She Past Away, “Disko Ankisyete”

She Past Away
Disko Ankisyete

The name of She Past Away’s third album Disko Anksiyete (Turkish for “disco anxiety”) is a fiting enough title; the duo of Doruk Öztürkcan and Volkan Caner make darkwave of an appropriately gloomy cast, suitable for dancefloors and solitary listening alike. As an overture to a global audience (their first two LPs having seen recent re-releases in North America via Metropolis Records) it’s a best foot forward affair, showing off what they do well with the material sequenced to solid effect.

Driven by a solid electronic rhythm section, the songs on Disko Anksiyete fall squarely into the rich intersection of darkwave and goth rock. Early numbers like “Durdu Dünya” deploy guitar and bass sparingly but effectively, accenting choruses, showing up in transitions between sections and the like. It’s very straightforward playing that puts the record in a solid light, layering melodies and providing some extra momentum. Interestingly, the nature of the songs themselves often dictates how those instruments are read; the playful new-wave stylings of “La Maldad” (notable for being a track when the band switch from singing in their native Turkish to Spanish) make its twangy two-step guitar lines reminiscent of a Sigue Sigue Sputnik cut, and the bass guitar-driven four on the floor tempo of “Renksiz” brings Sisters-era Patricia Morrison to mind.

It’s easy enough to spot the band’s influences; the Bandcamp copy for the record compares them to The Sisters of Mercy and Joy Division, and they’ve covered Clan of Xymox and The Cure, but you’d work it out pretty quickly just by listening. And while the band keeps things well within the ground defined by those ur-sources, they do a reasonably good job of synthesizing it all into a whole. The title track has a nimble synth bass motor in it, but goes the road of anthemic rock melody on the chorus, underlined with a choppy bit of synth programming. “Girdap” works a similar trick in reverse, with verses that start high, then descend before breaking into wistful six string filigree and lush, mournful pads.

Records like Disko Anksiyete are always best taken on their own terms, as genre exercises that are trying to invoke and pay homage without breaking new ground. As backhanded as that sounds, it’s also the nature of working in a vein of music largely defined in decades past. She Past Away know the ropes and do their level best to bring energy and inspiration to the proceedings. Their efforts aren’t in vein and ultimately deliver an enjoyable LP with a few club contenders and a solid workrate, fit for deep genre fans and casuals alike.

Buy it.

Disko Anksiyete by She Past Away

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Tracks: June 17th, 2019

We failed to mention it a few weeks ago, but the announcement that NEWT, the drum n’ bass infused side-project of Daniel Myer and Forma Tadre’s Andreas Meyer, would be playing a set at this next year’s Planet Myer Day show in Leipzig caused a lot of chatter in our circles. While Andreas has been talking for a few yeras about the possibility of a sort of appendices release of material related to Forma Tadre’s immortal Navigator LP (witness our stanning for the record on a commentary podcast a few years back), there’s been little recent news. Said chatter turned into a full-bore roar Saturday morning with the news that a new Forma Tadre album was “30% complete”, the aforementioned Navigator companion release was “60% complete”, and that a new NEWT album was “5% complete”. It still could be a while before any of these three releases see the light of day, but the fact that one of the most underrated producers to ever work in Our Thing has so many irons in the fire is tremendous news.

No compromises. It’s Hide.

Hide, Girl On Girl
We were discussing the first tastes of Hide’s second LP, Hell Is Here, on the podcast last week but unbeknownst to us the duo had a whole other project in the works: a stand-alone 7″ via Sub Pop’s Singles Club. As a subscription only release the vinyl will likely be hard for non-members to track down, but the digital release is live. Both the A and B sides offer the sort of gripping, caustic loops and soul-shearing, patriarchy-smashing invective we’ve come to expect from one of the most vital bands going today.
Girl on Girl by HIDE

Grendel, “Brace the Storm”
In case you haven’t been paying close attention (and if you haven’t shame on you) Grendel have spent the last couple of years evolving their sound into a new form. Melodic and layered, it takes JD Tucker’s penchant for gripping dramatics and applies them to songs that would have seemed unthinkable a decade ago. Guitars and violins? In my Grendel? It’s more likely than you think, and also, it works. We were big fans of the last record Age of the Disposable Body, and have big expectations for the new one Ascending the Abyss. In the meantime you can find this track on the tour only Brace the Storm EP.

Street Sects, “Goodbye Recidivist Road”
Street Sects’ first releases in 2014 were to be part of a “serial album”, essentially a series of five two track releases that would explore themes of alienation and economic oppression. The Gentrification series was put on hold after the first two releases while the band worked on other stuff (including last year’s incredible The Kicking Mule LP), but part III has just emerged titled Death and Disorder. The first track – streaming now on Bandcamp and embedded below – puts us in mind of our first impressions of the band; harsh, nihilistic, uncompromising. Intense as always, we’re very curious to hear what this cycle of songs will sound like when completed.
Gentrification III: Death and Displacement by Street Sects

Vlimmer, “Übertraum”
Germany’s one-man Vlimmer project is continuing its sequence of 18 (!) linked EP releases, with volumes XIII/XIV being released this week. We’re happy to offer an exclusive track from the former, which nicely showcases how Alexander Leonard Donat has been able to bend and shape both darkwave and coldwave sounds to suit individual tracks’ purposes, like”Übertraum”‘s combination of wispy ethereality and tight, rubbery rhythm. Slight Body Of Light vibes coming off this one.

