Posts Tagged ‘Retroject’

26th November 2021

James Wells

This one’s been a looooong time in the making. Like so many other creative projects, the pandemic compelled Frank Svornotten to get his shit together to revive a project that to all intents and purposes was dead and buried, and to see it to completion.

As the bio that accompanies Retroject explains, ‘Retroject is an album that was begun in 2001 but has just seen the light of day in 2021. Some of the songs may feel nostalgic and dated and that is because, well, they are!!! An excess of free time during the Covid-19 pandemic eventually grew tiresome and monotonous. So, it was decided to finish the album that had begun many years prior!’

Much as I sympathise with all of the people unable to work during lockdown, and all of the furloughed workers who struggled on reduced salaries, I can’t help but be a shade envious of all of these people who found themselves with an abundance of free time to explore creative avenues. Having a dayjob that meant working from home was entirely feasible, meaning that it was business as usual, but with home schooling on top thanks to the closure of schools, I found myself with less time than ever, and I couldn’t even go to a gig or hit the pub to unwind after.

Retroject certainly isn’t an album to unwind to, either. It’s a gnarly electogoth effort, with hefty dollops of early NIN and the signature Wax Trax! electro sound providing much of the influence there. ‘W.H.A.T’ could easily be mistaken for an outtake from Ministry’s Twitch, and would also have easily made the cut for a Wax Trax! single release in the late 80s / early 90s, while ‘Love, Hate and Machines’ really brings that KMFDM vibe and slams it in hard with some cybergoth dance grooves. Elsewhere, ‘Train Song’ is pure pop and is more Aha than aggrotech.

Some of the tunes may sound a shade dated (‘Mysterious Angel’ sounds like Depeche Mode circa 1981, which is particularly eye-opening for material from 2001), but then again, there are acts still cranking out material that sounds exactly like this, and there are some real industrial stompers along the way, and these never tire or grow old, regardless of the instrumentation, regardless of how tinny or trebly the synths sound. What matters, ultimately, are the songs, and Retroject packs some real bangers, propelled by throbbing synths and splenetic rage.

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