Review: Identity Theft – Reconnaissance

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Some things change while other things remain the same. The developmental process of Identity Theft have taken some time to get used to, but on his latest endeavor he doesn’t have any qualms with getting rid of the chains of the past – embracing the future and what it holds for him and his project.

Identity Theft is the solo-project of Michael Buchanan, spanning multiple years of experience in other projects and with electronic music in general, and he was kind enough to send me the physical edition of his fifth proper solo-album, which was released in November of 2017 by Treue Um Treue.

With the assistance of Mara Barenbaum (of Group Rhoda / Max + Mara) on three tracks, plus one remix by Arktaion of one of the tracks on this release, this can be considered to be a project mounted by himself, only utilizing the experience of others to enhance it further. I’m thankful that he sent me this physical release for me to share with you, my thoughts on the release in full, a track-by-track in-depth review that has taken a longer time to finish then originally intended.

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The aesthetic aspect of Reconnaissance

When I view the cover from afar, it seems so distant aesthetically that I just want to get a magnifying glass to see what it is that is revealed on the dark exterior of the cover. It is almost an 1980’s-esque vibe that it brings in terms of color, even though it is a more darker and less screechy one that is otherwise found in movies from that era.

There is a certain distance from itself, it is remote and it fits the theme of the process in which the album itself was written – three days of complete isolation from civilization. Even though at first glance the cover might not be something special, it conveys an eerie meaning that in my opinion goes lost within the urbanized centers of the city – there’s something else then you out there, something bigger and more meaningful, something that should be preserved.

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 The musical aspect of Reconnaissance

If you’ve listened to any of Mara Barenbaum’s music, especially Group Rhoda, it becomes clear that their style of music mix very well with Identity Theft’s, the introductory in “Reconnaissance Peak” which is the first song – is at the same time as it is sincere, very forthright about its existence – proclaiming proudly that “I am here, we’re in the moment, but we’re a presence to be reckoned with“. Additional rhythms are perfectly timed and blend in to the general atmosphere, which is forever changing.

Once you let it slip, it will seep out through the rest of the components that build up the songs, from a more hands-on approach to music making into a thoughtful display of ambitiously layered synthesizers that take off into nothingness. You feel so small when you listen to this, it is so graciously laden that once it slips through the cracks of your pathetic being – you just want to hear more of it, playing it over and over again.

Eagle’s Peak” is almost double in length, and has a more subtle tone to it. Even though it can be felt to be much of the same, just in a different pace, it is even more serene and sincere as it plays on the simple notes that go from barely noticeable to a resounding plethora of different synthesizers layered perfectly upon one another – a click away from generating a monstrosity – you feel as if it is about to leap straight into you.

Some of it is too angelic to even fit in, being taken out throughout the back-door by the more sinister themed atmospheres that lurk nearby. Once you feel at ease you get caught off-guard by a sudden blast of noise, it is meant to be enjoyed but it is difficult to be completely on your guard as it is not a song that is foreseeable – you cannot simply categorize it and be aware of all the elements, it is not such a song that leaves you with no lasting impression – it grasps you gently and takes you into it.

It symbolizes perfectly the name it was given, “Eagle’s Peak” is a summary of what you could expect, but you will not know before you enter.

Last Chance Creek” is on the other hand something completely different in terms of atmosphere, it is much more urgent in tone and you get thrown into the mixture directly by the loud base-drum, the soothing percussion and the grandiose synthesizers that blend it into perfect synthesizer-based music that would be a fitting beginning of a movie or the end of the same.

It is by far the most beautiful song on the album yet, and there are many contenders for that throne – but here’s where the king enters and the queen become one. A futuristic blip on a radar that shouldn’t be ignored, an unfathomably great conversion of straight-forward electronic music and the ambiance which is so often ignored – Identity Theft manages to keep control of everything and never slip up.