She Pleasures Herself, “Private Hell (feat. Ash Code)”
We’ll admit that we’ve side-eyed She Pleasures Herself based on their name (which we are aware is a She Wants Revenge reference), but with them showing up on more and more bills we thought it was about time to check them out. Turns out they do the euro-post-punk/goth think pretty well! This particular track – a collab with the similarly inclined Ash Code – has a proper bassline and gated reverb snare if you like that. Some of the other tracks on newish album XXX lean a bit more towards electronics, might have to give the record a few spins and see how it suits us.
MD114 – SHE PLEASURES HERSELF "XXX" by Manic Depression Records

Schedule IV, “Stray”
It’s been over fifteen years since Cleopatra released one of their Unquiet Grave comps, but the timing couldn’t be better for another double-length set of tunes from lesser known, up and coming goth and related acts. Lord knows there are more than even enterprising outfits like yours truly can even hope to track, so having a clutch of them showcased at once is always helpful. We’re liking the no-frills production of this track from Detroit’s Schedule IV, which has an earthy and earnest take on the sort of forlorn mood which is good goth rock’s manna.
The Unquiet Grave 2019 by Schedule IV

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Statiqbloom, “Asphyxia”

Statiqbloom - Asphyxia


On last year’s Infinite Spectre Statiqbloom’s Fade Kainer and his new bandmate Denman C Anderson put together a suite of songs that spoke both to the hazy psychedelic murk of classic post-industrial, and that same genre’s penchant for austere and bleak electronic minimalism. While earlier LPs have definitely favoured the former sound overall, new record Asphyxia carves away textural and compositional excess, leaving behind bare sinew and bone. There’s little room for error in songs this stark and devoid of cover, but the band stick the landing, crafting full-on ambience from that same musical desolation.

The stripped down design of Asphyxia assigns a lot of the record’s heavy lifting to the rhythm programming, and that alone is enough to push the band into some new territory. The simple spiral staircase keys of “Painted Red” put its sharp and speedy drumming – of a tempo Statiqbloom rarely reach – into sharper relief. It has plenty of the dreamy, hypnotic mood we’ve come to crave from them, but it rolls past its own pads and samples with such celerity you want to call it “nimble”, an adjective that’s rarely attached to such a heavy and oppressive act.

Calling Asphyxia the most minimalist Statiqbloom release to date isn’t to imply it makes any trade-offs in terms of intensity, anger, or even the distorted, disorienting clusters of noise the project has deployed to unnerve since day one. Opener “Ceaseless” reaffirms Statiqbloom’s arresting brutality, with Kainer’s screams threading their way through a jungle of echoing, steely kicks in a manner which distinctly brings ViVIsectVI to mind. And despite the heavy focus on rhythm, they haven’t totally jetissoned up what’s worked so well for them in the past. The heavily adorned, ritualistic stomp and murk of “Eight Hearts Eight Spikes” uses swampy, miasmic production to ratchet up the dread, while “Figure Behind The Door” splits the difference, pairing a deft glass chime lead with some of the most scraping and lo-fi noise we’ve ever heard from the band.

By the time you’ve gotten to the unnervingly sparse closing track “Descent” – a song that achieves slowly dawning horror through processing of monotone vocals and rhythmic restraint – it’s clear that this is Statiqbloom’s most accomplished release. Kainer and Anderson have essentially skeletonized their music on Asphyxia, a gambit that lays bare the quality of their songs, and makes a virtue of stark austerity. Statiqbloom have always been good at being grim, but never before has their brand of industrial been so musically, atmospherically, and thematically aligned in asperity. Highly recommended.

Buy it.


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We Have a Technical 264: Get the Vibe Going

Ryan Moore, more more!

We’re putting a new spin on a classic format with this episode of the podcast. Rather that LPs, we’re picking two compilations to discuss – comps by Sub-Conscious and X-IMG, to be precise. What happens when the Puppy clique goes dub? How many different paths to techno-body music are there? We have all that, plus some previews of forthcoming LPs by Numb and Hide on We Have A Technical! You can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, or download directly or stream from Spotify or the widget down below.

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Cubanate, “Kolossus”

Armalyte Industries

New music from Cubanate comes with ungodly high expectations for industrial fans of a certain era. Marc Heal and Phil Barry have done yeoman’s work as a live festival and touring act since they reactivated for Cold Waves in 2016, but the question remained: could they recapture on record the intensity of their guitar and electronics driven material 20 years since they last cut an album together? Kolossus‘ arrival provides an answer in the affirmative, and while it certainly has the piss, vinegar and blood pumping puissance of their classic material, it also bears the mark of experience and, dare we say it, maturity.

That’s to be expected to a degree, as neither of the groups constituents has been absent from creative endeavours. Barry’s industrial-rock project Be My Enemy and recent work with Keef Baker as Word Made Flesh have shown his range as a guitarist and programmer and the material on the EP allows him some room to show that off. Where the bands classic material relied on quantized chopping and sequencing of guitar parts for machine-like riffing precision, Barry’s guitar here has a twisting, churning sounds that adds weight and power to the songs: check how his chugging riffs and long bends on the title track add scope to the tightly sequenced synthline and half-time drum part. He’s still precise where required – see the ultra-tight playing on the verse of “Missing Persons” – but overall his guitar feels alive, fluid, and dangerous throughout.

And then there’s Heal. Where his enjoyable solo debut album from 2016 The Hum was a more songwriter-driven affair with a focus on storytelling (perhaps an extension of his literary work) Kolossus finds him back in full old-testament mode, vigorously chewing his way through the EP’s five originals. When he refers to the titular wonder of the ancient world as a tomb or punches syncopated syllables home with authority on “Vortex” it’s executed with a sense of command authority. Of course he can still turn a wry observation here and there, with “Patter Recognition”‘s theme writ large on its chorus: “Only got these hands to guide you/Only got this chain to bind you”. Anger has never been the right word for him and how he delivers his lyrics. Wrath suits him better, with all the classical connotations of that word fully implied.

Kolossus is an exciting return for a legacy act of Cubanate’s stature, especially given the two decades between the release of their final album and this one. It works a strong vein of minimalism in terms of its electronics, relying on meat-and-potatoes drum and synth programming as a backbone for their blasts of pique. It’s spicy stuff, and no fan of the band’s classic output should find themselves disappointed by its application of their signature ferocity.

