Posts Tagged ‘aggrotech’

6th May 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

This latest four-tracker from Panic Lift continues the trajectory of themed EPs that it’s been pursuing for a while now.

With two new cuts and a remix of each, it’s reminiscent of the old-school 7” and 12” formats, and ‘Every Broken Piece’ accompanied by ‘Bitter Cold’ would make for a perfect 7”, with the additional tracks – remixes respectively from Mechanical Vein and Tragic Impulse – fleshing out a 12” and CD… Such reminiscences are relevant because Panic Lift’s harsh industrial dance sound is rooted in the 90s when multi-format releases were de rigueur. Much as they were clearly a way of milking fans and boosting chart positions, I do kind of miss those days, since the majority of releases don’t even come in a physical format.

For Stitched, James Francis, aka Panic Lift, revisits the kind of sound that defined his debut, Witness To Our Collapse, and talking of the physical, there’s a strong physicality to both ‘Every Broken Piece’ and ‘Bitter Cold’ – not just their thumping hard as nails grooves and pounding beats, but the overall density of the sound hits with a physical impact, while the forced, rasping vocals equally hit hard, the sound of anguish and rage and a host of mixed and conflicting emotions aflame.

‘Every Broken Piece’ was a feature of Panic Lift’s online performances during lockdown, and it’s from this place of inner turmoil that these songs emerge, with the accompanying notes pointing out that they ‘continue with the familiar themes of stress, coping, and concerns of self-image’, and the rippling synth lines, juxtaposed against snarling, abrasive vocals, are the perfect expression of internal conflict. There’s a lot going on here in the arrangements, with churning metal guitar grazing against cinematic synths, and the slower chorus on ‘Bitter Cold’ brings impact by contrast.

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Christopher Nosnibor

Purveyors of aggrotech and dark electro, Against I, take something of a swerve for this new release, a four-track EP led by single ‘You and I’, which features guest vocals (and lyrics) by rising star on the scene, J:dead, who comments that “‘You And I’ is a story about a relationship breaking down, because either person cannot love themselves first. Each person is trying to hold the other up from their own struggles but in turn, is forgetting about themselves and their own needs.”

The cover art is more horror than dark techno, and it’s not entirely representative of the EP’s sonic contents, but you should never judge an EP by its cover of course.

First things first: ‘You and I’ is a richly atmospheric tune, with a so much texture and detail. There are strong leanings towards later Depeche Mode, and I’m most reminded of ‘Little 15’, but there’s a lot going on here, not least of all a thick, chuggy guitar and an insistent bass that’s pure goth vintage. The baritone vocal – rich and crooning – very much invites positive comparisons to Dave Gahan and it broods and cruises the mid-pitch, mid-tempo sonic structures that climb and loom over damaged emotional states. As a single, it’s a sock in the chops.

As an EP, this does feel like a bit of a cobbled-together effort that may have worked better with either the lead track and either the instrumental ‘My Madness’ – a high-octane technoindustrial stomper (a strong contrast) – or the ‘Club’ remix of ‘You And I’ as a B-side. Said remix is pretty decent. I don’t actually know if goth club nights are still a thing, but then this isn’t excessively dancey, and hasn’t been remixed as a dancefloor-packing stormer, but instead accentuates the track’s solid mid-tempo groove.

But then there’s the ‘Mayhem’ remix of ‘OMG’ from the debut EP, courtesy of Guilt Trip, which is so much more overtly metal, and snarls and rages like a rabid beast – save for the mellow Kraftwerkian rip in the mid-section. And if ‘You and I’ was intended to showcase a different aside of ‘Against I’, the inclusion of an older track feels like a slightly awkward fit.

Minor niggles aside, it’s a solid effort led by a cracking single tune.

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Fredrik Croona whose projects have included the likes of MENSCHDEFEKT, CROONA & CYNICAL EXISTENCE has announced a new project, AGAINST I and debut single, ‘Scum.’

“‘Scum’ is a dedication to all the lowlifes who treat other people like shit and care for nothing but themselves. People who are so full of themselves that they don’t see or care about anything else. This is the first song that opens the door into a carnival of the obscene, deranged & faulty people and to the darkness of human psyche.” – Fredrik Croona

Watch ‘Scum’ here:

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4th December 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

Woooh, shit, trigger warning! Aggressive electronic music which may trigger feelings of anxiety and n increased heart rate paired with themes of death and suicide! Biomechanimal should be plastered with red flags and probably quarantined. Wait, we’re all quarantined, and it should go without saying there’s some heavy sarcasm there.

Personally, my tigger is the ‘triggers’ crowd: unless either billed as family entertainment or the content is particularly disturbing, art shouldn’t require a warning: the very function of art is to challenge, and to present audiences with real emotions and concepts that are uncomfortable. Art is a window – or a mirror – on the world, and one that provides a conduit to explore the places we don’t necessarily venture in everyday conversation.

‘End Your Life’, which features Nysrok Infernalien is pitched as ‘a brutal, filthy expression of electronic music,’ and an ‘aggressive collaboration [which] brings together elements of industrial, extreme metal’.

If, in combining the crazed attack of the likes of KMFDM with the persistent but gnarly groove of early Ministry and stitching it together with a gauze of heady trancey cybergoth, anyone could possibly expect anything that wasn’t full on and in-your-face intense and designed with absolute precision to punch buttons – while at the same time geared up to make you move – is living on a different planet. Sonically, ‘End Your Life’ is very much rooted within genre context, but it’s actually an uplifting tune, a rush of hi-nrg beats and hyper synths, while lyrically, it’s hard to decipher, and it may be a threat or a promise or neither. But it’s more likely you’ll be too busy bouncing around to want to be slitting your wrists.

The five accompanying mixes mangle the tune to varying degrees, each accentuating a different aspect of this snarling beast of a tune, with the harsh metallic guitars often pitching to the fore, propelled by pounding beats that pump so, so hard. Die Sektor strip it back and slow it down a bit, and get a bit Nine Inch Nails in the process. Overall, there’s more than enough variety in the mixes to keep it interesting, and they compliment the original version well.

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