May 5th dropped the single “Starter” by Portland, Oregon based project Newphasemusic. Daniel Henderson is the man behind Newphasemusic and whom also is a drummer for such acts as Trance to the Sun, Tuvan throat singer Soriah, a Cure tribute band called theXplodingboys plus others.

Geodome is Henderson‘s first and original version of “Starter“, the electronic alarms have sounded in this rhythm heavy piece, with the synths wailing lightly in the background. Obtuse, discordant piano keys or is that chimes (?) flutter through, all the while distorted vocals feel like the lips could be, up against you ear. The second version is by Dan Milligan, the lynch pin of the mega group, The Joy Thieves and another drummer by trade. This remix has strut, like it owns the hood with it’s base loaded tones, aggressive guitar and rhythms. The third remix is by SINE’s Rona Rougeheart and ooh…..wubby. It is a little sexy and a little slinky, there is a beat throughout but the concentration is on the electronics as they slide up and down, pulsating.

Kind of trippy listening to these three interpretations. The versions, with drummers, Henderson and Milligan, definitely are classy beat heavy affairs that you can bang your head to, while the SINE mix will probably have your whole body gyrating. This is the not so calm before the album hits us….and even better is the fact that you have no excuse for not downloading “Starter” by Newphasemusic on Bandcamp, as it is name your price.

newphasemusic (bandcamp.com)

Newphasemusic | Facebook

The Joy Thieves (bandcamp.com)

Music | SINE (bandcamp.com)

At The Heart Of The World are a duo from Portland, Oregon dealing up electronic, industrial music and February 18th saw the release of the EP, Inosculate. Seven tracks makes this a solidly packed EP with everything written, recorded and produced by the band, mixed by Derek Moree at Diamond Drive and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege. Special mention goes to Andrew Gomez IV for the wonderfully ghoulish artwork.

From the beginning of “Retroject” you can tell this is going to be a great ride. Screaming aggrotech to transcendental vocals as the electronics lurch forward to ensnare your senses. The low-key swirling synths of “Synchrony“, match the feeling of disjointed dreams and reality never meshing and playing tricks on your mind. The music with its beats is near trance inducing. “Etheric Visions” is slow to start with off sync beats echoing vocals, that grow with angst, then drop away to build again, over and over. It is a sonically wonderful piece.

The manic rhythms feels like it is heralding the dogs of war in “Pain Demands Attention“. Between the booming fuzz tones and synth crunchiness, there are these delightful twittering sounds. When it comes to “Multiply The Stillness“, it is oppressive and cloying, lyrically castrating the living. The beginning of “Reflect/Reveal” could be an industrial homage to Bjork’s, “Army Of Me” but then the only similarity is probably the sentiment of inner struggle. When people judge their worth on being loved and without it, they feel they cease to be them. What better way to finish than being “Mocked By Death” and the vocals skim along the cyber synths, which is joined by some lovely glitching and crunchy electronics. It is absolutely brilliant.

Though the music can be harsh. with pounding beats and growling vocals, the lyrical content is beautifully written, a little like descriptive poetry. It paints feelings and internal torment with a fine brush, all the while using electronics to get you moving to the infectious rhythms. At The Heart Of The World have a mother load of talent so check out Inosculate.

Inosculate | At The Heart Of The World (bandcamp.com)

At The Heart Of The World | Facebook

May 6th, you may immerse yourself in the single “Clarity” from The Goondock Saint and featuring the vocals of Vic Blonde, of How To Loot Brazil fame, both hailing from Germany but the former Münster and the later North Rhine-Westphalia. “Clarity” is the third single that these two have done together, the last being “Love Boy” two years ago.

I feel like I have fallen into an alternate world where Tron and Nightrider are the prevailing soundtracks to our life, while the sweet voiced Blonde seduces us with pop prowess, though do not mess with this girl. For an electronic pop style track it is very good, in the vein of Giorgio Moroder who is a master of modular music, with The Goondock Saint walking in similar shoes, just not disco shoes.

