving, body moving three minutes and twenty-six seconds rife with braggadocio with pop qualities laced in it. Pop seems to be a dirty word in industrial, but this song makes it work pretty damn well. It’s as frenetic and action packed as the singer himself. I think it’ll get even the staunchest Goth up and moving. – Danesha Artis, Standard Issue Citizen
View As Strange by Peter Turns Pirate

Locked Club, “Osaka Madness feat. RLGN”
I can’t find much about Russia’s Locked Club, but their track “Osaka Madness” with RLGN has made me excited to hear what else is going to be coming on their ЛОМАЙ EP. Pulling more towards techno than EBM perhaps, a simple bassline pulses through the track, complemented by a bright, sort of lo-fi pluck that carries the pace of the song. The song constantly evolves – driving hats and the pluck flow into claps layered with metallic clangs, contrasting with a sort of soft pad, which gives way to a hard, driving bass line that makes your body move for the full five minutes. –
Wesley Mueller, The Blood Of Others, Talking To Ghosts
ЛОМАЙ EP by Locked Club

Relic, “Pray”
Cincinnati’s Relic may be one of the most aptly named projects in the industrial rock genre, drawing heavy influence from its golden age of the early 1990’s. Their new EP, Social Drift, would not sound out of place on either the Re-Constriction nor Fifth Colvmn labels from that era. With several highlights over its six tracks, one of the numbers standing out it is “Pray”. It’s very reminiscent of the output of Numb’s early catalogue, replete with stabbing synths & sub-automatic basslines. This is definitely an act to keep your eyes on. -JSun Lhundub Dorti Bruner, Dharmata 101
Social Drift by Relic

Sophya, “Technicolor”
Israel’s Sophya are releasing their first proper studio album since 2006’s Third Wish. The teaser they’ve given us with “Technicolor” showcases their cross-pollination of darkwave and dreampop, with shimmering guitars and woozy synths forming an ambiance that is simultaneously warm but somber, soaring but withdrawn. Sonja Rozenblum also sings in the band’s native language on this track (I assume). I Die: You Die has been speculating that 2018 is the year of a major darkwave revival in the universe of Our Thing. If that holds true throughout the year, then Sophya’s return could not have picked a more fitting time to release a new record. Broken Mirrors comes out April 21st. – Zander, Lilith, PhxGoth.com
Broken Mirrors by Sophya

We Have a Commentary: And One, “Anguish”

For this month’s Patreon-supported bonus commentary podcast, Bruce and Alex chat about And One’s 1991 LP Anguish! Speculation runs rampant as our two intrepid hosts jabber about what has made the band so unique, how much of their future is apparent from their very first release and a host of other topics as refracted through the lens of Steve Naghavi and company’s debut album. So get out your metal hammers, and book your ticket on Devil Airlines, because it’s (Crime)time for We Have a Commentary! You can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, download directly or stream from Spotify or the widget down below.

Observer: Phil Barry & Corvax

Phil Barry - The Inside Out
Phil Barry
The Inside Out
self-released

Phil Barry’s work as one half of the legendary Cubanate needs no introduction, and his recent work as Be My Enemy has shown his talents for stand-alone songwriting. His new solo release is of a wholly different cast than either of those projects, however. Crafted with effect and loop pedals and a single guitar (check the release page for details if you’re a gear-head), the eight pieces which comprise The Inside Out are ambient works of striking warmth and serenity. While the manner in which soft waves of tone and feedback are slowly woven back and forth initially reminded me of Nurse With Wound’s immortal Soliloquy for Lilith, as the delicate chiming of Barry’s guitar work unfolded, a host of more “approachable” names came to mind: Eno, Budd, and the more minimal moments of Robin Guthrie’s solo catalog. Although the record’s structure suggests an at least somewhat improvisational process, the clarity and precision with which simple but striking notes are struck across layers of analog warmth suggests careful consideration of the changes in mood any of those notes might evoke. The simultaneous vulnerability and confidence connoted by The Inside Out hits deep regardless of your level of familiarity with Barry’s far more acerbic work.
The Inside Out by Phil Barry


Corvax
Fake EP
Audiotrauma

London-based industrialist Corvax is absolutely the kind of act you would expect to hear on audiotrauma. While the label run by Arco and Syco Trauma of Chrysalide encompasses a lot of different sonic ideas, Corvax embodies the angry, rusty aesthetics that we associate with the former act to a tee. There’s also a lot of off-kilter stop-start timing and sample abuse on the project’s first EP Fake that make the association abundantly clear. It’s a brash and punky effort that makes the most of the rage fuels it, with opener “I’m Fine… (Keep It All In)” coming out swinging with screamed vocals, gritty lo-fi programming and clanging percussion that gates open and shut to create dynamics. Follow-up “Anger Out” goes full rhythmic noise at the outset but quickly transitions to grinding bass and a suprisingly funky cymbal-led groove before a full-on hardcore breakdown with Corvax howling “Use my face as a fucking drum!” over it. Latter tracks “I Don’t Fucking Care” and “Get a Real Job” are a bit less overtly agresssive, but no less caustic in their delivery, although both feature surprisingly melodic moments of calm amidst the chaos. Coming at 4 tracks and a little over ten minutes, it’s a bracing introduction to an act whose rabid veneer belies some surprising emotion and vulnerability. Invigorating stuff.
Fake EP by Corvax

