Label: Artoffact Records
When a band chooses to make music for the underground, most times they play it safe by sticking to one or two genres and then slowly branching out over several releases. Sweden’s duo of Oscar Holter and Henrik Backstrom (Necro Facility) have always taken a much different approach: You are hit with killer tracks from a half-dozen angles and are left thinking ‘What on Earth was that? But I LOVE it!’
Debuting in 2005 with The Black Paintings, these two young men made waves in the Stockholm scene with their experimental, part Industrial part New Wave sound but were not taken as seriously as other acts because their experimental leanings were not quite like anything else at the time. 2007 saw the release of The Room, which set underground radio and certain clubs in Europe ablaze but didn’t progress terribly far beyond those connoisseurs already in the know. The fusion of old school Wave with newer genres like Electro, TBM, and Synthpop showed serious promise even as the band simply vanished. Perhaps they were simply ahead of their time and a victim of what was popular in Sweden at that moment. Both men continued working on productions of other bands’ albums and stayed in contact with each other but many scenesters simply forgot about them over time. Late in 2010 they reappeared as Necro Facility and helped Covenant create the smash single “Lightbringer”, reintroducing their odd sounds to the younger, slightly more modern (and certainly more spoiled) club goers worldwide. Recently they have released their third and most triumphant album, Wintermute.
To say this album is amazing is a bit of a misnomer. This should launch them into serious album of the year discussions and open the door to conquering North and South American clubs for people who didn’t know them before while making good on all their early potential buzz. The whole experience is simply impossible to pigeonhole because of the line-blurring sounds inherent not only over the course of the album, but even within each self-contained and seriously off-kilter track individually. While many bands that take the experimental musical route end up with a beautiful [sounding] mess, Necro Facility have also appropriately shown an inherent production ability that keeps this album tightly contained within itself and true to a core feeling. Wintermute feels as cohesive emotionally as it does foreign sonically.
“You Want It” opens the album in powerful fashion with a Dark/Harsh Electro track with harmonious vocal hooks, while “Fall Apart” stands out for its Rock influences laced with a nice EBM beat that opens up even more crossover potential. “Waiting For The Snow” slows you way down to an almost Ambient crawl that fans of Displacer and Somatic Responses will drool over, then “Ignite” does just that as it fuses Electro-Rock guitar with melodic Synthpop layering that soars and tops out with grating Metal vocals to create something epic. My personal favorite track, the instant-club legend “Supposed”, finds a way to seamlessly blend TBM, sugary 90’s Wavepop, and modern club Electro in a way rarely heard while showing the duos’ vocal mastery from highest to lowest register. The album closes out with “All That You Take”, a tear-inducing love ballad that recalls early VNV Nation in its emotional complexity.
The problem for me as a reviewer and as a fan is that no words can do them justice. It isn’t even a matter of whether potential fans will like this or not; No amount of genre comparisons or name dropping accurately reflect any of the nuance and uniqueness that this album actually sounds like. You really have to hear it for yourself and make your own judgments on whether it works for you or not. Wintermute is at one time both harsh and beautiful, club-ready and stereo-friendly, and from what I have been told crushing in their live shows. While being bold and uncomfortable is always a danger, Necro Facility have delivered and if you are a fan of all things Electronica you would be missing out on a must-own if you don’t snag this immediately.
For fans of: Leather Strip, SITD, Rotersand, Covenant, Vomito Negro,Cassandra Complex, Method Cell, Assemblage 23, Ambassador 21, Common Man Down, And One, Aesthetic Perfection, Prometheus Burning, Plasmodivm, Din [A] Tod
Must have tracks: “You Want It” “Do You Feel The Same?” “Fall Apart” “Waiting For The Snow” “Ignite” “Supposed”
- You Want It
- Do You Feel The Same?
- Fall Apart
- Waiting For The Snow
- All That You Take
In 2009, the world was treated to an interesting club sound courtesy of Chainreactor titled X-tinction. Several live festival spots and opening gigs across Europe followed, and word started to spread about the dance floor filling hits creeping onto playlists worldwide. Recently released on Pronoize is the second album Insomniac, which continues the right where they left off. A case can be made that every track, because it is designed primarily for club play only and contains pure (if a bit repetitive) energy, make this an instant choice for DJ’s looking for new material to spin in their rotations this year. Tracks like “Locked In”, with its Powernoise beats and the thumping TBM smash “Pressure And Pain” secure Chainreactor an instant fanbase and should garner solid play and a long shelf life this year and perhaps for years to come.
