We Have A Technical 319: Mmmokada

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Louisahhh

Louisahhh onstage at Calgary. Photo by @me_onlylouder.

Recorded just before her smashing performance at Terminus, this week on the podcast we’re proud to bring you our interview with Louisahhh. Considered, impassioned, and substantive, this interview shares a great deal with the live rendering of music from her The Practice Of Freedom LP which Louisahhh brought to the stage in Calgary. We’re also discussing the line-up of New York’s just announced Flesh & Steel festival in December, plus an excellent article by Konstantina Buhalis discussing how recent social media trends are intersecting with renewed interest in goth culture. As always, you can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, or download directly or listen through the widget down below.

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T.G.T.B., “Stockholm Soul”

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T.G.T.B. - Stockholm Soul

T.G.T.B.
Stockholm Soul
Detriti Records

Never let it be said that synthpop needs to be happy simply by virtue of being poppy. While there are plenty of bands, classic and recent, who get mileage out of wedding dreary lyrics to the brightest of melodies, mysterious newcomers T.G.T.B. push things even further, linking the most depressive vocals you’re likely to hear this side of a Forever Grey record to bouncy synth hooks.

After a pair of EPs (also released by Detriti), the Stockholm Soul LP deliveries flurries of high-energy electro tracks which speak to an appreciation for classic synthpop, melodic rave bangers, and plenty of goth-adjacent synth from the post-futurepop era. “Seismic Waves” is a textbook example of the formula, with its shimmering pulse drawing a line between A Different Drum-styled synthpop and the way post-witchouse acts like Fostercare hearkened back to 90s techno. Though there’s a lo-fi haze to the whole record, some of its core compositions reach for grander heights (the imperial “Recondition” suggests both Pet Shop Boys and Ashbury Heights), while others sequester themselves in the most insular of bedroom synthpop (“Orminge” brings the likes of Figurine to mind, albeit likely by accident).

Deft programming aside, the other defining feature of T.G.T.B. are its vocals. Impassive, monotone, and distinctly doomed, they sit in complete contrast to the nominally sunny tracks themselves. While there’s nothing new about fatalistic synthpop lyrics about death and loneliness, the harrowed and unwavering intonation of them across Stockholm Soul gives the album a unique and uniform delivery, marshaling all of its various melodic influences under the steely aegis of the vocals. This could be a dealbreaker for some listeners, but it definitely sets the record apart from its peers.

Despite the connection between 90s rave tunes and the record’s uptempo rhythms, the handiest point of comparison to Stockholm Soul remains early Body of Light. The duo’s releases on Ascetic House and Chondritic Sound took a similarly lo-fi approach to a range of lithe and bubbly synth and electro sounds, and connected it to a weighty sense of malaise. I’d be curious to hear what T.G.T.B. might sound like were it to follow in Body Of Light’s footsteps in terms of cleaning up the production and mix, but until their next move is made, Stockholm Soul has a good amount of charm.

Buy it.

T.G.T.B. – Stockholm Soul by Detriti Records

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Harsh Symmetry, “Display Model”

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Harsh Symmetry
Display Model
Fabrika Records

While the digital liners for the debut album by Julian Sharwarko as Harsh Symmetry point to connections with darkwave from the likes of genre progenitors like This Mortal Coil and Clan of Xymox and standout cult acts like The Frozen Autumn, there’s a healthy amount of the modern in the DNA of Display Model. Like a lot of acts plying the melodic, guitar-inflected sound in recent years Shawarko keeeps his electronics minimal but propulsive, which allows his vocals and hooks to breathe without sacrificing dancefloor appeal.

Comparisons to Twin Tribes and She Past Away (whose Doruk Öztürkcan provided the LP’s mix and master) are apt, although Shawarko displays some very distinct production and arrangement traits that set Harsh Symmetry apart. Firstly, the highly saturated atmosphere of the tracks lends them a dreamy, timeless feel that corresponds well with the melancholic vocals, which are delivered in a controlled but still emotionally resonant fashion. It’s what makes a track like “Opiate” or single “Mirror Twin” work so well; beyond the kicks and synth-bass there’s a real tangibility to the atmosphere of the tracks that is subtle enough to keep from overpowering the vocals and chimey guitars, but also lends the songs weight and texture beyond their component elements.

