Posts Tagged ‘electro’

On September 9, darkwave artist Curse Mackey will release his highly-anticipated new full-length album, Immoral Emporium, the follow-up to his 2019 industrial masterpiece, Instant Exorcism. Curse will also embark on a North American tour as a special guest for darkwave legends, Clan of Xymox.
Immoral Emporium is an intense, dark electronic music experience. Curse emphasizes, “This is a NEW album for modern times, in the here and now.”

True to his word, Immoral Emporium pushes the boundaries of genre with a vast dynamic range, from a tortured whisper to a triumphant howl. The first single, “Lacerations” is a dancefloor stomper with hypnotic vocals, a hard-hitting chorus with wailing synths and bin-shaking beats.

The album moves into poppy, upbeat club territory with the earworm ‘Dead Fingers Talk’.  The buildups are big, such as in ‘Omens and Monuments’, with monstrous synths that bring Immoral Emporium to a goosebump-inducing, cathartic end leaving the listener looking forward to the future.

Curse says, “Immoral Emporium was created under very remote, unusual, stressful conditions. This record is a dangerous listen. By the time it reaches the last song, I, as the protagonist, am essentially already dead. However, my last words are meant to give hope to the listener, my friends around the world…that you can live to fight another day, knowing you don’t have to give in to the fear, pain, and worry. These things will pass and you are not alone."

Clocking the William Burroughs reference in ‘Dead Fingers Talk’, interest in the album is piqued here at Aural Aggravation, and never more so than by the promo clip for ‘Lacerations’, released as a taster for the album, which you can watch here:

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4th August 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Back in November of last year, I gave ‘What If I Were the Boy?’ by The Vaulted Skies a massive double-thumbs up, having previously raved about their debut EP, No Fate back in 2018. And now ‘What If I Were the Boy?’ has been rereleased, this time as a remix courtesy of Mark Saunders, whose eye-poppingly extensive discography includes work with The Cure, Lloyd Cole, Depeche Mode, Siouxsie and the Banshees… and many others, including some truly huge names like David Bowie, but those I’ve picked out are relevant is they’re illustrative of his longstanding links with post-punk, of which The Vaulted Skies are emerging contemporary exponents. But Saunders also has a long history of wording on radio-friendly and more dance-orientated material, and it’s fair to say that his remix of ‘What If I Were the Boy?’ brings these two threads together very neatly.

The song itself draws on contrasts in its take on a ‘nostalgic tale that is filled with reflection and regret’, inspired by an encounter experienced by vocalist/guitarist, James Scott., who recounts how “In college, I was paired up in an acting assignment with one of the popular girls. She propositioned me and in doing so, verbally and indirectly alluded to a very troubled home life. I wish I’d recognized the cry for help underneath it all. This song captures the desperation I have felt when wondering what became of her.”

Saunders sensitively preserves the stark, haunted angst of the original, but subtly packs some extra oomph and wraps it in a dark disco groove. The chunky gothy bass of the original is smoothed into a more dancefloor-friendly sound, the drumming – the cymbals in particular – is slickened down and given a more buoyant disco twist. If the original sounded in some way tentative, despite its solid assurance, then the remix rolls it all out and effortlessly stretches it past the seven-minute mark in vintage 12” single style.

If the grit and flange of the driving guitar in the chorus is backed off a bit in favour of a more even sound, well, it works, as does the cleaner vocal treatment. In short, this version may lack the ragged punch of the original, but it by no means does The Vaulted Skies a disservice, and will likely be a major step toward connecting the band with the larger audience they so richly deserve.

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A Projection are a post-punk/darkwave act from Stockholm, who signed to Metropolis Records in 2019 for the release of their well received third album, Section. Initially inspired by the dark post-punk/proto-goth of The Cure, Sisters Of Mercy and Joy Division along with the electronica of Depeche Mode, the band are known for their compelling and dynamic live shows.

Following Section, the group released the singles ‘Darwin’s Eden’ and ‘No Control’ that saw them enter a more danceable electronic realm while still embracing their darkwave roots. Their brand new single, ‘Careless’, offers a further example of this sound and provides a taster for a forthcoming album that will be released via Metropolis in late 2022.

Recorded both during and after Covid lockdowns, ‘Careless’ reflects the restlessness and hope of the last two years. Additional recording assistance was provided by fellow musicians that included Henrik Linder of the group Dirty Loops.
The video for ‘Careless’ was made by Ukrainian filmmaker and artist Shorkina Valeri and shot in the band’s home city of Stockholm.