Having said that, in my humble opinion there just wasn’t quite enough variety in either beat structure or BPM hooks to set this apart from similar bands. The album is above-average for this genre but didn’t have that extra oomph to make it a must-have for newer (and pickier) Electro fans. Die-hard club goers who live to stomp to more established acts like Soman and S.A.M will most certainly disagree and will flock to this album. As far as progress goes, Chainreactor have created a strong club album in Insomniac and I expect them to explode into an even bigger force live and in studio in the very near future.
For fans of: X-Rx, Soman, Straftanz, Distatix!, S.A.M., Incubite, Faderhead
Must have tracks: “Der Wahre Alptraum” “Locked In” “Pressure And Pain” “Misanthrop” “Control” “Dystopia (Vanquished by Incubite)” “Misanthrop (Isolated by Xotox)”
1.Genau Hier! Genau Jetzt! (Intro)
3.Der Wahre Alptraum
6.Pressure And Pain
7.The Missing Piece
13.Dystopia (Vanquished by Incubite)
14.Pressure And Pain (Remix by X-Rx)
15.Misanthrop (Isolated by Xotox)
16.Dystopia (Suicide Remix by [Organic Cage])
Having played with a who’s who of modern dark Electro masters while on tour and releasing a handful of albums in Europe since 2001, Centhron have steadily gained a fanbase while steadily expanding their craft, and the recently released club album Dominator should finally get them massive breakout appeal here in the U.S. “Leitwolf” starts the album off with a melodic, club-directed Terror track that has much in common with the peak heydey of acts like Suicide Commando, Leather Strip and Agonoize, while “Gang Bang Dolly fuses TBM, Terror and Powernoise into a club hit that is equal parts kinky and creepy and should become a massive worldwide breakout track. “Kind Des Wehrmuts” shows off a slower but no less brutal track that I liken to Wyndtarge, and the title track “Dominator” will drag you (willingly or not) back to the pits of dark dance floors worldwide.
The biggest (and practically only) drawback to me was the distorted vocalization. Like most bands in the endless Terror genres, Centhron has gone with heavily voxed and distorted vocals. Normally this standard practice works well for both the material and for the fans, but in rare cases this style actually holds back a band slightly. I believe this is the case here. The reason I say this is that lyrically, the tracks are truly unique and disturbing- when I can understand them. Instead of taking the easy way out by writing nonsense like other club bands, most songs on the album have intriguing stories to them, which imo are completely destroyed by the choice of distortion. With other bands choosing to clean up their vocals lately (VAC, Die Sektor and others come to mind) what should have been a minor flaw became a major distraction to my ears, made all the more disappointing by the fact that everything else was so tightly produced and nearing perfection.
As it stands, if you are more interested in catchy club hits than worrying about being truly frightened, then Dominator is a must-have. Dark DJ types in particular should vehemently disagree with me and will no doubt be spinning the majority of the tracks all year for instant floor fillers. As for you more discerning (and picky) fans, when you spin this keep your ears focused and your mind open and you’ll be rewarded with a bit more depth than you might think as you stomp up a storm.
For fans of: X-Fusion, Wynardtage, Nurzery [Rhymes], Suicide Commando, Agonoize, Alien Vampires, :Wumpscut
Must have tracks: “Leitwolf” “666” “Gang Bang Dolly” “Atomschlag” “Kind Des Wehrmuts” “Dominator” “Slave”
- Gang Bang Dolly
- Die Stalinorgeln
- So Sterbe Ich
- Kind Des Wehrmuts
Label: Metropolis Records
Madison, Wisconsin (and the greater Midwest in general) is home to a thriving hotbed of loud, aggressive Electronica, and Matt Fanale (aka Caustic) has been a key player in this consistency. I have been a hardcore fanatic of his offbeat, brash and often overlooked brand of Industrial since a local DJ spun 2006’s Unicorns, Kittens and Shit. Booze Up and Riot (2007) , This Is Jizzcore! (2009) and And You Will Know Me By the Trail of Vomit (2010) have grown in complexity and have consistently been better than similar albums by more established acts but have gone largely unnoticed by many due to the humor displayed within. He makes the music he wants to make (generally, the weirder the better) yet people still find it odd that he is one of the most musically knowledgeable and brutally honest artists in this scene and beyond. He takes shots at his peers consistently, skewering the seriousness and simple mistakes of any musician equally. There is nothing sacred in the underground, and why should there be? He has also been willing to engage in pointed debates and what could be called an education of his growing legion of online fans. Not to mention, Caustic’s now legendary live performances and antics have been rivaled only by GWAR, and that’s only because they have a bigger budget. Many ignorant critics have mistaken Matt’s constant self-deprecation (or is that defecation?) and harsh high school humor as the end all, be-all of this project while ignoring the inconvenient truth:Caustic also makes damn good (if a bit undefinable) music. All kidding aside, let’s face facts, no one could turn down the allure of a golden vagina, now could they?
