Posts Tagged ‘Techno’

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.

AA

141322

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:

AA

141322

eMERGENCY heARTS – 6th May 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

SINE’s new 5 song EP, Mantis 1, is the first in a trilogy of EPs, “Mantis 1, 2 & 3”. The hype for the release pulls a spotlight on the involvement of a name producer, with the EP being ‘produced by SINE founder, Rona Rougeheart in collaboration with esteemed audio engineer Charles Godfrey at Scary American Studio in Austin, TX. Godfrey, in his two decade plus career, has been engineer/producer on over 75 recordings, including the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’, It’s Blitz! and Mosquito, The Black Angels, Indigo Meadow, and notable work for…Trail of Dead, SWANS, among so many more’. No question: Godfrey’s resumé is impressive, and there’s similarly no question that a decent producer can make a huge, huge difference, with great production having the capacity to render a recording far more than the sum of its parts (Joy Division simply would not have been the same without Martin Hannett’s work, however unconventional and difficult his methods), while equally, poor production can be crippling. Then again, engineering is perhaps equally important: it’s worth noting that Steve Albini doesn’t consider himself to be a producer, but his engineering skills have brought the life to so many albums, and not just the ones he’s renowned for. Still, for all that, you can’t polish a turd: you still need songs and for them to be played in a way that does the material some kind of justice.

Everything comes together just so on this release, and one question I often consider is how close to the artistic ambition is the end result? I have a sense that Mantis I is everything Rougeheart had in her head at conception.

‘Attack’ certainly brings plenty, a combative, dark disco thud of a beat pitched against a relentless throb of synthesised bass. In contrast, ‘Until’ is more overtly pop, but it’s pop in the way Garbage are pop – eclectic, savvy, the production simultaneously crisp and grimy. ‘Future Whores’ is stark, and if there’s something of an early New Order vibe about it, there’s equally some early Pet Shop Boys, and that’s by no means a criticism. Then again, the expensive, yawning notes border on the mellow new age grooves of The Beloved, while the distorted vocals and thumping bass are more industrial… in combination, it crashes hard in the domain of industrial shoegaze, and if that’s not yet been recognised as a thing, now is the time because it’s here and it’s in your face.

Things get murkier and meaner on ‘Blurred’, where I’m reminded of The Human League’s ‘Being Boiled’, only with a harder technoindustrial edge, and the pulsing, bulbous bass is dominated by Rougeheart’s blank, robotic monotone vocal, that’s treated with a metallic edge and some grainy reverb.

Closer ‘Control’ burrows deeper into the darkness, a shuddering mass of slow velocity – yet for all the crushing grind and gnarly digital distortion, the dislocation and thunderous tribal drums, it still slides in a truly aching bridge with a magnificent vocal melody that evokes wistful summer scenes, before crushing them like ant underfoot in a driving death-disco slam.

It all adds up to a meaty and pretty powerful release, and if the idea of releasing three EPs instead of an album seems perverse, it will be interesting to see how SINE utilise the format after such a strong start.

AA

a2098796503_10

This is it Forever – 25th March 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

There are many artists who can boast bodies of work that are solid, and illuminated by outstanding gems along the way, but there are few artists with bosies of work as consistent as worriedaboutsatan. Fifteen years into the project’s existence, that’s a significant achievement. Some artists go off the boil or seem to struggle with maintaining that level once they achieve a certain degree of success, whether it’s simply through a perceived pressure to deliver something or create something that will replicate whatever it was that achieved that success, or simply diminishing returns, but worriedaboutsatan, despite having tracks featured on Coronation Street and Adam Curtis’ Hypernormalisation documentary, not to mention radio play on both 6Music and Radio 1, and the very vocal support of one Ian Rankin, remain unstinting in their path.

Operating solo since 2019, Gavin Miller has maintained a constant flow of output: so constant that since Providence last May, Miller’s slipped out a brace of album-length single track releases (Circles I and Circles II) and an EP Live from the Studio that entirely bypassed me while I was, well, I don’t know, what was I doing?

The thing about consistency is that it absolutely does not equate to sameness, and worriedaboutsatan’s output is defined by its evolution, incorporating wide-ranging stylistic elements from delicate post-rock to pounding beats within the overall sphere of haunting, reflective ambience of varying shades of darkness and light. And while satan’s sounds exist in a rarefied space all of their own, no-one lives in a complete bubble. We live in dark times, and not insensitive to this, this latest offering finds Gavin channelling that global turbulence through his work.

