In The Nursery, “1961″

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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

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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”

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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

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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.

We Have a Commentary: Collide, “Chasing the Ghost”

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On this supporter-selected commentary podcast, Bruce and Alex are discussing the enduring appeals of Collide’s sophomore record, “Chasing The Ghost”. The nexus of goth and industrial, the import of Statick’s engineering chops, and the elegance of kaRin’s vocal restraint are just some of the topics covered. It’s time to get down to one of the grooviest darkwave records of all time on this month’s We Have A Commentary! Don’t forget, you can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, download directly or stream from the widget down below.

So Fragile: Alex Reed of Seeming

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Alex Reed. Photo courtesy of Jill Grant @Take it for Granted

Alex Reed and his project Seeming should be very familiar to readers of this site: he released our favourite album of 2014, appeared multiple times on our podcast before and since, and this year put out one of the top contenders for year end recognition in the form of SOL: A Self Banishment Ritual, a step forward into a soulful and unexplored endtimes. With a new single Talk About Bones dropping today Alex was a natural choice to participate in our So Fragile mixtape series. When asked about his selections and their influence on his recent work he has this to say:

These 18 tracks span 45 years and four continents, but they collectively point toward a sense of expansive mystery, anguish, and determination. You might not hear many four-on-the-floor club beats, but you’ll certainly hear something compelling. This mixtape is representative of my last few years’ listening as I made the SOL album and thought about avenues forward for Our Thing. Enjoy!

Talk About Bones is out now via Bandcamp.

Laurie Anderson, “The Beginning of Memory” (2010)
Boscoe, “Writin’ on the Wall” (1973)
Diamanda Galás, “Hee Shock Die” (1996)
Kate Tempest, “The Beigeness” (2014)
Iz, “Shadow” (2011)
These New Puritans, “Orion” (2010)
Barry Adamson, “Whispering Streets” (2002)
People, “Glastonbury” (1971)
Gil Scott-Heron, “Home Is Where the Hatred Is” (1971)
Family Fodder, “Der Leiermann (Organ Grinder)” (1981)
Sharkbait, “Vertical Assault” (1990)
Cromagnon, “First World of Bronze” (1969)
Black Uhuru, “Mercy Street (dub)” (1993)
Sinoia Caves, “Run Program—Sentionauts” (2014)
Eric B. & Rakim, “Juice (Know the Ledge) (Instrumental)” (1991)
Until October, “Sequence Line” (1986)
Judee Sill, “The Donor” (1973)
Edwin Starr, “Time” (1970)

We Have a Technical 182:IDYDRPDRP

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Bestial Mouths

Bestial Mouths. Photo by András G. Varga.

In this week’s podcast, we’re speaking with Lynette Cerezo, the creative force behind the cacophonic maelstrom that is Bestial Mouths! Lynette had plenty to say about her vision for the project through all of its permutations, the contrasts in new dark music in North America and Europe, and the personal roots of the macabre themes explored in Bestial Mouths’ work. We’re also chatting about the glut of new records rushing in during 2017′s last quarter, Blanck Mass, and the sticky issue of ethical promotion of one’s music. Don’t forget, you can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, download directly or stream from the widget down below.

iVardensphere, “Hesitation”

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Metropolis Records

Hesitation is the seventh LP of original music from Scott Fox’s iVardensphere, and the second to be released in 2017. To put that in context, iVs has only been actively releasing music since 2009, but Fox has filled almost every waking moment of that time with albums, interstitial singles, remixes and live shows, including an extensive recent tour with VNV Nation in his solo incarnation of the project. Mind-boggling work ethic aside, the net result of creating such an extensive catalogue in just under a decade is that iVardensphere’s identity is firmly established: deep grooves, extensive use of electronic and acoustic percussion and (especially in recent releases) the use of vocals and melody to add detail and feeling.