Caustic has hovered like an insect carrying an incurable disease on the fringes of a bigger Industrial field since the beginning, and his [annoying? hardworking?] persistence finally infected Metropolis Records, who apparently caved into the pressure of us vocal minority and signed him. The Golden Vagina Of Fame and Profit was recently released, and like a fist full of fingers, the fifth is the charm. If being an Industrial artist is as Midwestern as say, burlesque and baseball, this album is a home run (that may or may not linger a wee bit too long on second and third bases.)
“666 On The Crucifix” opens this game with a club-tested TBM beat that is easily Caustic’s most well-produced track yet and sets the tone for the whole experience. “Hiroshima Burn” is reminiscent of early Powernoize Combichrist, while “Darling Nicky’s Gnarly Dicking” will compel you into an Electro-stomp sweat while you crave a cold shower [*Nicky not included.] Like all good pole dancers and golden glove winners, though, Caustic has some all-star artists to back his ass up this go round. Unwoman is ironically more than woman enough on the Synthpop lament “Orchid”, while Bitch Brigade adds sultry sweet-and-sour vocals on the club smash “Generate Chaos.” A surprise return from Ned Kirby of Stromkern yields much appreciated hip-hop flavoring to “Chum The Waters”, and the insanity finally ends with “White Knuckle Head Fuck”, a supremely personal, club-savvy Industrial shout-off between Caustic and Faderhead that is as much heart wrenching as it is boot crunching.
In the end Caustic busts both kinds of balls in style, puts up an exclamation point in the form of a middle finger on his win, and justifies his long-overdue début in the big leagues known as Metropolis Records. You could fork over the cash to The Golden Vagina of Fame and Profit and be supremely satisfied, or you could be a lame, uptight hater and attempt to ignore one of the best albums so far this year. Don’t be a hater.
Must have tracks: “666 On The Crucifix” “Hiroshima Burn” “Darling Nicky’s Gnarly Dicking” “Generate Chaos (Feat. Bitch Brigade)” “Chum The Waters (Feat. Ned Kirby)” “Floor Whore Disco” “White Knuckle Head Fuck (Feat. Faderhead)”
For fans of: Ayria, Prometheus Burning, Manufactura, Everything Goes Cold, Northborne, The Dark Clan, Evil Cowards
666 On The Crucifix
I Play Computer!
Darling Nicky’s Gnarly Dicking
Generate Chaos (Feat. Bitch Brigade)
Chum The Waters (Feat. Ned Kirby)
Floor Whore Disco
White Knuckle Head Fuck (Feat. Faderhead)
Label: Caustic Records
There are many elements of great music that most people take completely for granted because when these elements are utilized correctly they feed into the background of a solid song. Examples include melody, backing beats, and clean vocals. Add in being able to shatter genres seamlessly and sing fluently in multiple languages while staying true to a core set of Electro principles and you have the recipe for something amazing. Spain’s Plasmodivm accomplished all this and more in his sophomore effort, The Post-Modern Prometheus, available today on Caustic Records.
Sandro Veras, the man who is Plasmodivm, started writing tunes back in 1999. He was able to shop a complete demo around in late 2006, and made a major label debut on Caustic Records with Paradise Under Fire in 2008. This is one of the most interesting albums you have probably never heard and represents a brilliant signing for the label. Adding an emphasis on melody, non-standard song structure and clean bi-lingual vocals, The Post-Modern Prometheus is nothing short of triumphant.