We Have a Technical 203: Almost Dignified

Running a Train with Sturm Cafe

Smack between the Boy Harsher/Soft Moon and this coming weekend’s Verboden fest, the Senior Staff come together to discuss records by Modern English and Sturm Café…with an absolute minimum of WrestleMania talk, we promise. Does it matter which school post-punk bands attended? Is old school EBM referencing Charlemagne? Find out all that and more on the latest episode of We Have A Technical! You can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, download directly or stream from Spotify or the widget down below.

Dødsmaskin, “Fiende”

Dødsmaskin - Fiende

Dødsmaskin
Fiende
Cyclic Law

The exact line separating death industrial from pure noise can be difficult to ascertain, especially when the former grows particularly dense and overwhelming. It’s not the most empirical metric, but there’s an underlying mood, part sardonic, part misanthropic, which at least for me, characterizes death industrial in this regard. Whether that takes the form of a record’s historical or philosophical framing or is just an unquantifiable meanness, the sense of control and drive (even if ultimately futile) which characterizes death industrial endures even amidst densely layered cacophony. That malevolent spirit serves Norway’s Dødsmaskin in good stead on their third LP, keeping all of Fiende‘s unearthly noise in uncanny order.

Dødsmaskin’s sound is churning, machine-like, and relentless; fitting given their moniker. Beyond the more classical machines of death industrial of all stripes has been concerned with for years, Fiende is apparently a meditation on the threat of strong AI, but the squalling throes of “Blod Fra Helvete” seem to speak more to primal faults in humanity which predate such contemporary anxieties (I can’t speak to the substance of brief spoken passages). A recurring motif throughout the record are drones, blasts of static, and subterranean pads seemingly being left free to roam but offset by rhythmic industrialized clatter. Whether through mixing techniques or arrhythmic quirks, these beats often feel out of phase with the rest of the composition, producing that aforementioned tension between chaos and structure. Are the klaxons which scream out over “Syndrom” emerging forms of AI attempting to get out from the shackles of their programming at the rhythmic base of the track? What’s the connection between the cricket-like pulses of “Den Nye Døden” and the power noise-styled pummeling which occupies so much of its mix? Damned if I can tell, but it’s all effectively unsettling.

I’d like to make some hay of the fact that Dødsmaskin are releasing “Fiende” on Cyclic Law after having their previous LP issued by Malignant, but I’m not exactly sure what this signifies. While the latter certainly seems an environment more in keeping with the duo’s harsh and unremitting style, could there be some hidden flourish to Fiende‘s style or construction which made Cyclic Law’s dark ambient ethos a more welcoming haven? If so, I’ve been unable to detect it. Even when closer “Posthum” brings some lamenting harmonic pads into the fold in the record’s closing minutes, crackling distortion ultimately prevails, effacing the briefest moments of calm into ash.

Buy it.

Fiende by DØDSMASKIN

Blac Kolor, “Awakening”

Blac Kolor
Awakening
Hands Productions

Hendrick Grothe’s Blac Kolor project emerged in 2013, around the time that the current wave of techno-industrial crossover sounds was really starting to take form. Those early records for Basic Unit Productions were rhythmically focused, with Grothe’s background as a DJ shaping his production ethos. Even then though, the aesthetics of Blac Kolor were apparent, with opaque sound design and spacious atmospheres being central to the project’s character. On the producer’s debut for Hands Productions Awakening those same elements are given the lion’s share of the spotlight, largely forgoing the dancefloor in favour of a rich, textural listening experience.

That doesn’t mean that rhythm is absent from the LP. In fact it still serves a central purpose, it’s just a different purpose than on previous releases. Pre-release single “We Are the Darkness” is a good example of how Grothe’s rhythm programming is used to create structure and balance in a track, with the shape of the song defined by the density and arrangement of drum hits, while vocal samples and sinister pads dictate the mood and feeling. The deep, bassy “Loneliness” and rhythmic noise inflected “One Floor” definitely rely on groove as a building block, but it’s the shimmery sonic veil of the former and the woozy breath of the latter that make them distinct. There are danceable songs in the form of the title track (which features a brief vocal from Front 242′s Jean-Luc De Meyer), the body-music inflected “Nano Creator”, and the surprisingly smooth “All of Us”, although they’re far different animals in terms of disposition than the flat-out bangers that you might expect from Blac Kolor.

Awakening‘s emphasis on design gives it a lot of scope, and that both works for and against it. On the plus side, there are moments on the record that articulate a real thoughtfulness in construction, like how the whirring, ticking complexity of “Fall Into Oblivion” gives way to the ambience of “Abstand”, or how “Fire God!” cleverly invokes rhythmic noise with the same toolset used on the dubby, cinematic “Tears”. That said its expansiveness and monochromatic palette also make it harder to stay invested in across a single listening session, as the details of each track’s construction stack up and blur together. Blac Kolor have traded some immediacy in order to explore more intricate ideas and forms, and given its hour plus length its a record that takes some investment from the listener to really appreciate. It’s an ambitious LP, and for those willing to put the time in, it yields subtle and understated rewards.

