So do you enjoy pop influenced industrial music? Once slightly maligned by industrial purists, this hard edged and yet very melodic form has become a genuinely enjoyable style. Eric K is Unitcode:Machine from Dallas and he has been around since 2004 with several albums under his belt. There is a new album in the works, but for now you can enjoy the newly released single, “Fight“.
Yeah this is a song going to war. The start is militant in its tone and leads into the lyrics of someone pushed to their very limits, with no other option than to battle for the right to live. Such a catchy chorus and danceable beat.
In some ways this reminds me of VNV Nation with their more gutsy, emotion filled numbers, if Ronan Harris was to be a bit more industrial. Yes it’s going to be thought provoking but damn, you will want to have a bit of a dance at the same time with “Fight” from Unitcode:Machine.
The 90s saw the resurgence of goth rock, with bands such as Nosferatu and Rosetta Stone at the helm. Vocalist Caroline Blind, in 1991, lent her name to what would become, the New York band, Sunshine Blind. They released all up three official albums but there was also material that wasn’t made public, other than through live performances. The single, “Tribe” is one of these tracks that Blind has re-recorded and was on the 2020 album, The Spell Between.
There are three remix versions, the album track and also an original recording, live in 1992. The live version is hardly perfect and there is feedback from the guitar but holy crap, doesn’t it prove what a set of vocal chords Caroline Blind has on her. She is front and centre, crystal clear.
The album version, shows the progression of this track. It’s tight and just rings out joyously. You can’t help and smile about the wonderful guitar in the beginning that hasn’t changed from the original and was typical of the 90s in a way. It really kicks arse and Blind hasn’t lost any of that amazing range either.
Of the three remixes, the first is the extended She-Devil mix by Mark Gemini Thwaite(MGT) and Ashley Bad. MGT is an exceptional guitarist, featuring in such influential bands as The Mission and Theatre Of Tradgey plus currently in Lords Of Acid, where AshleyBad is a band mate of sorts, the latex burlesque queen on stage and MGT’s other half. There is a much more electronic edge to this version which has made it feel like a harsher mistress to the ears. Most delightful.
Andee Blacksugar of KMFDM and Black Sugar Transmission fame, is responsible for the second remix. It feels like a phantasmagorical, drug induced dream of whimsical eddies and near maniacal pursuit.
The last track goes for a far more guitar based production. Which makes complete sense with Ben Christo creating this remix who has been with the iconic, Sisters Of Mercy since 2006 as the lead guitarist. A great mixture of both acoustic and electric guitar.
The word that comes to mind is powerful. This is a link to the past and yet it exists in the here and now, sounding pretty perfect. I don’t blame Blind for resurrecting this track as it is very deserving of the revamp it has had, if not simply because we would have missed out hearing it and that would have been a great shame. “Tribe” was written in a time when they wanted to connect to others of the same ilk, to create community. That hasn’t changed and just as pertinent as ever. This is “Tribe” by Caroline Blind.
While we wait for the release of the much anticipated Attrition album, The Black Maria, Martin Bowes has given us a second single to immerse ourselves in called “The Alibi“, which was recorded, mixed and mastered at The Cage Studios in Coventry.
A child’s musical, wind-up toy, plinks away the warbly wedding march of “Here Comes TheBride“, by Wagner. The ensemble warms up before we are plunged into the warped electro world of Attrition, accompanied by violins, piano, guitar and cello. The ladies sound like angels and Bowes forever is the devil, gutterally vocalising in your left ear. A mix of soprano and spoken word with maybe some gypsy inspiration that drive home the chorus.
Cannot help but think that a woman who might not be the perfect bride but the perfect alibi, possibly is a major temptress. Bowes is always pushing his art, combining elements that clash and grate, yet also end up complimenting each other. As we await the new album from the avant-garde electro-industrial juggernaut that is Attrition, taste the forbidden fruits of “The Alibi“.
Based in Portland, USA, four piece, DIE ROBOT, are definitely a band to keep an eye on. They have toured with some fairly big name acts and their latest single, “Talk City“, was mastered by Robert Scott from Joy Thieves Productions.
This will certainly catch your attention from the beginning, starting with the beat, to the electronics drawing you in. The guitar work is meaty and the vocals are the icing on this commentary of the current state of media. So do you believe everything that is said to you via information corporations that have their own agenda? The synth line on this is killer.
Was it done on purpose that when they sing, talk city, it sounds like toxicity? Rather clever play on words. This is a banger of a tune, that romps along nicely before giving you a small rest, then galloping off again. It’s music with a social conscience that reminds me a little of another band, Die Krupps. Definitely check out DIE ROBOT with “Talk City“.