Bloodsport promises a departure, and it delivers. Miller describes it as ‘still very much a worriedaboutsatan album, albeit a fairly angry one.’ It’s a fair summary. The intro piece, ‘Je Suis Désolé’ is a classically ‘electronic’ composition with oscillating waves cutting across one another, but the treble tones sound like sharpening knives, and it has an edge that scrapes at the skull quite unexpectedly.

Making a linguistic and stylistic switch, ‘Bis Ich Komme’ is slow and dubby, a dense bass and backed-off beats holding the structure of a drifting ambience, before it solidifies and hardens around the mid-point. There’s a tension, a simmering aggression in the tone of the barbed synths, something uncomfortable and uncertain in the samples, before jungle beats hammer through the woozy, stomach-clenching undulations like machine gun fire

Released ahead of the album as an EP with three remixes, ‘Sigourney Weaver Fanclub President’ is the theoretical lead single, and it’s a brooding eight-and-a-half minutes of echoes guitar sustain and crashing sheet metal. It’s the sound of shattering destruction and trepidation. It’s classic ‘satan in that it’s all the layers, all the atmosphere, but it’s also steelier, with a certain bite previously unheard.

The two parts of the centrepiece, ‘An Absolute Living Hell’ are definitive and are a statement in themselves. Dark, dank, oppressive, bass-heavy and bursting with shards of extraneous noise, rippling in deep, deep echo, this diptych is the soundtrack to this bleak moment in time. ‘Part 2’ goes full industrial with a throbbing bass and crashing percussion worthy of Test Dept or Neubauten.

The stark robotix of the brief but claustrophobic ‘Perfekt’ makes for possibly the least WAS-like track of their career, before the metronomic thud of ‘Slur They Words’, dives headlong into the territory darkest hi-hop: the origins of the vocals are unclear, but they’re abrasive, and ‘Apex Redditor’ draws the curtain in a bleak fashion, but with a redemptive hint of a rippling piano and twitchy percussion that – I hope – alludes the prospect of a new dawn. Because surely, surely, there has to be a light at the end of this tunnel.

AA

a2575977490_10

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.

AA

a1006963432_10

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:

AA

f97c9fcd-61a9-9ba3-145b-e2fa86156e05

MILDREDA’s sinister video clip ‘Liaisons Dangereuses’ has been selected by the Brussels Independent Film Festival in the short film category "The Rabbit Holes". This category is dedicated to a cinematic rabbit hole of offbeat, weird, wonderful, poetic, surreal, and abstract films. The clip had been created by the Belgian production house Pigeon Eggs and features Belgian actress and model Miss C.

Watch the video here:

AA

Mildreda comment: “The girl in the video played by Miss C symbolises a ‘poisonous muse’, which is what I like to call this type of character”, explains mastermind Jan Dewulf. “In the short film, you will see that the girl evolves from white to black, which illustrates her allegorical shift from ‘good to evil’. Though in fact, she was toxic from the start.”

‘Liaisons Dangereuses’ has been taken from Mildreda’s critically acclaimed physical debut full-length I Was Never Really There.

Mildreda_43_by_Pieter_Clicteur

Image: Pieter Clicteur

17th December 2021

James Wells

Pieces is the second in a projected series of five EPs, and on the face of it, it’s an immense undertaking: this release contains five tracks, and its predecessor four. Across the project, that’s a full two albums worth of material… until you clock that half of the tracks are remixes. Not that that’s a criticism per se, and I won’t revisit my eternal remix peeve yet again here, because no doubt readers are as sick of that as I am of remixes as a thing.

So ‘Pieces’ is in effect a single, comprising of ‘Disease of Kings’ and ‘Failure Principle’, bolstered by a brace of remixes of the former and one of the latter. ‘Disease of Kings’ is a in some respects a surprising choice of lead song, in that it’s a slow, brooding cut with expansive, cinematic synths casting an arena-wide vista over the reflective mood. It’s well-executed and emotionally charged, but the vocal treatment – namely a fuckload of autotune on the verses – is perhaps a little overdone and reduces the impact of the song’s kick-to-the-chest sincerity. It’s a fine choon, but maybe a fraction too produced and polished and even a little bit Emo, where a slightly rawer edge would have bitten harder.