Shawarko’s other trick is in taking the distinctive electro-darkwave markers of Boy Harsher and their imitators and using them as underpinning. The effect is striking in part because we’ve heard such blatant copy-catting of the sound in the last few years that hearing it twisted to serve an altogether different style of song ends up being refreshing in and of itself. You’d be forgiven for hearing the 16th note bass synth and gated snare at the opening of “Severance” and jumping to the conclusion that it’s another of the torrent of songs working that style to diminishing returns, but the onset of crystalline guitar strumming and Shawarko’s wounded and mournful vocal take it to an entirely different place. Similarly, the funky intro to “Nowhere” belies its wistfulness, much as the snappy drum programming and synth triplets of “Pugilist” allow for some tricky shifts up and down in mood over its scant 2:11 runtime.

At less than a half an hour and 8 tracks, there’s a lot of substance packed into Display Model. Economy of songwriting and construction, mixed with richness of texture and melody is a potent approach, and Harsh Symmetry squeezes everything they can out of it on the LP. There’s little left on the table, here as Julian Sharwarko plies his trade in pleasingly uncomplicated, if still vibrant fashion.

Buy it.

Display Model by Harsh Symmetry

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Tracks: August 15th, 2022

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It occurs to us that there’s probably no better map to our changes in focus and interests over the course of the last 11 years than these weekly Tracks posts. While the reviews go beneath the surface and often get into more specific details of the reach of Our Thing, just looking back at a random Tracks post from 2012 or 2017 sometimes yields insight we only get with time; either a trend we didn’t notice as it was happening, an artist emerging or changing up their styles or any number of other details which sometimes get lost in the mist of memory. If you’ve never dug into our archives, why not dig in by using the site’s search function with a simple prompt like “Tracks ” and see what the Senior Staff were saying at some point in our history. It might surprise you!

Harsh Symmetry

Harsh Symmetry. Photo by @a.lomels.

Randolph & Mortimer vs. Operation 4.0, “Electronic Body Weapon 2”
Did you check out our interview with Sam from Randolph & Mortimer this week on the podcast? If not, go do that, then come back and check out this new drop from R&M in collaboration with London’s Operation 4.0. Like the previous Electronic Body Weapon single this one is a utility player, sitting alongside techno-body bangers, old-school EBM and general industrial playlists with ease. Proper thrasher indeed.
Electronic Body Weapon 2 by Randolph & Mortimer vs Operation 4.0

Protectorate, “Industrial Action”
The slightly more aggro incarnation of one half of Cardinal Noire, Protectorate won us over back in 2016 with a no-frills approach to electro-industrial on their debut release. New single “Industrial Action” is a slamming reintroduction to Kalle Lindberg’s work in case anyone missed it the first time around, and you’d better believe that that run-time is no accident. In addition to a stretched-out CN remix, check the anhalt treatment by fellow Finns Oldschool Union.
Industrial Action by Protectorate

Harsh Symmetry, “Like An Opiate”
We dug US newcomer Harsh Symmetry’s economical and immediate approach to darkwave on the “Mirror Twin” single from earlier this year, and at a quick glance the debut Display Model LP looks to carry the project’s harmonic and hooky ease forward. Should appeal to those who’ve dug recent moves by Double Echo.
Display Model by Harsh Symmetry

Hammershøi, “Sacerdoce”
French act Hammershøi put out a rather fun and versatile LP last year, scratching an itch for nervy old-school synthpop, synthpunk and wave sounds with sounding slavishly devoted to any one historical school of those genres. New single “Sacerdoce” (appearing on the forthcoming Miseria Upper Wave Selections vol. 2 comp) is very much in that same vein if even a little more acerbic; the tempo and disdainful vocal tone are here in spades, but still possessed of that French cool that makes ’em go down smooth.
Miseria – Upperwave Selections Vol. 2 by Miseria

