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.
V/A: Forms of Hands 16 CD HANDS
The 16th edition of the revered festival and its corresponding compilation album shows just how far this label has come. A credit to the scene, they have stood strong with an uncompromising self-belief; and this latest release displays the variation and ability to evolve with the respect they command within Industrial circles.
Artists such as Phasenmensch and Talvekoidik now grace the same halls as the staple mainstays such as MS Gentur and Monolith; with atmospheric soundtracks and left of centre IDM, sharing the stage with the foundation of harsh beats and machine rhythms that the label was initially hailed for.
The broken beat of Enduser and 16 Pad Noise Terrorist, sit well alongside the minimal electronics of Morbus M; and indeed the club noise of long enduring Mono No Aware, who is as punishing as ever on this CD.
A Hands album just wouldn’t be one if they didn’t play to what they were originally famed for; and it is up to newer artists such as Wieloryb and Le Modernist to fly the flag. However, as personal taste goes I am more in touch with the aforementioned Phasenmensch, who stand out on this latest venture, with the superbly paced ‘Zeit und Ewigkeit’; that balances beats, harmony and atmosphere to great effect.
This is another year and indeed another welcome notch on the bedpost for Hands Productions. I have said it before, but long may it continue.
MORBUS M: Fight or Die CD HANDS
It’s taken a full six years for Rene Klimaczewski to complete and release this, his second album. Comprising of thirteen tracks, one of which is a remix by The Empath (one half of label mates Trackologists); we have web of cinematic dystopian pads, with crunchy distorted beats and vocal sampling from various sources.
Rather than rely on evocative harmonies, Morbus M hit from a slightly more obscure off-key angle, with tracks such as ‘5000’, sounding more in touch with long gone artists such as the immense GGFH.
Occasionally dipping his toe into Powernoise is something this artist would actually benefit from avoiding, as this is one of his weaker traits (as on the generic ‘Calling Down). Where Klimaczewski excels is when he turns his attention to atmosphere and brooding electronic bass lines; and luckily there is more than enough of this on display throughout this release.
With the odd flutter of Trip-Hop tempered with an overdriven squelch in key areas, this allows for a patter of electronica to seep in and bring a touch of modernity to the proceedings (coming off a touch ‘Fade to Grey’ in the background of ‘Sad About).
‘Fight or Die’ is a story of contrasting styles; and a lot of the album slots in well with the title, with this mix of genres leading to a release that is at war with itself. With respect though, when the tracks are in full flow, there is a lot on this latest opus to smile about, regardless of the warring factions that simply won’t meld; and with a simple ironing out, this could lead to something special in the future.
WIELORYB: Semantik CD HANDS
Things have evolved somewhat in the Wieloryb camp. With a cleaner production to some of his work, the tell-tale crunches of his frantic beat-play now have the desired kick and punch that was needed to carry his drones and tone work (for the most part).
Occasionally though there is a kicking up of dirt and grime where necessary; and this works well within the dark dance elements that ride ‘Solar Sides’ and ‘Crash Report’; although the latter could do with a bit of cleaning up and on more than one occasion his production levels drop a little too much on the other standard distorted beat tracks.
Aside from this, there is more than enough intrigue on the album to make it concise as a whole. ‘Semantik’ covers a lot of ground and varies the old school Industrial sounds enough to break the repetition, bringing the styles in cycles that play out in stages along the way.
Once again however, Wieloryb are another act that are not evolving enough to send shivers down my spine. I enjoyed previous affairs, respecting the genre with which they were designed for and basing my reviews on that scene alone. As the years go by though, we all deserve a little more to part with our hard earned cash for; and whilst this is once again a steady and solid romp with the odd welcome spark of something new, the scene itself is leaving the generic beat behind and looking for more experimentation.
TRACKOLOGISTS: No Surrender, No Retreat CD HANDS
This duo is a coming together between The Empath and Heimstatt Yipotash; and the results are more than pleasing. Understandably, the sound is cross of modern electronic with a touch of IDM and EBM along the way, with a variety of influences that make it an ultimately intriguing listen.
The opener ‘Sonic Barrier’ provides a suitable soundtrack approach to the album, giving way to the vocal led ‘Modified Newtonian Dynamics’; which (whilst being a bit flat on the beats) utilises its sampling well and comes off smacking of originality.
Complex electronics rip through the title track, whilst ‘Suicide with a Plastic Gun’ provides a more Wax Trax! feel to its Industrial flair. It’s this variation that keeps the album alive; and you can tell whose influence is stronger within each track. I am more of fan of The Empath than Yipotash I must admit; but here they do work well as a pair and complement each other along the way. With thirteen tracks to play with each has also taken full control of the opener ‘Sonic Barrier’ with the idea of stamping their own sound on it; bizarrely enough though, Yipotash comes off more Empath than he does himself (whooda thunk it?).
Overall, this is a great start to what I hope is ultimately a longer running project.