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My Sentence” is more of an intermission, a placeholder-song that is not bad but it is not equally as great as the other tracks I’ve listened to. There is a place for these kinds of songs on albums, so even though the judgment is quick to come, there’s a certain quirkiness to the sound that can’t be missed out on. You can’t really add much more to the description of this song, it is there but it does not evoke anything, it pumps you up for another song.

Blood Moon” is the next song, it evokes a feeling of hope and that you’re about to be redeemed. There is an underlying sense of belonging, you feel like you’re a part of the atmosphere as you childishly gaze upon the stars and point your finger as to were you’d want to go – the different emotions that are involved range from those described, to some kind of sorrow – that you at the moment don’t have anything of that.

You’re desperate to find a place, but this calms your nerves and make you forget about it for a moment or two, maybe some kind of nostalgic memory is invoked as you travel into the electronic realm, a progressive dream that becomes more and more of a real, tangible kind of matter that you can actually grasp physically and mentally. An ode to the moon, the one that can affect our moods.

What’s coming next is about to stun me, make me fall off my high horses and into the arms of you – whoever is the next to be embraced, to enter my life. The stunningly creative way of making an even more emotionally touching song is just the sheer brilliance of Michael Buchanan, simply marvelous as “Misanthropocene” goes from the meager time it has to be played – into an extended form of electronically charged synthesizer-bliss of a landscape of sound, covering all bases.

How can the sound be so bold? Yet so refreshing, calm and sensitive? There’s a warmth to it but a stone cold outlook in atmosphere of sound, as you float on by, passing your own self by without any reflection – you’re taken aback by the sound as it drives you on, as the motivation of doing rather then listening becomes painfully obvious. At the same time you want to sit still, you want to experience and move with the sound.

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The Unreliable Narrator” is a more unhinged song that move to the left and the right, from the center and to the top, everywhere but within a controlled manner like the last song. Just like the title suggests, it is a more chaotic song with a gloomy mood that fits perfectly between the casual intermission delivered in “My Sentence” and “Blood Moon“.

Though much more repetitive then other songs on this album, there is some kind of progression that can be felt throughout the whole song, the rhythm isn’t that much of an interesting thing – but it hearkens back to older days of Identity Theft – which is reminiscent of some of his first material.

Soft Alibi” is the next one, one of the more experimentally oriented songs on the album so far, clashing between the normal kind of bombastic maximality that virtually all of the songs so far have been attached to, into a monotonous but minimalistic experience that is only alluding to bombastic vibes through the rhythm – which is unusual if you’re trying to create an atmosphere on it alone.

The rhythm is what makes the song enjoyable on itself, but it is clear that it is nowhere near the same infective nature as the more grandiose songs he’s been churning out after one another earlier on the album.

I don’t know what to make of “Lost Frontier“, whether to see it as a genial move away from the more obvious tracks on the album itself, but the baseline packs a real punch and is what drives everything forward in the song itself – after a while it flips out into something out of the ordinary, which is what one can appreciate when listening to this kind of music – the controlled inventiveness of the past songs – and the chaotic nature of the shorter songs.

It latches on well to the next song “Leave No Trace“, which spins from virtually a stale and non-atmospheric mess into a solid, emotive gargantuan that is just waiting to devour you as a whole – the roundness of the synthesizers become more clear the more it develops, as the more sharp nature of the sound in the beginning fades into a whirlwind of magnificent electronica.

The last song, “Prosopagnosia” is not only an outro, it hopefully shows the way to what can be expected from future releases. It is a well-needed break from the more experimental vibes that were delivered in the latter part of the album, it is a firm and shakable landscape of sound that is predictable in its nature but never lets you down. You know what you are getting and you can expect what is around the corner, but it leaves much to be fantasized about.

I don’t consider the remix itself to be the last song, but we’re taking it last as it is a track-by-track review which goes from point A to point B. “Last Chance Creek (Arktaion Remix)” adds a rougher edge to “Last Chance Creek” which couldn’t be felt there, it hypnotizes in a whole different manner then what the original song did, it is crashed into different pieces making it sound like a crossover between the electronica of Identity Theft, spliced into the erratic mood of IDM music.

