GEISTFORM: Transmitter CD HANDS
The sixth full-length album for Spain’s Rafael Espinosa opens up with contact head feedback and monotone beats. A simplistic yet appropriately minimal introduction for a CD that demonstrates pretty much what Geistform is all about.
‘Gauss’ essentially is the first real song on the album; encapsulating a distinct German Techno influence and drive, that sets up the wiry ‘Arc’ to perfection. ‘Receptor’ and ‘Ratan 600’ follow suit with the same level of beat interplay; and this is where my one true gripe with this release is triggered.
I am used to the scene giving birth to many an artist that plays on the same format, song-by-song, rhythm-by-rhythm; and unfortunately, Geistform doesn’t drift far from the same repetitive structures over and over again. The only downside then to ‘Transmitter’, is its glaringly obvious lack of variation; which could be an issue for many.
However, where Espinosa truly shines, is his ability to provide an accompanying atmosphere that utilises frequency to great effect. Electronic bleeps and triggers bounce over gritty, airy pads; whilst attention to clarity and structure, drives an all-enveloping hypnotic listening experience. This in turn overshadows the glaringly obvious lack of beat diversity.
For those that have not encountered Geistform before, then you could pick up any of his albums for consumption and not be disappointed; whilst this latest opus doesn’t offer anything different, it is once again a solid, well-produced body of work.
AH CAMA-SOTZ: Exorcise-Murder Themes III CD HANDS
Herman Klapholz steers away from rhythms and beats, on this third in a series of albums that have intermittently appeared in-between other releases throughout his long and prolific music career.
Concentrating his efforts on a collection of songs that source Dark Ambient as a foundation block; AC-S plays with a variety of near Sci-Fi futurism sounds, to add a touch of polish to the near Satanic overtones of this release (I have yet to determine just how serious or tongue in cheek this all is).
I actually prefer ‘MTIII’ when it concentrates its efforts just on Black Ambient alone; and tracks such as Resistor’ and ‘Burnside’ lurk ominously in the dank gutters to great effect. I am less as enthusiastic by other interferences when it comes to this genre; and luckily, Herman keeps these to a minimum.
Some obligatory vocalisations and chants along the way are not misused and are kept to a minimum. What I am most impressed with, is that on this 11 track-strong album, he has managed to keep a grasp of pace and placement, which is sometimes the failing on any number of DA albums. This is then, by and large, an engaging piece of work, even if it sadly lacks the potential to reach out to anything but a limited audience.
CERVELLO ELETTRONICO: Logical Fears CD HANDS
The opening sampling of the intro for this latest album by Cervello Elettronico reminds me somewhat of ‘Eclipse’ era GGFH and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that; carrying on somewhat through into the opening title track as well, utilising a number of high pitch ranges, reminiscent of that long gone genius.
Back to normality, we have ‘Divider’, playing on the Hands Productions given format where rhythm is concerned; but adding the CE web of dance sensibility that we have come accustomed to. Thus segregating David Christian once again from the bog standard distorted beat throng (even if he cannot help himself from tiptoeing in these waters – and he does occasionally here).
‘Logical Fears’ covers a broad spectrum of sounds and scratches the surface of other electronic genres. There are touches of IDM, but this is sanded down to an abrasive edge, as to keep the album firmly within Industrial territory; and whilst I am less than enthused by rhythmic noise nowadays, Christian does add enough complexity to warrant that his work shouldn’t be typecast.
Overall, this once again is a solid and well-structured album. The distorted beat genre as a whole has became somewhat irrelevant and boring over the last few years; but luckily, Cervello Elettronico adds enough outside spice to keep things interesting.
ORPHX: Pitch Black Mirror 2xLP/CD Sonic Groove / HANDS
Rich Oddie and Christina Sealey are absolute veterans of the scene. Over 23 years they have perfected their craft, producing album after album of tracks that defy the generic.
The knack of grasping onto the older school of Industrial and infusing it with modern sensibilities is a hard one; yet where others have failed, on here Orphx make it sound effortless.
There is a heck of lot of ‘Pitch Black Mirror’ that screams Cabaret Voltaire at me; indeed there is a massive comparison to be made with the Wrangler debut LP as well on some sections. Orphx of course do have the a smattering of the Hands approach to their music where beat production is concerned; so will of course always sound different.
Techno influences and Post-Punk ethos do surprisingly make fine bedfellows; and whilst the latter is not so glaringly obvious, its subtleties do add the essential DNA to the overall image and approach that makes this release a success.
With varying pace and form, ‘Pitch Black Mirror’ is a shapeshifter of musical capabilities that keeps the listener on the edge of their seat. Whilst a tad repetitive in sections this is all part of the essential hypnosis that transfixes and engages. All they need to do; is drop the squelchy elements to their rhythm sections, which tie them in with a fading noise genre. There is much more than distorted beat to the sum of Orphx’s parts; and they don’t need the tag.
SUPERSIMMETRIA: Materia CD HANDS
Following on from ‘Kosmogonie’, ‘Materia’ starts off on a different tack, straight to the point with 4-4 beats and electronica. Pads and harmonies are kept to the background as a distant reference point; and I would have preferred them more prominent in the mix, with the beats taking too much centre stage. It does all feel a little too immediate.
There is a lot on ‘Materia’ to enjoy; such as the oozing rollercoaster of ‘Abiogenesis’ and the synth work and tension on ‘Horror Vacui’. However, I tuned out more than that I should have; and this in part was due to the same old bass drum endlessly thumping through, track-by-track.
Supersimmetria has programming and musical skills in abundance. The main issue here, is that you have to analyse each songs individual tracklayers to appreciate that; and listening pleasure suffers as a result.