Nuclear Sludge, “Unhuman”
Jimmy Svensson’s gritty, old school minded EBM project Nuclear Sludge returns with new single “Unhuman”, and we could be happier. Tailor-made for those who like their body music with some dirt and aggression in the style of Poupée Fabrikk or Blok57, it’s a groovy heavy hitter and a terrific addition to an already expansive list of self-released singles from the Stockholm project. We’re big fans of Jimmy’s swaggering vocal delivery, but there’s even an instrumental version on the single if you lean that way. Someone should sign this cat and put out a full record of this stuff ASAP.
Unhuman by Nuclear Sludge

Diesel Dudes, “Bus Boss”
We’d be loathe to speculate as to what real life incidents might have prompted this (Ironic? Earnest? Who can tell anymore?) missive from Diesel Dudes, but it’s full of the same concrete detail and roving EBM piss and vinegar which first drew us to the band. It’s the first new material from the band in about eight years – hopefully we’ll see them out on the road soon enough so we can all do some pushups in the pit.
Bus Boss by DIESEL DUDES

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Observer: Tasime Da Hidonash & TOT

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Tasime da Hidonash
Daskhiveba
SOIL

There’s precious little information out there regarding Tasime Da Hidonash. Aside from the fact that the Duseldorf project is made up of two individual artists (Tasime aka Anastasia Kapanadze and Hidonash aka Simon Zimmerman), we have little to triangulate debut release Daskhiveba other than each member’s extant discography. That ends up being a help more than a hindrance; that obscurity suits the sparseness and unease of their musical output. Tracks like “Massa” and “Daskhiveba” bristle with implied menace as Tasime intones vocals in her native Georgian, occasionally breaking into syncopated delivery or drawn out moans and yelps that match up with the rapidfire electronic percussion, drones and keen-edged synths that make up the bodies of the songs. Elsewhere on “Tsekva” piano tones and held pads provide an unnerving counterpoint to the quantized drum hits and bursts of noise. Speaking of which, when the heavy structures that inform most of the EP are abandoned for a purer noise and vocal composition on “Kaliebis Otakhi” the effect is striking – minus the rhythm there’s a slithering, wraith-like quality to the production that seeds both intrigue and anxiety. For a collection of barren and often turbulent compositions, it remains enveloping and meditative in its own manner. Recommended.
Tasime da Hidonash – Daskhiveba by Tasime da Hidonash

TOT - Blackened
TOT
Blackened
Strange Therapy

The second EP from Finnish producer Otto Mikkonen under the TOT handle carries forward with preceding EP Fragmented‘s program of power electronics clearly shaped by a foundational background in extreme metal, resulting in a very death industrial-styled take on noise. But Blackened digs into the atmospherics and textures of death industrial, rather than adopting its predecessor’s focus on blast beats. Sure, the fractured breaks of “Drowning” and ‘Author & Punisher goes black metal’ stutter-step of “Insanitized” use echoing percussion as their foundation, but pieces like “Descend” and “Shattering Silence” are far more indicative of the record’s strengths: slowly turning washes of reverberating noise, some metallic, some wetly organic, which turn out to be quite expertly and carefully designed despite their uncompromising timbre. Mikkonen’s compositional style is subtle and not showy, with individual drones and waves of feedback fading in and out of the mix, but there’s enough work done in terms of bolstering and building suites of noise that each piece has its own dynamic progression, even in shorter run times. Mean yet contemplative stuff which should scratch the itch of those wanting something noisy yet not necessarily raw.
Blackened by TOT

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We Have A Technical 318: The Sound Of Sheffield

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Randolph & Mortimer

Randolph & Mortimer, Photo: @me_onlylouder.