June the fourth was the release date for the single, “Ten Points On The Damage Meter“. How To Loot Brazil are the German band behind the single, with Maik Timmermann at the helm since 2006, who proclaim to be a fusion of riot grrrl, pop/punk, under pinned by electronics.
I agree the beat has a D.A.F. quality to it and the female vocals are kind of cute but this really works for song. It’s short and punchy, meant to get you bouncing and bopping along. There are guitar riffs and rhyming gimme gimme gimmie with ten points on the damage meter.
It’s a tight number that packs a lot into under three minutes and is about the horror movie genre which is deftly referred to in the music video. “Ten Points On The Damage Meter” is in essence a fun song and it gets more ear worm like with every play. How To Loot Brazil will get you moving and they can be found on most music platforms, including Spotify.
IDM or intelligent dance music can sometimes be a confusing title for some. It often isn’t really danceable but rather electronic music that experiments with electronic rhythm by creating all the noise within the structure called music. For more than decade, Tapage from Hilversum in the Netherlands, has been creating electronic ambient music and May saw the release of his new album Recover, out on the label, PointSource Electronic Arts.
The first piece is “Test“, a low tonal number that tentatively reaches out towards you before the clicks begin. Like a radio, with someone flicking through without any discernible channels, just spurts of static that chirp away. “114120A11” even though electronic, makes me think of a dark, tranquil forest in prehistoric times, where insects talk to each other and large bird like creatures call out in the canopy, filled with the beat of life.
A darker turn with “Begin“, deep and ringing with those clicks and snaps that Tapage has in spades. Next could be mistaken as a performance piece on harp, that has gone horribly wrong, warped chimes flood your senses. “We Will Become” has an apocalyptic, horror ambience….. possibly otherworldly.
Almost like stars blinking in and out in the night sky comes “Prolog“. It does give the impression aliens are trying to control us and then transmission just stops. “Peepsqueek” is a multitude of squeaks that culminate in a rhythm vortex, perhaps inferring to drum and bass.
A dreamscape of space. Not so much out of space but the general term when it comes to “Able To NSet“. There are the clicks and whirs but also a lightness and expanse. The eighth track is “Ancient Tiger Proton” and it features Access To Arasaka, who fit in perfectly, also known for dark experimental ambient, that compliments Tapage’s. This feels epic and austere in a way, like you are walking the halls of the gods.
The last three tracks are remixes. Experimental artist, Klunks, re-imagines “We All Became“, that burbles along like a cosmic stream. “Able ToNSet” is broken down by The Fellow Passenger, to a wandering, ethereal quality. The last remix is by Tapage, of the track “Test“, which has developed wings it seems, elevated from the drone, though that aspect it still present.
I’m never going to say I’m an expert at electronic music but in essence it’s the visceral reaction that counts. This is technically good but it’s also touching you at another level, with how it makes you feel without words to paint a picture and that’s always very special. Recover isn’t going to be for everyone but I’m also very sure Tapage know this as well and sometimes it is worth going out of your comfort zone to experience something that will take you unexpected places.
Kieren Hills aka DorfpunkTapes, is somewhat of an Australian renaissance man. His love of underground fare means he performs in more than his fair share of bands, from crust punk to goth, though his punk attitude shines through all. One of his incarnations is his one man, industrial punk act called SchkeuditzerKreuz. In September of 2020, the EP Give Me Nothing was released.
This is your “Warning” that starts with a nationalistic anthem of a non existent, fascist state. It smacks of Laibach as it launches, hammering into your skull, the staccato beat with wailing siren. The warning is about a population devoid of control, will find others to exert power over to prove they exist.
Metallic industrial rhythm heralds in “Amerika:, a song written in the time of the Trump presidency and on a personal computer that had no working ‘C’. The angst of watching the erosion of rights, injustice and wholesale lies are ground out by Hills.
Consumerism drives economies, drives environmental destruction, plunges many into poverty and leaves many always wanting what they do not need. Greed is the theme behind, “But What If“. Screeching electronics, contorted in the fervour before the final meltdown.
“Traitor” is a slower track in some ways with an electronic sludginess like sonic glue, however surprisingly does speed up with a near psychedelic overdrive.
Final track, “Give Me Nothing” is the equivalent of Edvard Münch’sThe Scream, a cry to escape the tragedy of life. Not necessarily escaping through death but no longer plugged into the machine that pounds away with fuzzy fury.
It’s a little gem of an EP and gets better every play. It is punchy and doesn’t pull any punches about the state of society in general but then it just wouldn’t be punk if it didn’t have something to say. Should you ever get the chance to see SchkeuditzerKreuz live, take it. The experience will blow your mind but in the meantime indulge in Give Me Nothing on Bandcamp for nameyourprice.
