Friends of ID:UD Year End Round Up

As has become a welcome tradition here at the ID:UD HQ, we’re starting our Year End coverage by slacking off. Well, not really. We’re hard at work putting the finishing touches on our write-ups of our favourite releases of 2017, but to get the ball rolling we’ve asked a plethora of the site’s friends to say a few words about releases which left a mark on them this year. Not necessarily their favourite record of the year, and certainly not limited by the range of music we regularly cover here, but simply music that they couldn’t leave aside over the course of 2017. The DJs, promoters, musicians, and writers we’ve asked to contribute have put forward a feast of vintage synths, noise, shoegaze, EBM, pop, and plenty more to get the Year End festivities started, so sample some delicacies and then come back tomorrow for the beginning of our countdown of 2017′s best records!

Diary of Dreams - Hell In Eden
Valtteri Hyvärinen of Desert Monolith on Diary of Dreams, Hell in Eden
After the forgettable Grau im Licht I was expecting just another DoD album – competent but more of the same. “hell in Eden”, however, easily ranks amongst the veteran band’s finest offerings. It adds an orchestral touch to the DoD formula and is just a monstrously epic-sounding, bleak album with tons of memorable moments.

Slowdive - self-titled
Eric Oehler of Null Device on Slowdive, self-titled
Of the original generation of shoegazer acts, Slowdive was the shoegaziest. Their 2017 comeback is everything I wanted – lush washes of sound, chiming lead lines, languid vocals, and subdued drums and bass. It’s alternately summer’s-day upbeat and gray-November cold. It’s also what finally convinced me to buy a guitar.

Zola Jesus - Okovi
Gillywoo, formerly of Mutate, guesting at Bunker 13 on Zola Jesus, Okovi
I’ve chosen Zola Jesus’s 5th studio album, Okovi. It’s a deeply powerful and personal piece work, full of bleak layered soundscapes and Jesus’s trademark soaring vocals. The subject matter of some of the songs (suicide, serial killers and depression) can make difficult listening in parts, but it’s an ultimately beautiful, empowering and cathartic experience.”

Emptiness - Not For Music
Michael Kurt of Talking To Ghosts and The Blood of Others on Emptiness, Not For Music
There is a grossness to Emptiness. Tracks like “Your Skin Won’t Hide You” blend so many different styles of music, but each one stands on its own atmospherically in the creepy, meandering way the album comes together. It’s looming and distant, powerful and unique. It’s unsettling. “Digging the Sky” is a good example of this.

Android Lust - Berlin // Crater V2
Rodney Anonymous of The Dead Milkmen on Android Lust, Berlin // Crater V2
This year, I’m using a simple criterion to determine which 2017 album I’ll be highlighting: What do I play most often when friends (imaginary or otherwise) drop by? More often than not, it’s Android Lust’s Berlin // Crater V2.

The only term I’ve been able to find to truly describe this album is “Complicated Simplicity”. It’s lush without being cluttered. Well-crafted without being slick. Engaging without being overly-challenging. Shikhee has learned to master her craft without sounding like she’s working from a template. A truly extraordinary accomplishment wherein you can actually hear the work that went into each song.

PS. Fuck Trump.

Diamanda Galas - At Saint Thomas the Apostle Harem
Julian McAllister of Nexus Rasp on Diamanda Galás, All The Way & At Saint Thomas The Apostle Harlem
Diamanda Galás’s work has long been intended as a source of power and catharsis, not terror, for those who need it the most. And in 2017, we needed it the most. Here, with two new albums of self-described “death songs,” she embodies anger & loss with precision and honesty.

Shannon Hemmet of Actors on Null + Void, Cryosleep
I’ve been listening to Cryosleep by Null + Void (Solo project of producer Kurt Uenala) steadily while making artwork this fall. The cinematic instrumental, “Lost and Blind” is a dreamy synth gem, and the track “Where I Wait” featuring Dave Gahan, is a standout, recalling Depeche Mode’s Playing the Angel era. As a synth player myself, I’ve been so inspired by the sonic palette on this record.

The Belbury Circle - Outward Journeys
Michael Arthur Holloway of Dead When I Found Her on The Belbury Circle, Outward Journeys
I’ve spent the better part of this year exploring the catalog of Ghost Box records, a label featuring decidedly British-sounding retro-electronic artists. The Belbury Circle is a spin-off project of two Ghost Box artists—Belbury Poly and The Advisory Circle. ‘Outward Journeys’ is an unabashedly nostalgic affair, and that’s what I love about it. It’s mostly instrumental, analog-synth music designed to transport you back to the late 70s / early 80s, when synthesizer music was a way of exploring the undiscovered possibilities of the future. You know, back when visions of the World of Tomorrow still felt both mysterious and optimistic. John Foxx features on two tracks as well.

Street Sects - Rat Jacket
Kathleen Chaussé of The Outsider Collective on Street Sects, Rat Jacket
Rat Jacket sounds like a narrative of someone’s deteriorating mental state as they slip further between the cracks, and any hope that was in the first 3 songs of this EP was brutally crushed by its final track “In Prison, At Least I Had You.” Making a trip out to see their horror-driven performance was one of the most intense & visceral shows I’ve experienced this year.

Schwefelgelb - Den Umgekehrten Atem
Sarah Elizabeth Graves of HAEX on Schwefelgelb, Den Umgekehrten Atem
This EP by the Berlin Techno Body duo is unwavering in danceability, headspace and sex appeal. It basically lives on my record player and is flexed before hitting up most events. Heavy, droning, deep and pulsating. A good album to be tied up and beaten to.

Mr.Kitty - A.I.
Adam Jones of HAEX on Mr.Kitty, A.I.
This was one of the few albums that I’ve ever listen to for the first time, then immediately had to listen to it again. Forrest borrows sounds from the past and the future to wrap beautiful melodies around cerebral and heartfelt lyrics. I personally can’t wait for the next release.

Ash of HAEX on Boys Noize, Mayday Remixes Pt. 1 + 2
The Boys Noize Mayday Remix album would be my pick. It’s one of those remix albums that’s almost as exciting as hearing the album for the first time. You had no idea what you were getting yourself into, but it resulted in a nostalgic electro house dance party extravaganza.

Castle If - Plant Material
Jill Grant of Take It For Granted on Castle If, Plant Material
Toronto analogue synthesizer genius, Castle If recorded an ode to her beloved houseplants and it’s absolutely brilliant. Plant Material’s rich instrumental soundscapes are a pleasing intersection of her previous disparate pop and drone based styles. The warm and dreamy melodies are a bit otherworldly with a touch of lounge.