Music | The Goondock Saint (bandcamp.com)

The Goondock Saint (facebook.com)

Brisbane’s HOSTILE ARCHITECT has dropped the EP, :​​:​​EX​​-​​LOG​​:​​: REMANUFACTURE ME, as of the 29th of April, on Brutal Resonance Records. This is a one man, dark industrial project by the not so hostile Mitch Kenny and this EP is the follow up to the album, LOWGRADELIFE.

This is something a little different for the hostile one. “REMANUFACTURE ME” is this amazing mix of industrial and darkwave, as Kenny goes from monotone vocals through to singing. The synths are just perfection as they skim and glide across this track with a fabulous pop sensibility. In “ECONOMIES OF SCALE” you can clearly hear the HOSTILE ARCHITECT tell tale touches but even this sound is expanding. The beats never let up and just has these incredible moments of amazing electronic noises that make you wonder how Mitch has wrangled them out of a machine. The first single, released before the EP is the brilliantly, energetic “POWER OVERWHELMING” and this is the GOLD MIX and it is a bloody amazing track that pumps along at hair singeing speed at times.

Oh yes, welcome to the “TERMINAL GRIND“, which is all stellar synths twittering at you with murderous intent in this instrumental piece. All hail your overlord, the HOSTILE ARCHITECT of techno delights. Maybe inspired by the Australian yearly heat we have the expansive “BLACK SUMMER” where the ‘Sky’s on fire and so am I‘. There is something scintillating and spine tingling about this track that makes the hairs on the back of your neck raise up. Those that have followed the releases will know that “HOSTILE THEME” was on the LOWLIFELIFE album and now there is the NYTESHAYDE RMX, Roger Menso being Nyteshade, who also did all wonderful mastering. This is the metal industrial version you never thought you would hear. Wow. I know this song so well and this was just mind blowing to hear it done this way.

REMANUFACTURE ME” just blew me away, possibly my favourite number, from the beginning and there is not a mediocre track on this EP. Not one. Kenny always fills his music with movement and you can see his evolution of the character, the HOSTILE ARCHITECT, in the evolving sound. There is definitely some synthwave/darkwave creeping in and it sounds amazing. Mitch is a really creative and talented musician and it shows in how he crafts his tunes, so I am hoping more people pick up on this project and spread the word that the HOSTILE ARCHITECT is asking…….. IF THIS IS SUCH A BRAVE NEW WORLD WHY DO YOU SEEM SO SCARED?

:​:​EX​-​LOG​:​: REMANUFACTURE ME | HOSTILE ARCHITECT | Brutal Resonance Records (bandcamp.com)

Music | Abelisk (bandcamp.com)

HOSTILE ARCHITECT | Facebook

Brutal Resonance | Facebook

NyteShayde (bandcamp.com)

NyteShayde (facebook.com)

Back in February, j:dead dropped the EP, Visions Of Time, on Infacted Recordings. 29th of April hails in the latest single off said EP, called, “Hold Tight” and there is a bonus in the fact that the remixes included on the download, were exclusively on the CD release. Also to accompany the single is a music video, made with Mark from Mondo Cheapo, who also was involved with the making of the video for the previous single, “I’ll Wait“.

No matter the distance or what life throws at us, believe in us and in me, that I will be there…. that is the message in “Hold Tight“. Jay Taylor in this track, proves he doesn’t just scream and growl but also has a really good singing voice in this body moving track, that also contains a lot of personal sentiment. The synths billow out in ephemeral breathes with the impassioned vocals and body rocking rhythm.

Rotersand are the first remix and of course those guys are masters of electronic dance music, so the production is awesome and they give this warmth and a certain sound that is very much their fingerprints all over this. (Much bias here as I love Rotersand). The Summertime mix by The Saint Paul, is a joyously sparkling affair with airy synths and a light touch guiding the swirling electronics. I will stay true to my previous review, which was the Station Echo remix has such a heart felt pain about it and those cool guitar vibes, that add a more earthy feel to the track.