There is nothing to fairly compare this album to since the emphasis on melody within various Dark Electro structures is almost nonexistent in his peers as of late. There is a real sense not only of a handful of club-oriented IDM and Terror EBM tracks but also turns of utter creepy ambience, inwardly leaning hostile reflections in the lyrics, and a vague and haunting sense of technology gone wrong weaved throughout the majority of the album. It is completely post-modern in the most literal definition of the word and proves that any Electro album has the potential to become a solid work of sonic artistry.
The album opens with the statement “I Have Killed a Man”, an EBM-tinged Terror-like track meant to challenge the current shallowness of dance-floors with an unbelievably soaring vocal chorus that drives this into Experimental Industrial territory and sets the stage for the rest of the album. “Dead Inside” turns “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” into hellish self-reflection and confessions of guilt, while “Post-Modern/Post-Human” is a more recognizable technology-layered club hit that is reminiscent of early Assemblage 23. The album closes out with “Requiem (Missa Pro Defunctis)”, a powerhouse melody-based track that jumps back and forth between IDM, Terror, and Ambient while leaving you feeling completely disoriented, uncomfortable and eventually downright paranoid. When the experience is over you would be hard-pressed not to throw the album right back in the stereo though.
I find it difficult to think of anything wrong with this album, seeing as it is on such another level artistically from standard club fare. Tracks that club goers will enjoy may not be easy to dance to due to the unusual staccato beat structures, and tracks that are best for a home or party setting may prove too high-brow for an average Electro fan. If anything the most condemning thing I can say is many people just won’t “get it.” This is not like anything you have heard before and it may take a few spins to really appreciate the album as a whole, but you most certainly will be stomping your butt off the whole time and there is enough here for ambitious DJs to rule the turntables with for a long, long time. The Post-Modern Prometheus is a call to the dark and bizarre in all of us and an absolute MUST for any open-minded fan of Electro works.
Must have tracks: “I Have Killed a Man” “Dead Inside” “Via Negativa” “Post-Modern/Post-Human” “High-Speed Collision” “Smashing White Pills” “A New Beginning” “Requiem (Missa Pro Defunctis)”
For fans of: Hocico, Prometheus Burning, ESA, Wynardtage, X-Fusion, Decoded Feedback, C-Drone-Defect, Assemblage 23, Any Dark Electro or IDM band
1. I Have Killed A Man
2. Instinto Homicida
4. Dead Inside
5. Via Negativa
6. Unbreakable Will
8. The Beginning Of My End
9. The Fear Of Being Alive
11.Smashing White Pills
12.A New Beginning
14.Requiem (Missa Pro Defunctis)
Label: WTII Records
Some bands come out of nowhere and feel like they’ve always been around in a particular style even though they are brand new. Such is the case for emerging British Synthpop/Futurepop crossover act Method Cell. The duo debuted first with “Scissors EP” which garnered a bit of club play in Europe and led to the full-blown album “Curse Of A Modern Age” becoming available in the United States on WTII Records. Blending catchy club hooks, unique electro layers, and downright fierce lyrics this album feels right at home in any Goth/Industrial DJ club or radio program.
The party gets started immediately on the introverted club hit “Push”, reminding us all we can do better than what we are now. I noticed immediately that lyrically this band is head and shoulders above many of their peers in terms of thought-provoking depth, most especially for a club-oriented project. “Call It Cutting” is another Electro-thumping club number but it goes in the opposite direction lyrically and feels like it’s taking aim at ‘The Scene’. It also boasts the best earworm on the album that gets you hooked so it would make a great underground radio track. Other notable tracks include the slower Darkwave-infused “Shout Out (The Curse Part II)”, the anti-party dance-floor smash “Scissors”, and the utterly vicious, 4-to-the-floor “Drop Dead.”
The irony here is that because this debut is so standard, it is almost hard to distinguish this group from more established acts in a club setting. While what is here is well above-average in terms of lyrics and vocals they have yet to find a signature sound in terms of the electronics. Fans of general Electro will call this a must have but it likely won’t bring new fans to the genres who are not already familiar with other bands. I look at this with extreme excitement, however, in that there is a ton of potential for this project and lots of room for experimentation and evolution. DJ types should also make this an instant priority to add some new life to their rotations Stateside. Perhaps the Curse Of A Modern Age is being an introvert?