Few first-time festival acts piqued our interest as much as Randolph & Mortimer, who made their North American debut at Terminus. The project’s combination of groove-heavy EBM and subtly sardonic social commentary has intrigued us for years, and so we were delighted to sit down with Sam Evans to discuss how the project grew out of his backgrounds in techno and hardcore, as well as the socio-political perspective of the uniquely instrumental act. As always, you can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, or download directly or listen through the widget down below.

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Prager Handgriff, “Das Letzte Gefecht”

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Prager Handgriff
Das Letzte Gefecht
Infacted Recordings

Long running German EBM act Prager Handgriff have always been an interesting quantity in the world of retro-body music; while obviously drawing from the genre’s roots, their music has foregone boiler-plate muscle and hate for a stoic and regal bearing. That attitude extends beyond the distinctive vocals of Stefan Schäfer and into a more ornate style of songwriting and instrumentation, which often more closely resemble those of dark electro, albeit with EBM’s bounce and energy. New LP, Das Letzte Gefecht, the first since 2015’s Roburit, doesn’t diverge from that path, although the effect is lessened for a variety of reasons both technical and musical.

Firstly it has to be said that the album’s production does no favours to Prager Handgriff. One of the band’s classic tactics has been leveraging the roughness and readiness of roots EBM to juice up their more ambitious and orchestrated arrangements, but the general sound of Das Letzte Gefecht feels somewhat sterilized and lacking in dynamics. Worse, the flatness of the mix robs songs like “Du Bist Wie Du Bist” of the anthemic uplift they should have; you can sense how the song should feel, but the lack of sonic vigor and compression keep it grounded. Too many otherwise fine tracks (the emotional “In Moria”, the digital horn workout “Schwarzer Freitag”) fall victim to the same issue, their immediate appeal sapped by the LP’s lifeless sound.

The knock-on effect of that fallowness is that songs feel like they lack distinction from one another, making the album’s fourteen tracks start to blur together. There’s certainly some distinct elements in play here; check out the tasteful chorused bass guitar on “Für Immer”, “Der Klang Der Nacht” and “Abschied” (the latter two also invoking some interesting synthpop and darkwave touches to their benefit), and the mechanical riffing on the title track recalls some of their earlier dalliances with the tropes of Neue Deutsche Härte sturm and drang. But those distinctive musical elements are awash in a sea of samey and sometimes dated sound design, making each song harder to distinguish from its neighbours regardless of what unique elements it might possess. Were the record shorter, or given a more lively mix and master it might be a different story, but the sum of those flaws in total makes the album feel like less than its component parts.

Das Letzte Gefecht isn’t terrible by any means, and those devotees of Prager Handgriff who can look past its issues will find some things to enjoy in it – the quirky organ-led bounce of “Aluminium” and the cleverky constructed “Böse Geister” are both fine additions to the band’s catalogue for example. It’s simply a case of cumulative weaknesses detracting from the total package in ways that are hard to ignore in aggregate.

Buy it.

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Black Magnet, “Body Prophecy”

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Black Magnet - Body Prophecy

Black Magnet
Body Prophecy
20 Buck Spin

This site’s inbox, along with those of likely every live metal promoter in North America, is full to the brim with e-mails hawking the most uninspired of industrial metal acts. For two genres which often claim to sit at the extreme frontiers of songcraft and sonics, the combination of industrial and metal often inexplicably yields the most conservative and generic iterations of both. It’s especially refreshing, then, when a project like Black Magnet emerges. The debut LP from James Hammontree’s project gave a bracing tour through various genres of extreme metal while weaving an aggressive strain of industrial noise and programming in, and follow-up record Body Prophecy keeps the hot hand going with a similarly concise and punishing listen.

The loose and snarling attitude which first endeared Black Magnet to us is front and center throughout Body Prophecy. Hammontree spits more than enough bile to give the project a clear sense of personality, but expertly divides the focus of his arrangements between the vocals, riffs, and dense programming while keeping everything tight. Too many industrial metal acts mistake being lugubrious for being grand or epic, but Black Magnet know how to create effect and atmosphere in a short span, punching in and out in less than 35 minutes here (and that’s including an appended Justin Broadrick remix).

