December 2020, saw the album release for StereoTYP by Canadian artist, JHNN. Based from Calgary, JHNN said ‘Basically the album was made from 2016-2020 and it’s about my biggest pet peeve of society which is the existence of StereoTYPs“.

JHNN

Kicking it off with with the soundscape science fiction plains of “Children Are The Future“. My first foray into JHNN’s style and it’s smooth strangely, almost hypnotic with his voice drifting above the electronics as he explains that children don’t see skin colour or disabilities like adults do. They see another human.

East Hastings” is a very stripped back piece with a machine gun style beat. The lyrics are literally ‘Remember, When you said, Never again‘ with the never again said a hundred and fifty- one times. It does build to a climax that reminds me a little of Boy Harsher.

I can hear the techno and house influence in “Again“. There is the ever pervasive synth line throughout with others layering over and around it. It feels slightly haunting, trying to survive the after effects of a traumatic relationship.

The lyrics alone for “The Takeaway” made me instantly think of the David Bowie single, “I’m Afraid Of Americans“. Maybe the format and purpose are similar as this was Bowie and Brian Eno’s industrial phase. However JHNN does far more slow burn electronic, that harkens back to a more European flavour.

From the sing song beginning, “The Warning” is claustrophobic. The tale of how a person wants to control everything around him to stop him losing control and yet he knows he can’t control anything, least of all himself. The bursts of static style noise and wandering plucked notes keeps you on edge.

The Warfare” is a follow on from “The Takeaway” and “The Warning“, a trilogy of mental health breaking down. You feels his growing tension and anxiety with the nervous beats growing with JHNN’s vocals making you wonder when he might explode.

Addiction…. explaining that anything that you invest too much of yourself into and get lost in, is almost as bad as an addiction to “Heroin“. It can be self destructive. This music starts like a drug induced stupor where everything feels great and there is nothing outside of this. Towards the end, it seems like a free fall with JHNN’S breathy vocals.

Is someone into you due to an ideal or because you look like someone else? Do they see the person below the surface skin colour? “Fetish” asks these questions. There is a slight disjointed nature to the music, like the vocals don’t quite gel with the music, which is entirely on purpose to put you at unease.

The Lie” starts like is being played backwards. It launches a great synth line with layers of electronics added and diminished throughout. It’s a heavy subject. Is religion the greatest lie ever told? If you believe, does it mean you need all the indoctrination to believe in a God?

For a moment I don’t hear anything, before a simple few notes register for “Crisis“. This is a instrumental, a graduation of textures, that then wends its way, then seemingly falling into the pit of despair.

Track number eleven is the final on the album. “Darkness Will Always Be There” could be a downer but oddly, this is light and free, a type of acceptance. There are sparkling synths accompanying the harsher ones.

This is a starkly personal album. It’s about struggling with mental health, personal relationships, the struggle of not being defined by your colour or being held to account by systems you can’t believe in, especially if they inhibit the person you are.

JHNN has taken you on a journey that includes anxiety and occasionally hopelessness but in the end there is also the realisation that unless you love the darkness within, then then you can’t live with yourself. This is an electronic saga that uses subtly to great effect. StereoTYP is a more laid back type of electro/darkwave that touches on the field of industrial and it is very powerful with its sentiment. Check out JHNN

https://jhnn.bandcamp.com/album/stereotyp

https://www.facebook.com/JHNNbook/

Deine Lakaien have been gracing our ears for 35 years and are now giving us their 10th studio album, Dual. These maestros of the experimental electronic – classical hybrid, have released a double album, with the first being all new music and the second showcasing covers that influenced vocalist Alexander Veljanov and composer/multi instrumentalist Ernst Horn.

ERNST HORN & ALEXANDER VELJANOV

The medieval flavour of “Because Of Because“, is a stately start. The classical overtones are simple and mix beautifully with the electronic components, Veljanov’s silken crooning, dripping over it all, about finding one’s piece of mind.

A slight middle eastern touch to “Sick Cinema” and a comment on artists involved in promoting less than reputable causes. The organ swirls and picks up pace. All quite gorgeous.

A ballad in the form of “In Your Eyes“, and it is a perfect piece of Deine Lakaien crystal that reflects a myriad of emotions and colours, of sadness and joy. The pledge of eternal love.