Buy it.

Cubanate – Kolossus by Cubanate

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Cryo, “The Fall Of Man”

Cryo - The Fall Of Man

The Fall Of Man
Progress Productions

Swedish duo Cryo are exactly the sort of band scene-specific publications like this one love to sink our teeth into. On one hand, Martin Rudefelt and Torny Gottberg’s brand of moody electro-industrial is very much the product of love for and experience within the contemporary post-industrial scene (Gottberg only became a full member of the band after having released and represented the band for several years through his Progress Productions label). On the other, each Cryo release has just enough in the way of distinct personality and Rudefelt’s songwriting quirks to ensure that their work never falls into rote genre exercise. That trend continues on new LP The Fall Of Man, which shows no ill effects from a the band taking a five year hiatus.

Cryo have excelled from their inception at working atmospheric, ghostly melodies into midtempo electro numbers, with simple but evocative synths trading off the spotlight with Rudefelt’s focused and commanding vocals. Some of The Fall Of Man feels very much of the mode they’ve worked in since 2006’s Cryogenic – production upgrades aside, the stompy kick of “Smile Forever” sits comfortably alongside their earliest work. Other elements of the LP, like ambitious closing number “Human Nature”, feel like further progressions onward from the spacey odyssey of Beyond, using its shimmering pads to yield strange, new wave chamber music.

Even when they’re playing it more conservative, Cryo are still experimenting. Check out the straightforward beat which introduces the fuzzy and, yes, almost indie rock stylings of “When You Cross The Line”. There’s more than enough warm synth ambiance to keep the strictest of rivetheads from getting huffy, but by stashing the track deep in the back of the record, Cryo make sure that we can connect the tracks themes and Rudefelt’s vocal delivery to what’s preceded it. Like a lot of things Cryo get right, this subtle bit of albumcraft affords them freedom to experiment without making a big hue and cry about it.

After such heady and far-reaching releases as Beyond and Retropia, one might be forgiven for presuming that The Fall Of Man‘s title refers to antropocene apocalypses or something similarly grandiose, but the declines it connotes are far more personal. Issues of managing depression, medication, capitalism, forced politeness, and other pedestrian hurdles are taken up, and with Rudefelt’s raspy yet ever-enunciating vocals seem simultaneously quotidian and newly alien. The yuppie 1%er diatribe of “Low Life” closes with a litany of luxury brands, their names intoned in combination as if they were the Lord’s Prayer. That ability to estrange something familiar by underscoring its overlooked otherworldliness is just the sort of refined move that have kept Cryo close to our hearts. Recommended.

The Fall Of Man by Cryo

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Tracks: June 10th, 2019

It seems weird that year is almost half-over. With the beginning of festival season (shout out to everyone hitting up WGT) and the growing list of forthcoming releases on our desk we’re starting to get the general shape of the year in terms of Our Thing, although the eclecticism of the music being produced by artists we follow and new acts we’re feeling makes pinning an identity on 2019 a bit difficult. Suffice to say that we’re super excited by what we’ve seen so far, and even moreso to see what is yet to come. Hit these Tracks for a taste.


Bustié delivering tropical horticultural fantasy.

Body of Light, “Time to Kill”
A welcome return from Body of Light, “Time to Kill” is the first taster from the Jarson brothers’ follow-up to their exceptional Let Me Go LP a few years in 2016. That album served as something of a tour of synthpop and related-styles, so we’re very intrigued by what the new track (produced by Matia from Inhalt) suggests; yeah, the melodies and lush synthwork is still there, but some stuttering samples and funky bass programming suggest some intriguing directions the LP might take. Either way, we’re in the tank for these Arizonians, bring it on Dais!
Time To Kill by Body of Light

Bustié, “Conversion To Perversion”
Bustié is a project that’s been building steam in LA for the past few years, emerging out of the dissolution of Ssleaze, and is now finally ready for their close-up with debut LP Birds Of Paradise. If you’re hip to core member Pogo Pope’s diverse but invariably seamy tastes you’ll be able to pick out specific influences from deathrock to classic electro to newer forms of stripped down body music, but even if this is your first pass at Bustié a track like this one impresses with slinky unity.
Birds of Paradise by Bustié

Blush Response, “Rite Of Transformation”
Joey Blush is being a tad cryptic about this one-off track which just appeared on Bandcamp: “This track was originally somewhere but now it is here.” A little snooping suggests that this number might have been originally intended for a comp it never appeared on, but regardless it’s a bit of a change of pace both rhythmically and harmonically compared to recent Blush Response work: stuttering polyrhythms vary up the techno-bunker pitch, and the screwball phrasings which emerge out of data center soup almost call back to Blush Response’s earlier, more melodic incarnation.

Cervello Elettronico, “Controlling Systems”
Speaking of techno-bunker bangers, our boy David Christian looks to be aiming for just such a milieu with TOP DED CTR, the first Cervello Elettronico LP since 2016, at least if this lead track is any indication. Christian finds plenty of spaces between blunt kicks to add extra fills and push pads and klaxons through, though the whole affair remains resolutely monochromatic. Christian’s done a lot of side-work outside of CE over the past few years, but it looks as though he isn’t content with having his main project remain static.
TOP DED CTR by Cervello Elettronico

Slighter feat. Craig Huxtable, “Give Me”
Slighter’s style has become more refined in recent releases, taking on a very distinctive and unique flavour. Where some of the industrial rock and bass music touches are still present, by far the dominant flavour of Colin Cameron Alrich’s current music is groovy, dark and downtempo. Those sounds are a perfect canvas for vocal collaborators, as we find on “Give Me” from new album Automata, where OHMelectronic’s Craig Huxtable lends his voice. Considering Craig was known for years as a purely instrumental artist it’s neat to hear him singing, especially when paired with a really flavourful instrumental. Nice work from Slighter as always.
Automata (Deluxe Edition) by Slighter