Samantha Urbani - Policies of Power
Wesley Mueller of Talking To Ghosts and The Blood of Others on Samantha Urbani, Policies of Power
What a total dogshit year. I mean, not for me, personally, but, broadly, in a social and political sense, it was just a real stinker of a year. This is why, I think, Samantha Urbani’s Policies of Power EP really stuck out to me when I heard it. The EP is a sort of throwback pop piece, reminiscent of Paula Abdul, and is a really pleasant collection of tracks. Pleasant things are in short supply right now, and the the danceable, upbeat tunes Urbani’s pulled together here offer a brief, 22 minute respite.

Carrie Deal of the Parallel Lives podcast on Liebknecht’s Produkt and Rhys Fulber’s Realism.
At least 2017 gave us a rare treat: a pair of tight, powerful twin EPs by undisputed masters of Our Thing. These releases are so in sync with each other, they’re like the A and B side of the same record (for my money, Produkt is the A-side, but you do you). They’re complimentary expressions of Our Thing:Produkt is harsh, industrial, and experimental. It sounds German as fuck, which… seems right. Realism is trancey, rhythmic, and smooth; a real “any mood” record. Both are compact, four-track albums clocking in under 30 minutes.Both are classic, instrumental-with-samples releases ready to tear up the fuckin floor with outta this world, beat-driven tracks.And both fit naturally in yr mix between yr Clans of Xymoxes and yr Sisters of Mercies, or even yr VNVs Nations, if that’s the wave yer feeling.

So Fragile: Avi Roig of Harsh R

Avi Roig of Harsh R

We first got to know PNW noise-punk-industrial-synth promoter and musician Avi Roig through his excellent blog about Scandinavian music, the departed-but-never-forgotten It’s a Trap!. Despite being incredibly busy putting on hella shows, Avi has recently launched a new punky-industrial project Harsh R, whose first cassette release comes via Russian label Strudel Tapes. Being that he’s one of the most knowledgeable music cats we know, we thought it would be a cool idea to tap him for a So Fragile mix. He had this to say about it:

“I guess I’ve been listening to industrial music for nearly 30 years at this point, but I barely comprehend synthesis and the open-endedness of music software paralyzes me, so I’ve never actually performed in the genre until Harsh R aside from a short-lived project doing auxiliary percussion in the mid-90s. I had been toying around with a few cheap synths the last couple years, but then my band Soggy Creep fell apart and all of a sudden I had no artistic outlet and a lot of free time so I did what came naturally: I took a bunch of lunk-headed punk riffs I was sitting on, sequenced them, and ran the results through a battalion of distortion boxes (I’m up to 6 in my current live rig) while I screamed and pounded on garbage. Voilá! Art!

Anyhow, my goal for this mix is to expose the roots of my sound, so I start off with some raw industrial/EBM comfort food before diving deep into the type of abrasive punk/hardcore/noiserock that truly informs my songwriting. Don’t worry though, I still drop in some oontz here and there and you also get a (very) rough version of a new Harsh R track since I figure that’s what you’re supposed to do with these things. You’re welcome! Enjoy!”

//TENSE//, “Disconnect Me”
Dive, “There’s No Hope”
C.Aarmé, “Bodybuilding”
Star Pimp, “Richie”
Nitad, “Rastlös och Vild”
Okkultokrati, “Ragnarokian”
Geneviève Pasquier, “Lines”
Grotus, “Edward Abbey”
Harsh R, “Live in Fear” (demo)
Montys Loco, “Criminal”
Tyrant, “Tyrant”
The Psyke Project, “Partisan”
Steel Pole Bath Tub, “Christina”
Ontal, “M134″
Breach, “Path of Conscience”
ADSR SPQR, “Shared Sickness”
Hebosagil, “Pian Tämä Kaikki On Ohi”

We Have a Technical 186: Slightly Less Dumb

Sally Dige

In the last regularly scheduled episode of the podcast in 2017, we’re sitting down with Danish-Canadian synth artist Sally Dige to talk about life in Berlin and the astonishingly dense compositional process underlying her excellent new record “Holding On”. There’s also some consideration of the function and execution of writing about records to boot as we head towards our Year End coverage at I Die: You Die! Just like every week, you can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, download directly or stream from the widget down below.

Azar Swan, “Savage Exile”

The blast of synthesized noise, distant vocal samples and feedback that kicks off Azar Swan’s third album is a pretty solid indication of the path the American darkwave duo have taken since their debut. The popular perception of Zohra Atash and Joshua Strawn’s work has usually been centered on their capacity for hooks, and indeed the best songs on their 2013 debut Dance Before the War and its 2014 follow-up And Blow Us a Kiss were the ones that married catchy melodies to fraught energy and Atash’s powerful vocal delivery. Savage Exile is a different kind of record though, one that plucks the taut nerves that have always been directly below the surface of the band’s material to great effect.

Even in its most digestible moments it’s an LP that relies on tension and an anxious energy to make an impact. Single “Territorial” strips the idea of an Azar Swan song down to its base components, allowing Zohra’s whispered voice and a tumbling arrangement of distant pads and clicky drums to coalesce into a hobbled, lurching rhythm – a powerful song because you can hear how it could have been more digestible in some other incarnation. That template holds true for opener “Shock” and the ghostly “You Can’t Wash Away Murder” which sounds like a tropicalia record being played through a drainage pipe: corrode away the excess and leave the skeleton of the song intact to relay its shape and scope.

Interestingly that approach brings Azar Swan in line with some of classic post-industrial’s minimalism. The power-electronics shouting on “Twilight Anesthesia” is contrasted with a warbling processed vocal from Atash as backed by a simple but insistent arrangement of bass and drums that recollects the Klinik, a comparison echoed in the seasick horns that adorn “Instinct”. “Silent Like A Father” takes it even further into fever dream territory with off-key strings and vocals that constantly feel out of step with its grinding sequences. When the duo do allow themselves a moment of straightforward delivery on the club-ready “Jungle Law” it’s still shot though with a streak of the ill-tempered, as Zohra delivers the chorus with a guttural snarl while gunshot snares go off behind her.

Even absent the context of what came before it Savage Exile comes across as a wounded animal of a record. Charged and queasy as it is, there’s something inspiring in how it nakedly it presents anger and despair, processing an increasingly hostile political and social atmosphere through music. It’s not an easy listen, but it is a stirring one, the best Azar Swan have offered yet. Recommended.

Buy it.

