When you are a weirdo, you build community with other weirdos. So we are putting out the word that online monster munch, electro/industrial magazine, Brutal Resonance have launched their maiden ship of a podcast, streaming into the void of cyberspace, where someone can hear you scream and probably turn it into an epic industrial track.
That long haired hooligan, Steven Gullotta, captain of the good ship BrutalResonance, is looking to bring you commentary, new music, interviews and formatted shows to both inform and thrill the audience… but then, quite frankly, like it or not, this red headed renegade takes no prisoners and you will listen to the ‘good shit’.
Resonance has gone from strength to strength and in the last few years, become a record label as well, signing some very radical acts such as Her Noise Is Violence and HOSTILE ARCHITECT.
Has this peaked your interest because it should have. Knowing Gullotta, there will be screaming, f-bombs and a lot of laughing, along with a tonne of interesting music for you to ingest. So, support the scene and my only piece of advice is, don’t let this man near a didgeridoo…. it’s really obscene………
In our recent interview with X-MARKS THE PEDWALK, in regards to their latest album, New / End, I happened to mention that I was rather drawn to the magical quality of the track, “Sacred Ground“. To my surprise and delight, it has been released as the latest single, out on the band’s own label, Meshwork Music.
There is something unearthly from the first strands of music, while the lyrics that leave ESTEFANIA’s lips are enough to give you goose bumps. The synths create a mood that both draws you in and also leaves you feeling there are things unspoken that need never be said.
SEVREN NI-ARB wrote this track for his wife, after she lost her father and it is about the bonds we have with those whom we think we have lost forever, yet they will always be a part of us. Memories sustain the presence and it is an act of love, which I think can be felt keenly in the vocals. The music is beautiful, slightly sorrowful and yet there is hope. The video is quite stunning as well, set in a forest, with a girl and a gorgeous white dog, set to some equally brilliant synthpop.
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 theSun, 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.
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.
X-MARKS THE PEDWALK for some of us was the music on the dance floor in the early 90s, that was so very attention grabbing. The band has come a long way since then, with their sound changing and maturing, going through future pop, becoming the synthpop power house we have today and with that talent and touch for electronic music, has culminated in the album, New / End. This husband and wife team of SEVREN NI-ARB and the lovely ESTEFANIA, so very graciously gave us a chance to talk to them about family, the music industry and of course the latest album.
Welcome to the dark side of our world, here at Onyx, dear ESTEFANIA and SEVREN NI-ARB of X-MARKS THE PEDWALK.
Estefanía: Hello Adele, thank you for inviting us to Onyx.
The band has in essence been around since around 1987 and seen changes in personnel, style and even been on hiatus. Did you ever think you would still be so well received and still going well over 30 years later?
Sevren Ni-Arb: Until the longer hiatus we had released 5 albums with XMTP. Since the comeback in 2009, 6 more have been added to date. I released another album of my side project (SN-A) and created the soundtrack series “MUSIC.FOR.BOOKS”. I also founded my own label meshwork music and in addition to a few remixes I also produced the two albums of my son Luis Maximilian (LMX). Another one is in preparation. To be honest, no – I didn’t think it would be that extensive. But what we are overwhelmed that we still have such a great fan base and that so many new fans have joined XMTP over the last few years. This is a huge motivating factor.
Your last album, “Transformation”, was released in 2020 and now you have followed it up with the fabulous “New / End”. What has it been like creating and releasing albums during a pandemic?
Estefanía: Especially in the times of lockdown, music was of course a wonderful energy booster and a welcome “refuge”.
Sevren Ni-Arb: Otherwise the production processes have remained the same. With “NEW / END” I was extremely disciplined and efficient with my resources this time.
What is behind the title “New / End”?
Sevren Ni-Arb: “NEW / END” closes the conceptual framework of our last three albums. While “Secrets” is primarily a look inside, something closed and reserved, “Transformation” deals with barriers, people and behaviors that constrict us emotionally. It´s about recognizing one’s own weaknesses in order to convert them into new energy. In “NEW / END” this energy is the core. It´s about determination and personal strength, to make conscious decisions, to shape your life differently. “NEW / END” marks the end of a process of change, to take new directions.