Snow” is as slow as it is beautiful. A tale of another era or a dream of what was. It is facile and warm, as if you can feel the shafts of sunlight that are sung about.

The electronic brilliance comes to the forefront in “Happy Man“, where a smile is enough to lighten a heart. The experimental textures abound and it conjours the mood of a courtly dance.

A near futuristic impression is given with electronic music of “Run“. Whatever happens in life, they ask their ‘braveheart‘ to stay on the move and keep their hopes alive.

Les oiseaux” is French for the birds and the feel is of feathers whirling in flight, going higher and higher with purpose. Maybe you can even hear them crying out to each other.

Sounds like a harpsichord in “Unknown Friend“, with a haphazard rhythm, making your senses spin. The synthesizer witters away in this timeless piece.

What is a qubit? A unit of measurement as seen in the Bible. “Qubit Man” comes with stringed instruments that make it sound off kilter, while the vocals seem near monastic.

The last song for the first album is “Someone To Come Home To“. A reflective piece about loss and longing for that person that makes you complete. The hurdy gurdy of emotions is keenly felt.

The second half of this album is the tributes to songs or acts that influenced Deine Lakaien but also they have matched to the feel and sound of tracks on the the first album. Starting with the Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen piece, “Because The Night“, “Spoon” by Krautrock group Can, The Cure’s classic, “The Walk“, “Dust In The Wind” by Kansas, Kate Bush’sSuspended In Gaffa“, also surprisingly Soundgarden’sBlack Hole Sun“.

There were for me, some really stood out. “La chanson des vieux amants” was originally performed by Jacques Brel in 1954 and in English is known as the Song Of Old Lovers, which is wonderfully nostalgic. The Cat Steven’s track, “Lady D’Arbanville” is treated like electronic spun satin with golden threads.

The oldest cover is of the Russian, 1879 piece, “Song Of The Flea” by Modest Mussorgsky and lyrics from Goethe’s Faust which has gone from a piano accompanied piece to a cheeky, fun and quirky number with chimes, bleeps and Veljanov giving amazing belly laughs whilst singing in Russian. I admit to never really being into Linkin Park but have a new found respect through Horn’s handling of “My December“. It is delicate, sad and profound with strings making this feel even more compelling.

Ernst Horn has again created the near magical world that is occupied by Deine Lakaien. Classical/medieval traits mixed with the electronic genius we have come to expect. The warm timbre of Alexander Veljanov’s voice is so brilliant and utterly recognisable, the trademark of the band. Dual is the present and the past for Deine Lakaien, in a musical extravaganza which will make you fall in love with them all over again.

https://deinelakaien.bandcamp.com/album/dual

https://www.facebook.com/DeineLakaien

If you are looking for some experimental ambient music, then possibly we know of the EP you need to hear. Spectrograph released at the end November, their EP, A Giant Leap Of Faith, on Depth Records.

This project began in 2012, combining the talents of multi instrumentalist and vocalist Virginia Bones with Phiorio who is a producer of electronic/dance music, as well as a DJ. They describe their style as post industrial/electro.

SPECTROGRAPH

The tones are low and seemingly, almost basic but the more one delves into “Dmbt“, the more complex and convoluted it becomes with its revolving beats and tonal injections for this instrumental piece.

The single, “Dead Kittens“, is a dark affair. Slow and foreboding with fuzzy electronic pulses and synth keys that at times feel like they are wandering randomly within a space that has been forgotten.

Minimal clicks and whirs in a loop present “A Giant Leap Of Faith“, and there begins a layering effect of sounds. An occasional cymbal, electronically altered vocals of Bones and two notes of a piano creep across this piece, only to be joined by other noises. Strangely enough it never feels overwhelming or crowded and yet there is a claustrophobic ambience.

Last track, “If You Think You Can Fly” seems to convey the most urgency, like it needs to be on the move on a midnight jaunt to who knows where. It is bleak, metallic and wonderful with those odd noises.

Well constructed and rather interesting to say the least. If you don’t get electronic music then this won’t be for you but if you love electronica that push music limits with intelligence, then you should most definitely have a listen to Spectrograph’s A Giant Leap Of Faith.

https://depthsrecords.bandcamp.com/

https://m.facebook.com/spectrographmusic

Australian duo, Dirt Factory have released their second album, “Factory Evolution“, which is out on Viral Records and was mixed in Brisbane by Roger Menso of Dog Machine fame.