Savage Exile by Azar Swan

Leaether Strip, “50″

Leaether Strip - 50

Leaether Strip

Claus Larsen’s fiftieth birthday has obviously been kicking around his mind of late. It’s not just the title of the dark electro maestro’s twentieth (by some counts) LP; themes of the loneliness and death which accompany aging run through the whole of the newest Leaether Strip record. Yet, if we’re being honest with ourselves, those themes have always sat at the heart of Larsen’s musical ethos. It’s very easy to identify the aggression and stormy rage which mark so much of the Leaether Strip discography, but softer themes of hope, desire, and fragility have always been there as well. It’s that emotional core which makes 50 an able continuation of the Leaether Strip legacy.

Larsen has been firing on all cylinders for the past few years, dishing out loads of cover tracks (note that 50 comes bundled with ÆDM, a collection of Depeche covers), revisiting his instrumental ambitions with an excellent and underrated follow-up to the famed Serenade For The Dead record, and straight-up dark electro LPs of 50‘s vein. The first half of the record is vintage Leaether Strip, marked by rhythmic force, wet synth-bass, and ghostly sequences adorning Larsen’s bark, detailing psychopathy, family turmoil, isolation, and the horrors of war. The classic midtempo dark electro of “Don’t Scream At Me” and the forlorn “We Die Alone” are the sort of tunes Larsen forged his legacy from, and there’s a clear connection back to his earliest days with them.

The generally bleak tone of 50 is disrupted at the midway point with the arrival of “Ælements”. For all of his admiration of (and talent for) synthpop, Larsen’s generally kept it out of the core LS catalog, preferring to explore it through covers and side projects like Am Tierpark. But “Ælements” is a great example of the sort of warm and emotive synthpop he’s always cited as an inspiration, and he executes it here with a heavy helping of reflection and metaphor, the result perhaps being not so far from a classic Absurd Minds tune. It’s a nice smudging of the Leaether Strip palette, and one which clearly emerges right from Larsen’s core influences.

Nearly thirty years into the game, there’s just no slowing Claus Larsen down. He’s felt wholly rejuvenated on his most recent batches of releases, and whether he’s in stone cold dark electro mode or a slightly softer mood, he’s proving with every release why he’s inspired countless newcomers to take up electronic music, in just the fashion Depeche Mode did him.

50 by Leaether Strip

Tracks: December 4th, 2017

Welcome to the last Tracks post of 2017, folks! We’ve served up no less than 270 different tunes and mixes by acts familiar and new in an attempt to keep people appraised of what’s happening in dark music in this most chaotic and unsettling of years. Some of these have been previews of records we’ve hotly been anticipating, others have been attempts to recognize acts just making their first moves, and still more have been tips of the hat to acts just outside of our usual territory but who we felt were of relevance to fans of Our Thing. We hope you’ve found some new favourites through this weekly update, and if not, well, there’s still this one last batch to go!


Ecstasphere. Photo by Clemens Richardson.

Gasoline Invertebrate, “Age Out (feat. Keef Baker)”
Gasoline Invertebrate is new project from The Gothsicles’ Brian Graupner, and from our first impressions of his debut release Freak Drive it seems like a continuation of some of the ideas and themes he was experimenting with on the last G’sicles LP. First listen turns up some different vocal deliveries including aggrotech style processing and trad vocoder action, a few nods to big club millennial club sounds, and some traces of trad EBM. We’re quite taken with this affecting collaboration with Keef Baker (who put out a very good record with Phil from Be My Enemy/Cubanate this year) that uses electric bass in a most unexpected but welcome fashion.
Freak Drive by Gasoline Invertebrate

Ecstasphere, “Distance”
Some smooth and polished rhythmic noise comes to us by way of Germany. Transgressions: Documenting Decay is the third LP from one-woman act Ecstasphere, although we have to admit we weren’t hitherto familiar with said discography. The first pieces from Transgressions portend good things, though, with an interesting mix of ambient and metal elements being woven into a solid rhythmic foundation. A mastering job from Arco Trauma is as good an omen as any for a release in the glossier end of noise.
Transgressions: Documenting Decay by Ecstasphere

Desert Monolith, “Tähtitaivas (Single Version)”
Strong single from friend of the site and regular on the Telekon Slack channel Valtteri Hyvärinen with his recently redubbed Desert Monolith project (formerly Desert M). Like much of his previous material, the focus is on establishing a strong groove before slowly expanding the song’s melody into wider, lusher vistas, with lots of delicate sequences and interesting sound design choices. Peep the single on Bandcamp for some excellent remixes from Null Device, Cryounit, Dub Jay, Dharmata 101 and more!
TÄHTITAIVAS by Desert Monolith

S S S S, “Anonymous Materials”
Post-industrial noise takes on booming, echoing gravitas in the hands of Switzerland’s Samuel Savenberg and his S S S S project. While his earlier EP from this year on aufnahme + weidergabe was square in that label’s triangulation of the techno-industrial nexus, his new EP for new label Edipo Re slows things down a bit. Alternately scraping and abyssal, this should equally appeal to fans of Lustmord and Blac Kolor.
Guilt by S S S S

Rome, “Blighter”
Jerome Reuter won’t quit, and won’t slow down. His torrent of output would be remarkable enough on its own, it’s only when you take into account how fully realized his work is conceptually that you start to realize what a special artist he is. In this briefest of moments before the release of his next full-length Hall of Thatch we get “Blighter”, released as a 7″ taster of the album. We trust very few artists as much as we trust Jerome to do something meaningful every time they step up to the plate, so the heavy, lurching feeling we get from this neo-folk number seems appropriate: this is weighty music from an artist of substance.

Prurient, “Walking On Dehydrated Coral”
Well, that looks like it’s pretty much a wrap for Tracks posts in 2017, so it’s time to start working on Year End coverage and…wait, what? Dom Fernow just released a three hour Prurient record which is earning lots of advance praise and is supposed to carry forward the experimentation of Frozen Niagra Falls into new directions? *sigh* Okay, look people: we’re just two guys. There’s only so much we can get to in one calendar year. We’ll likely have something to say about Rainbow Mirror in the new year, but for now take this shuddering procession of pings and distortion as an acknowledgement of receipt.
Rainbow Mirror by PRURIENT