Container 90, “Friendship and Love”
We never really think of Sweden’s beer-drinking working class body music duo Container 90 as a D.A.F.-inspired act, at least not beyond the way all Swedish EBM acts pay respect to the German old-school masters. That’s kind of what makes new track (actually a leftover from an album recording session a few years ago) “Friendship and Love” so fun, as C90’s Ron and Jon directly channel Gabi and Robert’s punky-sexy electronic attack complete with yelps, live drums and toy percussion. Not a cover but a well done homage and tribute in the vein of Jäger 90, throw this one into your old-school playlist for a blast of that good ol’ stuff.
Friendship And Love by Container 90

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Glass Apple Bonzai, “The All-Nite Starlite Electronic Café”

Glass Apple Bonzai - The All-Nite Starlite Electronic Café

Glass Apple Bonzai
The All-Nite Starlite Electronic Café
Artoffact Records

Tomes could be written (and likely are being written right now) about the rise and uncertain future of synthwave. The way in which the conscious throwback to heavily stylized 80s synth markers does and does not intersect with the aesthetics of artists whose work predates it poses a variety of questions. On the surface, the retro synthpop of Daniel X Belasco’s Glass Apple Bonzai would seem to mesh perfectly with all of the neon glow and vector graphics a savvy designer could muster. But, even as fourth LP The All-Nite Starlite Electronic Café gives winks and nods to synthwave, the core of the record remains rooted in the majestic, otherworldly, and ultimately soulful synthpop upon which Glass Apple Bonzai was founded.

As with previous releases, Belasco engages with a crystalline, uncomplicated vision of classic synthpop on Starlite Electronic Café. The direct line from Kraftwerk’s efficient electropop (to which the album title even seems to directly allude) through to acts like early Human League and OMD and onwards to GAB isn’t hard to trace; check the punchy synthline and tight sweeps over an ascending and descending bassline on “The Mind of a Liar”, or the robot funk that underlies the mid-tempo swing of “Beyond the Twilight”. When the album branches out it’s into complementary areas, like on the italo-flavoured cosmic closing track “Starlite” or the FM-readio ready blue-eyed soul of “This Love”.

GAB’s defining feature remains the dividing line which separates the band from the established synthwave herd: Belasco’s vocals. It’s not just the warm, enveloping croon of his baritone which had made Glass Apple Bonzai such a singular quality on the North American scene, let alone the Canadian one; it’s also how the songs are constructed so as to present them in their most anthemic and commanding light. A tune like “Beyond The Twilight” doesn’t just benefit from the groove, texture, and melody of Belasco’s vocals; it’s wholly constructed around them. While so much synthwave (both its legitimately underground precursors and its contemporary stars) is created using dance track structures and builds, Belasco has always been a pop songwriter in the best possible sense.

For all the aesthetic concerns inherent in engaging with throwback genres, it’s that strength as a songwriter, arranger and performer that makes Glass Apple Bonzai, and consequently The All-Nite Starlite Electronic Café work. However you want to slice up the record from a genre-perspective – synthwave, or synthpop or some union of the two with extra ingredients thrown in – it’s the quality of the material and the precision with which it’s delivered that are its calling card. More down the pipe than some of Belasco’s previous excursions, it might be the purest distillation yet of his vision of a musical future long since passed.

Buy it.

The All-Nite Starlite Electronic Café by Glass Apple Bonzai

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We Have a Technical 263: I Had Forgotten

That 2XLC Hat

Hooky Canadian new wave and dubious German EBM are taken up in in this two album episode of We Have A Technical. Cygnets’ “Isolator” and Bigod 20’s “Supercute” are discussed, along with some talk about The Cure’s recent “Disintegration” shows…and somehow Canadian sci-fi author Spider Robinson as well? Not sure how that happened, but the latest episode of We Have A Technical is coming at you regardless! You can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, or download directly or stream from Spotify or the widget down below.

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Wychdoktor, “Pact”

Wychdoktor - Pact


The overarching mood and sound of Ottawa producer Wychdoktor arrived more or less fully formed upon the project’s emergence some six years ago. A stormy mix of rhythmic-by-way-of-tribal noise and dark ambient were blended together on Ritual, and ever since then Wychdoktor releases have consisted of more than solid efforts in both directions, sometimes tipping the balance more in one than the other, or, as in the case of 2017’s Inferno, enlisting the like-minded to assemble a stygian concept record. However, it’s been a fair while since the last proper standalone Wychdoktor LP, Hexen was released, and so the rather hefty reintroduction new LP Pact makes of the project’s strengths is well-timed.

Whether you’re reacquainting yourself or checking out the project for the first time, Pact does a good job of putting across what’s worked well for Wychdoktor in the past early on. Between the scorched programming which blazes over the concrete rhythm of the title track and the simple but effective minor lead which presides over the echoing thumps of “The Flesh Is Weak”, Wychdoktor’s combo of musical aggression and atmosphere, as well as the project’s metaphysical and occult themes, get over well. But Pact shows that the time between it and Hexen hasn’t been spent idling, and offers a number of new shadowy tricks which bear out its rather long run-time. Sampling the witches’ sabbath from The Witch on “Forked Tongue” might seem an obvious move, but it’s blended so seamlessly with the record’s own soundscape that you could be mistaken for not recognizing it. Perhaps more importantly Pact showcases how Wychdoktor’s talent for rhythmic arrangement extends well beyond rhythmic noise as such. “Through Darkness” is an interesting break from both noise and pure ambiance, instead seeming to connote the clattering operation of some pre-industrial engine, half iron and half wood.