Daniel Allen resides in Melbourne while brother, Michael Gillman can be found in Brisbane and they, like many other musicians, have not seen each other all this year but through technology have still been busy creating.

DIRT FACTORY

And so it begins and the first taste is “Binary“, an intro which is literally voices giving you binary code.

Salvation” was the first single from the album with its terminator stalking feel rhythm and Michael’s held cords on keyboard that makes this oppressive and the direct opposite of being saved.

With sci fi creeping doom is “Automation” but not all is as it seems. Electronic vocals with bleak long cords and relaying the degradation of mankind, as we make our way to a ignominious demise. There is an almost Gary Numan feel about this.

The second single lifted is “Violence” and it is an angst ridden view of a world at war with itself. The grating vocals of lost hope for mankind as he had forgotten to be human.

Title track, “Factory Evolution” is about some future where replicants are created to be perfect in exactly the same way, programmed only to do as they are told, which is to wage war. This is understated and it works with the story telling whisper and a touch of 70s funk feel.

Just as it implies, “Interlude” is a short piece, with cut up, female news readers, bringing you the breaking news of a world burning, cowering in fear of a pestilence and riots.

During COVID-19, the world of regular humans watched extremism unleashed in what could be called, “Pandemicamania“. The observation of the panic, dehumanisation and selfishness that had been previously displayed. It creeps along with its disgust of a non cohesive society that has lost its way.

Failed Empires has an imperious feel to it, a with grand swell of keyboards. Carried with oscillating beats travelling through it, Daniel’s ode to countries collapsing internally as he whispers their lessons of destruction.

A call to revolution, to not take the abuse any more, though most will ignore the call to arms in “Deflect“. This doesn’t miss a beat and again there is the marvellous dirty and dark vocals with the clean sparkly synths.

DANIEL AND MICHAEL

The start of “Trash” had me thinking Einstürzende Neubauten in the rawness of the rhythm. ‘White trash‘ are in power, not those that care, those who only have their own interests at heart.

The final song is “Death In Your Eyes” and just when you think this is going to be a quiet number, the boys bring it up a notch. This synth happy piece about inviting your own destruction pulls together the threads of the other tracks of the album. A collimation of – if you let all these things happen then it’s the end.

The influence of what has been the year, 2020, is all over this release. Dirt Factory’s debut album, “Random Songs For The End Of The World“, definitely had higher tempo numbers on it, where as this new album seems sludgier and darker, effecting the general mood following lock downs, heavy restrictions and watching extremists across the globe. Important music is often created in trying times and although this album doesn’t break new ground, it a strong album with gems that will speak to you as the band is Dirt Factory and this is their “Factory Evolution“.

https://dirtfactory.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/FactoryOfDirt/

https://viralrecordsau.bandcamp.com/music

http://www.viralrecords.com.au/

https://m.facebook.com/viralrecordsau/

2020 has brought in big changes for many bands and this includes Minneapolis based band, Zwaremachine. After a dalliance with Brutal Resonance Records, releasing their last EP the band has expanded to now include the live crew as fully fledged recording members and released a single/ remix EP.

The single “Conquest 3000” is the first off the soon to be released album and features Zwaremachine stalwart, visionary & lead singer, Mach Fox, Dbot on bass plus vocals and Dein Officer brutalising the drums.

ZWAREMACHINE

The very nature of industrial music lends itself to political protest and the voice of the underdog, so “Conquest 3000” is a prime example. Especially in this currently climate of fear, disease and corporate avarice, angry dissent voices are needed more than ever. This has a cleaner sound compared to Zwaremachine’s previous singles. With a hard hitting electronic and drum rhythm, this powers along and the synth lines created a smooth juxtaposition. Fox’s vocals are the fired salvos destructively hitting their mark.

The “Conquest 3000X1L3 remix is harsher and in a Ministry vein, yet it has this cyber swirling, wonderous feel to it within the brusqueness.

The near disco beat at the beginning made me smile. The Floridians, Batavia, remix of “Conquest 3000“, shows a gossamer touch, air light keyboards and that damn beat that had me wiggling in delight from the beginning.