Buy it.

Awakening by Blac Kolor

Tracks: April 9th, 2018

Presumably you spent your weekend like we did, packing to move, recording a bonus podcast, watching about a dozen hours of pro-wrestling, going to drag comedy shows, and seeing Boy Harsher and The Soft Moon to top it all off. In case you had better things (???) to do, here’s a recap: moving sucks, Bianca Del Rio remains the Don Rickles of drag, AJ vs Nakamura disappointed, and we had a good time at the show, which you’ll be able to hear about on We Have a Technical this week. We’re pretty exhausted, TBH, and with Verboden on the horizon it’s probably best that we just get to Tracks and then get back to it before we lose momentum and crumble into dust.

Visitor

Visitor ain't saying shit about the new Edmonton EBM formula.

Visitor, “God Of All Flesh”
Edmonton’s Visitor have cropped up with a sound that’s about as far away from what comes to mind when we think of our prairie neighbours as we could conceive. Trading in a body-rocking and distinctly funky style of EBM, the duo’s demo release was quickly snapped up late last year, and is now being followed up with a full length LP on up and coming Berlin label Detriti. We’ll likely have some long form comments on Expat when it’s released in a month or so, but until then just enjoy the echoing, slap-heavy bass of this cut.
Visitor – Expat by Detriti Records

Celldöd, “Du Fick Som Du Ville”
Hot on the heels of last week’s slice of brutish analogue body music, we get another taste of what Celldöd is up to. As with all of Anders’ work in this project, you genuinely get that this is the product of hardware production, with all that that entails from a sequencing and performance perspective, raw and real as it comes. You can find the cut on the Myth Machine compilation from NEN Records , a release that is “dedicated to myths as a ways of giving meaning to the suffocating meaningless reality”, natch. Check the Myrrman track that is streaming currently while you’re at it.
Myth Machine by Celldöd

Fixmer, “The Wall”
aufnahme + wiedergabe with a stealth release from ol’ Terrence Fixmer, aka one of the dudes who was exploring the techno-EBM sound for literal decades before it caught fire the other year. As such he understands perfectly how to work a bassline and add texture, separating the four cuts on The God from lesser productions by newjacks and trendhoppers. We’re def feeling the spastic, yelping vocals employed on “The Wall”, which has the feeling of being just slightly off-kilter, but in like, the good, kinda dangerous way.
The God by Fixmer

The Gnome, “Flowing”
Here’s some ambient prettiness by way of Tony D’Oporto, AKA The Gnome. We’ve tracked his collaborative work quite regularly here on the website, be it his ambient records with Mark Spybey (now up to five LPs, if we don’t mistake ourselves), or his more dancefloor driven work with David Thrussell as Crisis Actor. His solo work’s always had a dreamy and languid pace, and his new full-length for ant-zen looks to continue that tradition.
stillness by the gnome

Blac Kolor, “Awakening (feat. Jean-Luc De Meyer)”
We’ve been waiting for Blac Kolor’s debut for Hands for a minute, and now that it’s arrived we’re quite excited to dig into it. Hendrick Grothe’s growth as a producer has been notable, bringing in more complex ideas and structures into his atmospheric take on instrumental industrial dance music. Peep the rhythmic noise touches on this new one, shifting his sound just a bit closer to Hands’ house style, but also working a vocal from Front 242′s Jean-Luc De Meyer into the track as well. We have yet to give this whole LP a proper listen, but when we do you can bet we’ll be writing something up.
Awakening by Blac Kolor

Haujobb, “Penetration”
A few years back, just before the release of Blendwerk, there was talk of a forthcoming live Haujobb record which never materialized. A shame, as our favourite dynamically dour Deutsche duo have always reworked their classic catalog live to fit their current ethos. But finally, some official evidence of how Haujobb brings it to the stage has been offered up to the public, with versions of fourteen Haujobb classics (and one computer crash) appearing on Haujobb Alive. Peep this motorik reworking of mid-period classic “Penetration”.
Alive by Haujobb

Binary Park, “Life on Lines”

Binary Park
Life on Lines
Infacted Recordings

The main problem with Binary Park’s 2015 sophomore album Singularity was its languid pace and lack of catchy songs; the trio of Torben Schmidt, Alfred Gregl and vocalist Huw Jones had all the tools as producers and performers, but the material just wasn’t up to snuff. Third album Life on Lines feels like a step forward for Binary Park, adjusting the tempo and emphasizing melody to redress the imbalance between production and songcraft that has plagued them in the past.

