The single, “Just Like Rain” was released in April by Fargo native, Todd C Ruzicka under the moniker Immune System. Ruzicka is also known for his other, main project, Seven Federations.
This is a bright and synth bubbling piece, reminiscent of the early 80s electronic era mixed with a Euro/italo dance appeal. If this is a love song, it seems a little on the dangerous side. The beats drop and swell, building and swirling with the end containing the surprise strings.
Retro synth-pop is the order of the day and this is a busy little number. Not breaking any new ground but “Just Like TheRain” is rather enjoyable and if electronic music is your thing then go check out Immune System.
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“.
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’mAfraid Of Americans“. Maybe the format and purpose are similar as this was Bowie and BrianEno’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 “TheTakeaway” 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
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.
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“, “DustIn The Wind” by Kansas, Kate Bush’s “SuspendedIn Gaffa“, also surprisingly Soundgarden’s “Black 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 OldLovers, which is wonderfully nostalgic. The CatSteven’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’sFaust 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.
Always difficult to get band members together at times and for some, well, some make music in between different countries. The lads from Gomddam Memory released their first single this month and are based between Norway and the UK and “One Last Job” is the name of this debut.
‘They lie, they lie‘ and there is no question that those in power never tell the truth, while they pillage the earth of its resources and leave those most at risk to suffer because it doesn’t make good business sense to do anything else. There is a plaintiff cry for the the world and the atmospheric feel of the experimental music seemingly, semi-teetering on an abyss, in an off kilter way.
Gomddam Memory isn’t going to be for everyone and yet it is an interesting project. They did make think that this is what it would sound like if an industrial machine that ate the Candy Skins and I’m not sure if this says more about me or them. Have a listen to the eco industrial tune “One Last Job“.
Far Away From All Of This are a Swiss band that released their second album last year in September. Called Outward Bound, this duo comprised of VEGA (guitars, synthesizer, harsh vocals) and IX (vocals, bass, synthesizer, drums), describe their music style as space rock/post rock/metal.
These guys obviously like an epic, as “Haven” goes for over eight minutes and is not even the longest number. The track honestly took me back to the early 90s. Teenage Fanclub and the Lemon Heads, IX even sounds a bit EvanDando. The return to psychedelic swirling, wall of sound guitars and keyboards that take you away on a cloud.
Nice light guitar starts “Reality Check“, a whimsy about not looking too hard at life or it will lose its magic by ‘breaking the spell‘.
They say we are getting older everyday and that this is the “Last Call” to get on life’s roller-coaster. It’s a very positive and uplifting piece with rolling drums and VEGA having momentary cathartic screams.
Break out the synths for a gliding space journey in the “Stellar Stream“. Smooth and relaxing as the engines whisper in the solar slips of this ambient soundscape.
“NGC 4063” is the final and longest of the tracks. It is a gradual build up of electronics, filling the empty places, like a space exploration facing the dark voids to bring knowledge and light, even though this is a very overwhelming prospect.
The first half is all the crazy human emotion of living with hopes, dreams and modern life, with guitars and a more frantic pace. The last two are after they have left Earth with its electronic life-support, going into the unknown. Really enjoyed this album due to my fondness of guitar jangle and wall of soundscapes which Ride were famous for doing beautifully as well. Well worth giving Far Away From All Of This a go with their Outward Bound.
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 SallyWolfdreamer 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.
HOSTILE ARCHITECT is Brisbane based Mitch Kenny and he is quite the busy industrial bee, with his second release on BrutalResonanceRecords, out on the 28th of February. The single/EP is called “:LOG. 3::SEMTEX“, which comprises of the single, an extra song and a remix of the single.
“SEMTEX” is a type of plastic explosive to give this number context. The concept ‘your body is a collapsing temple, your body is not yours to give‘, seems to imply that to become free, you must destroy that which holds you to this plane. As always, there are the nice full body beats that are guaranteed to get you moving and that signature sound Kenny has incorporated.
The instrumental piece, “MACHINEGUNCONTROL” goes for over seven minutes and yet you won’t notice the length of this number as it belts along. There is something quite delightful in listening to crystal clear, percussion lead music.
The Null Cell remix of “SEMTEX” is smoother and yet seems to end up swirling in a mind blowing vortex of ominous tone. It is reminiscent of old school industrial with those rhythms but still ultra modern.
The production is great, nice and crisp, a perfect mix by Null Cell and another great release from the HOSTILE ARCHITECT who is soon to unleash an album. In the meantime there is “:LOG.3:: SEMTEX” to keep you keen and whet your appetite.
Late December was the release of the single, ‘In My Dreams” by SINthetik Messiah with TheOther LA. “In My Dreams” was originally released by five piece rock band The Other LA, that boasts having Drowning Pool’s C.J. Pierce as part of their contingent. The group asked SINthetik Messiah to put an electronic spin to the number.
SINthetik Messiah are from Louisiana and for the uninitiated, delve into experimental industrial rock/ metal with a heavy accent on the artistic front. Bug Gigabyte is the man behind the project and has done so since 1996.
It is dark and heavy….. so heavy, it almost feels like the noise is weighing on you. The female vocals by ARIA are explosive, buoyed by the dense mix of booming beats and buzzing guitar. The male vocal brings an added level of angst as the music takes flight.
A bombastic piece of engineering by BugGigabyte, the sounds are grating and huge, leaving you wanting more. He has taken TheOther LA song into another realm, becoming its own entity that can devour your soul.
Added bonus points for having mixing and mastering done by, Joe Haze, ex guitarist of Lords Of Acid. Yes it’s good. On that note, you might need to go listen to The Other LA & SINthetik Messiah, “In MyDreams“.
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 DogMachine 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.
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.
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 EndOf 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“.
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, MachFox, Dbot on bass plus vocals and DeinOfficer brutalising the drums.
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 3000” X1L3 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 “Conquest3000“, 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, HOSTILEARCHITECT., MitchKenny 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’s “Conquest 3000“.