Posts Tagged ‘echnoindustrial’

6th August 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

It’s not always easy to remember – what you’ve said to whom, what you’ve written before, if you’ve really experienced something or simply dreamed it. You’d think it would have become easier with not really going anywhere or speaking to anyone for a year and a half, but in my experience, the opposite is true. Everything blurs. So if I’ve mentioned any off this before, if I’ve touched on how electrogoth releases often clump together, or how genre tropes can so often be so much meh, then I apologise, but only a little. Reviews are, after all, personal, a personal response to musical release, and objectivity only cuts so far., meaning that this personal response, well, it’s all spilling from a review-a-day brain, dayjob and parenting and the confusion of every day melting into the next. It’s been a relentless barrage of bad news in the media, as well as from friends and relatives. By no means has all of the anguish and suffering been attributable to the virus – more often than not it’s been collateral resulting from lockdowns and a sustained sense of panic. We’re biologically designed to experience fear in short bursts. Fight or flight. To be trapped, immobile, powerless, is beyond comprehension, and there is no space to process grief and trauma in a normal way.

It’s against this backdrop that Eric Kristoffer developed the new unitcode:machine album, Themes For A Collapsing Empire. It’s very much an example off utilising a creative outlet as a form of therapy, with the blurbage describing Themes For A Collapsing Empire as ‘a journey through the mind of Eric Kristoffer after a series of tragic events that 2020 brought. It explores a path of loss and regret, and struggling to cope with such stressful personal events while also trying to endure a global pandemic’.

Electro-industrial isn’t a genre one immediately associates with emotional resonance, but with Themes For A Collapsing Empire, unitcode:machine really strike a level that balances thumping beats and melodies that convey the human aspect of the lyrical content. That said, the stark, mechanised percussion and cold synths highlight the bleakness of it all – and by it all, I do mean it all. Step back and survey the scene: August 2021 versus two years ago. It’s a different world, and so many have lost so much – not just loves ones, but connections, livelihoods, sense of self and place in the world. Where is it all heading? Where will it end? Will it end? With climate change an inescapable backdrop to societies which have never been more divided, how do we return from here? Do we? Can we? It’s not just an empire that’s collapsing, but – not to be overly dramatic – human civilisation itself. Themes For A Collapsing Empire feels like an essential soundtrack to this existential anxiety. Stark and dark, it’s reflective, paranoid, gloomy, and it’s very much song-orientated, with kicking choruses being a defining feature.

‘Falling Down’ is a clear standout, but there are plenty of strong tracks and easy single selections alongside it: Themes For A Collapsing Empire packs in the hooks and solid choruses, but without being remotely lame or overtly commercial – and that’s a real skill. Everything just flows, while at the same time punching you in the face.

With nine tightly-structured songs all clocking in under four-and-a-half minutes, Themes For A Collapsing Empire feels like a concise statement, and an album with strongly-defined parameters and an intense focus, with the end result being all killer.

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