Here comes a double track-by-track review of the newest releases, courtesy of DKA Records, based out of Atlanta, Georgia. Their discography includes: Boy Harsher, Dylan Ettinger / Goldendust, Profligate, Fit Of Body, Warning Light, Voice Of Saturn / Anticipation, High-Functioning Flesh, Valis, TWINS and Women’s Work.
As of the 2nd of March they’ve added two new releases to this immense discography – the debut full-length LP-release by Brisbane’s twin-brother-duo Sean and Chris Campion, otherwise known as Multiple Man, the release goes by the name of “New Metal“. Strategies Against The Bodies have now been introduced as a second volume, featuring even more artists then the first compilation. In this article I dissect each song of both releases and tell you my opinion on them. The release was mixed by Matt Weiner (CGI Records) and mastered by Dietrich Schoenemann.
Starting off with “New Metal“, having listened through their other discography, including favorites of mine from Detonic Records – the “Guilt Culture/Boiling Down” double-single – it is fair to say that when introducing this new full-length they’ve grown a bit in my eyes considering the sound itself and the general aesthetics which are pleasing for the eyes as the cover itself (created by James Stuart) reminds one about earlier industrial-releases in terms of appearance. You get a sinister and chaotic feeling in terms of the colors when they mix together, outlining the appearance of a seemingly distraught and/or desperate man. The font is also alluring and you basically get it right if you think the release has anything to do with body music or industrial music.
As the first song “Slow Code” is rung in by the scraping of metal, a violently underlying basedrum is introduced and on top of that a steady rocking beat – which together with other percussive elements mixed together – suddenly jumpstarts an electronic body music rhythm. It’s a pleasing synthesizer which develops into a harsher, more industrial-like anthemic kind of song, as outdrawn baselines and the overlying synthesizers make the rhythm multi-faceted – together with murmured vocals that add to the sinister feeling you get whilst listening to it. It is a somewhat catchy song that draws in a self-assuring vibe in terms of how bombastic everything gets after a while.
Even though it is repetetive in some parts, the soundscape itself morphs into something completely different the longer in it progresses. The chorus brings everything together into the theme of the whole song and what it is supposed to be and convey. It is a cold endeavour but at the same time it is not stripped of any emotions, as there is a whole palette of different feelings that you feel when listening to it. I feel alert, concentrated and inspired, on the edge tuning in.
If the first song was portrayed as anthemic, wait until you hear “Power Fantasy” – which starts with an off-putting “yoo-hoo“, to be smashed into your consciousness by one of the most perfect rhythms I’ve heard in this wave of new-body music. Everything about this song relies on the first synthesizer-rhythm and the percussive elements that are introduced. To add to the general heftiness of the song itself, the vocals together with additional basedrums create an enjoyable repetetive atmosphere which later on looms into a more atmospheric concentration of industrialized sound.
The sudden shrieking of the vocalist reapplies the stripped soundscape and reuses it to their heart’s content. Even after only having listened to the first two songs, one must say that this one – “Power Fantasy” – is something really special. Whether it is the retro industrial feeling that weighs in when all the beats collide, or if it is their special brand of it, is hard to say. But damn it is a really catchy song and even though the lyrical content might be unintelligible at times – the simpleness of it adds into the harsh emotional deliverance – which they manage to do perfectly. It is a jaw-droppingly good song, once you’ve listened through it way too many times.
Now with the next and third song on this release, it is less concentrated to harsh rhythms and electronic body music and more pure electronica with minimal synth weaved into it – I am, of course, talking about “Luxury Boys“. There’s a certain primitive vibe to the song even though the synthesizers, baselines and beats together concoct a swaying and interesting blend of these different forms of electronica. It feels dated, like something out of a time-machine, yet remarkably attached to the modern world as such. However, it would fit great in an alternative movie from the 1980’s.
At times the atmosphere feels like something exotic, especially when you hear the percussion and the main synthesizer which steadfastly creates a memorable thematic, which you end up portraying in your head. It is audio-visually a really great song, however I’m more impressed by the harsher side of Multiple Man. Though they’ve managed to, in their song, convey a more laidback alter ego – musically.