This isn’t to suggest that Pact needs to reinvent the wheel in order to stand out. Stand-out pre-release cut “Suffocation” is about as down the pipe as tribal/rhythmic noise gets, pressing all manner of grinds, side-chained bass, and sickly pads into the service of an utterly hypnotic and oppressive beat. The former super-structural elements weave and shift but the undeniable grind underneath it all remains. On the flip side, a doomy echoing piece like “A Dull Blade” isn’t all that different on paper from Wychdoktor’s previous ambient works, but the arrangement and dread-filled pacing drawn out between the different elements feel more artful than they would have been a couple of releases back.

Wychdoktor will always have a special place in our dark hearts here at the ID:UD HQ, and not just because we enjoy watching Canadian bands develop from the ground up. There’s always been both immediacy and depth to how the project approaches its style and themes of choice, and has offered great club fare alongside more ruminative pieces. Pact doesn’t stray too far from what endeared us to Wychdoktor, but it does show that there’s plenty more great stuff still to come, both from within and just without its traditional borders.

Pact by Wychdoktor

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Minuit Machine, “Infrarouge”

Minuit Machine
Synth Religion

After a brief, two year disbandment French coldwavers Minuit Machine have returned with their third LP, a record that feels very in-line with the template they established in their small, consistent discography. Hélène De Thoury and Amandine Stioui have a specific unity, with De Thoury’s potent electronic compositions that lean heavily into gothic melodrama matching Stioui’s wounded, world-weary vocals to a tee. While not necessarily enough to sustain Infrarouge for its entire runtime, the synergy that makes up Minuit Machine does provide some of the gloomy thrills that have defined their work up ’til this point.

Infrarouge covers off what the duo does best in the early going. Opener “Chaos” deals in the duo’s rich, continental mix of dark pads and coldwavesque percussion, with a sneaky amount of energy in the bubbly synth bassline to keep it moving. Stioui intoning the words “The more I try/The less I exist” with an arch theatricality is peak Minuit Machine; walking the fine line between melodrama and candor with a natural finesse. “DRGS” operates in a similar vein, as an even more gothic arrangement of synthesized instruments builds up the chorus’ apocalyptic sentiment and leftfield club contender “Hunter/Prey” works itself into a frothy climax from its halftime opening lament.

While the duo clearly know how to vary their songs without losing the thread of what makes their work together so distinctive, the latter half of the album does suffer from diminishing returns. After about the midway point – inhabited by the just-the-right-shade-of-melancholy ballad “Ballet” – the songs just don’t feel as developed. “98º” starts promisingly with a wavy melody but never quite takes off under its own power, coming off as a lesser version of preceding tracks. “Departure” goes for an admirable switch up of tone, going for some brighter tones and a bittersweet vocal with a touch of whimsy, lacking only a more distinguishable hook to call its own. Closer “Forgive Me For My Sins” is a fitting enough ending to the record, but seems trapped between bleak excess and dejected minimalism, committing to neither.

Despite being frontloaded, Infrarouge is a welcome return for Minuit Machine. As evidenced by her excellent LP as Hante. earlier this year Hélène De Thoury is an exceptional talent as a writer and producer, and Amandine Stioui obviously fulfills a specific role as muse and collaborator for her. When the material is at its best, there’s not much else like their mopey splendour.

Buy it.

Infrarouge by Minuit Machine

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Tracks: June 3rd, 2019

It’s officially summer here in Vancouver, and while we try to enjoy the sun before the inevitable wildfire smoke clouds the city in dystopic haze, we’re looking back through releases old and new which suit long summer nights. Before fall brings the inevitable return of goth rock and darkwave, we like to throw on a bit more synthpop, dream-pop, and anything with a halfway psychedelic tint (see last week’s comments re The Tear Garden). What’s been on your speakers of late, dear reader? Let us know after checking out these new tunes, summery or otherwise.

Double Eyelid with the double side-eye

Rendered, “Adrenalien”
Daniel Myer and Clément Perez are showing no signs of slowing the pace at which they’re releasing techno-EBM bangers as Rendered. If you’ve been having trouble keeping up, we don’t blame you, but new 12″ Adrenalien offers as good a re-entry point as any. The title cut flashes between metallic squalls, disassociated samples, and exactly the sort of undeniable, perfectly textured bassline that the pair have had on lock for a good while now.
Mindcut17 – Rendered – Adrenalien EP by Mindcut Music

Panther Modern, “Creep”
New music from a new project, we’re feeling this EP from Panther Modern, aka ex-Sextile member Brady Kheen. Where that act was doing genre agnostic weirdo dark dancefloor action, PM feels more like a straight blend of body music and acid tropes, with squiggly, discomforting synths and banging metal spread across three tight dark disco jams. Not bad at all, and if the live presentation is anywhere close to that of Kheen’s previous project, this should be an act to keep an eye on. Where’s Lupus Yonderboy at?
Los Angeles 2020 EP by Panther Modern

Double Eyelid, “A Means to an End”
Just in time for summer, here’s some warm synthwave-tinged darkwave from Toronto’s Double Eyelid. The healthy dollop of guitar gives the track a lot of flavour, forgoing simple repeating figures for a wide variety of mellow licks, a nice accompaniment to vocalist Ian Revell’s warble and the simple, synth and drum machine arrangement that drives it. You can peep the track now, along with the b-side remix by none other than ol’ Claus Larsen over on Bandcamp.
A Means To An End by Double Eyelid

Nootropic, “Spiders”
Here’s something interesting from the DTH X CMP. With his new Nootropic release Blood Vapor Netherlands-based producer Dominic Smelt (Solid State) offers an interesting mix of throwback cyberpunk signfiers with just enough updated production choices to keep things fresh. More interestingly, the arrangement on pieces like “Spiders” is quite moody and restrained, option to build and maintain atmosphere and tension rather than going for the jugular with big leads or breaks. Should make for good late night gaming fare, we’d think.
Blood Vapor by Nootropic

Chrome Corpse, “Necessary Tension”
Here’s a fun one from Seattle’s princes of neo-old school EBM, Chrome Corpse. A bonus track slated for the cassette release of their Gun Spit EP (which we wrote about a few months back) and it feels of a piece with that material: rubbery bassline, thick, saturated percussion and some slimy vocal sample manipulation slathered on top. These cats have been gearing up for big things for a while, you should get in on them now while the getting is good.

