DEAD VOICES ON AIR: Did Digger Do Jehovah Ltd CD / DIGITAL DOWNLOAD Crime League
DVOA have been tripping the boards for ages now since Mark Spybey left Zoviet France; and after a lengthy back catalogue it’s quite odd to see him come up with such a limited release. His latest output starts off in fine form with simplistic electronics and airy ambient, with the aptly titled ‘The Skies Sent out a Sound’ coming across as an electronic signal across the ether.
Followed up with ‘I Was Under a Cavalry Cross’, the ever-so-slight shift in sound is a kaleidoscope of cascading colourful notes that spangle amongst a backdrop of breathing momentum, only to be enforced further with a trippy and hallucinogenic ‘As the Sand of the Sea’.
Where I feel Dead Voices On Air works best as a project is when he concentrates his efforts on ranging Dark Ambient. I do like chiming cutesy electronics and I do think they work well over his foundation material; however I am a sucker for bleak pads and appreciated the momentary stand-alone darkness of ‘Shall my Wrath Burn Like Fire?’ along with the n5md-ish ‘The East is From the West’ more than other works on this album.
Overall, ‘Did Digger do Jehovah’, is a peculiar yet solid mass of stable electronics that capture many a mood for a number of occasions. It’s good to see the project still in full flight and long may Spybey continue forwards.
ANKLEBITER: Weight of a Pronoun Ltd CD / DIGITAL DOWNLOAD Crime League
Tanner Volz is another of the Tympanik Audio refugees that has since moved shores to try his hand in other label avenues. Sometimes it’s a necessary, albeit frightening shift in circumstances; but usually pushes the artist out of their comfort zone.
With two full albums and a remix CD to add weight to his credentials, Volz has already built up a loyal fanbase that he should be proud of; and ‘Weight of a Pronoun’ will only add a few more to that headcount, along with the collaborative efforts of a few other artists that make an appearance on this disc.
Opener ‘Joey Gladstone’ makes its presence known with an ominous, brooding tone. A steady beat introduces the tracks and is steadily knitted together with harmonious electronics and ranging lead notes; and is followed up with the subtle free-fall that is ‘Self-Esteem is Killing America’, with its dropped bass and beautifully arranged poppy pads that erupt into blooming mass of colour as the track comes to its conclusion.
Along the way we are treated to what I term as classic IDM, compositionally speaking. ‘Tickle Monster’ and ‘Error Peak’ play with beats, well paced sci-fi harmonies and layered electronics that bind the tracks with a steadfast glue. Volume plays a key part on individual sections, pushing other elements to the edge of a collapse that never comes.
Reminiscent of previous works, ‘Weight of a Pronoun’ takes baby shoegazing steps forward rather than bringing an all round change. Cleverly in keeping with his back catalogue Volz proves that leaving the creature comforts of previous label backing is no bad thing; if anything it shows strength of character and this latest album is excellent from start to finish.
RENTIP: Daily Routines Ltd LP / DIGITAL DOWNLOAD Crime League
For me, when having to resort to releasing digital downloads, if there is to be a limited hard copy then this is the best way to do it; vinyl wins every time in these circumstances.
Futuristic electronics are the stable source of material for this act. Movie sampling, off-key pads and straightforward beat programming make ‘The Rules of Collision’ a more than effective opening gambit; punching holes in the stratosphere at every turn whilst twisting ravages of sound hinge on complex industrialisms.
Intricate IDM scatters breaks amongst clinical rhythm patterns on the jagged edged ‘Dodecahedron Strategy’, whilst the straightforward electro of ‘Perfectly Preserved’ carries a series of tuneful pad drops throughout; it’s at this point that you see just how deep the quality and variation runs on this release.
Vocals twist and turn through warped structures on the gliding insanity that is ‘Echoes’; another favourite of mine on the album, showing another of the strings on Rentip’s bow. It’s hard to pin the act down genre speaking, as he covers a great degree of styles. Imagine a cross amalgamation of the music of FLA and Skinny Puppy (minus the vocals), filtered through an IDM cheese grater, and you would be somewhat close.
With this being such a limited release, it’s almost criminal how this act may slip through the radar. With so many less worthy acts out there getting their moment in the limelight, Rentip should be right there in the mix; as ‘Daily Routines’ is a visceral complex album that deserves recognition from every self-respecting fan of Industrial music.
GNOME & SPYBEY: Three Ltd CD / DIGITAL DOWNLOAD Crime League
Mark Spybey of Dead Voices on Air, teams up here with Tony D’Oporto of Gnomes of Kush to create a strange and alluring dilution of sounds, combining soundtrack elements, darker ambience and weird electronic sub textures.
There is a haze over ‘Three’, almost as if you are listening to the album behind a frosted glass filter, watching a series of untold events as shapes that move around; and you can’t quite picture just exactly what is going on.
