Vlimmer, German post-punk/electronic project for Alexander Leonard Donat, has released a split single comprised of “Erdgerurch” and “Space Dementia” in January, on Blackjack Illuminist Records, which is also run by Donat.

Erdgerurch” is a wonderful post-punk piece that has a retro feel with the sublime synths and deep vocals, matched with the drum machine that is spine tingling. Every so often you hear a fuzz of electronic noise creeping at the edges and this feels so warm and familiar that it is instantly likeable. The beginning to “Space Dementia” is surreal and continues in that vein with the vocals. It is a bit like being on the deck of the Star Trek Enterprise, if they were a bit dark and flying to their doom. An impression of infinite space to be lost in forever as it wavers between soft orbits and growling flight. Originally written by Matt Bellamy and performed by Muse, Donat sings in his native German and it loses none of it’s impact, sung with such passion.

I really enjoy it when Donat sings and especially without electronics distorting his vocals and this is no exception. From the beginning, you are immersed straight into “Erdgerurch” and there is no escape from this beautifully crafted song as it captures your soul in sway while there is a crystalline quality to the cover, “Space Dementia“, a reflection in the obsidian black of the expansive universe.

https://blackjackilluministrecords.bandcamp.com/album/erdgeruch-space-dementia

Vlimmer | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/Blackjack.Illuminist/

December 17th, 2021 was when the EP Pieces was released by New Jersey band, Panic Lift on Metropolis Records. Panic Lift are currently releasing a series of EPs, five in total and Pieces is the second in this series. James Francis is the frontman of Panic Lift whom have been around since 2006 and his live band is made up of Dan Platt (keyboards), Ben Tourkantonis (drums), Cristian Carver (drums) and Kenzi Burke (bass).

There is something definitely grandiose about the first track, “Disease Of Kings“. An amalgamation of synths, guitar and soaring vocals that feels a little raw, when the world is breaking around them and life has lost its colour and taste.

Failure Principle”is a track that just instantly catches your attention. The synths just fly at you, exploding into shards of glass, that while pretty, are sharp and reinforces the message that stress without hope becomes a cycle of pain.

The last three tracks are mixes. GenCAB are back with a new album of their own, Thoughts Beyond Words and have remixed “Disease Of Kings” giving it a far more electronic flavour that swirls through your head. It is a given that any song mixed by Assemblage 23 is going to be fairly stellar. Tom Shearer gives “Failure Principle” the treatment and I can see this doing so well on dance floors. Last mix is done by KALCYFR which is a thunderous dubstep and bass beast.

So it is a tight little EP with a great choice in guest mixers. Both songs are little gems and so now we wait to hear the next EP from Panic Lift.

https://paniclift.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/paniclift

https://metropolisrecords.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/MetropolisRecords

https://www.facebook.com/kalcyfr/

https://www.facebook.com/GENCABofficial

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100044546464584

When brothers Eric and Jeremy Hanes of Spankthenun released the album Bunker Tapes Vol I, in the beginning of 2021, they found they had created enough material to record Bunker Tapes Vol II, which hit us on October, the 27th. Spankthenun have been on the scene since 2019 and yet they are already an integral part of the American and world wide industrial scene with feature artists, other bands remixing their music and a huge number of guest remixes for other acts under their belts.

ERIC HANES & JEREMY HANES – SPANKTHENUN

The lads roped in Claus Larsen of Leæther Strip fame, to guest vocal on the single “Off Beatings” which of course had to be a single. This is a slow burn of angst that Larsen pulls off so well. There is something about the beginning of “I Self Me” that invokes goosebumps, it is possibly the scintillating synths mixed with the gritty vocals. Is it just me, or does the little electronic voice sound like the robots aboard the Cylon mother ship of the original Battlestar Galactica in “The Smoking Gun”? Nefarious things are afoot. It was never you says Jeremy in his abrasive metalized observation before we are hit with the rather dance-able “Right Father“, a call to keep the bastards in power honest and accountable, because it is true that the more the wealthy will continue to reap the cash and watch the poor fade away.