It is not a bad remix actually, but it makes you wonder what kind of remixes could be done on the other tracks? Maybe there should be a release which features some of the tracks remixed by different artists, that would be a really nice offshoot from the original release itself.

This album is a must-have if you’re interested in the better domains of electronic music, the parts that have not yet been infected by ridiculous clichés. It is a must-have physically for any collector, so I am proud to be in the possession of the review-copy of this album. You should get it yourself, there are only five copies left, you can find it down below.

Showcase: The forthcoming Enfant Terrible-releases

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Over hundred releases have been shared to the world through Enfant Terrible. The sub-label Gooiland Elektro is almost up to a third of that number. What an exciting time to be alive, especially considering the quality of releases that has been put through both labels. Having garnered a notoriety of being a good label when it comes to experimental electronic music, people have started to notice their presence even more. We’re setting up a digital showcase of the releases that are coming out now in the beginning of October.

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LCN – Autonomie EP

LCN or the alterego for Le Chocolat Noir have been a guest on the 2016 compilation on Enfant Terrible, titled “Noblesse Oblige“, with the song “Appartenance“. The only other release is a collaboration with Zarkoff on the Iron Flute 12¨ released by Return To Disorder. His electronic music could be described as some really weirded out electronic body music, together with electro vibes that keep the notion of sanity intact. Claustrophobic minimalistic and repetitive, always on the edge musically and on par with other acts of the same caliber, maybe even in a corner of his own.

This will be his first multi-track release and EP, which is an exciting thing in of itself as this kind of music almost never make it through, unless you’re into it. For those who like the more experimental side of earlier electro, this release is something you should look into. A mixture of french and german can be heard within the lyrics of the songs. Everything is an eerie reminder of how sullen things can be.

It will be released on a limited edition 12¨ (of 200 copies) with screenprinted sleeves, as Enfant Terrible (ET052) and Gooiland Elektro (Gooiland 29).

Tracklist (with previews):

A1 N’Écoutez Pas Tous Les Conseils De Vos Amis
A2 Dans Mon Désordre

B1 Solitude
B2 En Retirant

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Savage Grounds – Area Of Violence

Switzerland duo Savage Grounds have laid their foundations with another label – with three releases on Lux Rec – now join up on Enfant Terrible for their latest EP. Their earlier sounds are not as refined as they are on this release, where it packs a momentum unheard of when it comes to electronic music. It is really heavy but at the same time catchy and melodic. According to the label itself, these musicians venture through and beyond their description of “post-techno” – what ever that is supposed to mean anyway. This is music that transcends those etiquettes but fit into them like a glove at the same time. It is rough, gritty and unrelenting.

Taking obvious steps into acid and industrial as well, alongside electronic body music, this seemingly instrumental take on those genres combined is well-matched. They outclass most of what you’re able to listen to when it comes to these genres post-glory days. At first a mesmerizing but gloomy appearance musically, quickly descending into utter hopelessness and then back again when hope shines eternal in the end. It’s one of those offshoots from this great label that make everything worth it, even if you can’t appreciate the level of experimentalism they work with.

It will be released on a limited edition 12¨ (of 250 copies) with screen-printed sleeves, as Enfant Terrible (ET053).

Tracklist (with previews):

A1 Concrete Tunnels
A2 The Role Of Iron

B1 Wall Of Rubber
B2 Negative Spaces

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Staatseinde – Neue Zyklus

The débutantes with the name of Staatseinde present their first EP, 6-track strong, with the same playfulness as ever but wrapped in a more serious and sinister tone. It brings back the more emotional side of electronic music as it is fine-tuned to our heart’s delight, relying on the more basal human needs musically as they churn out melodies upon melodies, with no strings attached emotionally but a hell of a lot invested when it comes to the listeners attentiveness.