With that in mind, Hesitation plays very much as a companion piece to its predecessor Exile. The songwriting and production emphasizes many of the same ideas, building songs up from syncopated drum parts and using massive analogue bass sounds and acoustic instrumentation to fill out the composition. Both records place a great deal of importance on impact, creating massive rolling arrangements, pulling them apart to create space and then allowing them to coalesce again with force. Some of that emphasis is probably attributable to the influence of member Jamie Blacker, whose own project ESA uses a similar toolset, albeit to different ends. Longtime collaborators Yann Faussurier and Chuck Murphy contribute as well (the former is responsible for the crunchy textured instrumental banger “Surface Tension”) but it’s the Fox and Blacker collaborations that really seem to speak to where the project is at in 2017. The songs specifically co-written by them – the angular “Align, Get In Line, Stay In Line” and the pensive title track – share a special synergy, addressing the tension between acoustic and electronic instruments at the project’s heart. It really does drive home the fact that iVardensphere has evolved into a fully collaborative affair.

Still, every song bears Fox’s distinctive fingerprints as a producer, especially in the arena of sound design. “You Didn’t Hear Me” has a funky electro groove and melodic vocal turn, but it’s the analogue burbles and crackling bass sounds bring it firmly into the iVs camp. “Pray for the Day” inverts that, despite being credited musically to Blacker, the elastic bass synth and rhythm section feels very close to Fox solo compositions like the rumbling subwoofer workout “Dark Deed” and the creaky glitch of “Shroud”. Even in the album’s most uncharacteristic moment “Rapture” can easily be folded into our understanding of the project as a function of Fox’s interests; as a full on homage to Juno Reactor complete with butt-rock guitar at the climax, it only serves to point out how a key influence has become fully diffused into iVardensphere’s identity.

In considering Hesitation it’s useful to contextualize it in the grander scheme of Fox and company’s work. You can hear traces of the project’s past and potential futures in its twelve songs, and at least half the fun in listening to it beyond it’s immediate charms is in trying to divine where it could lead. We’ll likely have some new music to validate those guesses sooner rather than later, but in the moment it’s just as enjoyable to let this one play out in all its rhythmic, analogue industrial glory.

Buy it.

Hesitation by iVardensphere

Crimes AM, “Death And Adoration”

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Crimes AM - Death And Adoration

Crimes AM
Death And Adoration

The larger histories of synthwave likely won’t be written for another few years. But it seems probable that a good deal of the nuance which went into the genre’s early days and its most primary influence might be easily lost in a wash of custom Euro sportscars and magenta lipstick fonts. I don’t even mean to suggest that there ever was some halcyon age in which its retro stylings ever carried some purer weight in the broader culture, but only that some of the restraint shown by, say, earlier Gatekeeper releases might carry some gravitas which might endure years after we’ve all forgotten why we were expected to have measured takes on the Kavinsky catalog. It’s in that spirit which I feel the sophomore record from David Christian’s Crimes AM project must be read. Part throwback to a time before synthwave was termed as such, part chilly and restrained adjunct to its current excesses, it’s a reminder of how outré and melancholic this style once was.

Death And Adoration is certainly less grimy than its predecessor, Softcore. Rather than drilling its synthline into distorted textures which connote the depraved world the project’s original Crimes After Midnight handle, the production on this record is resolutely clean and straight-forward, with the focus being kept on economical trade-offs between rhythm and harmony as tracks slowly process synth line after synth line. Because of this, it’s possible to read the record as being austere, especially when its religious imagery is taken into account. It’s tough to get a clear sense of how the record’s religious themes are woven into the music; apart the song titles, artwork, and the odd muffled vocal sample which might be liturgical there aren’t any clear thematic connections to Catholicism (or cribbing from sacred music which I could catch). But there’s certainly a somber mood which is carried through the whole affair which might not be ill-suited for processions, self-flaggelation, and the like.