Sick Pathos” again has those brilliant beats that propel it along and lead into “Man In The Moon“, who sounds like a rather vicious fellow who spreads descent and mistrust with the music taking on the dark oppressive attitude. “Industrial Beats” definitely have industrial beats that pound on because there is a specific list of things this industrialist likes and needs. Hard to tell if this is tongue in cheek or not but make sure you get your beets (sic) as they are now stuck in my head. We all live in the broken machine,lockdown is “Lockdown” and honestly two years ago, the term lockdown was used for security facilities mostly and not civilians but now it is common vocab in this dystopian feel track.

The nonsensical “I Am The Fire” is a bit of a fun and the last track before the four guest remixes of which the first is the Mirland remix of “Off Beatings” with it’s more crunchy textures that the Europeans do so well. Nature Of Wires polishes “Right Father” and it is given a more sci fi feel while “The Smoking Gun” is given the treatment by Planet Damage and this becomes a different creature. Last of these great remixes is the Psychosomatik and they take “I Self Me” to dance floor heaven

Listening to Spankthenun really is a bit like a timewarp and landing back in the 90s when there was a turn towards a heavier, gritty tone lead by Skinny Puppy, Ministry et al. There are tell tale signs of the 80s industrial influences that graduate into the 2000s by the end of the album which was done on purpose. The remixes are the modern cream on top so to speak. Social concious mixed with great music never goes wrong and Spankthenun has both.

https://spankthenun.bandcamp.com/album/the-bunker-tapes-vol-ii

https://www.facebook.com/spankthenun/

Daniel Allen is one half of Dirt Factory and after releasing their third album, found himself in lockdown in Melbourne for quite a long time. So was born the new solo project Exo-Kult, which spawned three singles and the album, Knife Wounds, that was launched by Viral Records Australia on the 30th of October, 2021.

DANIEL ALLEN – EXO-KULT

Apparently this is not music, “This Is Shit“. Welcome to the intro to Knife Wounds but then we are treated to hearing Allen singing in “Shutting It Down” and he has a quite pleasant voice, though we still get the obligatory growled lyrics as well. The slow beats of “Eliminate” is the list of modern life’s disappointments and the want to see it all wiped away with the sweep of a hand. “Cold” is one of the singles off the album with wandering synths over a never shifting rhythm and the anguished vocals about never belonging.

Another single is “Ready To Blow” which is more bass heavy and reminds me of late 70s industrial such as Cabaret Voltaire, which follows into “I Will Not“, a commentary on religious orders. Sludgy and grubby is probably the best description for “Dancing“, which of course is not actually very dance like at all. Voice clips of a bomb run from possibly the 1950s, informing you of how it is done as the instrumental runs in the background for “Untitled“. The last single, “Bring Out The Dead“, is one of those uncomfortable songs about human nature and violence.

The relentless synths and beats combined with Allen’s raw vocals. We bringing down the pace with the near hypnotic “Breath” and then it is straight into the more futuristic “Satisfaction“with it’s drone like quality because the ‘man’ wants you complacent. An apocalyptic future or is the future here in the dark and abrasive “Predetermined Error“?! It feels like Allen left “Crematorium” as our lucky last parting shot at the money hungry religious establishments, honestly the concept is actually is a very interesting one along with this song.

You can still hear glimmers of Dirt Factory but this is a very much stripped down affair that Exo-Kult has given us. More basic and darker in content, written in isolation but plugged into the world via the internet, watching the world drowning in a sea of intolerance, mismanagement, war and death. Wonderfully mastered by Roger Menso of Nyte Shayde Music in Brisbane and Exo-Kult is the second artist to be signed to Viral Records. You will hear from Allen soon again because the new Dirt Factory album is hitting us in December.

https://exokult.bandcamp.com/album/knife-wounds

ExoKult | Facebook

https://viralrecordsau.bandcamp.com/

Viral Records Australia | Facebook

https://viralrecords.com.au/

https://nyteshaydemusic.bandcamp.com/

NyteShayde | Facebook

Post punk duo, The Cold Field, released the album Hollows on August 6th, on the label Cold Transmission Music which is famous for their darkwave retinue. Their debut, Black River, was warmly greeted and so Hollows has been much anticipated by fans.