If you thought the a-side wasn’t weirded out enough in terms of experimentalism, see the other side (b-side) for that almost pop-oriented edge and electro-pop vibe that brings out all the ghoulish tendencies of their sound. Yes, one can very well hear the influence of Welle:Erdball on some of these tracks, if they had a screw loose and were more pleasurable then their latest albums. Staatseinde’s earlier releases will remain the favorite for now but this release is worth checking out for the sole reason that it is Staatseinde.

It will be released on a limited edition 12¨ (of 250 copies) risograph printed sleeves, as Enfant Terrible (ET054).

Tracklist (with previews):

A1 Min Min
A2 Kosmos
A3 Darling

B1 Just Chaos
B2 Volar
B3 Yedo

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Garçon Taupe – The White Spider

This is a release I myself would get only because of the aesthetics of it. It has a wonderful schismatic feeling to it, the contrasts of it are also wonderfully pleasant in a gruesome kind of existential manner – perfect for Autumn and the coming winter. Garçon Taupe is new for us here at Repartiseraren but nevertheless as it is an Enfant Terrible and Gooiland Elektro release, we’re sure we’ll be somewhat in awe. It is a completely dutch affair it seems, having only had some of their tracks released, by the label Narrominded.

It is a very quirky sound. You either love it or hate it, think it is enigmatic or simply an annoyance. One can’t deny that their sound is somewhat unique in a way. For the acid-lovers the b-side will be a huge surprise and it slowly grows on you, as the beats pace along fast enough for ones limbs to awkwardly match themselves to the rhythm. The last song on this record holds an especially groovy beat which is poisonous to say the least.

As a joint operation between Enfant Terrible and Gooiland Elektro, this release will be on limited edition 12¨ (of 200 copies) with screen-printed sleeves, going under Enfant Terrible (ET055) and Gooiland Elektro (Gooiland 30).

Tracklist (with previews):

A1 The White Spider
A2 Roll The Dice

B1 Crevasse
B2 Retreat

Review: Led Er Est – Dust On Common

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To be honest, I haven’t paid that much attention to Led Er Est at all. Their sound haven’t attracted me in any way, yet I decided to do a track-by-track review of their first release “Dust On Common” (now re-released by Mannequin Records) originally released on the New York label Wierd Records, in 2009. However, my initial reaction on their music will not affect how I review this record – it is all about how good or bad the songs are, individually – and how good the album is in general. The album is around 35 minutes long in total.

For a person that haven’t listened that much to Led Er Est, the first song “Bikini Fun” is catchy and gloomy at the same time. Even though the name of it is kind of inane, it doesn’t reflect in the atmosphere at all – the amped up and bleak vocals add a whole other dimension to the soundscape – together with flipped out guitar-riffs and solid, rhythmic drumming, minimalistic synthesizers warped in and out – together with a baseline that could break through walls – make for a thoroughly wild experience.

There’s a nice way to how they tweak everything, especially the vocals. It is a very nice mix between minimal synth and new wave music, at the same time that it wants to be uptempo and is – they keep the downtempo in terms of how the song progresses – going from a stripped environment to a concentrated barrage of all instruments at the same time. It does also fade out very nicely.

AsPort Isabel” comes on, it is a more straight-forward track. It starts off very good with riffs that are put in well, together with the constant synthesizer-stabs and steady rhythm – but then, suddenly, the vocalist enters – and everything goes downhill from there. What could’ve been an emotionally touching song turns into everything but. Maybe this song should’ve been named “Bikini Fun” instead of the first one – because with such a beautiful name and pleasant introduction – it shouldn’t be reduced to utter tripe. Moving on.

Laredo” thankfully return the original song-style, which pairs much better with their music. It is a very oldschool-sounding and spastic atmosphere, giving back to the roots that started it off once. Minimal wave have never sounded better together with new wave, if that makes any sense. Instead of going too minimalistic with just the one synthesizer and the accompanying melody – they’ve added sweeping beauty to it and a perfectly laden guitar to match it up with.