While its focused attitude and brevity give Body Prophecy a real sense of unity, if you want to dig into the corners of the riffs you’ll find a wide range of metallic influences. Digital hardcore blends in alongside thrashing American coldwave on “Violent Mechanix”, while “Incubate” sounds like Tom Warrior reactivating Celtic Frost to collab with Author & Punisher. The weighty punch of “Body World” should work on just about any contemporary industrial dancefloor, while calling back to some classic Ministry chug. Lastly, as someone who survived the 90s nu metal craze and is flummoxed by the ongoing nostalgia for some of that genre’s most rote examples, it’s nice to hear someone with an obvious sense for that period find ways of constructively linking it to more outre sounds. In that regard, Black Magnet is in very exclusive company in terms of revisiting that overexposed style’s potential to good ends on “A History Of Drowning” and “Hermetix” (INVA//ID is one of the only other bands who come to mind).

It’s not uncommon to see Black Magnet compared to both 3Teeth and Youth Code, and while I think the musical similarities between those three acts aren’t especially pronounced, I can see where that impulse comes from. There just simply aren’t that many acts going today who’ve found ways of linking metal or hardcore to industrial programming without sounding like they have a hidebound and decidedly outdated read on those genres. Like those two acts, Black Magnet has dialed in on an overlap of sounds and styles they know and love, and is more than capable of exploring that fusion with personality and verve.

Buy it.

Body Prophecy by Black Magnet

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Tracks: August 7th

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Fair warning to our podcast listeners: the next few weeks will be quite heavy on the interview side as we slowly chug our way through the large amount of recording we did in Calgary at Terminus last week. Plenty of good and interesting things were said by our subjects, and we’re really excited to bring them to you over the course of August and into September, at which point we will presumably be refilling the hopper whilst in Chicago for Cold Waves. But naturally the site continues unabated through all of it, as the Tracks post below will attest.

Zack Zack Zack

Zack Zack Zack. Uber continental, çok sophisticated.

Ultra Sunn, “The Speed”
Belgian darkwavers Ultra Sunn return with some new material after their breakthrough 2021 with Summer 22 featuring double A-Sides “The Speed” and “Out of the Cage”. While the obvious comparisons to modern genre definers Boy Harsher are still relevant, few of the acts working the same angle have managed to own it and expand on it as well as Ultra Sunn; the stern male vocal, touches of classic electro in the rhythm programming and minimalistic dedication to the dancefloor are all things that land in the plus column. Expect to hear this one out at the club or on stream a fair bit in the next few months.
Summer 22 by ULTRA SUNN

Filmmaker, “Shockwaver”
Feels like Columbian producer Filmmaker drops an LP just about every new moon these days. At a quick glance, it looks like downtempo and drag moods hold sway on Latent Alters, but there are still plenty of thumping kickers like this one (who remembers darkrave?”. We’re not sure what’s behind the cryptic “This double album might be deleted after August 18” (Publishing issues with a forthcoming physical release? Sample clearances?), but you might want to get while the getting’s good.
Latent Alters by Filmmaker

Syrian, “I Don’t Believe In You”
The further we get from it’s release, the more prophetic the 2013 Death of a Sun seems: Italian futurepop act Syrian sussed out the italo-disco/EBM connection nearly a decade before anyone else, and worked it into pure dancefloor magic that has yet to get old. New single “I Don’t Believe in You” is perhaps closer to pure synthpop in composition, but the same bounce and charm as that record, with a bit of wistful melancholy that makes it land just-so. Throw it on your Summer-Synth playlist and be surprised how easily it sticks with you after even one listen.
I don't Believe in You (Single) by Spacetalk