Musically, the band are still working in the same vein of melodic electronic music with touches of EBM and synthpop as on their previous releases. To their credit, that mix is sounding very developed in 2018, with their impeccable modern sound design meshing different stylistic forms into a smooth whole. The pumping bassline and busy synth sequences of opener “Your Own Great Nation” might not seem like a natural fit for Jones’ velvety croon as a vocalist, but the clarity of the mix fits them together in pleasingly cozy fashion. Ditto the guitar and piano on synth ballad “The Last Ones Alive”, a song reminiscent of modern-era Depeche Mode in its lushness and warmth.

The material itself is by and large stronger than the preceding effort, especially when the tempos are kept more upbeat. Album highlight “How Strange” has a delicately articulated chorus from Jones, acting as a terrific counterpoint to the song’s grinding synth bass drops and syncopated rhythms. “Faith Has Let Me Down Again” has a memorably plucky hook backed by straightforward rhythm track that flirts with funky deep house in intriguing fashion, exactly the kind of transparent genre fusion that they excel at. Even the weaker songs are pleasant enough – whether by virtue of strong, uptempo rhythm programming (“Normal”, “Welcome Home”) or funk-lite grooves (“Cropper 2″, “Dream Like This”) the album consistently stays in agreeable listening territory. There’s still a smattering of underwritten numbers amongst the 12 tracks, but they’re more unremarkable than out and out bad.

The cohesion of Life on Lines means that it’s probably best consumed as a whole. Its best cuts are fine on their own, but their strength is reinforced by taking them in with the rest of the record, bolstering their congeniality and urbane sensibility. It’s a good look for Binary Park, who feel like they’re hitting their stride in terms of writing and execution, producing music that hints at still greater possibilities for them moving forward.

Buy it.

Life on Lines by Binary Park

We Have A Technical 202: Purple is the Colour

Ritualz Bathed in Red and Blue

On this episode of the podcast, we caught up with JC Lobo of Ritualz at the tail end of a west coast jaunt. We were keen to talk to the Mexico City producer about his new record, Doom, and how it signals a new, more explicitly goth mode of songwriting. We caught the skinny from JC on Mexico’s DIY electronic scene, his personal history with the witch house diaspora, and the importance of sounding “purple”! Also, run-downs of live shows and the unveiling of the triumvirate line-ups of this year’s coast-to-coast Cold Waves Festivals! You can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, download directly or stream from Spotify or the widget down below.

Nordvargr, “Metempsychosis”

Nordvargr - Metempsychosis

Nordvargr
Metempsychosis
Cryo Chamber

When you’re dealing with someone with as many irons in the fire as Henrikk Nordvargr Bjorkk, the distinction between one project and another can sometimes be a matter of degrees. Shifting between EBM, death industrial, martial industrial, dark ambient, and all points between, Bjorkk always has an operation at hand to suit whichever theme or mode strikes his fancy at a moment’s notice. But even within the aegis of his eponymous project, which has been his most prolific since the turn of the millennium, subtle changes can have a big impact. Metempsychosis‘ instrumentation creates a wholly different mood than that of his previous release, albeit one no less weighty.

The record takes its name from the notion of the transmigration of the soul into a new bodily form, but as the accompanying press release is quick to point out, Bjorkk is investigating this notion from the perspective of souls choosing to “freely roam between the dimensions and to cling on to any form of life at will,” a far more sinister theme than traditional reincarnation. In keeping with that malevolence, Metempsychosis feels much more brusque and intrusive than The Secret Barbarous Names, a record much more in line with the ritual ambient side of Bjorkk’s occult explorations. While plenty of Metempsychosis is made up of ambient passages punctuated with brief blasts of otherworldly noise and proximal acoustics – “At The Crossroads Of Immortality” certainly sounds as much like a soul passing through the astral plane searching for a new instantiation of itself as music can – the focus on steady and often unadorned rhythms gives the record a sense of biting meanness. The strident bass guitar of highlight track “Salve Teragmon” steadily stabs outward while industrial blasts and Bjorkk’s incantations ride the rhythm in a fashion that’s almost as catchy as it is intimidating. On the more sludgy and low-tempo “First East” the bass serves more as, well, a base for the slowly accumulating storm of noise through which Bjorkk and Trepaneringsritualen’s Thomas Martin Ekelund weave their spite.

I first listened to Metempsychosis while rereading a novel in part about an immortal spirit who moves from body to body, consuming the essences of those he occupies. The happenstance of such a specific theme appearing in two very different forms caught me off guard, and the hypnotic nature of the record’s rhythms did little to offset that sense of the uncanny. Then again, I suppose that’s as good an analogy for Nordvargr as any: come for the expertly arranged death industrial, stay for the creeping sense of metaphysical dread.

Buy it.

Metempsychosis by NORDVARGR

Tracks: April 3rd, 2018

The noise you heard last week was the industrial community exclaiming in unison and joy at the news of C-Tec’s return. Yes, high atop the list of bands playing at all three (!) versions of the Cold Waves festival this September was arguably the greatest industrial supergroup of all time (fight us in the comments, RevCo & Pigface purists). Cold Waves has earned a reputation as a venue where such groundshaking returns happen, and having C-Tec playing alongside other headliners like ohGr, Front Line Assembly, and Meat Beat Manifesto certainly qualifies. We’ll have further discussion of Cold Waves on this week’s episode of the podcast, but for now check this week’s Tracks as you start scoping flights to New York, Chicago, or LA: whatever’s your poison.