Must have tracks: “Push” “Call It Cutting” “Shout Out (The Curse Part II)” “Scissors” “Conviction (RUSH_ v2)” “Drop Dead” “Curse Of A Modern Age (Coma Mix)”
For fans of: VNV Nation, Seabound, Assemblage 23, System Syn, And One, Frozen Plasma, Client, Rotersand, Imperative Reaction, Ashbury Heights
2.Call It Cutting
3.Curse Of A Modern Age
4.Blame Me (The Curse Part I)
5.Shout Out (The Curse Part II)
11.Call It Cutting (Razorblade Mix)
12.Curse Of A Modern Age (Coma Mix)
Label: Bit Riot Records
One thing that has been missing from recent underground bands is energy. Not just in terms of apparent programming shortfalls but also a distinct lack of passion in regards to lyrical intonations and live instrumentation. Too many bands fall into a habit of thinking that just because a song has some dance-floor potential it can be half-assed and people will automatically like it. This is absolutely not so with the U.K.’s Phil Barry (of Cubanate fame) and his new project Be My Enemy. Released late last fall on Bit Riot Records is the crushing debut The New Wave. Blending live guitar shreds reminiscent of the early glory days of Industrial with modernized Electronica synth work and Punk Rock vocal aesthetics, this band wants to let you know that attitude and aggressive energy is the calling card. This is not your daddy’s (or your kid’s) Rock And Roll- it’s something far more adventurous and ultimately satisfying.
The opening track “The New Wave” shows both a flair for Wave electronics and the punishing (yet strangely refreshing) vocal style. The fact that you can understand the lyrics because the vocals are not too overly voxed or heavily distorted helps set them apart from peers as well. “Helter Skelter” has arguably the best electronic knob-fiddling melodies in the bunch to go with a decimating Industrial club beat that needs to be blasted on the dance circuit worldwide as often and loud as possible. Tracks like “Wasted Life” and “Ghost In The Machine” have Techno like choruses threaded underneath wild Punk guitars and vicious Speedcore vocals to give interesting depth to the package. The blending of so many genres and styles (Metal, Glitch, Darkwave, Punk, Techno, etc.) into one frenzied project makes this album take on the feel of a live concert experience and vault this into must-have status.
With every kind of praise there is invariably the reverse argument and this album is no different. Every track, although not sounding too much like any other, seemed a tad compositionally safe on later spins. The pounding beats and screeching guitar riffs actually became a little stale by the end of the disc for me, which is a crying shame since the whole experience is emotionally raw and genuine all the way through. While everything is executed brilliantly I truly feel like Barry could have done MORE than what was presented. In my opinion a few more layered electronic facets could have been explored and we’d still have an interesting album but instead he took a known path to success. Of course I’m being critical but knowing the band has latent talent to begin with sets the bar higher right from the get go in the mind of potential fans. What is here is great but personally I was left wanting a tad bit more variety.
Clocking in under an hour seems a bit short by today’s album running time standards, until you realize this album is full force and full volume the entire running time. No slow songs, no breathers, just full on aural assault that makes it hard it to make it through the album in one go even for someone who enjoys Metal. While I hate to nit-pick, this album became almost too much to handle even in its lessened dosage, which may not keep a picky fan’s attention purely due to being overwhelmed. Perhaps it would have served Be My Enemy well to have taken a track or two to slow down at some point, if only to break up the emotional monotony of being fast-and-angry the entire time, although fans of excess energy will go berserk.
In hindsight, I am disappointed this release became buried in the shuffle with the other late-year releases of 2010 because it should easily have made a ton more best-of lists. It is a shining example of the Nu Metal and Techno Industrial crossover bands that have gained popularity in recent years and sets Be My Enemy as a new tour-de-force to keep an eye and ear on. This album will appeal to all sorts of fans of all sorts of dark genres and has enough singles that you DJ’s can spice up an Industrial dance night with. I can’t stress enough how this is a must for anyone who enjoys similar bands. Grab your toughest stompy boots and thickest earplugs and prepare for The New Wave of sonic dominance.
Must have tracks: “The New Wave” “Helter Skelter” “Death Drive” “Wasted Life” “All American Psycho” “Ghost In The Machine” “HARRP”
For fans of: Angelspit, Jesus On Extasy, Eisbrecher, FGFC820, Cyanotic, Dope Stars Inc., Aesthetic Perfection, C-Drone-Defect, Zeromancer, Acumen Nation, Uberbyte, Spetznaz, S.A.M.