T.G.T.B., “Seismic Waves”
If Syrian’s a bit too sunny for you, Detriti might have you covered with some decidedly depressive synthpop. After releasing a pair of EPs by the effectively anonymous T.G.T.B., the Stockholm Soul LP has just arrived on the label, featuring fatalistic tracks like this which still put across some fantastically rushing classic melodies. Should appeal if you dig Image Of Life (or have a real yen for early Body Of Light).
T.G.T.B. – Stockholm Soul by Detriti Records

Blink Twice, “Residual Energy & Momentum”
Hey, remember when we were talking about Blink Twice’s unique take on ambient and industrial, and noted that the project had been low-key reactivated of late? Well, Robert Salchak’s just released a twelve minute mega-mix styled mini-suite which offers a lushly tropical take on some classic industrial-styled breaks (think “Commando Mix” goes Goa).
Blink Twice – Residual Energy & Momentum by Mood Exhibit

Zack Zack Zack, “Ev”
Turkish-Viennese post-punkers Zack Zack Zack impressed us greatly with their debut 2021 EP (titled EP1 natch), and while we felt the closely following LP was a bit lacklustre, they still became a band we kept close tabs on. The release of the first single from the soon-to-be-released Album 2 “Ev” has many of the same qualities that drew us in in the first place; Turkish vocals, synthesized bass and percussion and sharpish guitar licks that bounce down across the track as hook and accent alike. Definitely one we’ll be spinning as we wait for more news of the album.
Ev by Zack Zack Zack

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We Have A Technical 417: At A Moment’s Notice

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Plack Blague

“Plack Blague. So hot right now. Plack Blague.” Photo by M. Smith.

We’re back home and moderately well-rested (though as you’ll hear not entirely organized) after a weekend of Industrial Summer Camp fun at Calgary’s Terminus Festival. This is our recap episode, with discussion of each and every of the twenty-seven acts who took the stage at Dickens. There’s also some brief discussion of the sudden passing of Metropolis Records founder Dave Heckman. As always, you can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, or download directly or listen through the widget down below.

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We Have A Technical 416: Grag Bagisode

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Corpus Delicti

Corpus Delicti

With one foot out the door to meet up with all of our fellow Industrial Summer Campers at Terminus today, we’re doing a grab-bag episode of the podcast. Various bits of live news, forthcoming record announcements, luke-warm takes, and seething rants make up the entire body of this episode, so if you’re the sort of person who normally tunes out after the first fifteen minutes of our normally formatted episodes, boy howdy do we think you’ll like this one! As always, you can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, or download directly or listen through the widget down below.

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Hexheart, “Funeral Flowers”

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Heaxheart
Funeral Flowers
Metropolis Records

Hexheart is the electropop and darkwave side-project of God Module’s Jasyn Bangert, although new album Funeral Flowers favours the former genre throughout. Unlike the project’s 2017 debut LP Midnight on a Moonless Night where Bangert seemed to be struggling to find a balance between the darker electro-industrial sound that has largely defined his several decades of musical output and the lighter remit of Hexheart, he sounds comfortable and confident here, producing and performing a surprisingly fun and fast moving collection of songs.

One facet of Funeral Flowers’s success must be attributed to Bangert’s ear for simple, direct musical execution; his approach to programming and production on contemporary God Module material puts hooks and leads at the forefront, and pares away excessive filigree in favour of general atmosphere, an approach you can here reflected in his Hexheart efforts. Opener “Erase Yesterday” leverages uptempo minor key synth patterns and some tastefully applied guitar to create a melancholic but still buoyant mood, each element circling back to the song’s melody. Single “Funeral Party”, “RED” and “Psychic Friends” all do the same thing with some variations in tempo and arrangement, similar but lively enough to keep from getting mired by repetition.