Watch the video here:

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Christopher Nosnibor

Having just spent a depressing afternoon hearing the new Interpol album for the first time, I decided I needed cheering up. Scanning my immense backlog of releases for review – and, with new submissions landing faster than I can open emails, let alone download and listen to albums, I realise that Hanging Freud’s album has been lurking unplayed for far too long for an album I’d been excited to hear since ‘Antidote/Immune’, released as a taster of album number six, Persona Normal back in June last year, landed in my inbox.

The release / review cycle is in itself a pressure we would all do without, since albums by their nature have a slow diffusion. In an accelerated world, PR campaigns are over a month or so after release, and I suspect that under the current model of pre-release hype followed by a rapid burndown, most releases shift 90% of their units within the first months of release, before things taper off and pretty swiftly drop off a cliff. But I digress, as I’m prone to doing.

Persona Normal is not the kind of album you’d expect to provide joy, but, in context, it’s a welcome reminder that there are still bands who are at a more advanced stage in their career delivering albums that channel difficult emotions and explore them in real depth.

‘Cureseque’ is a term that’s passed into parlance to make a shorthand reference to anything that draws inspiration from The Cure, but it’s trouble some and rather inadequate given the band’s range. More often than not, it seems to translate as ‘lots of layered synths like Disintegration’. Not so Persona Normal, an album that condenses the style and atmosphere of the unparalleled trilogy of Seventeen Seconds, Faith, and Pornography into a single set. The atmosphere is bleak, and the production sparse, but there’s some monumental percussion that’s more akin to Pornography.

It opens with the droning, wheezing synth of ‘Too Human’. It’s pitched against a trudging, monotonous drum beat with a dominant snare, and this provides the backdrop to a gloomy yet elegant vocal that aches with resignation, before ‘We Don’t Want to Sleep’ pounds in on a rhythm reminiscent of ‘A Strange Day’, and this is around the level of the bleak, brooding atmosphere. It’s thick and heavy with angst.

But then, amidst the doomy, droning synths and metronomic, motorik drum machines, Paula comes on with the sass of Siouxsie, with her enunciation and her glacial cool post-punk intonations. And as such, while Persona Normal really is pretty fucking bleak, dense, and dark, it’s uplifting to hear an album that so perfectly captures the spirit of the bands from which it draws unashamed influence. Elsewhere, I’m reminded of Chelsea Wolfe and Pain Teens; ‘Is This Why?’ may be sparse in its arrangement, but the sound is full, expansive, epic, and there’s something graceful and plaintive in its inward searching. An in an album of wall-to-wall quality, ‘Immune’ stands out as a snarling post-punk beast with the sharpest of hooks – and it’s all in the delivery.

More often than not, the sounds and overall sound and delivery convey so much more than words alone – and the production only enhances the experience. It’s dense, dark, drum-heavy, and even in the middle of a heatwave, it’s an album that will chill you to the core.

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3rd June 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

My partner in power electronics, the man behind the white noise aspect of the ‘white noised and shouting’ equation that is …(something) ruined, Paul Thingumy (he has more pseudonyms and variant monikers than the devil himself, or even JG Thirlwell), has gone and self-released another EP. Well, less of an EP than an LP: it may only contain four tracks, but with a duration of almost an hour, it’s a very long play.

Residing in Mirfield, Kirklees, West Yorkshire – or, objectively, the arse-end of nowhere, where trains are infrequent and tend not to visit after 9pm – is probably very like any other Little Britain backwater with a Tory MP. And it’s so often from our immediate environs we draw our inspiration, as the album’s title indicates. For reasons I can’t fathom, the title reminds me of Peter York’s strange book Dictators’ Homes and some TV show I can’t quite recall – probably because I never watched it – about celebrity pads. Or perhaps I’m confusing it with Pimp My Ride or some other wank. Because it all blurs, and fast. Mirfield Pads is blurry, but in a different way: everything melts together to create an ambient wash.

In something of a departure from much of Paul’s previous work – and there’s a lot of it – Mirfield Pads is surprisingly mellow, melodic, accessible. There’s a hypnotic Krautrock vibe about the shuffling oscillations, with sampled vocal snippets buried low in the mix in places. It’s an overtly synth work with a vintage leaning that’s strongly rooted in the late 70s and early 80s. If there’s a debt to Kraftwerk here with elements of Mike Oldfield and Harold Faltermeyer, then equally, Mirfield Pads is Paul’s nod to Tangerine Dream, perhaps in part spurred by the recent passing of Klaus Schulze. You wouldn’t necessarily call it a tribute, but an inspiration, almost certainly.