‘Failure Principle’ is geared toward the mid-tempo, with quintessential dance tropes in full effect, with nagging synth loops rippling over and over an insistent dancefloor-friendly beat. While still featuring the core elements of techoindustrial, it carries a keenly commercial style.

The Assemblage 23 Remix of ‘Failure Principle’ is a standout by virtue of the way in which is accentuates the track’s danciness and general catchiness, bordering on euphoric dance which seems somewhat at odds with the lyrical content. But then, the medium is not necessarily the message, and there’s something to be said for slipping darkness in under the cover of light. In that sense, it works, although the extent to which suggesting any song by an industrial act has mainstream crossover potential and a broad appeal is questionable.

Rounding off the EP, the KALCYFR Remix of ‘Disease of Kings’ beings some fuck-off dirty great guitars and grinding bass to the party and comes on way more Nine Inch Nails, and tempers the vaguely emo leanings of the original and GenCAB remix.

The ‘limited-edition PANIC LIFT FACE MASK to accompany you on your journeys through the current post-apocalyptic landscape’ is a nice touch, too – because we need some nice things to help us navigate living through the reality of all of the dystopian fictional futures becoming reality all at once.

AA

AA

a0672630653_10

Cruel Nature Records – 3rd December 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

It may have been the year of the Ox in the Chinese zodiac, but 2021 seems to have been more the year of the snake, especially in politics. This snake, however, is one you can trust, if only to be treacherous, particularly in winter: as the accompanying notes explain, ‘The Snake was loosely conceived as a soundtrack to driving along the mysterious, historic route through the Pennines which connects his hometown of Liverpool with his childhood city of Sheffield, and as such forms a bridge between family and friends.’ It’s perhaps not entirely coincidental that it shares its title with the track by Sheffield legends The Human League, also in reference to Snake Pass which carries the A57 to an elevation of some 1,680 feet.

Mitternacht – the solo vehicle for one of the members of Liverpool band Rongorongo – captures the mood in nine compositions, and it’s not just a linear journey, but a journey through time, with nods to aspects of the road’s history as well as it’s geography and geology.

‘The Turnpike’ refers to the original name of the pass, the Sheffield to Glossop Turnpike, and locks into a krautrock groove and it sets the tone, with some dark beats and squelchy, muddy bass frequencies along the way. The Bleaklow Bomber is a US Boeing RB-29A Superfortress which crashed on the gritstone moorland of Bleaklow, killing all 13 crew in 1948, the remains of which remain visible, and it’s a reminder that man is always at the mercy of the environment, and can never truly conquer it whatever advances are made. ‘Nowt But Horizon’ reflects the more ambient aspects of the album, and conveys the vast expanse of untamed wilderness that is the Pennines. It’s bleak, unforgiving, as stretches of the Pennine way more than abundantly evidence. The complex beats are muffled, the air deadened and murky.

Clocking in at over eight-and-a-half minutes, ‘Snowstorm’ is a real standout, flickering, fluttering synth arpeggios rippling, skittering and drifting atop deep, booming swells of bass. Retro loops scratch and cut in and out, and as the layers build, so it becomes increasingly disorientating, a kind of aural onomatopoeia.

For any vintage vibes about The Snake, there’s also a timelessness, which is never more present than in the closing ‘Temptress of the Hills’, a subtle piece that, like much of the album, is built around looping repetitions and granular textures. It’s an evocative work, but one that you can also nod along and mellow out to, and as such, Mitternacht has delivered an accomplished and accessible album.

AA

a1638021615_10

Canadian industrial act, DI AUGER has just unleashed their new video, a commentary on world-wide geopolitical issues called ‘Brave New World’. The concept for the ‘Brave New World’ video was designed to capture the literal content of the song.

The  message in the song is this: We are one people, one race and we exist to perpetually destroy ourselves and erase our existence from this planet. The song closes with the sarcastic view of our new collective mindfulness. Prove me and the next generation wrong.
Fighting racism, climate change, pollution, overpopulation, human rights. Where has it gotten us?  We are reliving the past here and now. The ideology is the same as are the reactions and the emotions.

Now we live in this brave new world; one with its promises for salvation under a unified umbrella as long as YOU stay in line and do what the government tells you. OBEY and don’t criticize, or comment, make a fuss or subjectively analyze. 
‘Brave New World’ appears on the album, Under The Skin Of The World and is available digitally NOW.

Watch the video here:

AA

AA

84fec614-45d6-ebdd-f4f0-7175ea2844c9