It’s also worth acknowledging that Bangert’s vocals gives the record a specific and distinct flavour. Vocal processing is obviously nothing new to him, but the choice to use vocodering, some tasteful auto-tune and a healthy dollop of shimmer is pretty different from his goblin-style aggrotech delivery in God Module. It’s a choice that is both pragmatic and fits the feel of the record; while distinctive, Bangert’s range as a vocalist is limited, so having effects that read as classically synthpop are appropriate and add to the overall dreaminess of the goings on. In the promo material for the record Jasyn makes a point of noting that this album comes from a place of personal growth and inspiration, and you can hear it in how he performs the yearning chorus of “See in the Dark”, or the wounded “OV ME”, the closest he comes to contemporary God Module without losing what has made Hexheart its own quantity.

If the album has a weakness, it’s that no individual track necessarily stands out from the rest in terms of memorability or distinctiveness; the unity of the production and a lot of similar melodic ideas allow the album’s edges to blur together. That whole ends up being a pleasant listen though, one that enjoys both the feel-good highs of electropop, and its wistful relatability. Funeral Flowers is a fine effort from a producer and performer stretching creatively to reach a new, resonant place in his work.

Buy it.

Funeral Flowers by Hexheart

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Replicas: Nordvargr, “Resignation I-II-III”

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Nordvargr - Resignation I-II-III

Nordvargr
Resignation I-II-III
Cyclic Law

What is it?
It’s just about impossible to keep a handle on all of the various monikers and project names used by Henrik Nordvargr Björk, let alone trying to figure out how to categorize the Resignation records. Partially their own entity, partially filed under the catchall Nordvargr name, the two extant Resignation LPs which make up the majority of this set on Cyclic Law draw together two of Björk’s rarely combined interests: ambient music and techno. While hints of both of those sounds can be heard from time to time in Björk’s broader catalog, on the whole Resignation represents a radically different strain of work from Björk which is far removed from either the EBM or death industrial sounds for which he is likely best known.

What’s on it?
This set, released as both 3xCD and 3xLP (with a separate mix for the latter), gathers both of the existing Resignation records; the first released under the name Resignation as 1887 in 2009, the second under the Nordvargr name in 2010 on limited CD-R, both on Björk’s own 205 Recordings label. The third record, hitherto unreleased, emerged out of outtakes from a film soundtracking project Björk undertook in 2017, and was recently revisited at the behest of his wife (and partner in the Anima Nostra project) Margaux Renaudin.

The first album offers a combination of submerged dub beats and heavily phased and distorted strings and pads, some of which are likely originally composed, some of which are likely sampled from old recordings but it’s nigh impossible to distinguish between them (Pär Boström’s Cities Last Broadcast is perhaps the closest comparison within the world of dark ambient in this regard). That the record is themed around a doomed ballooning expedition to the North Pole little-known outside of Sweden only adds to its particular charm. The second record amplifies the techno strain, placing rumbling kicks atop a more granulated and abstracted bed of noise, making the 2010 material astonishingly prescient as far as industrial interests in techno over the last decade are concerned.

Coming so long after the preceding two records, it’s perhaps no surprise that the new Resignation feels of a different genus. Dark techno is still the dominant motif, but rather than taking on the austere and often impersonal character of modern TBM, compositions like “Moder Kaos” feel positively florid, lively, and chaotic in their multi-tracked maximalist approach. A more techno-fied version of the deconstructed EBM madness of Björk’s Nexus Kenosis project is perhaps the closest comparison that could be made to long time Nordvargr aficionados, but that the aforementioned soundtracking work was meant to score a club scene in a film is instructive as well.

Who should buy it?
For committed Nordvargr fans, the collation of all this material offers a focused and intense crash course in a dimension of his work which is rarely explored, let alone in such depth. Appreciators of the broader hauntological movement in music will likely find much to love in Resignation – it’s not often one finds connections between Nordvargr and the likes of Burial and Caretaker, but here we are. Additionally, those with a taste for techno-industrial who have found recent work in the crossover style to be a bit stagnant are likely to find plenty of tracks here which will refresh their interest.

Buy it.