The video is a simple affair but that kind of makes it all the more powerful. The remixes are all very different, which means there is something for everyone or everything for you (and why not as you enjoy electronic music and these guys are all good at what they do!). So treat yourself to some brilliant synths and vocals or send it to that special someone that you want to “Hold On“.

Hold tight – digital single | J:dead (bandcamp.com)

J:dead | Facebook

Jamie Blacker is ESA, also known as Electronic Substance Abuse, and we are going to talk about the album, Designer Carnage that came out on February 14th of 2022, on Negative Gain Records. But I will digress with a little background information first. ESA is a UK project that was formed in 2002 after Blacker, who had been involved in the black/death metal scene, started to experiment in and became drawn to the sound of harsh, rhythmic industrial noise, which he has in all essence become a relative master of. The first album was released in 2006, Devotion, Discipline and Denial, then releasing albums very regularly ever since.

Straight off the bat, “Laudanum Dance” is like electrodes connected straight into the brain, sparking with glorious fuzz and beats. Like a fever dream, Blacker yells his discontent. Yet, hark it that a harpsichord? Classical piano which is a gorgeous oddity, played at a decent pace to be suddenly broken by the female vocal sample of Konstantina Buhalis and break beats, that descend into the stomach wrenching, bellowing tones. Those beautiful harpsichord keys again trill away, as they and the piano are played by Frederic Scarfone. Frustration and anger are swirling in the charged track “One Missed Called” which is about repression and fear stopping one from getting further in life. It is powerful with the female sample, of again, Konstantina Buhalis, screaming how much she fucking hates the person who puts her down. The rhythms circle and pounds down, enforcing the angst.

The use of noise and techno is near perfect in “I Detach“, when out of nowhere…ragtime music. Yes, weird and yes unexpected, but it works. The ticking of a clock, alien like electronic warbles, the ragtime and Blacker’s voice just culminate into this bizarre, dreamlike world of movement. The title track, “Designer Carnage” exudes electronic smut and grime. Fantastic! The music grinds while samples repeat the title. It speeds up towards the climax like there is no getting off this ride, only to drop you and drag you along again. Bara Hari is the guest vocalist for “Disruption Only” and it just pounds away. as a good, well lubricated industrial machine should. The rhythm is a drug that you can’t get enough of while in the static, you can hear angry voices. Bara Hari joins in and it becomes something otherworldly while those hammered beats carry on regardless, stuck in a groove.

Come And Find Me” again utilises that ragtime sound throughout in a myriad of stomping beats and electronics. A hallucination induced nightmare which translates to smashing yourself on a dancefloor. Curiously addictive and no we cannot get enough as it builds apon itself in a downward spiral. Saxaphone is by Matt ‘Chops’ Thompson and female vocals by Hellsea. For the track “Hyena“, all the vocals are credited to Pee Wee Pimpin, as he goes from cajoling to viciously snarling, the synths cackling as they track you down in your last moments, but what a way to go/ “Whom Then Shall I Fear?” features Pee Wee Pimpin, as he raps which works ever so well with the heavy electronics in the background. In fact, it is almost like listening to Public Enemy’s, “Bring On The Noise” but they were all industrialised and updated. It is an amazingly strong track.

There is something wicked and it comes this way in the track, “Vast Accept“. Off kilter and deranged, on a psychopathic mission only it knows. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security as it awaits to pounce while you are off guard with those techno beats. The final track is “Saturnalia“, which is full of blast beats, raging guitar and the deep, growling Blacker vocals, that start to fritz in and out. There are also these wonderful science fiction sounding synths and classic flamenco guitar by Frederic Scarfone, that lend themselves to a western touch, while Matt ‘Chops’ Thompson gives us that sleazy saxaphone. With wailing female vocals, it all crescendos, only to die away.

I knew this new album had come out but a friend, whom is also an industrial DJ, thrust it under my nose and declared that if I was to review anything this year, it has to be this album, Designer Carnage. In all honesty, he was completely correct. If this is not in people’s top 10 industrial releases for the end of the year, then I am going have to say that your taste might be in your arse. Jamie Blacker is able to experiment with so many different styles and mould them into something cohesive, with lashings of wicked heavy rhythms, filthy grinding electronics, inject music of past eras, whilst screaming near bloody murder at you. Really can’t much better than that other than you can dance to all of it. I dare you not to find yourself bouncing to the beats. You definitely need some Designer Carnage in your life, so let ESA be your dealer.