Final mix is by Australian act, HOSTILE ARCHITECT., Mitch Kenny knows how to push a song into a new realm. Cyber punk, futuristic and high energy, that keeps you guessing where he’ll take it next.

The new members bring a new and exciting dimension to the direction Zwaremachine is heading. The single is great and is pointing to an even greater album, meanwhile all the remixes are noteworthy in their own right and I don’t think I could pick a favourite. Name your price on Bandcamp so there is nothing stopping you checking out Zwaremachine’sConquest 3000“.

https://zwaremachine.bandcamp.com/album/conquest-3000-single-remix-ep

https://www.facebook.com/zwaremachine

https://www.facebook.com/brutalresonance/

https://brutalresonance.com/

Black Needle Noise is the project of one John Fryer and for those not so well acquainted with his name, should be with his other band from the 80’s, the highly influential, This Moral Coil, who are forever entwined with the wonderful, 4AD.

Fryer has collaborated with the Australian/Croatian, classical vocalist, Helena Mamich, to create the new electronic and ambient single, “Nocturnal“.

HELENA MAMICH

Nocturnal” starts off slow, with Mamich’s vocals ghosting ephemerally above all. The gradual build up is metered out carefully, with hints of beats and swelling synth cords.

The soprano crescendo, hauntingly draws you in and almost eerily, there are in the background, the sounds of crows and other such creatures. This is almost a cadenza featuring Helena’s smooth and beautiful vocable.

BLACK NEEDLE NOISE – JOHN FRYER

In the music industry, John Fryer is synonymous with being one of the hardest working musicians around, highly sought out for his production skills and this shines through the track.

The beautifully created noises, feel like they might occupy the dark spaces of forgotten, magical places of the “Nocturnal“. This is a delicate balance of classical with ambient, electro industrial, brought to you by the master craftsman, John Fryer aka Black Needle Noise and Helena Mamich, which is name your price on Bandcamp and most worthy of your time.

https://blackneedlenoise.bandcamp.com/track/nocturnal

https://www.blackneedlenoise.com/

http://www.facebook.com/BlackNeedleNoise

https://helenamamic.com/

Electronic Boston band MAN1K1N, made up of singer Johnny Veil and drummer Cristian Carver, have released a single in November called, Into The Wounds. Turns out this is, in my eyes, like a double A side of sorts with the songs, “Into The Void” and “Wounds:.

Veil’s voice is very reminiscent of Marilyn Manson’s timbre but that’s where the comparison ends. Darkwave electro is a very apt description with a trip hop influence, making this such an interesting style that is very pleasing to the ears. This is almost a parody of those in the gothic subset that push for an ideal look of beauty but within can be rotten to the core.

MAN1KIN

Wounds” is a swirling maelstrom of uplifting electronic synths and beats coupled with brutal, angst ridden lyrics, which works. I can only best describe the feeling as wanting to dance without limits but you know your heart is breaking. This is the remix by Big Time Kill, who have lent their distinctive fingerprints.

Into The Void” is a good, solid number and the Big Time Kill remix of “Wounds” sounds glorious. You can find Into The Wounds on Bandcamp and it’s name your price, so you should go check out this offering from MAN1K1N.

https://man1k1n.bandcamp.com/

https://m.facebook.com/MAN1K1N

New Orleans conjures for many of us thoughts of Mardi Gras, voodoo, vampires and now you can add the band, The Palace Of Tears, who released at the end of October, their debut album, Of Ruination.

The band is comprised of vocalist and lyricist, L.V. Darkling and Erick r. Sheid who pretty much plays and programmes everything else you hear.

THE PALACE OF TEARS

The slow, wind swept, instrumental void of “Terra Ephemera” or loosely interpreted, a land that was never meant to last, introduces you to the album. With graduating synths, the vale is lifted and hints of a tribal beat come into play.

Dark and imperious is the beginning to “Thy Womb Is Full Of Black Nectar” before we are acquainted to Darkling’s sonorous mezzo soprano vocals which are delicate and dripping with sensuous lyrics.

In a case of art imitating life, “Masque L’Intrigue” seems to be a result of the need for wearing masks to stop the current contagion. This is bitter sweet in its sentiment and like a reflection in obsidian… dark and cool. The synths and vocals entwine smoothly.