We are going to go back to December of 2017 to revisit the electronic EP, Wavelets. Released by Secant Prime, a US based artist who’s first release was in 2010 with the Wavelets EP that is made up of 5 tracks ranging in length.
Imagine a sound of impending doom. It could be “Jacobi Elliptic Function“, a sonic dirge of undulating pandemonium of both electronic noise and human. Named after the mathematical equation that describes the swinging of a pendulum and also the design of electronic elliptic filters. There is always this low, one could almost say near feeling of dread and as the piece continues, it develops that crunchy experimental texture before becoming nearly atonal again.
“Dirichlet Convolution” is a mathematical function using binary operation as well as the title of the next track. It is metallic and sharp with no room to be otherwise. The machine in its computations will churn out its screeching answers that it rhythmically hums to itself. You hear a child lost in the noise, maybe a victim of the problem solving.
The next concept is slightly beyond my understanding but ‘Montgomery’s Pair Correlation Conjecture” is about equations that include the possibilities of finding zeros. The music has a sense of being out of touch, much like my understanding of the maths. Echoes, whispers and perhaps the intermittent ticking of a clock, all completely out of sync with a buzzing sonar like beat. At seventeen and a half minutes, this is the EP’s longest track but the lulls and build ups will keep your attention.
“Hankel Transform” is the fourth track and I can’t even describe this therorum but I can tell you the music swirls, as if in a vortex, sucking everything towards it, mixing it all as it flies past. The garbled voices add to the sense of imminent implosion at any moment.
I looked up “Fourier Bessel Series” and saw the words an infinite series expansion on a finite interval…..pursed my lips and exhaled. A slow build up of soundscape and rhythmic nose, more ticking like time is getting away from us and a growing feeling of claustrophobia. Constant, infinite and yet finite
in some ways this is my nightmare music, based on high level maths, however this works for Secant Prime. Maths is clinical and exact, with no grey areas. And many like myself find the idea of working out these therorum terrifying. The music is not comforting, stark and bleak, devoid of human warmth. A clever use of experimental noise to create ambient, nightmarish soundscapes. Wavelet is available on Bandcamp currently for name your price and other forums.
Long The Night is the project of UK based, multi instrumentalist, DerrickStembridge, who released his album, Illusion, in the beginning of April. Stembridge is most well known for his main act, Drifting In Silence.
“Divided Souls” is a sonorous blanket of sound, unwavering and deep like an ocean, bereft of a spark to ignite a soul torn asunder. The beginning of “UntoldMind” is in a similar vein, however distinguishes itself, with a generic buzzing, that belies the calm as it slowly builds in strength. The introduction of Gregorian style monks chanting is a sublime touch.
An unearthly sense to “Divine Symmetry” as it almost hovers, imperceptibly, at a distance, while “Transparent” is smooth and, for the want of a better word, breathy, like air being inhaled and exhaled at an ever so slow rate.
A sombre darkness from “Through Blind Eyes” and through the ambient drone, it almost seems as if there is much going on, in an near overwhelming nature. Then there is “A Forgotten Time“, where the electronics gradually swirl to conjour a dream like memory.
But is it real and are these monks luring you into the piece. “Altered State Of Conciousness“? It vibrates under the skin until it reaches the point of calm. The longest track is “The Myth Of Now“. It sounds like an electronic orchestra, warming up at first, with fingers of ethereal tendrils wriggling between, growing and stretching.
‘Immaculate Perception” does feel like you are sitting in a cathedral with an organ playing, where something heinous may have occurred. Last track to grace us, is “Illusion“, that growls in its being restricted, trying to push at its confines and yet, like an illusion, cannot be touched, ephemeral as a phantasm.
This is an evocative album of musical sounds describing the dark without words and yet there can be no darkness without some light that gives depth. Really love the Gregorian styled monks which make this even more special. This is the first release under the moniker Long The Night, on the label Kalpamantra and if you love electronic droning sounds that evoke your mind’s eye then I highly recommend Illusion.
The single, “Just Like Rain” was released in April by Fargo native, Todd C Ruzicka under the moniker Immune System. Ruzicka is also known for his other, main project, Seven Federations.
This is a bright and synth bubbling piece, reminiscent of the early 80s electronic era mixed with a Euro/italo dance appeal. If this is a love song, it seems a little on the dangerous side. The beats drop and swell, building and swirling with the end containing the surprise strings.
Retro synth-pop is the order of the day and this is a busy little number. Not breaking any new ground but “Just Like TheRain” is rather enjoyable and if electronic music is your thing then go check out Immune System.