Designer Carnage | ESA (Electronic Substance Abuse) | ESA (bandcamp.com)

ESA: Electronic Substance Abuse | Facebook

Home | ESA (bigcartel.com)

Frédéric Scarfone (bandcamp.com)

Music | BARA HARI (bandcamp.com)

https://www.facebook.com/OriginalChopsSax

Pee Wee (@peeweep713) • Instagram photos and videos

PANICMACHINE is the label. Phobos Reactor is the act. TFG, the gnome finder from TONTTU, is the featured guest. The single is “#FOLITWIBG” and in honesty…..yeah, you need to be told what this means. Fragments of life in the world infested by gnomes or had you already guested this? Released on April 18th, 2022, so hopefully not the beginning of the end!

There are five “#FOLITWIBG” tracks, literally numbered #1 to #5. #1 seems to be a gnome taking exception to humans in a simple trippy kind of way. It starts to get a bit groovy in #2…though the gnome is still not happy by the sound of him and by #3 the gnome is getting all sophisticated synth sounding. Maybe futuristic gnome and it is amazing like a bad trip. By #4 that gnome is become cyber mega cool in a very lurking way and track #5 is cyber loathing reloaded from #1, and so all comes full circle in the gnome of life.

Are gnomes out to get you? Probably. Do they want to steal our children? More than likely. Are they stealing our cats? Most definitely! One could ask if they (the musicians) are completely bonkers….but then again, one could say they know things most others don’t. Beware of the gnomes, for they are moving against us, so grab your cat and listen to Phobos Reactor featuring TFG (TONTTU), before the mayhem ensues.

#FOLITWIBG | Phobos Reactor feat. TFG (TONTTU) | PANICMACHINE

Phobos Reactor | Facebook

TONTTU | Facebook

Music | TONTTU (bandcamp.com)

PANICMACHINE

Panicmachine | Facebook

What do you get when Mexico meets Finland? The single “Verenkiertohäiriö [Circulatory Disorder]” is the outcome. Mexico’s Exemia in conjunction with the Fin, TFG from TONTTU, have thrust into the world, this single on April 13th, 2022.

An merry dance you will get from this track as it bursts to life in all the vocal ferocity TFG gives to his performance, while Exemia simply kill with the amazing electronics that assault your senses. The whirl of angst and synths is a brilliant cacophony.

Industrial beats definitely make this feel so utterly alive and ripple under the skin. Great aggro-techno industrial music is often hard to get just right and this definitely ticks all the boxes. It is out on Bandcamp for name your price if that helps curry your fancy, but most importantly….. beware of the gnomes and their nefarious ways.

▶︎ Exemia feat. TFG [TONTTU] – Verenkiertohäiriö [Circulatory Disorder] | Exemia (bandcamp.com)

Exemia | Facebook

Music | TONTTU (bandcamp.com)

TONTTU | Facebook

If you search the name Elenor Rayner, you can be quite overcome with the amount of musical acts and bands she is involved in. Most recently, she released two singles for her project, Robots In Love as well as a remix of the JA/VI track, “Good Cocaine“. We were fortunate enough to be able to speak to the delightful Elenor about the music she has been involved in, what she is up to now and ….oops we may have created a monster. If you want to know how then read on!!

Welcome Elenor Rayner, the creative mind behind Robots in Love, to the Onyx mainframe, which is far dodgier than the holodeck in Star Trek and tinged with the macabre.

You started your musical career in Melbourne, Australia, but you now live in Dunedin, New Zealand. Are you a Kiwi or an Aussie, as inquiring minds want to know?

I was born in Australia but I now have New Zealand citizenship. I adore Dunedin. It’s a creative, eccentric place with more musicians per capita than anywhere else in the country. Everyone plays in 3 different bands and they’ll put on gigs anywhere. I do keep a keyboard at a friend’s place in Melbourne though, so I can pop over and play shows.