Red Market, “Learn The Signs”
From Kansas City comes some rather off the radar, groove-focused analog electro-industrial. Red Market is just one of Brandon Duncan’s current projects, but the somewhat paranoid focus it places on celebrity-Illuminati conspiracies, mind control, and the like give it a distinct yet eerie cast. That the tunes on the project’s new self-titled release take on long, hypnotic forms full of stuttering and wormy bass seems to fit the subject matter just fine.
Red Market by Red Market

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Observer: Imperial Black Unit & Soho Rezanejad

Imperial Black Unit
Murder Under Establishment
aufnahme + wiedergabe

We liked Imperial Black Unit’s last EP for aufnahme + wiedergabe a great deal: their balance between new school techno-flavoured EBM and early 90s dark electro had a special appeal that set them apart from acts working along similar lines. Their newest for a+w goes deeper on the throwback side of their sound, with a four track release that feels akin to Dirk Ivens’ Dive or gritty, early Suicide Commando, albeit with thick, modern production values. That’s especially evident on the opening title track, where a simple, grinding bassline is driven by thudding, crackling kicks and snares with little to no other adornment aside from a deeply distorted vocal. “Maidan” works from a similar template but ads mournful and foreboding pads, their simplicity contrasting with the increasingly busy percussion underneath. Especially notable is what happens when the formula gets amped up on “God, Ceinture & Miséricorde (Club Mix)”; where the original version (included here as a bonus track) feels of a piece with the other material, the club edit adds layers of distortion and saturation that transform it into what industrial heads would recognize as a rhythmic noise track. Drawing that line, whether consciously or not, is what makes Murder Under Establishment and Imperial Black Unit stand out: in a pillaged genre, these cats are digging in deeper than the surface and finding rich veins to work through.
Murder Under Establishment by Imperial Black Unit

Soho Rezanejad - Torino
Soho Rezanejad
Silicone Records

The combination of provocative but well-grounded songwriting and sheer vocal talent and charisma which was displayed on Soho Rezanejad’s Six Archetypes proved to be an inescapable force to us last year. Even though the record only vaguely touched upon the sorts of sounds and genre markers we commonly cover at ID:UD, we couldn’t help but be drawn back to it. Follow-up release Torino is strikingly different, not only for its ambient and impressionist soundscapes, but also for its reticence to give Rezanejad’s still-hypnotic vocals much of a share of the spotlight. That the release is actually the musical accompaniment to a short film by Kamil Dossar goes a long way to explain this and the record’s sonic palette. Lush strings and pianos slip overtop one another in a way which would seem maritime even without the added ambient ocean-side sampling (mid-period Piano Magic comes to mind at points). References to the mystic visions of Hildegard of Bingen are woven in alongside Rezanejad’s voice, often trilling and cooing the title of the record with bird-like loft. One could likely develop a dozen interpretations of the relationship between Anahita and Torino, the two ‘angels’ who are explored in the film (one of whom is portrayed by Rezanejad herself), but even without the film Torino feels like a fully realized and satisfying work, and one which shows that we’re still only beginning to get a glimpse of what Rezanejad is capable of.
Torino by Soho Rezanejad

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We Have a Technical 262: Hello Boss

The Tear Garden

Whoever you are, wherever you are, The Tear Garden are higher than you right now.

What makes an artist name an album after a song, or vice versa? Does this one track manage to sum up all of the musical and thematic energy they’ve been mustering for over a year…or does it just look like a cool phrase on a tour poster? Either way, the Senior Staff are each picking five title tracks from releases in Our Thing this week. Factor in some talk about Rammstein’s new provocative videos and you’ve got everything you could ask for from a new episode of We Have A Technical! You can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, or download directly or stream from Spotify or the widget down below.

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Cold Showers, “Motionless”

Cold Showers
Dais Records

There’s a moment on the second track of Cold Showers’ new album Motionless that highlights what has changed for the LA act in the four years since their last LP: when the chunky guitar line on the verse of “Shine” breaks out into a sparkling, horn accented chorus, it becomes crystal clear how much the band’s skills as arrangers and performers have intensified. The solid post-punk that defined the group’s previous LPs still forms the basis for their songs, but with this new LP,the lushness and pop appeal is centered in their delivery. It’s something a sea change for the band, and one they make the most of across these eight tracks.

This is not to say that Cold Showers went ahead and made a pop record. Songs like opener “Tomorrow Will Come” are still trepidatious and mopey in mood, the song’s looping synth percussion sounds establishing melody while vocalist Jonathan Weinberg’s reliable, understated voice melds with warm pads and low-key horns. It’s moreso that the band have figured out how to highlight the best part of every song and drive it home. Check the way that the title track moves along on a strummy guitar before the simple chorus is lifted up on keening synths, and highlighted by chunky drum hits. Or how the speedy “Dismissed” introduces its guitar-line right away, before letting it drop away and then bringing it back in the smooth shifts between sections. It’s just good songcraft, the sort of thing that grabs the ear without necessarily being consciously acknowledged.

That sort of transparency is really pretty remarkable because it’s obvious a lot of effort and consideration went into the creation of Motionless. The synth programming, the use of piano and woodwinds when called for, the judicious application of back-up vocals – none of this stuff is applied without thinking about how it can get the song over with the listener. Equally the band knows when to hold back a bit so they can pay it off; closer “Every Day on My Head” makes the most of a pulsing synthesizer and a sorrowful cello before bringing in the whole of Cold Showers current arsenal for a big finale.