That commitment to a particular theme lends some structure to a record which might otherwise feel restless or saturnine without cause. Regardless of its provenance, Death And Adoration carries with it the talents for layering and timing which Christian’s bringing from his years of expertise with the far more abrasive Cervello Elettronico project. Brooding and considered, it’s a dour take on a style which could perhaps benefit from a solemn gaze at itself in the mirror every once in a while.’

Buy it.

Death and Adoration by Crimes AM

Tracks: November 6th, 2017

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Good gravy, 2017′s turning into a back-loaded year. Despite the appearances early in the year of some of the records we’d been most anticipating, we’re currently swamped by the sheer volume of releases relevant to our mission here at the site or by artists we’re often on board with. Seriously, our “to write about” list is starting to fill out to a length commensurate with a festival line-up. A damned good festival line-up, mind you, but one which’ll likely have us in the weeds right until our Year End coverage kicks off. Let’s keep things rolling with this week’s Tracks!

Azar Swan

Azar Swan. Photo by Angelle-Leigh Breaux.

Seeming, “Talk About Bones (Whirlwind Mix)”
Starting off with something of an exclusive, we’ve got the lead track from Seeming’s new Let’s Talk About Bones maxi which’ll be dropping on Friday. We had plenty to say about the way in which endings are both immanent and yet forever forestalled on SOL, and so it seems fitting that the first stand-alone “single” release from that stunner of an album is its closing track, reworked here in radical form. While the intensity of Alex Reed’s vocals remains (with some harmonies that were only barely perceptible in the original now a central focus), the punchy synth-pop chops of this mix cast a whole new light on the tune.
Talk About Bones EP by Seeming

DIN, “Dirt”
DIN is the new project from Los Angelinos Josie and Greg Vand (the latter of whom should be familiar to readers of this site as one half of High-Functioning Flesh). The sound of the project falls somewhere between modern wave and minimal synth, with tweaky guitar, a surprisingly busy arrangement of percussion elements and a somber vocal. It’s remarkably insistent, instantly locking the listener in with an emphasis on groove and movement that keeps it boiling for a solid four and a half minutes. Digital and vinyl out this Friday from DKA Records, the current reigning North American champs for this sort of thing.
Real Dirt by DIN

Conformco, “Eighty Sixed”
New stuff coming from the Glitch Mode crew, Conformco’s got the sample-happy funk-groove of classic Wax Trax fare down to a tee, and why shouldn’t it? When you’ve got Jim Marcus and Charles Levi tagging in with core members Sean Payne and Chris Harris you’re getting plenty of the original DNA mixed in with that of the next generation. They have a RevCo cover appended to the single, but the band’s original tune has more than enough grimy fun to stand on its own.
Eighty Sixed Maxi Single by CONFORMCO

Azar Swan, “Territorial”
If you thought you had synth act Azar Swan pegged you might want to check what the band have been up to lately. Their first two LPs did an admirable job of finding melody and warmth in darkness, their 2017 single “The Golden Age of Hate” found the duo moving into much more fraught and unnerving lands. With a new release due from the unstoppable aufnahme + wiedegabe, Zohra and Joshua have shared “Territorial”, which would seem to confirm our suspicion that the group are moving from from darkness to moonless pitch. Another late year release to look out for in a year packed with them.
Savage Exile by Azar Swan

In Strict Confidence, “Herz (Binary Park remix)”
We didn’t totally love the most recent album from In Strict Confidence, 2016′s The Hardest Heart, although “Herz” wasn’t too bad a track somewhere between the darkwave and NDH sounds the band has dabbled in for the last few records. Come to find the long-running German project have released a new single “Herz & Frozen Kisses” that serves up remixes of the two tracks plus b-sides. We like this version offered up by Binary Park, which invokes some modern Depeche Mode sounds and takes the track firmly into electropop territory.
Herz & Frozen Kisses by In Strict Confidence