It would be easy to term a lot of this album as merely nonsensical. There is some argument to that, but there is also a purpose; as the strange squelches and breathing warped noises are the glue tipped claws that grab the disengaged pads in both hands and provide a bridge from one to another, like a musical string of DNA.
It’s no surprise that a lot of ‘Three’ leans more in DVOA territory. I am unaccustomed to the works of Gnomes… but can immediately hear the impact in minor ways throughout this release as brief sparkles of harmony, splicing up the bleak ambient noise.
There is nothing ground breaking here, but then it doesn’t need to be; as one of those albums that is worth listening to when you have heard everything else. There is a lot to enjoy and soak up if you take away the fact that much of this has been played out by others before.
DISPLACER: Curse of the Black Lotus Ltd CDep / DIGITAL DOWNLOAD Crime League
As is the way of reviewing, sometimes you get your hands on a release that came before the bands latest works you have already reviewed; but no less great that this has been sent to review and complete your collection.
I have always been a fan of the works of Michael Morton and ‘Curse…’ fills a space between the wonderful ‘Foundation’ and ‘House of the Dying Sun’, the latter produced with Nimon and both released on the mighty Hymen label.
As a missing jigsaw piece, this EP would be misplaced as the one with all four corners that doesn’t quite slot in; and it’s no surprise that Morton has chosen just to release some other work that differs from the albums that sit either side of it, forever keeping listeners guessing.
With a blistering array of electronics that resonate a warm hum, coupled with erratic beat work and gloriously emphatic pads, from opener ‘Black Lotus’ with some excellent re-worked versions of new tracks and a Monstrum Sepsis mix to boot.
As an ever-evolving project that’s constantly on the move, re-shaping and re-working its image, Displacer keeps his personal story ever relevant, with modern day electronica that’s as cool as it comes. I hate to spout the word ‘hip’, but this is; and not in the sad way you see fashion victims sporting T-Shirts of bands they have never heard of, either.
ANTIGEN SHIFT: Brotherhood CD Signifier
It’s been eight long years since the last Antigen Shift release ‘The Way of the North’ appeared on the Ad Noiseam label; a distinctly ambient led album that was a giant leap in what had come before. Now joined by Jairus Khan (he of the less than busy Adversary), it’s plainly evident as to why we haven’t seen any other releases from his once sole project; as it’s obvious he has been busy assisting Nick Thériault in providing the next step in the ‘Shift’.
I was a massive fan when I first heard Nick’s early works and I expected big things. Whether lethargy set in or some other interference is unknown to me, either way it’s glad to see the project gain some momentum once more.
‘Brotherhood’ takes earlier elements and dances everything up a notch, with clean-cut electronics and the occasional foray into Breakbeat and IDM territory, whilst bouncing around a mainstream bubble as to keep everything a touch more listenable, for those that enjoy the odd club or two. With the odd smattering of samples and piano work emphasising a cleaner and less dense production than before, there are touches on here that may alienate previous lovers of Antigen Shift as a whole, but given some time and patience it all becomes evident the changes were necessary in placing the project well and truly back on the scene; with guitar infused, up-paced tracks such as ‘Godkrusher’ and the modernistic light bass drops of ‘Get off my Lawn’ proving as relevant as anything out there.
Whilst everything is professionally done, there is little to remember anything that truly stands out, bar one or two tracks (as mentioned above) and everything merges together as one solid block of electronics. It is clear, that the focus has been placed on presenting one solid mass of tracks to be played from start to finish and in that respect does work well.
As a whole though, this latest and long overdue quality output breathes life once again into an act that I thought had long since gone and I am glad to see its return; even if lacking anything that sets the hairs on the back of my neck, standing on end.
AGYA: ANEMOΣ CD Signifier
Here we have the coming together of Supersimmetria’s Armando Alibrandi and Yura Yura’s Dijon Grégory, combining their creative skills as one. Fair to say I expected distorted beat and Industrial edged powernoise battering from end-to-end, but luckily this album provides a lot more scope than that.
Ranging dark ambience makes for a more interesting journey than the flabby beats do alone, carrying an atmosphere that descends and ascends to great effect throughout this 14 tracker; masking the rhythm sections occasional production failings as it goes along. Careful attention has been paid to the grinding sub-bass elements, leaving a cosy warmth to the proceedings and making for a comfortable listen that allows the pads to provide a crisp, fresh breeze that filters throughout the mix.
Whilst not altogether ground breaking, ‘ANEMOΣ’ does hold its own. I could imagine this coming off well live, in a clubs early hours when folk need something a little more restrained on pace, but with enough firepower to crunch out of the speakers effectively.
Where Agya stumble, is on the diversity scale. We have heard this many a time before in the 90’s from the HANDS label and such like; and whilst overall this is a decent and solid album, it does lack the edge to set it apart from its peers. Originality put to one side however, as far as Industrial circles go, this does exactly what it sets out to do; and there is some comfort in experiencing this duo stubbornly stick to the path they set for themselves not straying into a more easily marketable territory, as many have done before.