Motionless recalls a lot of great early U2, Jesus and Mary Chain and New Order moments in a positive fashion. Without aping them directly, Cold Showers tap in handily into similar veins of craft and production that those acts did in their prime. What’s more, they’ve figured out ways to apply that creativity in ways that feel substantial rather than showy. Pleasing and well-considered, it’s big level-up for the band and one worthy of your attention and time. Recommended.

Buy it.

Motionless by Cold Showers

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Tineidae, “Slowly Drown In Static”

Tineidae - Slowly Drown In Static

Slowly Drown In Static
Billegal Beats

The various ambient, IDM, and technoid producers we for years associated with the late Tympanik Audio label are for the most part still active, though it’s perhaps been trickier to locate their newer works. That’s not the case with Ukrainian producer Pavlo Storonsky’s Tineidae project, which has been wholly off the radar since 2014. Five years on, he’s released Slowly Drown In Static, a brief but focused LP which shows that that time off has had an effect on Tineidae’s direction.

The glitch and bass of 2014’s Shadows is nowhere to be found, and Slowly Drown In Static‘s more direct melodic strategy is quite different from 2012 debut Lights. That said, the record isn’t an entire about-face. Storonsky’s talents for sound design and grandiose arrangements are still present, though Slowly Drown In Static presents them in a dark and cinematic cast. The cold and spacey “Four Suns” feels like a conscious reworking of existing Tineidae ideas, pressed into the service of a 2001-like journey into the darker recesses of the universe and/or soul.

The bombastic soundtrack ambitions of “Sail To The Ashen City” certainly weren’t beyond Storonsky’s technical skills previous to this release, but they require a willingness to put a bold and simple theme at the forefront, ahead of the perhaps more involved background arrangements. He’s perhaps taken the right lesson from John Carpenter – a big, detuned analog synth lead can evoke massive senses of space and dread regardless of simplicity – but hasn’t forsaken the IDM background which keeps Slowly Drown from losing its sense of identity. Even in slower, more ambient moments like the sparse “Palace Of The Hollow”, the clicks and whispers which lie beneath a distant, mournful piano seem calculated, never incidental or only there for mood.

The record’s short run-time (eight tracks just scraping the thirty minute marker) makes for a pleasant change of pace, and ensures that its bolder synth leads never have to repeat or noodle off into mundanity, nor do its exercises in pure, ambient sound design ever lope into drone for its own sake. Storonsky’s vision of what Tineidae constitutes may have undergone some significant changes in the past half decade off, but the results should pay dividends to listeners new and old alike.

Tineidae – Slowly Drown In Static by Billegal Beats

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Tracks: May 27th, 2019

Hey y’all! We’re pretty pleased with how the Haujobb commentary podcast we did this past weekend came out, so if you didn’t get a chance to check it out yet, you can do so right now. As much fun as those podcasts are to do, especially for albums we love that much, we really try to keep the idea that our takes are in no way definitive. That’s a roundabout way of suggesting that not only do we welcome your thoughts, feelings and interpretations of any album we talk about on a podcast or here on the site, we encourage it. Drop us a comment, hit the contact page, hit us up on the socials. Your insight is valuable to us!

Accessory always in shades.

Accessory, “No Man Covers”
Long-standing German electro scene act Accessory have spent over two decades standing astride some of the more common boundaries of Our Thing. Always bringing just enough roots EBM groove to satisfy the purists and enough oontz and melody to satiate dancefloors, Accessory have weathered plenty of shifting trends by acknowledging but never acquiescing. New single “No Man Covers” from the forthcoming Elektrik LP is as good a demonstration as any of the craftsmanship which has kept them in the game this long.
No Man Covers by Accessory

Hallowed Hearts, “Lost”
A brand new song from a brand new project, we have some excellent gothy post-punk from Hallowed Hearts. The duo is made up of Andrew Sega of Iris and Alex Virlios of 2000s synthpop act Provision, and the music their first single sets out an impressive template: goth-rock guitars are married to an energetic mid-tempo rhythm and a charismatic vocal from Virlios. Nice and immediate, this one should do well in the clubs and Spotify playlists, excited to see what these cats have in store.

Poison Point, “Oblivion”
Poison Point return with more of the cool, darkwave inflected body sounds that impressed us on 2018’s Bestiensäule. “Oblivion” operates at a distance, the far-off vocals in direct contrast to the busy body music arrangement of synth and bass sounds, a sound that the group have down pat. The forthcoming single also features remixes by a few likeminded acts, QUAL, IV Horsemen and others.
Oblivion by Poison Point

IIOIOIOII, “There’s Nothing”
It’s been a number of years since we had anything new on the table from US synthpop act IIOIOIOII, but it looks as though Christopher Gurney’s made the most of his time off. The lead track from forthcoming LP Chroma is a well-executed and stately tune, striking a balance between slinky and foreboding while allowing Gurney to get his vocal presence over. A nice appetite-whetter which isn’t beholden to a particular form or period of synthpop.
Chroma + Chromatic by IIOIOIOII

Cold Showers, “Tomorrow Will Come”
LA’s Cold Showers are a band with a lot of depth, as evidenced by the tracks we’ve heard from their brand new record for Dais Motionless. Nominally a post-punk act, the band have a knack for lush production that serves to highlight the strength of their songs rather than obscure them. Check the clever way the toy percussion loop and saxophone are used in concert with the chorused bass on “Tomorrow Will Come”, each element used in service of the broader song. Strong stuff, check for a review of the record on the site shortly.
Motionless by Cold Showers