It never goes out of style and one could listen to it over and over again. The song feels much longer then it really is. With solid melodies and anarchistic vocals – you can go very far, apparently. It is what Led Er Est prooves at least, with how they’ve constructed it musically. “Destination Sanity” is something entirely different, minimal in rhythm but bombastic in everything else from synthesizer to the outdrawn vocals. Connecting the dots where they left off with “Port Isabel“, adding to that even more of their own characteristic sound – the good one.

There are even some gothic-sounding acoustic guitar that paves the way for complex melodies to entwine and push the sound even further, larger then anything else that’s currently been covered. It evokes an emotional response that is sorrowful in one way, a tragicomic farce translated into music, by all means tragicomic in a way that is beautifully told musically. One is touched by the sheer wondrousness of it all, something to daydream away into.

Eerily similar to “Laredo” is the fifth song “The Unkept Area” – where the songstyle in “Port Isabel” actually fits with the running theme of it. One of the most catchy songs so far, mostly due to the more energetic performance by the vocalist, plus all the freakishly quirky synthesizers that would sound horrible if not layered on one another. The desperateness of the singer descend into a violent, chaotic mixture that make each part of the atmosphere change slightly, going more and more berserk.

What becomes noticeable as “Something For The Children” plays, is not only the irony of the song-name itself, but how they transcend genres completely and bend them to their will. This goes into noise and back again into minimalistic synth. But what would all that be without a post-punk baseline? Not sure, but they’ve layered it indistinguishable at points with the screechy noise, at times playing almost solo – giving it a melodic touch – together with the rhythm of the noise. Quite deranged in the end. Even more ironic is how it fades out and then becomes “I Wait For You” – which is different.

How different? In many ways. The rhythm isn’t pumped up to the max, but more steadily going, while the melodies are of secondary importance. The coldness of the minimalistic atmosphere is what glimmers in the dark. Clad in a remorseful outfit, it almost makes it ballad-like in all simplicity. But they way they manage to keep changing everything around, firstly with just a few tweaks here and there, finally breaking out the synthesizer to completely mesmerize the listener. One of my favorite tracks on the whole release so far.

Scissors” is their definitive anthem. It is sad to hear how it goes down the same way that “Port Isabel” did. The vocals really don’t fit, they sound so off together with the wondrousness crafted with the drummachine and the synthesizers. There was an urgency in this song that allured to emotion – but as the vocals make their presence heard – one just wants to turn it off. Otherwise, had it not been like that, it would’ve been a great song. But no, sorry, it simply doesn’t fit with everything else and if anyone suggest it does – sure, it might, but in a very weird and unkempt manner.

CC Exit” is all-in-all a nice medley, intermezzo if you will. A bridge which one would want to cross, to find out what is beyond it. Since I haven’t heard their other, later releases, it’s kind of an obstacle to describe it in relation to one another. But in regards to the album as such it is something that keeps you stunned, and motivated to seek out what comes next. Led Er Est have made an impression with this, first release. I weren’t too interested or thrilled to be listening to their music before, but this album prooves me wrong.

Well worth a buy from Mannequin Records now that they’ve re-released it. Buy it here. Listen to the album in full down below, to make up your own mind about it.

 

 

Reviews: Multiple Man – New Metal, V/A – Strategies Against The Body Vol. 2

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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.

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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.

SinceGhoul” 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.

[13th] December: Acapulco City Hunters – Chaser

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Acapulco. A Mexican municipality but mainly a city, with as many as 234 communities—the most populous being Acapulco itself—with 673 479 inhabitants as of 2010, 85,25% of the people reside in the city. When counting the most populous cities except the main one, which are: Xaltianguis, Kilómetro 30, Tres Palos, San Pedro las Playas, Amatillo—the population combined account for 3,25% of the whole municipality, making it 25857 inhabitants in total, one starts to wonder where the rest of the 11,5% have gone. Where are the other cities? Are there smaller towns, considering there are so many communities? Questions remained unanswered. Here are when Acapulco City Hunters come in – it seems like they’re looking for an answer to that question. Maybe they’re straying away, in metaphors and synonyms, but they’re probably concerned.