Resignation I-II-III by NORDVARGR

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Tracks: July 25th, 2022

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How about that Subtance line-up, eh? A festival that digs deep into the likes of Absolute Body Control, Parade Ground, and Placebo Effect is one thing, but to do so while also putting major mainstream(ish) names like Kitten & The Hacker and The Jesus & Mary Chain atop the bill is a whole other. Still not sure if the Senior Staff will be able to make it down for that, but we will definitely be at our beloved Terminus Festival this coming weekend in Calgary. Again, if you’re going to be at Dickens, come say hi!

Un Hombre Solo

Un Hombre Solo

Noise Unit, “Alone Again”
It’s not often you get to hear Bill Leeb sound sentimental, but given the nature of the new Noise Unit track, it’s understandable. Assembled from pieces that were being worked on by Leeb’s collaborator across all projects Jeremy Inkel before he passed in 2018, the song finds the FLA maestro examining mortality and existence over a comparatively chill and minimal arrangement of synths and drums. We’re led to believe the forthcoming Cheeba City Blues was put together by Leeb and Greg Reely from numerous other Inkel demos, a tribute to the producer who was lost to soon.
Cheeba City Blues by Noise Unit

Comfort Cure, “They Told You Wrong”
If you heard us talking about the lineup for LA’s Substance 2022 on last week’s podcast, you’ll remember us pointing out the inclusion of Detroit’s Comfort Cure, an act who seem primed for a breakout. New single “They Told You Wrong” shows a different side to the project; where we normally expect CC to work a body music template spiked with bits of electro, this new cut goes further down the path of the latter sound, albeit with some industrial edge, not unlike Panther Modern if you want a point of comparison. Keep tabs on the name, you’ll hear more about them we’re sure.
They Told You Wrong (Single) by COMFORT CURE

Un Hombre Solo, “Oscuro y Podrido”
NY’s Un Hombre Solo offer a compelling blend of synth genres on this track from their forthcoming debut LP after a handful of singles and EPs over the past few years. Partially throwback cold/minimal wave, partially in keeping with modern North and Central American bellicose approaches to EBM, it has us interested in Desilusion Total, which looks to be very well-suited to a release on Synthicide.
Desilusion Total by Un Hombre Solo

TOT, “In Emptiness”
The hitherto unknown to us TOT project positions itself as a take on modern power electronics/noise approached from a metal background…which more or less results in classic death industrial territory as demonstrated by this track. The textures and layering on this piece are really well done, and match up with what we’ve come to expect from Strange Therapy, who’ve brought us excellent releases by ATT Corp and Matriarchy Roots over the past couple of years.
Blackened by TOT

Maxim Nazarov ft. Syntia, “Беги от Меня”
Not gonna front like we know a single things about Maxim Nazarov, but we were naturally drawn to any release which advertised itself as “Russian New Beat”. Come to find out the track lives up to that potential; along with the rigid funk you associate with the most Belgian of all genres and the de-reigeur orch hits, you get some warm and welcome oddball synth stylings and ghostly background vox that take the track into much weirder territory that belies its immediate electropop appeal.
Беги от Меня by Maxim Nazarov ft. Syntia

Blakmoth, “A Fetching Melody”
We are soft touches for animal charity releases here at ID:UD. So when one of our favourite recent discoveries, Blakmoth, puts out an EP (on the heels of last month’s very enjoyable Parallels) to raise funds for Hunter, who “hurt his CCL during some epic zoomies and needs surgery”, you’d better believe we grabbed it at once. Ask yourself – how often do you get to help a good boy out by getting an EP of lush dark ambient tracks with titles like “Walkies In The Bark”?
A Moment of Paws by BLAKMOTH

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We Have a Commentary: Din [A] Tod, “Westwerk”

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This month’s We Have A Commentary bonus podcast has the Senior Staff casting their eyes back to 2009 and the release of Din A Tod’s second and final LP Westwerk. While it’s a record that offers some highly polished darkwave and post-punk, it also presaged a number of sounds to come, as well as taking some curious detours into strains of dance and rock music well outside of Our Thing. As always, you can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, or download directly or listen through the widget down below.

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