Elenor, you have had a varied and successful music career, which we’d like to touch on. Soulscraper was the first industrial band you were in, starting in 1991. That must have been a really exciting time to be getting into the scene?

The technology at the time was so exciting. To be able to sample anything and change it however you like was mind-blowing. We sampled a lot from movies, especially sci-fi, and playing those mangled cinematic sounds live through huge PA systems was really satisfying. 

In fact, I met up with the other Soulscrapers last week and we talked about playing shows later this year. We’re all keen to play those songs again.

The next big thing was The Crystalline Effect with Pete Crane, which started in 2002. Pete definitely has a darker take on electronic music, so how do you think working with him affected the way you write music and is there a chance we might hear from The Crystalline Effect in the future?

The Crystalline Effect released 6 albums I think, so it was a prolific period for us. We wrote two songs before we even met. We used to send cds through the mail because we both disliked the sound of mp3s. I really enjoyed the subtlety of Pete’s programming, it was amazingly delicate and there was room for me to experiment with vocal melodies and harmonies. Some of those songs are incredibly beautiful. I still listen to them.  Maybe one day I’ll do a show with all my bands on the line-up.That would be a rollercoaster of emotions.

Recording for yourself as Sobriquet and Sobriquet Nation, how different was this for you as opposed to writing and making decisions with a band?

In a band there’s a lot of compromising. Probably most bands do this, but I remember developing a theory that the singer should have the ultimate say because they’re the ones who have to really believe it. With Sobriquet, being on my own I learnt a lot, delving into the tiniest detail of a song and tweaking it until it’s perfect. Nowadays on about a quarter of tracks I am the producer, on a quarter I am the vocalist and on half I do both. On the ones where I do both I do tend to talk to myself. Vocalist-Elenor says to Producer-Elenor: “we need a dropout there”.

In 2019 you released the haunting album, July, under your Sobriquet moniker and before that, in 2018, another album, My Very Essence. You are very prolific, as each album has around 15 tracks, so do you find the process of creating music easy?

Yes, I do find it easy, and it is essential to me. I’m not very good at talking about feelings so I tend to pour everything into songs instead. It’s like: “I can’t say this to you, so here, listen to this song”. All the main events of my life, and my friends’ lives are there for anyone to hear.

This brings us to your project Robots In Love. 2017 saw you drop the 5-track self-titled release followed by various singles, including two new tracks in March of this year, the slower ‘Wish’ and the bass heavy hitter ‘The Raven’ (which actually made think of Paul Raven Killing Joke/Ministry). Can you tell us a little about these tracks?

Usually, I produce the music first and then when I listen to the song, I figure out what it’s about and the words come into my head. The Ravens is stompy and quite upset. It is about dementia. Wish is sad and resigned and it’s about inequality.

There was also the rip snorting dancefloor remix of the JA/VI song, ‘Good Cocaine’, that you recently let loose. What was it about this track that spoke to you?

As soon as I heard it, I could relate to the feeling of love lost. It’s a universal thing but I loved the melody and the sadness in JA/VI’s vocal. I kept the vocal as it was and added the music. I think smashing your emotions out on the dancefloor is a healthy thing to do. I really enjoy playing that song live, it definitely gets everyone moving. I’m glad it’s getting airplay.

Is creating remixes under the Robots In Love name a new thing for you and how much fun do you have reimagining someone else’s music?

I do quite a few remixes each year. The next ones coming up are for Tiny Fighter, a Swedish band, and IKON.

I never have a pre-determined idea of what I’m going to do, I just start and see what happens. One cheeky thing I like to do is alter the melody of the vocal somewhere in the song and add harmonies. Cellmod added harmonies to one of my vocals in a remix of “How I Get Out” and I thought it was great and wished I’d come up with it.

Sometimes I do remixes of remixes. For instance, I remixed the first Human Confusion single, ‘Overwhelmed’, then I decided I liked it as an instrumental then I accidentally found myself singing new words and melodies to it so now there’s a completely new song.