THE COLD FIELD

The emphasis is very much on the atmosphere which is created by the echoing vocals, the deep bass plus jangle and buzz of guitar. The album is comprised of ten tracks and notably, two are instrumental pieces for the most part. “Ride The Breeze” is the intro to set up the feel whilst, “Floating Above The Wasteland” is filled with gorgeous bass lines and guitar work, whilst the faint ghost like whispers are seemingly unintelligible and beyond deciphering.

“Reaching For Things Things You Cannot Hold” is a great example of the style, with the low echoing vocals, delicate guitar work which is layered in synth. Other stand out tracks are Beauty Expired”, with its rapid pulse and its variance in tone, while “Into The Light” actually does have a slightly more airy feel to the music, a

From the get go, you hear the influence of Joy Division, Lebanon Hanover and Ritual Howls in their music and the common themes in post punk music of isolation, a longing for what is denied and the nature of addiction. There is the ever present spectre of existential dead that pervades all, for this is music that sits on the edge of dusk asking how did this all come to pass.

https://thecoldfield.bandcamp.com/album/hollows

https://www.facebook.com/thecoldfieldadelaide/

https://www.facebook.com/coldtransmissionmusic/

https://www.coldtransmission.com/

https://coldtransmissionmusic.bandcamp.com/artists

Long The Night is the project of UK based, multi instrumentalist, Derrick Stembridge, 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 “Untold Mind” 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.

https://kalpamantra.bandcamp.com/album/illusion

https://www.facebook.com/longthenight/

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/

Sally Wolfdreamer is a fairly new band, but even so they have been very busy. In December, last year, they released their maiden EP and now in April, they have brought us their second EP, titled Dissected.

James Mitchell is from the East Midlands in the UK and may or may not have stolen the name Sally Wolfdreamer from a local communicator of the dead. Originally starting out in the music industry as a drummer, who has always had an interest in electronic music.

Like a caress, “Lobo” fills your ears, growing and expanding, an introduction to the EP that feels like it only just started and ended far too quickly… even though it was just under two minutes.

The beginning of “Black Phillip” does not give you an inkling of what depth this track truly holds. The intro is so diminutive and then explodes with bass filled goodness you just didn’t expect. Black Phillip is the goat from the movie, The Witch, who turns out to be Lucifer in disguise.

The next piece, “Buried Alive“, has a science fiction feel to it. A future that has no future, with a disconnected female voice and a rhythm that starts to unravel, so to speak.

A few years back, there was a manga created called Snowpiercer, (later a movie), about the last survivors on Earth, all packed into a train, after a failed attempt to terra form the ruined planet. A dark tale of lies and decit, where the drug of choice is “Krenole“, a suspension substrate that is also highly explosive. The notion of being on that train and moving through an eerily dead world is all pervasive. A sense of urgency with the clicks and whirls.

Final track, “Kunicki“, could be a reference to the Polish revolutionary, Stanislaw Kunicki, who was hung for his convictions at the tender age of twenty-five. The take off is slow and this piece picks up speed, growing an expansive soundscape that cannot be pulled back in. The sounds of the wind of change?…

Themes of sin, revolution and the road to a maybe apocalyptic future, saturate these dark-electro ambient instrumental pieces. This is really enjoyable to listen to music that has more going on under the water than just above, yes reference to the cover art. You are invited to “Dissected” Sally Wolfdreamer.

https://sallywolfdreamer.bandcamp.com/album/dissected

https://www.facebook.com/wolfdreamersally/

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/