1.The New Wave
3.Break Your Body
7.All American Psycho
8.Start The Revoloution
9.Ghost In The Machine
Label: Artoffact Records
Novelist, graphic artist and Electronica connoisseur Wade Anderson has been a staple in Toronto, Canada’s Industrial scene for many years but may not be as well-known by casual fans and non-insiders. However, his musical project Prospero has been creating strange soundscapes and pushing aural limits for a while now. Debuting with A Storm Is Coming EP in 2003 it was clear from the get-go that Prospero was not your typical Experimental Industrial project. The use of layered soundscapes, naturally occurring noises and oddly juxtaposed natural melodies was a year or two ahead of its time in terms of mass popularity within a whole subgenre of Ambient music that is possibly not even peaking now.
2004 saw the release of both Spreading The Infection and Fibonacci via Sub.Session.Media. The former was a massive 2-CD set that showcased collaborations with and remixes from such big names in Industrial like Displacer, Battery Cage, Xorcist and Manufactura; While the latter album was Prospero’s first solo venture that was more focused on the Ambient side of electronic layering and musical progression. Eventually signing to Artoffact Records, Prospero released Folie A Deux (The Elements and The Madness) in 2008. [As a personal side-note the album didn’t get nearly enough love and is a MUST own for anyone interested in Experimental Industrial, if only because of its use of Tribal rhythms and folksy melodies matched with hardcore Industrial wasteland noises and the vicious guest turns by Ayria, Battery Cage and Terrorfakt.] This second album showed a unique blending of ancient musical instrumentation and basic melody with a deep cadre of post-Industrial pad work.
On February 8th 2011, Prospero returns once again on Artoffact Records with Turning Point. This third full-length album is again unlike anything he has put out before and may live up to its billing as a front-runner for most innovative album of the year. Unlike other bands of this style, Prospero focuses heavily on actual music and organic sound-clips and not a standardized prefabricated format. I cannot accurately describe the difference except to say the whole project feels more alive with coherency and therefore has stronger appeal as an intricate listening experience. Tracks that stand out to me may not stand out to others and vice versa because each track is a completely different world than the last. For the thinking listener there is something for you here, guaranteed.
“Taiko’s Prophet” combines Oriental-inspired string harmonies with bass-heavy thudding drums and a constantly shifting rhythm scheme that makes this an instant classic that begs to be used in a Hollywood film. “Fallen Angel” and “Hunter” show off some interesting Punk Rock guitar riffs that give the airy ambience and somewhat flat synth work underneath a very dirty Industrial feeling, while “Louisiana Voodoo” creates a very fog-like nature with the gritty beats and squealing guitar that make it feel like a swampy nightmare. Every single track gets more complex and more bizarre the longer and more often you listen to it. Also of note is “(introduction to my) Discipline”, a re-worked instrumental prequel to Ayria’s guest track “Discipline” off Folie A Deux.
Besides the outstanding new tracks, the other aspects to this album are the remixes. The infamous (and thought to be defunct!) Industrial powerhouse Xorcist takes the title track and constructs eight-and-a-half minutes of pure Electronic Hell from the point of view of Artificial Intelligence. “Turning Point (Xorcist Remix)” fuses experimental Industrial, Powernoise, pure Ambient, soaring Melodic Rock, and futuristic IDM to create something extremely movie-like and is by far and away my favorite track on this album. The only thing that bothers me is it is probably too long for most underground radio but is too brilliant to be edited in any fair measure. Another native Toronto band also makes a memorable impression with “Extinct (Mara’s Torment Remix)”, a bubbling, seething Terror track that easily could be used in a horror movie of some kind more for its creepy subtleness and perceived ambience. They set the sounds and the listener fills in the gaps in their own imagination. The album closes out with “Fallen Angel (Guidestone Remix)”, a much more Metal-tinged version of the original.
The whole album could be summed up with one sentiment: Guitar work. Added to the already intricate Ambience that Prospero is known for there is more emphasis added to guitar chords and simple but effective riffs. Every track has been crafted in such a way that the guitars actually feel more like alien sounds and less like an instrument. The only other artist I can think of that sounds remotely like what Prospero is doing here is Andy Summers, which is high praise indeed for any Electronica project. Prospero has a solid sound that certainly deserves more exposure and the album should be the Turning Point in his popularity. Preorder this now if you need something awesome to listen to this winter and beyond.