Dødsmaskin

Dødsmaskin: Down to mope.

Mr.Kitty, “Disconnect Lover”
If you didn’t get the picture from us gushing over Mr.Kitty on the podcast the other week, we’re big fans of Forrest’s work. As we said in that segment, his brand of emotional, electro-inflected synthpop has absolutely changed Our Thing, altering the borders and opening doors for other artists following his lead. Check out this hot new banger (which has some especially interesting use of vocal manipulation we haven’t heard from MK before), another in a long line of instantly catchy dancefloor cuts. This dude doesn’t even know how to stop.

Chrome Corpse, “Corroded Sickness”
We tend not to put the same act in the Tracks hopper for back to back weeks, but Chrome Corpse are earning a double feature by releasing the second of two new EPs this week. The three originals from the Burning Chrome EP scratch the exact same classic EBM/dark electro itch the Washington outfit proved to be so suited to the first time out, but with a tighter focus and even more intensity. One of the most entertaining young acts going in North America, let alone the Pacific Northwest, Chrome Corpse are out for your attention by any means necessary, whether through barrages of Arthur memes on April Fool’s, or classic synth-bass driven ragers like this.
BURNING CHROME by CHROME CORPSE

Celldöd, “Dansar (Inte För Dig)”
Hands across the sea, as hardware EBM maven Anders Karlsson hooks up with Atlanta’s DKA Records. It’s a team-up that makes perfect sense given the proclivities of each party: Celldöd has been knocking out release after release of funky body music whose strength is directly correlated to their rough and ready minimalism, where DKA has built their rep on finding dynamic new acts in the synth scene that have old school appeal but new school ideas. The album Fragmenterade Minnen comes out in less than two weeks, expect that we’ll be writing up post-haste.
Fragmenterade Minnen by Celldöd

Dødsmaskin, “Syndrom”
Here’s something from off the beaten path by way of Cyclic Law. While we normally turn to that label for the latest in dark ambient, Norwegian duo Dødsmaskin are offering up a dense and brutal hybrid of death industrial and pure noise on their forthcoming Fiende LP. With so many layers jammed atop one another, it’s tempting to try to track individual sounds and rhythms in the full-bore onslaught of “Syndrom” but this inevitably proves impossible, and the oppressive wash of Dødsmaskin’s style takes over. Factor in some rather poignant thoughts on nihilistic metaphysics on the band’s profile, and you can colour us interested.
Fiende by DØDSMASKIN

The Gothsicles, “Konami Code (Interface Remix)”
The longer we think about it, the more it seems like The Gothsicles’ “Konami Code” is a corollary of S.P.O.C.K.’s “Never Trust a Klingon” – both are songs that are cute and funny, but are also secretly actual bangers whose appeal remains no matter how many times you hear them at the club. It seems bonkers that “Konami Code” could be 20 years old at this point (presumably that dating refers to when the original and as yet unreleased versions were first commited to hard disk) but Brian Graupner has elected to celebrate the occasion with a remix single, including new takes from Pankow (!!!), Coldkill, Studio X, Go Fight, Sex Death Religion and this groovy edit from Interface. As an aside, if you want to hear one of the senior staff tell a gross story that pertains slightly to “Konami Code” go check our chat with Brian from episode 169 of We Have a Technical.
Konami Code 20th Anniversary EP by The Gothsicles

The Damned, “Devil In Disguise”
Lastly, stone legends The Damned certainly don’t need any signal boosting from the likes of us, but it’s been a full ten years since their most recent (and very enjoyable) LP So Who’s Paranoid?, so the news of the forthcoming Evil Spirits records is welcome, indeed. The return of Paul Gray to the fold after thirty-odd years also jibes with this first track: the psych-garage sound of “Devil In Disguise” fits in well with the band’s mid-80s style. The band were fantastic in concert last year, and it looks like we’ll be lucky enough to catch them on another west coast jaunt this summer.

We Have a Technical 201: Secret Sass

Mr.Kitty

Mr.Kitty

With 200 episodes in the bag, Alex and Bruce are opting to offer a jumping-on point for first time or recent listeners of We Have A Technical to introduce them to the goals and style of We Have A Technical. How has the purview of the podcast changed over the years? What are these two dudes hunched over mics in a Vancouver apartment actually trying to accomplish? Why don’t they ever just shut up and play the new Neubauten record? All these questions and so many more are taken up in an episode which both looks back and (hopefully) points the way forward! You can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, download directly or stream from Spotify or the widget down below.

Wire Spine, “Bury Me Here”

Wire Spine - Bury Me Here

Wire Spine
Bury Me Here
Negative Gain Productions

The slow boil of Wire Spine’s development as a live act prior to their first proper release can’t help but shape my reception of Bury Me Here. Sure, there was a quick batch of demos (since withdrawn), but it’s almost wholly via touring that Robert Katerwol and Jessi Zapton built anticipation for this assemblage of murky synths and beats. That sense of anticipation oddly ports over to the music itself; while Wire Spine have certainly grown into a more focused and at times violent act since their earliest gigs, Bury Me Here is the work of a band who can get as much from holding back as they can from erupting.