Tapering tones interweave and turn, glistening, fractal, kaleidoscopic, like beams of light dancing on an illuminated surface, dancing lightly across a millpond or flickering on a wall. Not a lot happens, and it doesn’t need to: the sounds turn slowly on an axis that exists in a space of its own.

‘Crystal Airfield’ – a title that evokes the spirit of JG Ballard – hits the numerical sweet spot of 23:23, and with additional guitar work courtesy of Neil Campbell, longtime collaborator and one half of another project, Early Hominids, it’s a richly atmospheric piece that rounds off the experience nicely in a wash of elongated droning feedback paired with bubbling analogue sounds.

It’s the attention to detail, to the vibe and sensation that really makes Mirfield Pads intriguing. It feels more like a document from a past time more than a nostalgia piece, and this is a good thing, because nostalgia has become dreary and weary very quickly indeed – probably because the smell of cash is so unappealing.

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1st June 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

It shouldn’t be a deal, really, but it is: Glytsh are a rare thing, namely an all-female industrial duo, comprising French singer Jennifer Diehl (aka Luna Blake) and Swiss guitarist Claire Genoud (aka Hella Sin). Like so many ‘rock’ and metal-orientated genres, industrial of all shades, from the electro to the metal end of the spectrum is depressingly the domain of the white male.

In this predictable, recycle-heavy world of white male angst, Glytsh are a breath of fresh air. But Glytsh aren’t a breath of fresh air because they’re women: they’re a breath of fresh air because they’re fucking exciting. While ‘(Hard)core memory’ still works with established tropes, their debut single, a cover of Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Closer’ set out their stall and managed to draw a fair bit of positive attention in the process. On the one hand, it was a pretty faithful cover, but also had enough of a slant to it to show that they’ve got game. And now, with the arrival of ‘(Hard)core memory’, Glytsh prove that they’ve got both style and substance, meshing together both electro and metal elements in an explosive three and a half minutes.

From a low, bass-heavy electronic intro, ‘(Hard)core Memory’ starts slow-grinding and sultry before tearing into a lumbering rock riff with screaming metal vocals, a collision between Rage Against The Machine and Marilyn Manson. It’s pretty full-on, and that’s before the Slash-style guitar solo blasts in near the end.

‘(Hard)core Memory’ has got the lot, and yet I somehow suspect that Glytsh have got a lot more to offer yet.

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Enigmatic Italian singer Elena Alice Fossi, best known for being a member of Kirlian Camera, has released the first single, ‘Devious’, which is taken from the forthcoming new full-length of her dark electro project SPECTRA*Paris. Her fifth album under that moniker is entitled Modernism and has been slated for release on August 26.

“What’s the moral conduct to follow?”, singer, composer, and lyricist Fossi asks. “This song certainly won’t teach us any morals! With a decidedly noir matrix and via its gloomy lyrics, it lets itself be crossed by a glamorous imprint where the blood goes to be combined with the enchanting reflection of a bewitching shadow. God’s body has indeed been invaded by his servants.”

Watch the video here:

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SPECTRA*Paris was conceived as an electronic rock oriented project in the wake Elena’s previous project SIDERARTICA. In 2007 she self-released the ultra-rare promo 3" CD-R limited to 25 copies "Spectra Murder Show" and immediately got picked-up by a label, which led to the acclaimed first album Dead Models Society (Young Ladies Homicide Club) hitting the streets in the same year. The debut reached the charts in many countries and went up to gold. Elena followed-up with two successful albums in 2010, License to Kill and Christmas Ghouls. Tracks from these recordings as well as the latest album Retromachine Betty (2017) have been used in tv and catwalk soundtracks.

With Modernism, SPECTRA*Paris chronicle Elena Alice Fossi’s musical prison-break into the freedom that only true art can grant. Aided by her accomplice and long-time friend Angelo Bergamini, who co-produced and supervised every sound in this chapter, the composer and singer has delivered a fascinating personal statement via a wide range of electronic music.

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Industrial band Panic Lift continues the unraveling of its themed EP release cycle with the band’s first release of 2022 titled Stitched.

This four song EP features two new songs titled ‘Every Broken Piece’ and ‘Bitter Cold’ with remixes from Mechanical Vein and Tragic Impulse.

Lyrically, “Every Broken Piece” and “Bitter Cold” continue with the familiar themes of stress, coping, and concerns of self-image. Hardcore Panic Lift fans may remember “Every Broken Piece” from Panic Lift’s lockdown shows in 2020 that were broadcast online during the height of the COVID19 Pandemic.