The clinical production is sublime on here and crystal clear. However, this is so surgically constructed, it tosses emotions right out of the window; and I doubt this is what Armando Alibrandi was striving to achieve. There is no doubt he has more talent than many an operator on the same label; but he appears to have become lost in a self-constructed, sterilised void.
YURA YURA: Rumu Namba CD HANDS
After the less than serious (but humorous) ‘Be Sexual’, we have the slightly more serious follow up ‘Rumu Namba’. Opening up with the grinding (but short lived) electronics of ‘Helm’, the album slides into a formulaic and uninspiring ‘Cavale’; and unfortunately, things don’t really get any better from here on in.
Now don’t get me wrong; Yura Yura displayed little originality on his last album, but at least it was footloose and fancy-free. ‘Rumu Namba’ just takes picks up the powernoise mantle; and plods on with little care for anything new or nothing to latch onto. There is nothing on here that you haven’t heard a million times over; and this album feels about 16 years too late.
Bog standard crunching soulless rhythms with background atmospherics, wouldn’t have been terminology used for this release if it had been made many a moon ago. It wasn’t used then, because those people were originators; and many have moved on since.
Nowadays this just does too little to warrant your hard earned cash; and whilst this most likely works in a live environment, it is just too boring to endure at home, bar one or two tracks.
MONOLITH: Domination CD HANDS
Following on from his release ‘Crashed’ from two years previous; Eric Van Wonterghem slams home once again why he is one of the most revered of stalwarts within Industrial circles.
This, his 9th album under this banner; displays Monolith at its competent best. The opening title track is a rhythmic march that clinically progresses forward with less brutality than may have been envisaged, but leads well into an even less aggressive ‘Angel of Death’; replying more on its technicality as the song progresses.
This is the story for the remainder of the album. Here, Wonterghem has filed down the abrasive edges of the project and concentrated his efforts on a more techno slant to the rhythm sections; which ooze out on a drip-feed as opposed to smashing the listener in the teeth.
Not without the odd journey into atmospherics (not all of which work and sometimes feel a little ham fisted), ‘Domination’ is a lot quieter than its title might suggest; however, it is all the better in its totality for it. There was a time when it was anathema for bands of his ilk to produce anything other than blistering hammers of noise and blast-beats. I am sure things will go full circle, but in this era listeners demand a little more for their buck; and bearing that in mind, Eric has delivered something on a level that’s a touch more progressive for the Hands followers out there.
LE MODERNISTE: Desistere Mortem Timere CD HANDS
This latest release in an extensive back catalogue; shows Le Moderniste carry on from where they left off, with minimalist thumps and stop start electronics. Occasional flirtations with Power Electronics and gloopy ambient form a cohesive gel to the industrial nature of the album; and add a different source of information to take in, as opposed to general Distorted Beat/Powernoise, that so many others make their staple.
The repetitive nature of the tracks when they do follow the path often trod by Hands artists does play out well in fine form; and this is actually where Le Moderniste excels. With a keen ear for aural hypnosis, the pitch and counter-play of low machine rhythms, high-end snare scratches and muffled heartbeat bass drones, make a comfortable fit for minute changes in atmosphere.
I am less convinced however when LM plays with noise and blister packs of PE. There is a tendency for a feeling of noise for noise’s sake to the proceedings in part; and this does drive the listener to just skip to the next track. Overall though, ‘Desistere Mortem Timere’ is a solid release that fans of the artist should enjoy, even if I can’t imagine it making them any new fans.
HYSTERESIS: Hegemonia Cultural CD HANDS
Hysteresis are a strange bunch and definitely throw out albums that are for the more eclectic ear. I originally encountered them on ‘Will + Representation’, an album that threw many twists and turns, that whilst utterly bonkers, kept the listener guessing from start to finish.
The last release I heard from them was the fairly poor ‘Manifest’; and I kinda figured that this was another artist that lost it. Safe to say, this did put me on the back foot when approaching this latest output.
I am surprised to say however, that ‘Hegemonia Cultural’ shows Hysteresis coming back with a vengeance. Taking notes from earlier output and washing it down with a modern twist, this latest work is a frenetic display of modern techno influences, an abundance of breakbeats and metal guitars, topped off with ethnic vocal samples.
A crisp, clear production assists in the many cascading electronics shining brightly; and when this album does delve into the odd flutter of distorted beats, there is a precision and purpose that many who float around this genre appear to have missed. Couple this with Hysteresis’ backtracking on earlier flirtations with madness and you have as a whole, an excellent album that steers far from the Hands familiarity; and is the album I wanted them to make many moons ago.
GREYHOUND: Inner Noise Level CD HANDS
It’s been four years since Greyhound’s last output, time in which an artist that has stayed true to form stylistically, to possibly evolve and try something new, possibly.
‘Inner Noise Level’ does what any self-respecting Greyhound fan could wish for: a noisy ambient opener, followed by track after track of mechanical, rhythmical distorted beats under the guise of industrial song titles.
I guess as the old saying goes, “If it aint broke, then why fix it?” and to be fair Greyhound do what they do well. The die-hards will lap this up end-to-end and this release is as punishing as anything they have done before, with the modern version of this outfit concentrating more on production values; therefore less muggy in sound than earlier work.
For me though, it is time to move on. I like my distorted beats and Industrial as much as I ever did; but I also listen to a heck of a lot of other styles (as I have always done) and like my bands to as well (or at least show they do). No harm can come from evolution; and whilst ‘Inner Noise Level’ is a fine example of the genre they reside in, there is no reason to choose this above many of the scenes founding releases (‘classics’ if you will). This is a quality, well-produced album stylistically speaking, but doesn’t bring anything new to the table; and nowadays I need it to if I am to shout about it.