It has been stated that the themes are determination and strength through hardship and loss but would you say, that the common theme throughout this latest album is having faith, whether that is in one’s self or in others?
Sevren Ni-Arb: Yes, above all trust in yourself and your own feelings. Expressing and acknowledging these feelings clearly. This allows you to realign yourself emotionally. Accordingly, there are also melancholic moments of pain and loss on the album.
“Firestorm” is definitely a standout track but I also really like “Sacred Ground” for its sweetness and a slightly magical quality. Are there any standout tracks that you particularly love?
Estefanía: I’m glad you like “SACRED GROUND”. Next to “Yesterdays” and “I’m on your side” it’s a song that’s very personal and touches me deeply. It’s about the death of my father, who passed away last year. When Sevren finished the composition and lyrics, I was surprised. I didn’t expect him to confront my feelings in this way. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to freely sing the song in the studio. But in a way, it’s also part of my grief.
What would be the major influence in writing this album?
Sevren Ni-Arb: I’ve been making music for so long now, I don’t have much time to listen extensively to other artists. So I always go my own way. But sure, we are unconsciously influenced by many things that touch us, move us or leave a mark in some way that is also reflected in the music.
On Facebook, I was reading a thread, where they were talking about how people are still saying that they are surprised your sound is now electro synthpop. Why do you think this is?
Sevren Ni-Arb: We were very successful as an EBM industrial band. We were one of the first bands with this style on Zoth Ommog, the then still young, but later extremely groundbreaking label in Germany. “Abattoir” from 1992 is still extremely popular in clubs. And it’s not the only hit from the past that’s still being played a lot today. We also did provocative live shows that fit the image of a “hard” and “aggressive” band. But I’ve always changed the sound of XMTP. Change is part of XMTP’s DNA. I implemented that in my music sometimes more radically, sometimes more nuanced. If you look at our discography, you will see that from album no. 4 (“Meshwork”) onwards the sound was already extremely different from the Industrial/EBM of the early days. With the releases “Facer” and “Meshwork” I’m considered the founder of so-called future pop – that was back in 1994/1995. That was almost 30 years ago. At that time there were already different reactions. Some were excited, others disappointed. And so the disappointed fans “wake up” every time we release a new album. And that’s fine with me. Luckily, taste in music vary and are allowed to change. I understand that fans would rather hear the early works and wish we would come back to that style again. We’ve definitely lost some fans that way. But on the other hand, we gained a lot of new fans and there are so many that have stayed with us over the years. So many have also gotten carried away by all these changes, by the always new and surprising changes in the sound. It’s the very unique spirit of X MARKS THE PEDWALK.
X-MARKS THE PEDWALK is on Meshwork Music, which is your own label, catering to electronic musicians. Before Meshwork Music, you were also signed to some huge labels such as the now defunct Zoth Ommog, Cleopatra, Metropolis and Infacted Recordings that rose from the ashes of Zoth Ommog. What did you learn along the way that inspired you to create a record label?
Sevren Ni-Arb: When founding Meshwork Music, the main motivation was to work completely independently – not only musically – also to make your own organizational and financial decisions, when and how to invest in production and marketing. It is now my personal money that is used. But I am still in regular contact with Torben from Infacted Recordings in particular. He still has our back catalogue in the program. The time with him was really great! He’s one of those people in the music business that’s really on the artist side. Just a great guy!
Do you do much live touring now and would this be something you would like to do with the new album?
Sevren Ni-Arb: We played our last concert at the Wave Gothic Treffen in Leipzig – 2009. We invested a lot back then and produced very complex stage projections for this show, because we produced a live DVD. Since then there have always been thoughts about a tour or individual shows. We are often asked when we’ll be back on stage. But it is an enormous challenge for us – especially in terms of time. We’re not full-time musicians. I am the managing partner of a digital communications agency, and I have also founded another company in which Estefania is the managing director. I also have my label meshwork music. We have to plan the remaining time very carefully.