Just about every song is punctuated by an instrumental interlude, and in this way Katerwol and Zapton find an economic means of doling out the impact of their atmospheric but still punchy sound. The transition out of the deep, nautical ambiance of “Between The Sleep” frames the straightforward rhythmic unfolding of “Burn You”. Zapton’s steady repetition of that track’s title feels more striking than had it left to follow up the fiercer squall of opening track “Soylent” on its own. Similarly, the glittering slime of “Silent Signals”‘ vocal distortion and synth-punk rhythm feels all the more grimy for leaping out between low drones.

The coarse palette of synth smears, blasts, and gurgles which Wire Spine share with Katerwol’s initial project Weird Candle still holds sway on Bury Me Here, but it’s now a stretch to keep thinking of Wire Spine as a Weird Candle side project. Yes, the synths are a tad icier and the drums held to mid-tempo, but the largest distinction lies in Zapton’s development as a vocalist and frontwoman. She’s equally comfortable with a raspy bark as with a monotone croon (or eerie children’s primer singsong on “Naomi”), and the blend of intensity and disaffection she’s been able to convey onstage over the past year or so ports over clearly to record.

For all of its savvy construction and delivery, Bury Me Here retains all of the lo-fi charms of Wire Spine’s live presentation. The odd corner being tidied up doesn’t detract from the rough fun of the project, and the band’s found a way to let each track shine without overproducing them. Bury Me Here well captures the energy of one of Vancouver’s most important acts going right now, and puts their best foot forward to the rest of the world.

Bury Me Here by Wire Spine

HIDE, “Castration Anxiety”

HIDE
Castration Anxiety
Dais Records

Per their recent interview with Bandcamp Daily, the music on HIDE’s debut LP Castration Anxiety was recorded two years ago, but is only now seeing the light of day via Dais Records. That’s weird to contemplate when listening to the album; the music made by Heather Gabel and Seth Sher is intense and raw enough that the idea of it sitting unheard, waiting to be released seems antithetical to its immediacy. Situated between the experimentalism of their earliest releases and the nerviness HIDE displayed on last year’s Black Flame EP, the album trades in beat driven industrial that reflects the bleak realities and personal struggles which inspired it.

Musically Castration Anxiety fluxtuates between minimal arrangements of drums and bass tones, and big muddy washes of texture. Opener “Fall Down” is 75% echoing kicks and tom hits, with grinding synths and delayed vocals slowly working their way in from the edges. The mechanically-driven “Close Your Eyes” and “Bound/Severed” are cut from similar cloth, with other instrumentation always in danger of being bludgeoned out of existence by the percussion. It’s on the messier, more indistinct songs like the reverb-soaked “Wildfire” and “Come Undone” where HIDE feel most unique; while still driven by strict drum programming, the gnarly, swirling atmospheres sound like they could just as easily have been recorded by some lo-fi blackgaze act.

Moreso than the actual music itself, it’s Gabel’s vocals that will probably leave the biggest impression on listeners. While her discomfiting physicality as a performer is obviously the focus of their live show, her voice has an acute and strained tone that communicates the same unease on record. Her raspy delivery has a punky appeal that works well on the more straightforward “Wear Your Skin”, but it’s the emotion in her performance that makes it work. Listening to her wail her way through the climax of “Fucked (I Found Heaven)” or run aground against the shrieking static of “All Fours” is rough, both in terms of how she sings and the vulnerability apparent in each chewed off syllable.

It’s probably a good thing that Castration Anxiety comes in at just under forty minutes in length; while not so harsh as to entirely alienate listeners, it’s a record that trades in stress and apprehension and that can make extended listening sessions a daunting experience. Where HIDE seem most capable is in translating those negative energies into music and then delivering it with appropriate frankness, their frustration laid bare in an attempt allay it. It’s an honest record that way, and when it hits home it’s a resonant one.

Buy it.

CASTRATION ANXIETY by HIDE

Tracks: March 26th, 2018

Friends, moving sucks. As we gear up to move out of the classic ID:UD HQ, we’re going through the lengthy exercise of packing up innumerable CDs and records, and of course with that comes a certain amount of nostalgia. Yes, it’s hard to get anything done when you’re caught up looking at the liners to a classic Manufacture LP purchased at a Nettwerk garage sale, or trying to figure out when exactly you acquired some weird Bolivian EBM tape that you may not have actually ever listened to. Of course there’s also the pure joy of rediscovering a record you had completely forgotten about, and need to hear right now, moving date be damned. Procrastinate? Us? Never. Enjoy tracks, while we go get more boxes from the liquor store.

DSX

Dejan Samardzic of DSX throwing shade. Photo by Stark Jorgensen.