For Stitched, Panic Lift explores a harsh ebm sound more stylistically similar to their landmark debut record , Witness To Our Collapse. James Francis explains “I’ve always tried to find a happy medium between what I’m doing now, and where I started” he continues “but now that I’m doing smaller releases, I have the ability to experiment with different styles without having to worry much about how they fit with the rest of my catalog.”

Watch ‘Every Broken Piece’  here:

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Having announced their debut album Admire last month with first single ‘Pls, You Must Be a Dream’, LA-based noise duo GHXST has now shared new track ‘Marry The Night’.

‘Marry the Night’ is a love song for nights after hours spent walking through empty streets. The track opens with a lulling atmospheric loop that gradually opens into heavier spaces, with Shelley X’s signature delayed vocals echoing against drop-tuned guitars. Throughout, a drum machine pulses, like beats echoing from outside a Brooklyn warehouse. It’s gloomy listening, but the gloom is somehow warm and inviting. 

The video is a compilation of stories shot on iPhone by friends of the band. Scenes jump from New York to New Orleans to Palau to Los Angeles. There’s no narrative, but the moody, b&w scenes feel like flipping through someone’s lost memories from an endless day.

Watch the video here:

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Mille Plateaux – MP40 – 11th March 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

The last time I engaged with the work of Cristian Vogel was when his double-disc compilation, the archly-titled Classics in 2016. This retrospective covered his 90s output, and traced his evolution as an innovator in underground techno and electronica. His catalogue has doubled in size since then, and it’s apparent that Vogel isn’t only prolific, but an artist who doesn’t like to retread old ground, constantly questing and striving to develop and explore new directions. 1Zhuayo explores many new directions, all at once.

Penning notes to accompany the release of this album, Lain Iwakura and Achim Szepanski wrote that ‘The new Cristian Vogel album 1Zhuayo sounds as if non-musicology & ultra-blackness is not an end or a destination to be arrived at, but as if it is the point of departure, much like tomorrow relates to the day after tomorrow. As if we have left the space of certainties and are moving instead into one of manifold possibilities. They are anticipated in the micro-structures of sound, which is the process of playing with and against the software.’

But then I start to get lost when they continue to explain how Vogel ‘creates a rhythmight that is constructed from the anticausality of Rhythm as counter-counted, the tracing of the rhythmicity of Rhythm in the creation-in-Rhythm. Rhythm is foreclosed to hearing. Non-music radicalizes this notion by subtracting hearing from the framework of experimental music, which claims that everything is heard from Rhythm. The material of music is the continious flow itself. Cristian Vogels method for this way of creating sound is called Rhythmics.’

I feel as if I’m wandering through Deleuze and Guatarri’s A Thousand Plateaus while drunk and on drugs. Words lose meaning – as does sound. It’s bewildering, disorientating. 1Zhuayo is, on most levels, a dance album. But it’s not an easy one, and it’s pretty dark and dense in the main.

The album starts as a churning roar, scraping feedback and industrial machinery grinding away like a tumble drier full of broken bricks, before ‘Hyphadelity’ plunges into booming bass groove-orientated dance. But it’s not comfortable or commercial: the vocals are menacing, half-submerged as they are amidst the busy layerings and the surges of extraneous noise. ‘Astrocumbia’ sees things turn nasty: dance music you can’t dance to, a frenzy of distorted beats exploding all over amidst a gruelling churn or super-low, super-hectic bass that pounds at the pit of the stomach and crushes the cranium. ‘Emanations’ slows it down with an almost dubby vibe.

Things unfold differently on ‘S18’. Again, the dance tropes are prominent, but they’re fractured, pulled apart, before a tsunami of solid sound crashes through on ‘1Zhuayo Express’, which swells to immense proportions, like Godzilla rising from the deep, flexing its muscles as a wall of sound, gloopy bass and grating mid-range pulsating in a monstrous behemoth of power electronics.

The Strom Stadt remix of ‘Transferenz’ is a brutal exercise in monster hardfloor techno that makes The Prodigy’s later works sound like bouncy chart pop, while the Disintegration Mix of ‘Angle Phase Life’ is a brutal mesh of noise with mangled beats partially submerged by the successive detonations of low-end. It sounds like an erupting volcano and missiles launching in slow motion. And amidst it all, electronics pop and squelch like fireworks.

‘Cables’ isn’t a cover of the Big Black song: in fact, it’s quite the opposite being stark and minimal, stuttering glitchy, with a crunching bass drum thudding mercilessly throughout, before the last piece, ‘Serpent Acid’, a splattering blast of jamming percussion and nagging, repetitive, cyclical synth motifs.

Less is more, and this is largely minimal, but at the same time, builds up later from unexpected angles to create something different. It leaves you feeling somewhat dazed – in a good way.

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