“Skin” – their fourth song – has that same kind of feeling attached to it like the previous song. It seems like they’ve changed the general theme of their songs, as it progresses from the first and second, to the third and the fourth. It develops lyrically as well and becomes some kind of acid electronic bastard child of industrial music. When the synthesizer revs up to show its true acid colors – one is intrigued by it since it adds a whole different characteristic to the song itself – alongside the vocals that are unenthusiastically chanted and feel like they’re just being dragged along for the ride.
It is probably one of the songs up until now that have the best vocals in them. It adds so much more to the experience of listening to the song as well as the development of the soundscape as it accompanies the different influences and rhythms perfectly together. Though it might be added that the song in itself is impressive in many ways, it fails to attract any further emotions when listening to it, as it is only brought out when everything is brought together in an almost cataclysmic fashion.
Returning to the pure electronic body music with the fifth song “Negative Space” – an ominously sounding piece. A continously pounding rhythm attached to a gloomy atmosphere, feeling more like an intermission then anything else. One can’t help but feel left to the metaphorical clock ticking in the form of outdrawn synth-stabs. Somehow the electronic body music elements are of not the same importance as the more atmospheric aspects of this song. The continuity is what defines it all. It just keeps going.
Maybe this might be the dividing line that will shift the musical focus to something else or it may just be a filler for the filler’s sake. Usually, artists and bands have one of these kinds of tracks in their repertoir, in the case of Multiple Man – this song stands out from their others and in a positive manner as well. Reminding oneself about the shifting character of their sound and what they might be able to accomplish, and want to accomplish with their music.
“Hotter Then Hell” is the sixth song on this neverending ride of different, excitingly fresh electronic body music with industrial vibes. This song is probably the most sublime of the bunch so far, it has got a really ambiguous vibe to it. One negative thing about it is that it is also the most boring song in terms of the soundscape, as there’s not much happening and it is not as upbeat as the other tracks. Nothing wrong with a downbeat track but this one doesn’t really cut it for me.
“Ideal Self” is where it is at. It’s been tried with the other songs but it has got a funkier vibe then the other ones. The atmosphere is really wicked and the rhythm goes up and down like a jojo, embracing the more danceable elements and turning it around for them now later on in this release. It is really all about combining the more unusual genres and turning it into the new face of the Multiple Man that makes it or breaks it in terms of this song. Groovy is what characterize this musical experience the best.
Interestingly enough, as the song fades out and turns into “New Metal” – they’ve decided to put this title-track last on the record. Really a perfect summarization of what they have achieved during this eight-track long release. Even though it lacks everything that made the first few songs great it combines everything one’s heard so far into a mixture of the weirdness and the high energy electronic body music into an acid and industrial rollercoaster which holds up in the end.
I say that only because the rhythms are on point and this song is basically what you should’ve listened to first if you wanted a summary. My thoughts about this full-length debut-LP on DKA Records is that it brings something odd to the table and spins things around completely out of your own safe-zone. You must have taken a liking for electronic body music transgressing into all kinds of different music genres, plus the experimental edge in which Multiple Man hold their territory firm. Although some of the songs are a disappointment, not all of them need to be as good as “Power Fantasy” to hold up in the end. The more you listen to it, the more you enjoy the self-willed nature of this duo.
Tomorrow this article will be updated with a track-by-track review of Strategies Against The Body Volume 2. You can stream Multiple Man’s release “New Metal” down below and make up your own mind about it, but from what I’ve heard throughout the songs – they’ve surely got potential that enrich the DKA Records discography further.
A follow-up to the 2015 compilation “Strategies Against The Body – Volume 1” have been released via DKA Records. Featuring a whole different roster of artists, containing various electronic genres, all derived from the so-called underground. Some of them more established then others. The cover for the release is very aesthetically unpleasant to lay one’s eyes on but is a reflection of what you can anticipate when listening through this compilation of artists.