Must have tracks: “Taiko’s Prophet” “Hunter” “Louisiana Voodoo” “Growth And Decay” “Taiko’s Prophet (Fractured Remix)” “Turning Point (Xorcist Remix)” “Extinct (Mara’s Torment Remix)” “Fallen Angel (Guidestone Remix)”
For fans of: ESA, Totakeke, Negative Format, Sebastian Komor, Juno Reactor, Architect, PAL, Empty, Stendeck, Access To Arasaka
- Turning Point
- Taiko’s Prophet
- Fallen Angel
- (introduction to my) Discipline
- Louisiana Voodoo
- Chemical Plague
- Growth And Decay
- Taiko’s Prophet (Fractured Remix)
- Turning Point (Xorcist Remix)
- Fallen Angel (Witchmore Mix by V Combust)
- Extinct (Mara’s Torment Remix)
- Fallen Angel (Guidestone Remix)
Label: Artoffact Records
In a world where fusion bands have become all the rage and genre-defying is the only way to get popular anymore, Sweden’s Alice In Videoland have got a knack. Combining 1980’s New Wave and Synthpop sentiments with lyrics more akin to Grunge and Post-Punk and putting crazy energy into their infamous live shows they have amassed a cult-like following. Debuting with Maiden Voyage in 2003 there was something infectious about their enthusiasm and the legend of their wild live shows grew, as did the excitement of fans wanting to see the apex of this project. Continuing to grow sonically at a steady pace they released Outrageous! (2005) and She’s A Machine! (2008). None of these albums quite got the recognition they deserved but kept appeasing the rabid fans.
Released late last year in Europe and now available here in the United States is A Million Thoughts And They’re All About You on Artoffact Records. This is a pretty sizeable evolution in sound and overall cohesiveness and cements them from decent potential to a must-hear act. The album opens with Synthpop/New Wave fusion lament “Take Me With You”, which highlights their new production polish and some seriously sultry vocals. The party really gets going on the single, “Spaceship”-a raunchy hormones-and-substances dance floor crusher that could easily become the anthem for partygoers worldwide all year. Lookout, Lady Gaga, because Alice is here to stay and they will blow you off the stage honey! “Something New” and “In A Band” are more simple, radio friendly Rock anthems that are probably meant to be played and enjoyed live but will fill empty DJ rotations regardless. The best gem on this raucous set for me was “Bender”-one of the sharpest hook-laden, Hip-Hop flavored Electro numbers I’ve heard in many years. It will become instantly stuck in your head and you’ll be singing about butts and sexual frustration for days. Trust me when I say the excess tension is almost too much of a good thing.
With any album that goes for broke in a particular direction there are sure to be stumbles too. “Last Lover” was a bit too shallow lyrically for my tastes even though the music is solid, but ironically it may be sanitized enough to get played on the radio instead of some of the “better” tracks. The cover of Nena Cherry’s “Buffalo Stance”, while well executed, actually felt a bit, I don’t know, sacrilegious to me. Personally, I liked it well enough but bigger fans of the original probably will not. The strangest song on the album without a doubt is “Spaceship (The At Least Somewhat Censored Remix).” I’m not sure why exactly the band tried to edit this (I will assume to get it into radio-play territory) but it’s so close to the original that the minor lyrical edits shouldn’t make any difference to any uptight execs that wouldn’t have the balls to play it anyway. In my opinion, the band should just shop the original around and hope for the best, but you should listen to both versions for yourselves to judge.
In the end, this is a huge leap forward stylistically and a super-sexy dance album that should stick around near the top of DJ lists the whole year. Once again, Alice In Videoland is willing to push the envelope (and buttons!) of both genres and lyrics to be noticed stateside and it pays off in my mind. There isn’t anything overly complicated or ambitious to get in your way here so this should be considered an instant classic party disc that’s a lot of down and dirty fun. Hey all you DJ’s, I have A Million Thoughts and They’re All About You spinning this album.
Must have tracks: “Take Me With You” “Spaceship” “Something New” “In A Band” “No Matter” “Bender” “Spaceship (The At Least…Remix)” “Little Bird (100 Volt Remix)”
For fans of: Snovonne, Sleigh Bells, Mindless Self Indulgence, Tying Tiffany, Crystal Method, Faderhead
- Take Me With You
- Little Bird
- Something New
- In A Band
- No Matter
- Last Lover
- Buffalo Stance
- Spaceship (The At Least Somewhat Censored Remix)
- Little Bird (100 Volt Remix)