Cryo, “Control (mind.in.a.box remix)”
Been a minute since we’ve heard anything from Swedish EBM heads Cryo, but the group are coming back strong with new single “Control”. The duo of Martin Rudefelt and Progress Productions boss Torny Gottberg have always had an ear for melody big textures that suggest outer space themes, even when a track, like this one, has a more personal lyrical bent. Beyond the atmospheric but still rhythmically focused original tune, the single features remixes from Assemblage 23, Xenturion Prime, Iambia, Tomas Almgren and this smoothness courtesy of ID:UD faves mind.in.a.box.

Chrome Corpse, “Pressurizer 4″
Just last week we were talking about PNW industrialists Chrome Corpse’s new collab with Cory from Vandalaze, and it’s looking like CC’s Michael F Ninethousand has a lot more coming. Not one but two new EPs are on their way from the punky electro-industrial project, Pressurizer 4 and Burning Chrome, both coming via Vertex Records. The former release will have three new tracks and remixes from Chrome Corpse’s self-titled debut LP, where the latter will be all originals. Peep the title track below, and keep your eye on this project, who seem to be ramping up to something big in the near future.
Pressurizer 4 EP by Chrome Corpse

7th Victim, “Don’t Go Outside And Never Talk To Anybody”
Our friend Rodney Anonymous of The Dead Milkmen’s been something of the scene’s cut-up uncle for the last few years, tirelessly championing dark electronics of all stripes, often to an audience which balks at anything outside of the “traditional alt rock” aegis (now there’s a contradiction in terms). Anyway, Rodney’s just getting his own solo electronic project underway, and the first 7th Victim track we’ve been privy to is this bit of screwball synth which owes a good deal to minimal wave but has Rodney’s distinct sense of humour fully intact. It’s part of a stacked charity compilation with the proceeds continuing to help Claus and Kurt of Leaether Strip, featuring the likes of Caustic, Decoded Feedback, Forma Tadre, Die Krupps, and a whole bunch of other acts we imagine Rodney’s happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with in support of a noble cause.
Heærts Combine by 7th Victim

Daddybear, “Brown Acid”
We’ve been hearing rumblings about Matt Fanale’s Daddybear project for years, and here’s the first dose made available for public consumption: a swinging EBM piece which hearkens back to the genre’s connections to acid house, complete with the anticipated Woodstock samples. There’s plenty of kitsch appeal, natch, but much like the recent Klack EP the appeal of the tune isn’t entirely tongue in cheek, and Matt’s continuing to hone his craft.
brown acid by daddybear

Unconscious, “Silent Slaves”
Solid state techno-EBM comes to us by way of Italian producer Unconscious. The lead tune of the Clerical Perversions EP rises and falls with class and ease, drawing upon a range of sounds from within and without electro and EBM. We’ve noticed a distinct shift in the way techno producers have been intersecting with post-industrial work in the past year or so, with approaches beyond concrete blast beats becoming more common, and this is a nice showcase of how some of the smoother elements of EBM can gain new currency.
Unconscious – Clerical Perversions (BSLK004) by Unconscious

DSX, “Pinpoint feat. Aletta Welling”
Finally, some new music from DSX, the analogue EBM project from Haujobb’s Dejan Samardzic. You may remember that we were very fond of DSX’s Anonymous EP a few years back (naming one of our favourites of 2012 even). Since then we’ve heard a number of compilation tracks, a couple of remixes, and last year a collaborative release with Schwefelgelb’s Sid Lamar, but it’s only now that we’re seeing a full new release from Dejan. Soviet Synthesizer drops May 31st on Basic Unit Productions, featuring six new pieces of raw-as-balls body music, with vocals courtesy of The Horrorist, Jennifer Touch, and friend of the site Aletta Welling, aka the female voice from inumerable :wumpscut: classics, and accomplished visual artist in her own right.
Soviet Synthesizer by DSX

Observer: Paul Mørk & Coldgeist


Paul Mørk
I Will Take Care Of You
RND. Records

The appetite for techno-industrial crossover music shows little sign of abating in 2018, and with that popularity comes a glut of uninspired releases that ape surface elements of the style without direction or inspiration. Thankfully there are plenty of emerging acts like French producer Paul Mørk who are still finding interesting angles from which to approach dancefloor music with a rusty edge. His new album I Will Take Care Of You feels tough in the right ways, engaging with the bleakness and physicality inherent in the mesh of styles without sliding into cartoonish aggression or cutesy detachment. Songs like “Devotion” and the pounding “Self Destruction” recall classic rhythmic noise in their use of distortion, layering in samples and swathes of monochrome static that fill the cracks between the tightly sequenced drum patterns. Elsewhere “Armor” and “Rebreather” explore up-tempo techno rhythms, the former using sinister vocals for a cool European vibe, the latter going all in with a tightly wound 16th note bassline that threatens to derail the whole song before it can fully play out. There’s even some flirtation with EBM on “Confess”, which establishes a solid groove built around rubbery bass, chunky leads, and horror movie pads. There’s a goodly amount of variety on I Will Take Care of You, and Mørk has a deft enough touch as a producer to bring unity to the proceedings without simply producing a suite of identical songs.
Buy it.
I Will Take Care Of You by Paul Mørk