Pyramid Club is the first artist and one must say that they’ve got a whole lot better songs then this one. It’s a freakishly monotonous song that doesn’t really cut it. One doesn’t really feel anything when listening to their song “It’s All Grey” – the atmosphere that is there is off-putting and doesn’t do them justice in terms of their discography, otherwise. What saves this song is the latter part of it beyond three minutes in, when the vocals go into a howling frenzy and the basedrum lunge at you as if it had gone berserk.
I really want to like this song but can’t really fathom it. Melodically it is odious and it doesn’t even give the tag ‘experimental‘ body music any revitalization. Repetetiveness and experimentalism can give you a whole other insight into what electronic music ultimately could be about – but here they just fall flat with their brand of it. Very unfortunate for anyone who’s fond of Pyramid Club’s current discography of demo-tracks with lots of potential.
Now on to Passing, who’s song “Sacrifice” starts off rather intriguingly with that bass-filled melodious atmosphere which bounce around in infinity together with acid influences as rambunctious electronica pushed to its limits. Then, suddenly, the vocals are introduced into the mix and one is instantly taken out of the mesmerizing sound – because they lack the punch and the guts which the rest of the soundscape perfectly molds into – overtime. It adds absolutely nothing that progresses the atmosphere even remotely. It would even be better if it was wholly instrumental instead, unfortunately.
All-in-all, the song itself has one hooked to the beats, rhythm and melodious extravagance. There’s a sense of emergency in the overall expression it gives, the fast-paced lunging, acidic body music with electronic overtones – masterfully executed, instrumentally at least. It’s got the perfect length as well and you can never get enough of the simple melodies that together make something out of nothing, adding complexity together with the percussion.
What never tires me is the special kind of desperate brand of electronic body music that Celldöd creates. He can make something out of nothing, it sounds huge no matter what he attaches himself to and the atmospheric feel of “Hemliga Rum” is made alarmingly brutal with his vocals alone. A hiss here and a hiss there, a steady acid rhythm with a baseline that seems to get harder the further into the song you get – the echoes of the vocals, making one uneasy listening to the song – all that is there, in the vast nothingness that he portrays – follow him into the secret room.
Imagining that it would be some kind of abandoned house or industrial setting, together with the lyrics in Swedish repeatedly saying “Take me with you, I want to see what you see, into secret rooms“, as if he is desperately clinging on to something – the deliverance is absolutely on point and adds much as the snaredrum hit is industrially enhanced by sounding like he’s hitting on a metal object – which in reality, maybe he is. It adds that extra portion of the atmosphere which would otherwise be lacking. In the end a very good song which leaves nothing to imagine, audiovisually he puts images in ones head.
Continuing in basically the same manner as the other songs, a kind of acid-inspired baseline together with melodic noises, Spatial Relation‘s song “Infinitely Wary” is now playing. I don’t really know what to say about Lissette Schoenly’s vocals – but it fits very well into the atmosphere created by the synthesizers and percussive elements – though it really does nothing for me while listening to it. I feel no emotions, it just feels like one has to get through it to get on with listening to the rest of the compilation. This brand of electronica hasn’t really gotten me interested, which is a shame, since they repeat what Pyramid Club did with their introductory song to this whole compilation.
When one has listened through the song a few more times, one finds it to be somewhat alluring – though it can’t be explained, really. There’s something avant-garde about the approach to the whole song and how they utilize the different elements of it, how it gradually progresses and how it finishes. There’s a little redemption in the form of the atmosphere as it grabs onto you in a weird way, the electro-vibe and all, which is odd to say the least but hey.
One of my favorite projects since “The Red Dress – Parts I/II“, James Andrew’s own Tifaret, is featured on this compilation as the fifth track in a total of ten. The song “Lara” interesingly enough sounds like “Keep On Driving” (one of his other songs) – the difference is if Andrew Eldritch had a son, James Andrew would be his. Their vocals are really alike and one feels like he’s drawn a little bit too much inspiration in his song-making from The Sisters Of Mercy’s front-man. It is, however, not pastiche – the atmosphere is nice and the beats are on point.
Melodically it must’ve drawn influence from his earlier song but it doesn’t really matter. This is one of the better songs I’ve heard on this compilation up until now. Hopefully this is the one that turns it around and introduces one to some equally as great songs. It should be released simultaneously as this song, as it feels like a variant and lies really close in the whole soundscape and if it weren’t for the different melodies, more emotional vocals, it would almost be identical.