Observer: How Green is My Toupee & Boar Alarm

How Green Is My Toupee

While he specifically attached the birth of his new project to the end of his previous outlet Cyborgs on Crack, the music on Domagoj Krsic’s first foray as How Green is My Toupee is a pretty direct continuation of the former’s high-grade weirdness. Not that the music on Kerfuffle is disagreeable, quite the contrary: this is some of Krsic’s most immediate output to date. Opener “Crutch” uses squelchy FM bass and splashy drums to push a big melody down right from the jump and the title tracks marries a playful vocal melody with soft pads and a loop of squeaky noise: electropop as filtered the psychedelia of 80s Severed Heads or The Residents. Green even dabbles in some straightforward synth composition on the surprisingly lovely “Now Frogs” which is made up of little more than a simple chord progression and a distant vocal sample. The project’s urge to turn everything inside out is never far off, though, as evidenced by the baffling “Tortilla Spaceship” where an obnoxious loop of strangled sound gives way to a lengthy passage of resonant ambiance, or the sample abusing “Amoxil”, where a post-industrial track ducks between scratched and warped vocal sounds. It’s all very in line with what we expect from Krsic, whose most accessible and most outlandish musical impulses are seemingly intractable from one another.
Kerfuffle (2017) by How Green Is My Toupee

Boar Alarm - Under The Surface
Boar Alarm
Under The Surface

The sheer meanness of Fredrik Djurfeldt’s work consistently stands out in whatever specific style of post-industrial music he happens to be working in at that moment. Whether it’s noise, death industrial, dark electro, or, as in the case of the new Boar Alarm, a combination of all three, it’s not even so much the misanthropy of Djurfeldt’s music which distinguishes it, but the blunt delivery thereof. As he’s insinuated to us, this is perhaps simply a product of the way he views humanity, and it’s that same sense of scorn and spite (but never shock or rage) which guides Under The Surface. Initially conceived as a solo project to complement Severe Illusion, Djurfeldt’s primary project with collaborator Ulf Lundblad, Boar Alarm has quickly grown noisier than its origins. While some traces of the Klinik-like programming and repeated intonations of debut release Conform To Decay can be found on Under The Surface, Djurfeldt’s blurred and distorted those core elements almost beyond recognition here. Even when sparsely arranged, as on stand-outs like “Dead Heaven”, the abrasive textures of individual tracks seem to spill out beyond their function as rhythmic or “melodic” (in a very loose sense of the word) elements. For every act rooted in a noise ethos we might deem to term “hypnotic”, there’s a project like Boar Alarm which transcends ostensibly strict arrangements to become a grotesque bestiary of oozing chaos.
Under the Surface by Boar Alarm

We Have a Technical 185: The Little Shorts

Odonis Odonis Odonis Odonis Odonis

As the end of 2017 looms near (for better or for worse), we’re continuing to use the podcast as an opportunity to discuss records which slipped past us upon release or which are perhaps more tangential to our work at I Die: You Die. A philosophically ambitious record from Laibach and a record from Odonis Odonis which reinterprets the legacy of industrial rock make up the bulk of this week’s episode. How does the NSK take up the theme of the Ubermensch? Have Odonis Odonis been researching jungle? Find out all of that, plus the scoop on the current Gary Numan tour on the latest episode of We Have A Technical! Don’t forget, you can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, download directly or stream from the widget down below.

Alter Der Ruine, “Doom Soother”

Alter Der Ruine - Doom Soother

Alter Der Ruine
Doom Soother

The long farewell of Arizona’s Alter Der Ruine has, from certain perspectives, been going on for at least a couple of years. From the mournful tour de force of I Will Remember It All Differently to the release of the Gravity Haunts Us All EP which coincided with the announcement of the band’s dissolution, and now to the release of Doom Soother, the trio of Mike & Tamara Jenney and Mike Treveloni are perhaps finding it hard to say goodbye. If Doom Soother, a coda to I Will Remember It All Differently, is in fact the last missive from the group, it makes for a nice capper on the astonishing transformation the band underwent, a process now coming into clearer focus in the rear-view mirror.

Pitched as “the skeletal remains of what started as I Will Remember it all Differently…[recorded] shortly before we disintegrated,” Doom Soother carries on with the elegiac fragility of that record, and fills in a couple of blanks along the way. “Up Like It Is” weaves the band’s early crunchy electro sound through a seasick discotheque, while “Feel It Again” elaborates on the brooding rock found in later tunes like “Quiet Crime”. But it’s “Where Are The Bells?” which best showcases the elegance the band tapped into in their last days, and really the larger shifts ADR has taken. Part smartly executed electro-pop, part free-form roaming through pastoral synth meadows, it’s a gorgeous piece of work very far from the sound of the electro party band who first charmed us way back at Kinetik 2010.

As the clatter of Alter Der Ruine’s work receded (but never entirely disappeared), it was replaced in the spotlight by the croon of Mike Treveloni, which is on point throughout Doom Soother. Whether he’s in smooth cruise control over the gear-shifting sequences of “Sleep Like I Used To” (a nice combination of millennial industrial club programming and some crack rock drumming from Mike J), or traipsing through a Robert Smith-like bedroom self-confessional on the aforementioned “Where Are The Bells?”, he finds just the right register to carry the listener through the sometimes funky, sometimes melancholy moods of Doom Soother.

I’m not sure if the EP’s title is meant to connote the pacification of fans (or the band themselves) in response to ADR closing up shop, but it’s a fittingly bittersweet thought. The last few years of the band’s run were certainly their most accomplished, and with these extra pieces of the puzzle the breadth and power of their work is that much clearer.

Buy it.

Doom Soother by Alter Der Ruine

Collide, “Color of Nothing”

Color of Nothing

Collide are the most consistent of acts in the darkwave sphere, with a track record to prove it. Their new LP Color Of Nothing is only the latest in a sturdy line of albums that demonstrate kaRIN and Statik’s dedication to the crafts of songwriting, production and performance. When you put on a Collide record you know you’ll hear something measured, tasteful and pleasant to listen to. That overriding agreeableness is both their blessing and their curse artistically: while never less than absolutely professional, their restraint and refinement can be hard to get excited about.

Make no mistake though, the eleven songs on the LP have plenty to recommend them. Statik’s incredible knack for mixing electronics with live guitars remains one of their greatest assets. When the raunchy slide guitar riff rolls out over the opening bass sequence of “Side to Side” or when the big riffs drop from the sky onto the lush, Depeche Mode-esque electronics of “Only Human” you can’t help but admire how natural and easy it sounds, the kind of arrangement that you wouldn’t ever predict, but sounds obvious once it happens. Everything about his sound design is measured and executed with precision, from the sculpted reverb that outlines the string arrangement that concludes “Blurring the Edges”, to the way the pinched and glitched guitar on opener “Wake Up” gives away to a fuzzy widescreen chorus, it’s polish from first note to last.