Tears Of The Moon” is slightly more hard edged, with buzzing electronics, yet still so ethereal just as the light of the moon is. This is eloquent and beautiful.

One does not think normally that “Cold Dead Skin” as romantic prose however it is used in effect to give contrasts of symmetry of the divine and the grotesque. The music feels like it is rising heaven bound with black gothic wings.

Shadows Of Whispering Phantoms” is the perspective of one whom has just lost the fight with death. Brooding in tempo as the spirit questioningly implores of they can be seen or heard by their loved ones as they pass beyond the vale. The guitar is almost hidden amongst the rising synths and there is something heart squeezing in the gorgeous sentiment.

The screaming angst of Scheid’s guitar marks the last song, “Of Ruination“. This is a wall of noise with the eloquent Darkling, cutting through with that magnificent voice. The swirling heavy guitar with the light electronica just make this truly breathtaking.

Ambient, dark soundscapes that are created here by Sheid are fabulous but it’s definitely Darkling’s vocal talent that takes everything to a higher, ethereal realm. It’s a bit like listening to Dead Can Dance if they were darker and more modern. So I say, go unto The Palace Of Tears to listen to the sweet seduction Of Ruination.

https://thepalaceoftears.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/thepalaceoftears/

Congratulations has to go out to Australian act, Hostile Architect, not only for releasing his current single/EP, ::LOG.2:: DAWN OV, but also being signed to Brutal Resonance Records.

Not going to lie, I’ve heard this a few times and it’s angry music for an angry time. “DAWN OV” is a reaction to the current climate of distrust in governments, a virus pulling apart people and communities with the vision of a bleak future, filled with cybernetics and where life is cheap. Mitch Kenny’s anguished, distorted vocals ride the wave of this synth assault. It is heavy and hard hitting industrial noise.

PROSCRIPT” I would describe if The Art Of Noise had been far more aggressive and militant, this is what they could have sounded like. Eclectic and yet it works so well in an epic conglomeration of structured electronic beats.

HOSTILE ARCHITECT- MITCH KENNY

Mach Fox of Zwaremachine and fellow stablemate on Brutal Resonance, remixes “DAWN OV“. He peels back the vocal distortion and gives this remix, almost, a simpler feel but by doing so, Fox has also made this version even more raw and bitter.

The Brisbane electronic scene is very strong and Hostile Architect is definitely a reflection of this. Not to mention that Mitch Kenny (Hostile Architect) and Mach Fox are some of the nicest guys in the industrial scene as well as being very talented.

This is another strong single from an act taking no prisoners and the more you listen, you more it gets under your skin. So check out ::LOG.2:: DAWN OV and keep your attention on the Hostile Architect.

https://brutalresonance.bandcamp.com/album/log-2-dawn-ov

https://brutalresonance.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/HosArchitect/

https://www.facebook.com/zwaremachine/

https://www.facebook.com/brutalresonance/

Released on November 6th, was Neurobash’s single, “Blame 2K2X“, off the Swedes’ album, 2K2X. This single also offers 3 previously unreleased numbers which is a nice addition.

So the single, “Blame (Subsequential)” has the momentum of a freight train, full of rampant beats that hold your attentiona nd the vocals are like silk over the top. It feels like a social commentary on this age of the rising extreme right… ‘what you going to do when they come for you, what you going to do when everybody knows‘.

Overtime” reminds me a lot of club classic “Hitman” by Tobias Bernstrup mixed with Kraftwerk. It’s new and yet it feels like something good from the past.

We have “Offset A” which is far more slower in tempo and yet more drum inspired while “Offset B” is far more futuristic synth based, no where at heavy feeling as the previous piece and yet it contains a much more crunchy texture. Both numbers are purely instrumental in nature.

NEUROBASH

I was unable to link the YouTube video of the single because it contains scenes of the band being water tortured and therefore is restricted viewing. Oh my, so you can either listen to the album version here, go listen on Bandcamp or go seek out the offering on Youtube through the Neurobash channel.. Either way, you are bound to enjoy Neuobash’s, “Blame 2K2X“.

https://neurobash.bandcamp.com/album/blame-2k2x-2

https://www.facebook.com/neurobash/