Will there be an album coming out soon?

Yes, and there’ll be a variety of styles on it. I’ve written a few Goth Trap songs lately.

You describe your sound as ‘darkly beautiful, emotional, melodic electronic music’. What is it about this style of music you love? 

The emotion is the main thing for me. Songs are like little capsules of things you need. If I’m sad I will listen to a song like “Equilibrium” and by the end I’ll be back to equilibrium. Magic.

You are involved with David Thrussell’s Snog as a live member. Please tell us what that is like, and is it utter insanity?

I’ve been playing live in Snog for 23 years. Even though the song topics are as serious as you can get, David loves humour and so do I, so being on tour with him is great fun.

I’m looking forward to the Snog shows in Melbourne and Sydney supporting PWEI.

When you were young, what bands and people inspired you to get into industrial/electronic music? 

I remember going a lot to a club called Thrash and Treasure in Richmond, Melbourne and jumping around to music there like Nitzer Ebb and Young Gods. I liked the dual bass guitars of Denial and Pre Shrunk and I remember being very happy when I discovered bands who had both bass guitar and electronic bass. 

Who inspires you or makes you happy now in musical terms?

I have a few other projects which I really enjoy. My band Human Confusion consists of me doing all the programming and Miriam Leslie the vocals. Her voice is like warm salted caramel sauce and her lyrics have a twist to them. Our first single “Overwhelmed” has a line in it – “I tried setting fire to it, but it burned too bright and took the bridges with it”. We’ve almost finished an album.

I like doing vocals for DevilMonkey. Our collaboration “Deluxe” is my favourite song. Live, I play a combination of the original track and my remix. It’s a powerful way to end a show.

An artist called Dead Caldera released their first single last year which I listen to all the time. I keep asking them to release more. The intricate programming of Sirus excites me. And anything Ehsan Gels creates is always satisfying.

What sort of robot would you want to be, if you could choose between a replicant as seen in Blade Runner or a cyborg, with your memories and personality downloaded into it, like Ghost In The Shell?

That is a good question. I always thought I’d be the little sad boy in A.I. but now you’ve got me thinking – I could be something really innovative. I will ponder that. You may have created a monster 🙂

What do you see in your electronic dreams for the future of Robots In Love and Elenor Rayner?

I always just feel a need to create more music. I have three new band members of Robots In Love and that’s been great. We can play live some of my older songs like “July” now, and they bring their own interpretations. Also, it’s fun to have others on stage to jump around and interact with.

So I just see more songs, more releases, more gigs and endless moving around of sounds on a computer screen to make sure they make me feel.

Thank you, Elenor, for joining us in this electric dream.

Music | Robots In Love (bandcamp.com)

Robots In Love | Facebook

Over the last two years, we have seen some amazing unions of international musicians, creating super-groups. One of these is Heatwave International, a band made up of Mario Alberto Cabada (No Devotion Records, Bolaspace), John Bechdel (Ministry, Fear Factory, False Icons), Roberto Mendoza (Panoptica, Nortec) and Ant Banister (Sounds Like Winter, Lunar Module, Sequential Zero). They released their debut single, “We Won’t Be Silent” on the 8th of April, on the label GIVE/TAKE, ahead of their impending EP.

I would know Ant Banister’s vocals anywhere and the message is there that they can’t be silenced any longer. There is a wonderful purpose to this track and I can definitely hear the Depeche Mode influence, through the graduations of the synths. There are two remixes of the single, the sublimely smooth Union Divine mix with those sparkling synth lines and the eerily wavering tones and cyber-punk style of the Tokee re imagining.

With such a plethora of musicians, all creating this track, I wondered how this was going to turn out. Actually, it’s pretty bloody good in all honesty. From the electronic to the vocals….it all meshes wonderfully and even with the serious nature of the lyrics, there is a seductive undertone. I say watch this space closely for Heatwave International.

We Won’t Be Silent | HeatWave International (bandcamp.com)

HeatWave International / GIVE/TAKE (givetake.life)

HeatWave International | Facebook

Music | TOKEE (bandcamp.com)