And kaRIN for her part remains incredibly poised and present on every song. She has an almost preternatural understanding of how to deliver a song, modulating her delivery to suit the material. It’s apparent in how she plays off the off-kilter rhythms on “Soul Crush” by holding notes for just long enough to provide stability, or how she shifts her tone from clipped and matter of fact to coy and demure on “Will Not Be Destroyed”. Hell, the album’s best moment, the chorus of the groovy, synth heavy “Say What You Mean” is deliberately underdelivered to amazing effect. Instead of leaning into it she pulls back to draw the listener closer to the forceful instrumental. Like her partner, she’s in full control of her toolset and knows how to deploy it for effect.

It seems almost criminal to penalize a band for being too slick and accomplished, but the truth is that Color of Nothing‘s charm doesn’t come from grand gestures, but from an aggregation of high-gloss components. It’s a record that stays at exactly one level throughout, never less than good and congenial, but not often more than that either. They’ve never been a band who trade in hooks or sticky pop melodies, and in that way the LP is almost the essence of a Collide record; a product of absolute dedication to technique above all else.

Buy it.

Color of Nothing by Collide

Tracks: November 27th, 2017

Hey, friends. With only a few weeks until our year end coverage begins (we’re doing it a bit early this year so Alex can skip town) we’re doing our best to cram in as many reviews, and mentions of 2017 music as possible. We’ve been doing a decent enough job of crossing names of our list, but there’s always the lurking dread that something really amazing is being ignored, and what’s more that we won’t even hear about it ’til next year some time. Of course we consider the existence of amazing music just waiting to be uncovered a blessing, but we also want to do our best to help spread the word. Hence why if you know of something great we haven’t acknowledged yet, please leave a comment here on the blog. We’d sure appreciate it! On to this week’s Tracks.

Randolph & Mortimer

Randolph & Mortimer wanna get into it, man, y'know. Oh, Shi! Photography.

Chrome Corpse, “The Gratification War”
Something new from PNW EBM act Chrome Corpse, who you may recall put out a really fun and wide-ranging debut this year. We know that Michael from CC posts loves classic dark electro and early 90s body music and this cut really reflects that, with a hammering bassline and twinkling synth sequences to punctuate the drum hits. This is the first taste we’re getting from an upcoming EP release, another step in that rapid evolution of one of the pacific northwest’s most exciting newer acts.

Leaether Strip, “Anal Staircase (Coil cover)”
As two straight men, we’ve always wanted to acknowledge the connections between industrial and queer culture without trying to intercede our own experiences inasmuch as that’s possible while writing and talking about industrial music. Since our sainted Coil, no one has done as much to fight for gay rights in the industrial world as Claus Larsen of Leaether Strip, so if there’s anyone on the planet who’s earned the right to take on Coil’s mantle, it’s certainly Claus. His forthcoming ÆPPRECIATION II LP includes covers of tunes by Adam Ant, Fad Gadget, and, yes, Coil.
ÆPPRECIATION II by Leaether Strip

Randolph & Mortimer, “Eastern Bloc”
Per Sheffield’s industrial loyalists Randolph & Mortimer this cut was originally demo’d at the time they were recording their debut ep $ocial £utures but has lain fallow since. It’s a pretty interesting track from the group who are often thought of for their relationship with EBM, as it revolves heavily around some live bass and guitar that speak to some heretofore unsuspected New Order influences. You can nab this one on Soundcloud, and if you haven’t already, you should make a point of nabbing their excellent 3 song 2017 EP Hope Tragedy Myths from Bandcamp.

Dead Husband, “She’s An Adult”
It was only a couple of weeks back that we were praising Dead Husband’s recent EP for its buoyant celebration of 90s rave sounds alongside classic EBM tropes. The Boston pairing are already forging ahead, dishing out this Crayola-shaded blast of electro fun and reflection.

Div|der & soillodge, “Scattered”
It’s a Basic Unit bonanza as label acts Div|der and Ro1or (aka M Renfield in his soillodge guise) release collab that has apparently been a few years in the making. Two of the four tracks that make up the Spliced EP were apparently completed a few years ago, but it wasn’t until this year that Renfield got around to mixing and mastering the release, with a couple of newer songs to fill it out. Solid stuff that we’re glad is finally seeing the light of day, with plenty to appeal to fans of either act’s take on angular, beat-oriented industrial.
SPLICED by Div|der & soillodge

Orange Sector, “Das letzte Lied”
Lastly, German true-schoolers Orange Sector are taking a look backwards with a double-disc retrospective set. The duo have always favoured EBM in its most brooding and menacing form, and there’s plenty of that to be found on Endzeit, including this new and tense tune.
Endzeit (Deluxe Edition) by Orange Sector

Wulfband, “Revolter”

Wulfband - Revolter

Progress Productions

The eponymous debut of SwEBM maniacs Wulfband was nothing short of a revelation to us at I Die: You Die when it was released in 2014. While ably contributing to the already rich tradition of roots EBM which Sweden can claim, Wulfband distinguished themselves with a hyper-caffeinated energy which spoke to perpetually distracted and indirect rage and dissatisfaction, rather than any of the steely bravado and pride often associated with the genre. Acclaim for the record was slow but steady, and was consolidated by stellar live sets ranging from the famed Familientreffen to Terminus. Revoluter, their follow-up release vomits forth all the same fury and excitement which made their debut an instant classic, but incredibly also finds room to cram a plethora of new sounds and techniques into Wulfband’s already overkill-happy arsenal. The result is a near-perfect EBM record, wholly capitalizing on the form’s pedigree and potential, but also establishing clear and compelling connections to other extreme genres which have hitherto rarely been as forceful or impressive.

Like their debut, Revolter puts punk tempos and delivery to work, breaking their songs out of the trad-body music template. It’s a bombastic and infectiously energetic approach that somehow never wears itself out across the record’s twelve tracks; instead of exhausting the listener, the balls-out vigor ends up energizing and engaging. And it’s not just the speed factor (a goodly portion of the songs on the album are mid-tempo from a BPM standpoint), but the sneakily clever arrangements. A song like “Kapt Kaboom”‘s bassline and crashing cymbals are great fun in the verse, but its impact is made by having the song drop into half-time for the first chorus before rushing to a loping breakdown that climaxes in a car crash of synths, drums and yowled vocals. Those shifts in dynamics feel absolutely natural, so much so that it’s often hard to notice exactly how much they’ve been transposed from hardcore punk: witness the bass guitar (real or sampled is totally unclear) that pops up halfway through “Séparez”, the greasy basement show shout-along chorus of “Kaos MF”, or the record’s innumerable precision drum fills and solos. For all its obvious appeal it’s not a mix that many acts outside of Babyland or Youth Code have ever managed as successfully, but Wulfband have it locked in firmly.