Estefanía: There’s our family, our dog, friends… Sometimes we just have to recharge our batteries and we want to spend and enjoy our time as a couple. Not to mention my fear of flying…
Sevren Ni-Arb: … so, there are no plans yet. But there are thoughts again…
I am in awe of your relationship. You are a couple whom have created music together, had a family, chosen to put music on the back-burner to raise that family and then come back to it. What is it like having that other person in your life and not just music plus are you each other’s best friend?
Estefanía: We both known each other for so long – we’ve been together for nearly 35 years now. Before we got together, Sevren was already making music and it quickly became his profession. So I took part in and accompanied all these developments, we made decisions together on how we would like to shape our lives. My involvement in XMTP has grown over time. After so many years we are lovers and best friends at the same time. We have so much in common and are still making new plans for our future together. It’s great and a wonderful feeling that the music has now also become a common part. Even if Sevren can be quite strict in the studio sometimes 😉
Sevren Ni-Arb: But only a little 😉 We have a lot of fun in the studio and when a song is finished and we hear the result together, it’s a great feeling to share this moment with the most important person in life.
I always like to ask about people’s influences, so what do you guys into the industrial/electronic scene?
Sevren Ni-Arb: In the beginning, before I finally launched my first own EBM project (“Scarecrow”) in 1988, there were a few bands and artists who absolutely moved me and played a major role in my wish to make electronic music myself. For example: FAD GADGET – especially “Back to Nature”, KRAFTWERK – especially “Computerwelt”, DEPECHE MODE – “Some Great Reward” – still my absolute favorite album by DM, THE KLINIK (“Memories”), FRONT 242 (“Geography”) , CLICK CLICK (“She´s chewing them”), TWICE A MAN, GARY NUMAN, ALIEN SEX FIEND (“Ignore the Machine”) and of course SKINNY PUPPY.
What or whom do you enjoy listening to these days?
Estefanía: Today we mostly listen to music on the side, while cooking (Sevren’s passion), at dinner, with family and friends… We listen to so many different kinds of music: pop, jazz, classical, swing, electro, dance, soundtracks…
Sevren Ni-Arb: Yes, the soundtrack to “Interstellar” by Hans Zimmer is outstanding! In general, we like to discover music in films.
If you both had to write a lyric or two, for a love song, dedicated to the other, what would be in those lyrics? (It can be anything from you make my day, to you keep my feet warm in bed)
Sevren Ni-Arb: Oh there are love songs on our new album – not that obvious. But “Yesterdays” is dedicated to my sons and my wife. When you listen to the second verse you have the lyrics 😉
Estefanía: … and these could also have come from me. That’s why I was touched from two perspectives when I heard the song and lyrics for the first time.
What is coming up next for X-MARKS THE PEDWALK?
Sevren Ni-Arb: “NEW / END” is on the market for a short time now. The reviews are great. We’re really glad. I’ll think about how to proceed with XMTP later. Now it’s time for my son’s third album. We’re soon in my studio to produce it. But I can tell you this: It’s going to be a great album!
Thank you for giving us your time and the new album is exquisite!
Most people would not expect an electronic Mexican band in Hong Kong, but Deer Mx exists and are giving you the single, “The Farthest I Can Get“, dropped on May the 4th, however, May the 12th, is the release date for the brand spanking new video and we wanted to let people know it is out there. Adriana (vocals, guitar) and Miguel (synths, programming, bass guitar, piano) are Deer Mx and they were joined on this track by AlfonsoRosales on drums and Peter Enderberg playing guitar.
The guitars are front and center, howling with veracity. Adriana’s vocals coming through powerfully, with such overwhelming passion, the drums smash away and Miguel’s synths as the glue holding the form of the song.
The track is about remembering those who have past away from Covid and yet so many seem to be in denial. Part of this, is because, not even the band remained untouched in losing someone dear to them. It is a formidable track and it not hard to hear the ardent zeal in which it is delivered. Please check out Deer Mx because they are well worth your time.