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Or maybe, just maybe – we’ve been tricked by these con-artists. Making us think of Mexico as the main inspiration for their name, specifically related to the aforementioned questions, but it can also mean “Goin’ to Acapulco“—a track from “Dylan Basement Tapes” (1976), and I paraphrase from an outtake from Sid Griffin’s book “Million Dollar Bash” – from the source Shelton, Robert (1986)—music-journalist Clinton Heylin commented on its sexual innuendo: …featuring the usual debauched narrator, rambunctious harmonies, and euphemistic ribaldry according to Wikipedia. We can see how both sexual innuendos are fitted in a musical environment, influenced or not by either Sid Griffin’s book, Basement Tapes, or Mexico’s ‘lost’ cities and/or communities. A lot of the topics seem to suggest a strong influence of either everything – or simply one of the things listed above.

It’s interesting to note how Acapulco City Hunters is in plural, though other things like ‘his’ patchwork blog “Cosmic Beam“—suggests otherwise. Maybe since the Facebook-page is categorized as a “Community“, rather than an Artist-page, could reveal certain other possible theories. Pluralis it is because it suits the influences for ‘his’ project. If you get the reference we’re trying to make here, you’ve got a good sense of detail. The music-making dates back two years, from when he released “Haunted Bombai“—later to have a remix of the song by “DYSWIL“—filmed by Thomas Skrobek. Apparently a collective (now defunct?) named: “Negative Beat“. One of the actors’ names (Juliette Mellard) suggest that it really is a project born and based in France—collecting individual influences elsewhere.

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He’s also done a good rendition of; Marianne Faithfull‘s “Broken English“, originally released on LP in the UK 1979, via Island Records—now a sub-division to Universal Music Group. Though we’re not enthusiasts of Marianne’s intonation – we respect and understand such an immense contribution to England’s—and the world’s—music-life that she, and her discography have revealed throughout the years. With added minimalist synthesizers and a stripped-down not as extravagant atmosphere, Acapulco City Hunters make me like “Broken English“, and take the song for what it is – albeit in a completely new way. We must say that nothing beats an original, not even an original you’re not so delighted to hear in the first place, but they do a perfectly okay effort. We’re sorry to say that the bleep-synthesizer sound is too loud, which takes away part of the experience of listening.

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Now I won’t go any further into his discography, more than note that I have written about the split he did with Luminance, titled “The Cold Rush“. Sure, most of it sounds alike when listening through once in a while, but there are certain characteristics that Acapulco City Hunters had developed—that I heard when I had listened to it for a while. We prefer when he doesn’t overcharge on his ethnic vibes. When he keeps it nice and tidy, melodically ambitious and switches between different modes of electronica – is when he’s at his peak. This was exactly what he did with that release. Ironically enough he sings about evolution in “Magdalena” and evolved he has—at least musically. Recently, he also was featured in a track he did together with Luminance—on the “The Broken Window Theory“—a newly released compilation on Wool-E Records.

For Ljudkalendern he gives us, on the 13th December, unfortunately with a delayed article, a song titled “Chaser” – which might actually be the musical hunt for Acapulco. It seems to be something defining him, at the same time cranking up the tempo to maximum—making way for a spastic and erratic synthesizer-driven track. It’s a newly produced song for the purpose of this non-commercial collection – not compilation. We hope that you’ll take a bit of his musical concept with you in your thoughts after you’ve heard it—as delicate as it is forceful.

[10th|11th] December: Kord & German Army

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Odd coincidences arise when you’ve got so little time to assemble a non-commercial collection like Ljudkalendern. Picking two opposites that in no way resemble the other, then you know that it’s something fate intended. It was by no means planned in complete detail ahead of time. Because I had no time I missed the opportunity to showcase to you a track for the 11th December, I’ve had to combine yesterday’s—with today’s exclusive premiere. You got to stream the first song ahead of time, before an article was to be published. So you already know that Kord (Johan Sturesson) got his time in the limelight prior to this article being written, contributing with a humorous yet ambitious piece of synth-pop venture—leaving no time at all, to impress the author, as well as the listeners.