And what’s more, that acumen doesn’t ever get in the way of how appealingly weird Wulfband are. Even leaving aside the obvious stuff – they’re a masked and essentially anonymous Swedish band whose songs are all sung in broken German – there’s something to be said for how organically loopy their whole shtick is. It’s partially a function of how manic everything is, but also how unusual some of their choices are. That weird falsetto pop that the vocalist tosses into the verse of “Das Ist Musik” is odd in a vacuum, but makes perfect sense in a continuum that includes the dog-barking synths and underwater orch hits that follow. For a comparatively brief album those kinds of unexpected touches are almost too many to count, with run-ins by synth choirs, bizarre rhythmic left turns and springy percussion elements aplenty. It’s pretty telling that closer “In Tempo” starts with far-off carnival organ before it’s anxiety inducing synth-line kicks in; the record is defined by a kind of funhouse zeal that might feel woozy if it wasn’t so bracing.

As off-kilter as the sounds Wulfband work with are, Revolter has a remarkable sense of pacing, both at the album-length macro level as well as within individual songs. The spaces they find to work in the aforementioned fills, either expected drum ones or sample-based stopgaps, speak to a fluency in metal and crossover thrash which no EBM has ever brought to bear (independent of one another, both members of the Senior Staff were reminded of fellow Swedes Disfear while listening to Revolter). The combination of pure craft and irreverent inspiration and confidence with which Wulfband approach EBM simply cannot be overstated. EBM has rarely, if ever, felt as wild-eyed, as thirsty, as vital. Strongly recommended.

Buy it.

We Have a Technical 184: White Castle of Fear

The Doctor is In

We’re trying to preemptively get ahead on year end coverage on the podcast this week by discussing recent records by Godflesh and Lionhearts. From grinding industrial metal threshers to the elegantly tasteful vocal stylings of Frank Spinath, we’re running the gamut of sounds and styles on the latest episode of We Have A Technical. We’ve also got some anticipatory discussion of the Vancouver appearance of the site’s namesake, Mr. Gary Numan, and overarching perceptions of the second half of his career to boot. Don’t forget, you can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, download directly or stream from the widget down below.

Xenturion Prime, “Humanity Plus”

Xenturion Prime
Humanity Plus
Progress Productions

Like on their 2014 debut album Mecha Rising, 2017 finds Swedish project Xenturion Prime exploring the nexus of electropop and trance. While almost the entirety of futurepop was birthed from that particular fusion, Bjørn Marius Borg, Hans-Olof Mattsson, and Cathrine Räisänen Andersen aren’t interested in retreading what’s already been done with the template. Humanity Plus specifically draws influence from progressive trance and synthwave, and maintains a focus on melody that serves its far out cosmic theme.

A goodly portion of the record is given over to soaring, high BPM vocal numbers, and it’s in those areas that Xenturion Prime most distinguish themselves. Early cuts lean heavily into massive chirpy arpeggios, speedy drum arrangements and modulated pads, with a ton of the musical and emotional weight carried by the rock-ish vocals. On an upbeat song like “Propulsion” they approach the good-time dancefloor fun of their equally science-fiction minded countrymen S.P.O.C.K., albeit with a far more ambitious arrangement that dips and glides before climaxing in a bright shower of twinkling synths. When they go moody on the lush “Milestone” the effect is far from subdued, with a gentle piano breakdown and a dueted vocals transforming the song’s minor key melody into a triumphant futurepop anthem. Xenturion Prime do massive and proggy extremely well, as evidenced by “Traveler”, where vocoders, Vangelis-like sweeps and Andersen’s powerful voice come together for the perfect show-stopping closer.

There are some new ideas in the mix too, and while not as immediate as the big dance songs they certainly illustrate the trio’s desire to play with arrangement. The four “Artifact” instrumentals interspersed throughout the record explore different avenues of sound design, from spacey strings and growling subbass rumbles to full on Outrun sequences, complete with analogue warble and gated snares. “Bulldozer” finds them working a cycling bassline and vocal processing that recalls body music, and “Departed” strips down for a simple ballad, both ideas that fit well with the album’s broad “bigger is better” approach.

To be quite honest Humanity Plus‘s scope can be a bit exhausting as a listener, especially where the up-front mix doesn’t leave a lot of room to relax, even in its more introspective moments. That grandeur is totally part of the album’s appeal though, and pretty intrinsic to the character of the band: Xenturion Prime are far more exciting when they’re reaching for the stars and damn-the-consequences than when they aren’t. No one will ever accuse them of subtlety, but that’s clearly a choice they’re comfortable with as they continue to explore the far reaches of their own galaxy.

Buy it.

Karger Traum, “Such A Dream”

Karger Traum - Such A Dream

Karger Traum
Such A Dream
DKA Records

Karger Traum’s first full-length release is marked by an even blend of fresh experimentation and homage to classic electronic pioneers. But it’s likely that the arch Teutonic drag of the Oklahoma City duo will prompt listeners’ first reactions to Such A Dream. It’s a unique enough feature which threads through tunes which borrow equally from EBM, synthpunk, and Neue Deutsche Welle, but shouldn’t be taken as the sum total of the record’s appeal.

Taylor McKenzie’s vocals, at times restless, at times manic (and often both within the same track) seethe throughout Such A Dream and are placed right up front in the mix so as to catch every sigh or muttered word. It’s tough as a non-German speaker to evaluate the intent or content (or even the pronunciation), but it passes the smell test, and doesn’t seem to be there for the sake of shock or novelty. Rather, I’d hazard a guess that Karger Traum are aiming for a tone and feel which mirrors that of the innumerable German bands exploring synths and stripped down song structures in the early 80s.

Blake Lusk’s crisp programming and occasional integration of guitar would certainly slide in comfortably alongside DAF records on the shelves, but for every tune like “Was Ist Was” which ably recreates the original EBM genome, there’s another engaging moment which can’t be pinned down to any band or era. Check the odd rhythmic sample used beneath rumbling bass on “Blick und Feld pt 1″; left to speculation I’d have to tag it as a bowl of dry cereal being lightly shook. Free-form compositional experimentation often holds sway, with songs emerging out of the combination of Lusk’s sound design and McKenzie’s vocal impulses, but there are still some solid tunes at the core of much of the record: the harmonic synths and languid guitars which emerge beneath the initial attack of “Familienlied”‘s bass programming and barks recall far earlier pioneers like Neu! and Can.

Often when we talk about self-consciously “traditionalist” or retro bands trading in ostensibly experimental sounds and genres, we have to accept a certain degree of paradoxical conservatism in the deal. That’s not the case here. Such A Dream gets over through the immediacy of its moods and its rewarding takes on vintage sounds, but more importantly Karger Traum have cast a wide enough net over the past that they’re never beholden to any form or motif for too long, and have a keen ear for new sounds.