Coldgeist - Unknown Bodies
Coldgeist
Unknown Bodies
DEMENT3D

So often when we talk about the industrial-techno crossover, we’re drawn to the textures of beats and a particularly grimy atmosphere. The latest EP of Coldgeist, aka French producer Matthieu Ruben certainly puts a premium on atmosphere, but rather than the clutter of abandoned factories, Coldgeist (Matthieu Ruben) taps into the spirit of his moniker, conjuring icy mists and polar drones to wind their way through stripped-down yet still punchy tracks. The end result has far more in common with dark ambient than techno/industrial hybrids generally produce, and is an all the more intriguing listen for it. The swampy drones which blare overtop the muted kicks of Unknown Bodies are perhaps not too far off from the claustrophobic horns of Klinik or, more recently, the ethos of Silent Service and Vatican Shadow. However, for all their heaviness and presence, these elements feel lithe and changeable, often seeming to invert the direction of the rhythms in an instant. Further variety is added through tips of the hat to the classic coldwave of Ruben’s homeland, such as the anxious guitar shimmies of the title track, or the sprained rhythm of “Martyr Of Beauty”. Despite juggling a number of styles and sounds in a relatively compact six tracks, Ruben’s never caught slipping and feels just as adroit at charnel moans as he does club-minded beats. Heady and intoxicating, Unknown Bodies moves through numerous climes with grace, and has plenty to offer the inhabitants of each.
Unknown Bodies by Coldgeist

We Have a Technical 200: State of the Art (On 4 Discs)

There Is No Time

It’s the 200th episode of We Have A Technical, and to mark this auspicious occasion we’re putting one of the most celebrated industrial compilations of all time in the spotlight! Ras Dva’s “There Is No Time” is remembered and reconsidered by guests Roger Jarvis, Mike Wimer, and Rexx Arkana, who share memories of their contributions to the compilation, its lasting influence, and its late curator, Ric Laciak. This landmark release brought together bands from across North America and Europe, from electro-industrial to dark electro to EBM: find out why its combination of scene legends and hidden gems was such a game changer in 1995. You can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, download directly or stream from Spotify or the widget down below.

Replicas: Neuroticfish, “Les Chansons Neurotiques (Remastered)”

Replicas is the handle we use to write about reissues and archival releases, offering some thoughts on the original material, and whatever additional goodies or format shifts may have been appended. This time we’re listening to a pleasingly slick remaster of a futurepop classic that has aged remarkably well…

Neuroticfish
Les Chansons Neurotiques (Remastered)
Non Ordinary Records

What is it?
Neuroticfish’s sophomore album Les Chansons Neurotiques was released in 2002, post-peak futurepop but before the long dominant genre went entirely bust. Bolstered by memorable club hits (“Prostitute” and the completely inescapable “Wake Me Up!” were included in the tracklisting) the record featured slick, hyped-up electropop informed by EBM without many of the trance markers that were part of millennial futurepop’s DNA, with a strong focus on melody and Sascha Mario Klein’s emotive singing. That emphasis on songcraft has helped the album age with more grace than many contemporary releases in the style.

What’s On It?
This new digital release of Les Chansons Neurotiques is presented in more or less its original form, with a pleasingly transparent modern remaster that suits the original production’s cleanliness and clarity. Aside from the inclusion of the original version of “Velocity” (previously appended to the record in an edited form as a bonus track), and b-side “Care”, it’s the same record.

Revisiting them some sixteen years since its original release, it’s notable exactly how tasteful these songs still seem, especially given the excess of the era they originated in. While the tracks are largely built around big arpeggios and anthemic hooks, Klein’s melancholic vocal delivery and wry sense of humour temper the proceedings; despite their rep as a club act, Neuroticfish put some thought into these songs that gives them appeal beyond the dancefloor. Aside from the familiar singles, deeper cuts like “Breakdown” and “Inverse” display a genuine sincerity and highlight Sascha’s knack for arrangements, with smoothly flowing sequences that fit together without muddying the mix or stepping on each other’s toes. Restraint might not be the first descriptor that comes to mind for music this uptempo and sentimental, but listen to the economy in the build of “Darkness – Influence”, or how lesser known single “Need” stays reined in when it could have gone way over the top. They aren’t all winners – the overlong “Stop & Go” is a bit mawkish and “Modulator” feels undercooked – but by and large the songs have an appeal unclouded by age.

Who Should Buy It?
Those who remember dancing to these songs around the turn of the millennium may be surprised at exactly how well they hold up in the light of history, even when the rush of nostalgia has worn off. Folks who haven’t previously been exposed to the record could do much worse than to give it a shot: as a slice of prime futurepop it’s some of the best the often maligned genre had to offer. While not the absolute tour de force that was Neuroticfish’s criminally underrated third LP Gelb (which had a remaster of its own not long ago), Les Chansons Neurotiques has enough innate charm and attention to craft to recommend it.

Buy it.

Les Chansons Neurotiques (Remastered) by Neuroticfish

Pages