Since we’re running out of time, before the 12th December is about to be set, we introduce to you: Germany Army—post-Tassili Plateau—stronger and odder than before. Welcomed out of the swamps where they’ve resided for revitalization, before launching a miniature drone, transmitting sound bytes to enthrall, or disperse your mind once again. Still nobody knows if they are for real or just a product of your own self-delusion. Their donation to Ljudkalendern is titled; “Life, Debt” which is a gloomy marshland of sound; where humans go to escape civilization. It’s back to how it once were—in tune with mother nature, in a rather decayed, manner. When interpreted by us, the title of the song becomes a metaphor for how you’re owing German Army your life, and your indebtedness to them. We on the other hand feel like we owe them a proper showcase since their masterful album “Last Language“—one of their best efforts.

Poem(s):

Who’s at your side,
to for you provide
It’s Johnny!
Who’s Johnny?

/

For the army,
do everything
For the army,
don’t be smarmy

This is a special and fated release, due to lack of time. 10th and 11th December in one article. Feel how you move from a spaced out adventurous story, to a draining hazy experience in the midst of a huge prairie pothole—bordering Canada, America’s own North and South Dakota, as well as Minnesota and Iowa—you’re screwed. Take the aforementioned text as a hint, German Army, I might’ve given you a concept for a follow-up to Tassili Plateau.

[7th] December: Conspiracy Coven – Plague

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Things mustn’t happen for a Sunday to be exciting. It’s not the excitement that makes for a good Sunday—it’s the ability to relax from a hard weeks work. Whether you enjoy it or find it to be a day where nothing materializes, it’s still one of the most important days in our opinion. You can make much of it if you only wanted. We’ve invited Conspiracy Coven to participate in hindering this night from entering the next day, an even worse one called: Monday. Being an anonymous solo-project which leaves no trails for investigation—we’d rather not anyway—make it even more of a fascination—in sound. His first album “Dark Disco“, a five-tracked mini-album have not yet sold out the twenty limited edition copies of a cassette well-worth buying. So we’ll push for this release here and make you buy it because it lends more funds for him to continue making his music. You might have noted that it’s somewhere in between minimal synth and post-punk, though not a regular streamlined project as it holds a layer of nicely crafted analog synthesizer. A simplified and minimalistic approach with tendencies to whirl out into a planned happenstance. Not to mention how irregular synthesizer melodies are smashed together by an analogue drum-machine.

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We must admit that some of the vocals on the release sound rather cheesy, but in an intelligible way. This son of Norway have just put out his first release a few months ago so cut him some slack. He’s still developing his sound into what came to be a ragbag of different influences, plus ways to create music in which other artists and groups fall short. For Ljudkalendern he’s created a completely different track—from what he usually puts out. It’s in a whole different class and style, putting an end to the cheesy interior of his otherwise promising sound—making it even more intense and dark. There’s some kind of electronic body music peeking out of his energetic minimal synth, minimal wave sound which he’s constructed for this non-commercial collection. A newly produced track called “Plague“, featuring darker tones in his voice and a more spastic, erratic atmosphere which fills you with uncertainty. Maybe not as predictable as other tracks in our fair opinion. You’ll be able to stream this song exclusively as a part of Ljudkalendern—for the 7th of December.

Poem:

Head down into your conscience,
for a new reality of unbridled brutality
Re-wire your synapses,
until your brain collapses

No more questions shall be asked. Just let it sink into your mind and make his sound a spiritual protection. We’re in a meta-physical state over-viewing our puny selves. Shape up and settle down, because your savior is here, he will shield you against inadequacy. Here’s for a new form of Conspiracy Coven, for the 7th December, exclusively for your listening pleasure (or displeasure): “Plague“. Next up is the 8th of December, a dull Monday where you’ll need another track. You’ll have to wait.