Buy it.

Such A Dream by Karger Traum

Tracks: November 20th, 2017

We’re coming up on a live show which has special resonance around the I Die: You Die HQ. Yes, our very own namesake, Uncle Gary Numan himself will be coming through town in support of Savage, a record we had plenty to say about upon its release. The strange way in which Numan has alternately been hailed as a visionary and shunned as a pariah for his different explorations of electronic music has always resonated with us, and still seems like as fitting a metaphor as any for the hot-and-cold attitude which has always met darker electronic music in the broader culture, and thus for our own endeavors as well. Here’s to many more years of Numanoid strangeness, now let’s get to this week’s Tracks!


Khobra: make-out seshes in the uncanny valley.

Lionhearts, “No Going Back (Mildreda Remix)”
So, uh, in spite of our crush on Seabound’s Frank Spinath, we somehow managed to not review the solo project Lionhearts’ debut LP this year. The recent announcement of a remix companion disk with mixes by IRIS, Hecq, Architect, Acretongue, Forma Tadre (!!!!!) is a good reminder, though. We’ll do our best to get that one in the books before year end. In the meantime why not enjoy this take from Mildreda, aka Jan Dewulf of diskonnekted fame with a pretty smooth bit of slow dark electro.
Companion by Lionhearts

Khobra, “IN/OUT”
We’ve celebrated Matt Cangiano’s work with Human Performance Labs several times on the site, and plenty more in our club sets. But his other project, Khobra, with fellow Deth cliq member Aaron J. Cunningham, is also well deserving of your attention. The duo’s new three-track tape does a great job of blending modern and abrasive bin-rattling kicks with some classic aceeeiiid maneuvers.

VOWWS, “Forget Your Finery”
Twangy darkwavers VOWWS with a new one that makes the most of all their strengths. Distinctive vocals from both Rizz and Matt, distinctive gothy guitar lines and syncopated drumwork, this feels a lot more like their live sets we’ve caught than the (still quite enjoyable) moodier synth style of their previous recordings. Keen to hear where this might lead, as they’ve been on the cusp of wider recognition for quite some time.

Randal Collier-Ford, “The Fundament”
Fresh off his excellent Promethean LP, dark ambient artist Randal Collier-Ford’s keeping the juices flowing with a quick, pay-what-you-want two-track release. Apex is meant to be part of the larger series of narratively-connected Apocalypse releases, but you don’t have to be wholly up to speed on Collier-Ford’s extensive catalog to get a sense of where he’s coming from with these lurching, abyssal horns and drones.
[APEX] by Randal Collier-Ford

Phantom West, “On The Line (SØLVE Remix)”
We’re not shy about our love for Brant Showers’ work, either as one half of our beloved ∆AIMON, or his solo efforts as SØLVE. Can we add that his remix game has been really on point lately as well? Take this one he did recently for Phantom West: the retro-electropop of the original is transmuted to a treacherous haunted highway jam, speeding along through deep fog of far off strings on a bed of burbling synths. It’s vivid and has some engine in it, a tasteful blending of the original and Brant’s own inimitable style.
On The Line EP by Phantom West

Succubist, “Sex Education”
Lastly, we can’t tell if it’s the sleep dep or just how dark and rainy things have been here in Vancouver for the past week, but something about the screwball rave delivery on Succubist’s debut release just feels right. Alternately noisy and homey, its combination of bounce and MIDI horror has a strange charm, part Mangadrive and part M‡яc▲ll▲, perhaps?
Blood ⛧ Flow by Succubist

In The Nursery, “1961″

In The Nursery - 1961

In The Nursery
ITN Corporation

There’s nothing new about art music addressing the issues of its time (or that just preceding) in a direct way. Even without words, Beethoven’s third symphony and Shostakovich’s seventh are inseparable from the legacies of the demagogues whose shadows loomed over their production: Napoleon and Stalin, respectively. One can similarly find in futurist composition or in Adams’ Short Ride In A Fast Machine direct responses to contemporaneous technological advances and their potential effect on ‘new music’. For over thirty years, fairly or unfairly, Klive and Nigel Humberstone’s work as In The Nursery has been compared to a plethora of names and works from that same lengthy tradition of art music. What’s most striking about their new record, 1961, isn’t its musical proximity to any of those famed names or styles, but how it uses the pop convention of an LP with a certain number of discrete pieces to re-approach the convention of program music.

Each of 1961‘s nine tracks specifically deal with an event or invention particular to that year. That it’s the year of the brothers’ birth as well as a year rife with more globally historic events likely factored into its selection, but the fact that the number looks impressive on cover art which well represents the balance of deftness and gravitas in ITN’s work can’t have hurt, either. And it’s a damned varied scrapbook of historical snapshots the Humberstones have assembled, indeed. I recommend that interested parties take a gander at the full track-by-track breakdown they’ve created, but for my own part it was thrilling to hear musical approximations of Gagarin’s flight and Lem’s Solaris.

The high stakes of 1961‘s sources of inspiration might make one imagine instrumentation of the most ambitious and ornamented order. And while there are plenty of moments of classical orchestration – the operatic shrieks of “Khrushchev! Kennedy!” in “Torschlusspanik” and the elegant chamber strings in “Prisoner of Conscience” – much of the album is made up of relatively stripped down (if echoing) rock drums, bass, and guitar. Sure, ITN have used that sort of motif before, going back to their earliest and noisiest days, but it’s been a while since so many rough and tumble post-punk and post-rock moments came together on one of their records. More often than not, they find a way of fusing that griminess to the grandeur of their topics, as on the neo-folk groove of “Pacify” and the spooktacular echoes of “Grand Corridor”.

High-concept, high-drama, rough-neck excecution, 1961 is a fun and inspired spin on a number of classic In The Nursery tropes and sounds. It’d be very easy for them to be either going through the motions at this stage in their career or approaching a project like this with po-faced turgidity, but freshly energized and motivated, they’re framing the time of their lives with verve and panache.

Buy it.

1961 by In The Nursery

We Have a Technical 183: Ghrossts

Joey Blush is rarely seen in colour

In this week’s episode of the podcast, the Senior Staff are investigating the breadth and resonance of instrumental music in the broader post-industrial milieu. Whether it’s noise which rejects any semblance of legibility, the specific genres which have developed to conjure moods without words, or bands having dalliances with instrumentals, it’s all being talked about in this chin-stroking episode of We Have A Technical. We’ve also got talk about recent and upcoming festivals in both North America and Europe (that’d be Cold Waves LA and Maschinenfest), plus forthcoming records by Wulfband and V▲LH▲LL. Don’t forget, you can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, download directly or stream from the widget down below.