TSTI, “Strange Times (Police Des Moeurs Remix)
Speaking of Depeche Mode’s influence, it was felt throughout the excellent LP released by TSTI this summer. The Black Celebration feels of this track get some modifications on an EP of remixes by the likes of The Horrorist on Basic Unit. Experimental French coldwaves Police Des Moeurs speed things up – much more “A Question Of Time” than the original’s “Fly On The Windscreen”, if you catch us – but also sprinkle on some newer synthwave feels.
Strange Times by TSTI

Observer: Word Made Flesh & Human Performance Lab

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Word Made Flesh

Word Made Flesh, the new collaboration between Phil Barry and Keef Baker draws equally from each artist’s repertoire of musical trademarks; from Barry, the churning guitar work and sharp programming of Be My Enemy and Cubanate, set against Baker’s bass-heavy dub and muscular electronics. It’s a combination that yields some seriously menacing tunes, like opener “Art Brut” where swirling distortion and halting rhythm programming drag their way up the side of the song’s mountainous arrangement, human screams emerging and fading back into the static. Elsewhere, “Black Mirror” introduces a 16th note bass synth that builds a wall of tension before a buzzsaw of processed guitar cleaves it in half. Even in its more straight moments the atmosphere of peril is real: “The Butterfly Dream” rides a pale horse of a bass and drum groove towards an uncertain conclusion, and industrial rock stomper “Heretic” has a dry and combustible mix that always seems on the verge of bursting into flames. It’s not all the threat of violence though, the gentle piano of “Waters of Sleep” and the extended ambient bridge that follows the wheat thresher synth programming on “The Process” serve as valuable counterpoints, not gentle but valuable moments of reprieve. For a record that works with such a defined palette it certainly doesn’t lack for variety, even closer “The Forest” brings some new ideas in the form of dissonant noiserock freakouts. It’s a bracing a often perturbing listen of a record from two artists whose combined powers are exactly as complimentary as you might imagine. Recommended.

Word Made Flesh by Word Made Flesh

Human Performance Lab - Armed Vision

Human Performance Lab
Armed Vision
Aufnahme + Wiedergabe

Now with several years of familiarity with his catalog under our belts, we’re able to make some distinctions between the various projects of Emad Dabiri. His solo work as SARIN works to strike pinched dark techno/EBM nerves, while Konkurs, his collaboration with Joey of Blush Response, aims for noisier rhythmic clatter amidst the programming. His third modus operandi, the Human Performance Lab project done in concert with Matthew Cangiano of Vierance, keeps basslines front and center, passing them through all manner of filters and rhythms, bringing hints of funk and house to the EBM party. New EP Armed Vision keeps things in the 120 BPM range, and keeps an even groove going throughout even as tunes like “80 Gigs” and “Phantom” are swarmed over with down-pitched movie samples. The even tempo makes for a remarkably smooth stand-alone listen (and of course makes club play a snap), and brings the specific shadings and timbres which are added to said basslines right into the limelight. There’s a healthy helping of swing to just about each of the pieces here, which adds verve and flair to what’s often been presented as a uniformly cold and aggressive style in recent years. Even when things veer in a more decidedly rigid fashion, as on closer “Unity”, the squelchy tone on the synth-bass has more than enough throw-back appeal to be as fun as it is punchy; makes sense for a record which hollers at Johnny Mnemonic.

Armed Vision by Human Performance Lab

We Have a Technical 181: Detourrito

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Youth Code or King Diamond? YOU DECIDE

On this episode of We Have a Technical, we’re doing a Pick Five topic, but this is a very special one selected by the winner of our Pick Five contest! Yes, that’s right: we’re turning creative control over to you, the listener, for this episode. The Senior Staff select non-English tunes we enjoy, with lots of the terrible pronunciation you’ve come to expect from the internet’s foremost industrial, goth and related musics podcast. What do we think about music we know we don’t understand? Find out. We also talk about recent shows by Depeche Mode, Youth Code and Chelsea Wolfe! Come in and soothe that Halloween hangover! Don’t forget, you can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, download directly or stream from the widget down below.


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