Pleasure Symbols, “Image Reflected”
We’ve come to trust Italy’s Avant! Records as one of the most quietly consistent labels of the past decade. Whether it’s darkwave or EBM or just about any other darker stripe of music, they’ve offered an excellent platform for bands familiar and new. Australia’s Pleasure Symbols are a solid example of the latter; the group have been active for a few years now but Closer And Closer Apart is their debut LP. Characterized by dreamy, ethereal goth tunes like this number, we’re catching some pleasant similarities between them and The Shroud and Weather Severity Index.
Closer And Closer Apart by PLEASURE SYMBOLS

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We Have a Commentary: Haujobb, “Solutions for a Small Planet”

An ahead of its time, genre-busting classic is the subject of this month’s Patreon supported We Have A Commentary podcast! Haujobb’s 1996 LP “Solutions For A Small Planet” was a landmark release not only for the German duo but for all of post-industrial music. How can we read the record’s engagement with then still nascent net culture? How do its forays into electronic genres well beyond industrial hold up? There’s so much to discuss with a record this rich and beloved, so join us, won’t you?
You can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, or download directly or stream from Spotify or the widget down below.

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Rosetta Stone, “Seems Like Forever”

Rosetta Stone - Seems Like Forever

Rosetta Stone
Seems Like Forever

The title of the new Rosetta Stone album says it all, at least historically. Porl King’s landmark second wave goth rock project has lain fallow for nearly twenty years, and in the interim King’s distanced himself so completely from the musical and cultural world which both birthed and was shaped by Rosetta Stone that the question of new material from the band was effectively moot. The title and cover of Seems Like Forever seems, at first glance, to rewrite that whole history. Porl looks to be making a prodigal return to the romantic and propulsive sound he’d long ago forsaken. Everything will be forgiven, winklepickers and crimpers will be passed about, and we’ll have a whole new album of second wave goth perfection. But…it’s not that simple.

Despite his self-imposed exile from the trad UK goth scene, King’s spent the past ten or so years crafting and releasing music as miserylab and In Death It Ends, solo projects whose output is perhaps adjacent to but not wholly of that world. That both projects have managed to conjure gloomier, more depressive, and more claustrophobic moods than Rosetta Stone ever did points to the idea that King didn’t need to be goth. As it happens, Seems Like Forever is in fact effectively a revisitation of miserylab highlights, comprised of rerecordings of tunes originally released between 2008 and 2011. So: is the record a new Rosetta Stone LP? Certainly: it’s been released as such by the one consistent bearer of that venerable moniker, who clearly sees some salience or merit in it for the first time in what seems, yes, like forever. Is it a miserylab compilation? Also yes: the political drive and stoic instrumentation which defined that project is entirely retained, and the spirit of these new versions is true to that of their predecessors. This is a taxonomically tricky record, to say the least – let’s dig into the actual music.

Those unfamiliar with miserylab may be struck by how direct Seems Like Forever is, both musically and lyrically. Sure, Porl had already moved away from the pentatonic, pedal-driver swirls of early RS material by the time the project was winding down, but tunes like “Making A Bomb” and “Children Of The Poor” are another thing entirely. Built around thudding bass loops underscored by the repetition of lyrical refrains, they’re unyielding and resolved slabs of post-punk. And if that sounds oppressive, check the lyrics. “Fuck the children of the poor / Severing the vein / The cremation of care / You’ll never understand / You’ve never been there / We’re not all so well connected” That so much time has elapsed and new effort has gone into these songs only makes their pertinence seem more bitterly ironic. miserylab marked an abruptly political turn in King’s songwriting, and a good portion of those tunes were directly tied to the news of the day: post-meltdown austerity, the 2011 riots, and even the hoody panic. The UK’s social, political, and economic fortunes certainly don’t seem any brighter nearly ten years on from this sound of the pond, and I’d hazard that King’s decision to let the lyrics stand unchanged indicates he feels the same.

This isn’t to say that Seems Like Forever is an indulgence in retrospect for its own sake – new colour and depth has been added in the rerecordings, moving away from the sparse minimalism of many of the originals. A large part of the original miserylab ethos were King’s self-imposed restrictions on what gear and how much time could be used to record a track. It’s clear from the range of sounds on Seems Like Forever that this rule’s been (understandably) suspended for the Rosetta iteration of these songs, and it’s interesting to revisit them from a slightly lusher perspective. A track like “What Is The Point” was certainly catchy enough from the get-go, with its sing-song synths on the chorus offering a pithy counter to the song’s lyrics about futility, but on Seems Like Forever it feels like it’s finally been given space to allow its melodic side to rise and expand, while King’s vocals take on a richer and more reflective croon. The furtive and punchy “Tomorrow For Us”, on the other hand, has the freedom to sharpen its fangs and claws, allowing drums and vocals to strike harder as they emerge from a more textured bed of synths and guitars.

Anyone who’s listened to as much of King’s work over the years as yours truly could go around the bend trying to figure out what Seems Like Forever portends. A permanent merging of the miserylab and Rosetta Stone catalogs? New material under the RS banner which avails itself of King’s more recent stylings? It’s anyone’s guess, and both King and his fanbase seem more than happy to just allow this moment to breathe. I’ll admit that I was a bit taken aback by the nature of the first Rosetta Stone LP since The Tyranny Of Inaction (recently discussed on this site’s podcast), but the execution of this material, representing the best of an overlooked period in King’s career, can’t be argued with. In any guise, under any name, King remains a singular composer of dark rock and it’s a boon to have him reclaiming the spotlight.

Seems Like Forever by Rosetta Stone

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We Have a Technical 261: Sax Guy

Out here lookin’ like they rock supersaws, it’s Hatari!

On this week’s podcast we’re striking while the iron’s hot and talking about Hatari, the Icelandic BDSM-themed industrial band whose Eurovision run took the world by storm. How are they connected to Our Thing? Do their aesthetics relate to their politics? And how is mainstream media still so easy to hijack? All these questions and more are taken up in this week’s episode of We Have A Technical! You can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, or download directly or stream from Spotify or the widget down below.

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