Madre Teresa have seemingly, burst out of the Italian dark electro scene. We do not know who they are, other than a duo and that the EP, Dentro Sono Cremisi, released on April 22nd, could be their debut….maybe. Dentro, Sono, Cremisi basically translates to Inside, I am, Crimson. I would also like to point out, the EP cover picture is a booby-licious demon lady who is waving around a keyboard, a skull, a chalice and a mother loving lightsabre, so it does not get too much cooler than that.
“Dentro” most definitely has a serpentine flow to it, as it seems to be about snakes, rapid temperatures, storms and six, six, six. There are changes in tempo that throw you slightly off kilter as the female vocals prettily keep you off guard and the synths happily twitter away. The way the electronics hit you like looped waved is quite wonderful in “Sono“. Madre Teresa might be the Antichrist or a projectile but really they are poison and death the only antidote. The groove through this very catchy.
“Dentro” has such lines as Dal silenzio oltre il nero penetra nella mia carne or From the silence before the black penetrates my flesh (or about that) and you have to the embrace the techno bleats and delightful self duet within. A hypnotic affair. There is also a bonus instrumental version “Cremisi” that creeps its way along in a space odyssey way.
The lyrics, if my Italian was a lot better, seem to be full of symbolism and written for descriptive effect, rather than a narrative but that is only the half of it. The music jumps out at you for not being typical synthwave, engulfing you in the (en)chanting vocals, the synths going from melodic to sexy dark with extraordinary little, added jangle bits. Really there is something quite breathtaking in the way they compose and play music… so now you have the opportunity to go have a listen to Madre Teresa.
What do you do when you are handed a release from a project called =^._.^= ? You damn well listen to that sucker!! This is the EP, D3M0N5, from Seattle’s =^._.^= (pronounced catface), which was dropped on May the 5th. Don’t know anything about this project other than they wrote and recorded this between 2018 – 2022 and, I quote… ‘Under the influence of Alec Empire, Richard D. James and Trent Reznor‘.
The first thing you get is “SP!T“, which is the screaming of electronic alarms in a trap stew. The glitching of the languid “Bl4cK P4nth3R“, as it stalks you to your untimely squeaking end with all those lovely fuzzy notes. “y o w l” is a sassy little track with a nice little heavy bass beat and it out on the prowl.
Through all the feedback you can hear the synths lurking and biding their time in “H3llc4T“. The fuzzing tones leasing into a faster rhythm, leaving you wondering if the hellcat might suddenly spring. Swirling electronic glitches bring a little drum’n’bass to the party in the deceptively heavy “TH3 R!S3N“. The zombies are coming to get you and may the heavens help you if they are zombie cats. The asthmatic wheeze of “p u r r” pervades your senses with tortured digital sounds that wind down to dead silence.
=^._.^= are doing some pretty funky, experimental trap and industrial noise. It is fairly easy to listen to and actually rather fun because you are trying to discern if there are cat noises or slinky, shifty hisses. More to the point…..IT’S A KITTY and that was enough to hook me in. The Onyx cats completely agree with me that you need to go check out the Bandcamp page, which is name your price! Meow.
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 “LoveBoy” 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 TheGoondockSaint walking in similar shoes, just not disco shoes.
It is not so surprising that May the 4th would spawn music of the science fiction kind. In fact, it is required and on that note, Dublin’s Circuit3 did released a single, “Future Radio“, which is off the soon to be dropped, fourth album, Technology For The Youth. Peter Fitzpatrick is the man and producer behind the project, the single was co-written with Brian McCloskey and Circuit3 is signed to Manchester label, Analogue Trash.
The synths are beautiful and sparkle as brightly as they stars they represent and the vocals are pitch perfect (just as the Irish are renowned for). Que the electronic space chatter in all the right places and there is a pop perfection to the whole thing, as the universe is your playground for stellar exploration, as long as there is music to light your way.
I feel like I have been thrown back in time to the early 80s. It is kind of this amalgamation of David Bowie’s space odyssey, “Major Tom” (though much happier), with the quirkiness of Queen circa “Radio GaGa” and the amazing “Video Killed The Radio Star” by Buggles, due to the uptempo vibe and vocals. It is full of the joy of escapism to pastures unknown. The future and the past collide to give us Circuit3’s “Future Radio“.