Blush Response, “Infinite Density”

Blush Response
Infinite Density
Sonic Groove

Joey Blush has found his niche; since abandoning the industrial rock trappings of Blush Response’s first releases in favour of techno abstraction the project has been rapidly evolving into newer and ever more intriguing forms. Following up on his rhythmic noise adjacent 2016 release for Ant-Zen, Blush’s new LP Infinite Density arrives via Adam X’s Sonic Groove label, and while it certainly shows some of the markers of the techno formalism he’s been dabbling in on his solo and collaborative releases for aufnahme + wiedergabe, there’s a distinctly sharp-edged andindustrial feel to the proceedings.

So much of where Blush Response is at musically is expressed through the way Blush approaches rhythm. Especially in the first half of the record, songs like the title track and “Panic Stricken” eschew standard 4/4 drum programming, instead relying on offbeat kicks, ticking cymbals and whirring sequences to carry the songs forwards. Even a track like “Survivor Guilt” that is almost entirely made up of echoing drones and slow-mo filter sweeps finds a groove in the occasional subbass thump and sculpted drum hit. When the album does break out into full-on dancefloor-ready material at roughly the halfway point, it’s via the clanging “Serpentine”, where boxy percussion loops are encircled by clipped and filtered acid squelches. “Infinite Dread” is body music at an anxious tempo that feels almost too fast for comfort, where the saturated kicks on “Tesselate” actually sound like they’re putting holes in the cresting waves of buzzing synth noise that border the song, threatening to shake the whole track to pieces.

Interestingly, for the first time since Blush stopped doing vocals on his own material, human voices play a major role in the tenor of the record. While never a spotlighted element (in fact it’s often difficult to tell what any of the various voices are saying), their value is in how they interact with the other aspects of Blush’s arrangements. The stretched and warped chanting that tumbles in midway through album highlight “Aum Shinrikyo” helps the song’s thin, sharp pads slice through the mix, and the reverberating shouts on “Tryptamine” act as a bit of punctuation as the song shifts gears up and down. As a sound designer Blush tends to favour analogue texture, which allows him some room to really get weird with vocal samples; note how he mixes a distinctive but incomprehensible bit of screaming into the metallic shapes that define “Painkiller”.

Infinite Density is an accomplished record from a technical standpoint, and that shouldn’t be a surprise at this point. With each release Blush Response has refined the production and programming, so that a healthy portion of the listening experience is about hearing what configurations and forms he can assemble with his toolset. Joey Blush isn’t showing any signs of settling down soon, and that makes each new release, including this one, an intriguing and rewarding listening experience.

Buy it.


Tracks: November 14th, 2017

This weekend offered a brief respite from the non-stop live show and record listening sessions that make up the majority of our lives. As we hurtle towards the annual test of strength that is our Year End Coverage, the unending game of catch-up we engage in becomes less and less manageable, which is where you come in faithful reader: we need to know what we haven’t covered yet that is in Year End contention. Sooner is better than later as we’ll be trying to wrap everything up by mid-December this year, so go on and leave us a comment down below! …After you check out this week’s Tracks of course.


When Siamgda talk about electronic BODY music they aren't fucking around.

Textbeak feat. Bestial Mouths, “Blood Storm”
Another Tracks premiere, this brief but ravenous mass of unpleasantness comes to us courtesy of Textbeak, aided and abetted by Lynette of Bestial Mouths as we just discussed on the podcast. Lynette was telling us about the extremities she went to in this video, and well, she wasn’t foolin’. We’ve mostly covered Mike Textbeak’s work in remixing other artists here on the site, but he’ll have a full length record of originals such as this coming out on Cleopatra sometime early next year. Bestial Mouths isn’t the only point of collaboration; expect appearances from the likes of Roland H Kirk and The Pop Group’s Mark Stewart among others.

Siamgda, “Yoga”
Living in the land of Lulu Lemon as we do, it’s hard not to get a little cynical about the cultural and commercial state of Yoga, in spite of its many health benefits. But what if you could do a hot class while listening to rhythmic noise? It’s unlikely any local studios will be putting that one on any time soon, but at least we’ve got the new video (directed by friend of the site Dominic Marceau!) from Ant-Zen act Siamgda to help us imagine what it might be like. The appropriately titled Noise Yoga dropped a few weeks ago, so why not pick it up and have it blasting next time you toss that DDP DVD into the player?

The Operative, “Nothing To Bare”
Shane Talada’s name might be most familiar to regular ID:UD readers through Marching Dynamics, the one-man rhythmic noise project through which Talada’s been releasing records on the likes of Hymen and Squarwav. Heads in the know are aware that Talada’s a student of plenty of dark genres, and while his classic goth rock chops aren’t on display in his new project, The Operative, you can tell that he’s been tracking the close proximity between new techno artists and classic noise merchants like himself. The Operative’s full-length, Weird Grief, just dropped this past weekend on Crunch Pod.
Weird Grief by The Operative

Soho Rezanejad, “Greed Wears a Disarming Face”
God damn. Wasn’t sure what to expect when this turned up in the inbox recently, but we’re genuinely taken aback by this eight minute opus from Danish artist Soho Rezanejad. Taken from her debut album Six Archetypes (due in January from Silicone Records) “Greed Wears a Disarming Face” is a slowburn, ascending from foggy minimalism into lush and forested darkwave complete with some of the most compelling vocals we’ve heard in a while. Apparently Soho is now a member of Cult of Youth, which is a pretty hot co-sign for an artist gearing up for their first album to be released. This goes on the watchlist immediately.

Dead Husband, “Vertex”
Speaking of mailbox surprises, the debut EP from Boston’s Dead Husband is another welcome one. Hanging out at the bouncier and softer intersections of EBM and synthpop, Dead Husband bring plenty of the same fun which made FORCES such an immediate favourite around the HQ, although with some more classic, almost Moroder-like synth passages. Don’t worry, though, there are plenty of early rave signifiers tucked into the EP as well, which we recommend cracking the tin on.
Renaissance by Dead Husband

Priest, “Vaudeville”
Once again It’s a Trap! has shown us the way: we have no idea how Priest escaped our notice before now. Like, if you had approached us on the street and said “Hey guys, there’s a band from Sweden who sound like a cross between modern synthpop and D.A.F. and also their singer wears a spikey bondage mask” we would actually have cancelled whatever plans we had made previously to go look such a band up. Better late than never though, as the band’s first album is due shortly from Lovely Records and this song “Vaudeville” has us excited enough to put it into our overstuffed “listen before year’e end” queue.