Suddenly, awestricken, in a good way. Anticipation flies into your ears with that subliminal, brooding electronic body music that has a groove like no other – talking of course about the song “Photograph” – which together with samples and a rhythm out of this world is gradually making one reconsider what one’s written about the compilation in general. Now we’re talking about some serious electronic music, whose atmosphere makes one dance along to it and is catchy as no other song – currently on this compilation.
One does not mind the repetetiveness of the beats as it slowly develops over time, introducing small but noticeable changes in character which enhances the whole experience of listening to it. The continually pounding sub-baseline pushes the beats further into the forefront of the mix – and there’s never a dull moment listening to this song. Thankfully, maybe there’s still hope for the compilation in large as we proceed.
Since “Ghoul” was released in 2016, Videograve have been out of the loop. Now they’re back, on this compilation. The melodies in their song “Dead Men Floating” are equally as sinister as the title of it. They’ve let the melodies be at the forefront of the atmosphere and the beats plus percussion in the back, giving off a resounding and reverberated no-nonsense sound. Videograve are one of the more interesting acts that have emerged the last few years when it comes to electronic music. They have an authentic and goddamn awesome sound. Electronic body music gone haywire, electronic body music developed from a general minimal electronics waypath – never straying away from originality.
This is my favorite song so far on this compilation. I’m very impressed in general. There’s nothing to complain about, it is a really enjoyable song to listen to and there are so many facets of it that you’ve stopped counting. They really portray a sinister picture – a rather picturesque one if one may say so – audio-visually aesthetically pleasing, if that makes any sense at all.
Now for something a lot different. Collin Gorman Weiland’s song “Indenture and Stone” – monotonous industrial techno, with minimal wave influences. A very bleak song in terms of the atmosphere, very heavy when it comes to the industrial side of it and something that brings forth a whole different sound on this compilation. It is noticeable that the end is near whilst listening to it, the very apathetic vocals and the grinding percussion that seem to have no end to it. Draining energy from every outlet where there’s even sound.
There’s an anti-upbeatness to the song, it is downtempo but tries hard to be upbeat. Looming on as if nothing ever mattered, ending rather beautifully and very unexpectedly – turning into an ambient piece that gives one inner peace while listening to it. A welcoming addition to an otherwise interesting and never-ending seance. Had the latter parts of the song been developed even further, there might’ve been a nice blend of ambient industrial and the harshness of the song itself.
Ninth song on the compilation is by ARIISK and is titled “Candid Machine” – which is one of those songs that never develop into anything. It would’ve been better if it had some progression worth to mention. All this experimental electronic body music is making one’s head spin. There’s nothing about the monotonous approach in rhythm that gives anything, it just feels like a piece that is stuck in the same rhythm and melody without ever ending or transforming into anything good.
There’s a continuous lack in the atmosphere itself that isn’t repaired by the beats nor the progression of the song itself. Not to mention the vocals – it doesn’t add or bring anything out of the atmosphere. Even though this song might be meant to sound dark and provoke some kind of emotion, there isn’t any. It feels like one wants to skip the song and head onto the last one, there’s few moments that attract any noteable attention.
Xander Harris delivers the final song on this compilation, titled “Social Leather“. When pushing play on this song, there’s a wondrous tone coming from the melody. It feels like you’re high above the clouds, or that you’re way out of your body and somewhere else. It has a dreamy touch to it and the vocals expand on that subject. There’s an electro-vibe to it vocally and the atmosphere is absolutely phenomenal. There’s a transgression between different electronic genres that he executes flawlessly.
Being the final song on this release, it makes up for other moments experienced while listening to the compilation. One must say, to DKA Record’s credit, that it is a compilation that has some kind of sense of purpose when it comes to the assortment of different artists – too bad that it doesn’t go the whole way in terms of how good that, in theory, should be. I must recommend it any way, because there are certain moments on this release that are enticing. Stream the full release down below on Soundcloud.