Tracks: April 11th, 2021

As we talked about on the podcast last week, plans for actual, honest-to-god, in the flesh shows are starting to once again seem like real possibilities rather than unattainable mirages to be chased or cans to be kicked further down a neverending road. Rescheduled 242 and Dead Can Dance tours are set to come to our neck of the woods, and Vancouver’s own Actors are planning an album release show for the fall. It’s still a long ways off, but it does finally feel as though experiencing live music is something that will be happening again in the near future, and to be frank, that’s a whole lot to process. While we’re contemplating what a post-vax live scene might look like, here’s this week’s batch of Tracks.

Kirlian Camera

Null Split, “All The Things”
If the voice behind French industrial project Null Split sounds familiar, it’s because Antoine Kerbérénès is the vocalist for PNW EBM wunderkinds Chrome Corpse. That said, Antoine’s Null Split material is of a distinctly more industrial rock vibe; indeed, “All The Things” is the best 90s style industrial rock track we’ve heard in ages, bringing to mind classic Hate Dept, Chemlab and more contemporary adherents like Everything Goes Cold. Sometimes a band puts something out in a style you don’t realize you’ve been missing ’til you hear it.
All The Things by null split

Gnome & Spybey, “To Be The Sun In Flight”
After a lengthy hiatus, the collaboration between Mark Spybey of Dead Voices On Air and Tony D’Oporto, AKA Gnome, is back on. Their extant discography cross-bred a core ambient template with plenty of folk, industrial, ethereal, and dance sounds, but new record The Seventh Seal, being pitched as “largely song based”, digs into Spybey’s less-explored folk/singer-songwriter side of things. Getting a few wisps of Gavin Friday in this slightly pensive but still beautiful number.
the seventh seal by gnome & spybey

Kirlian Camera, “Lobotomine 5”
We weren’t that fussy about the last Kirlian Camera LP to be honest; despite both being long time fans of the Italian darkwave masters, we found it hard to hold onto anything on Hologram Moon. Perhaps it was a lack of the group’s trademark esoteric weirdness, a trait that has defined them through innumerable shifts in lineup and style over the decades Kirlian Camera has been active. Thankfully “Lobotomine 5”, the second single from the forthcoming 2LP Cold Pills (Scarlet Gate of Toxic Daybreak) is possessed of that special quality we look for from Bergamini and Fossi, landing between weird loungy electro and sleek electronic wave with some strange diversions along the way.
Lobotomine 5 by Kirlian Camera

Lola Kumtus, “The Shape Of Men”
We mostly know Finland’s Lola Kumtus for their early quirky minimal synth stylings which often abut upon NDW territory. But new LP Pharmakos looks to be steering in a more specifically EBM direction, albeit directed by the duo’s minimalist and at times flat out weird aesthetic. Nice amount of stripped-down house levity to this particular cut. Is the abrupt end a mastering error or closely considered artistic decision? We leave it to you.
Pharmakos by Lola Kumtus

Bad Wolf, “Hell”
Nein Records caught out attention with the name of their forthcoming compilation Brutalist Disco. Blocky, austere, monolithic dance music is surely something we all get a taste for now and again, and something the Berlin-based label has dealt in on occasion. That said, we’re getting much lighter vibes from one of the comp’s preview tracks, “Hell” by Bad Wolf. Slicked up, low-key electro-pop with a darker edge (and maybe a hint of 2000s blog house?), it’s a whole lot more free and easy than we anticipated, and all the better for it.
Brutalist Disco by Various Artists

E.L.I., “Freaks At Play”
Lastly, some promising new stuff coming to us by way of Tripalium Corp, the acid freaks who first brought Notausgang to our attention. Lo-fi EBM and dark electro styles on display on the first track from E.L.I., maybe akin to A Split Second heading in a more giallo direction. Deliberately murky and mid-tempo, this is avoiding a lot of the more overt moves we’ve seen a lot of tracks in this style make over the past couple of years, so there could be some more pleasant surprises on the forthcoming Misery Inc. tape.
DMS040 – E.L.I. – Misery Inc. by E.L.I.

The post Tracks: April 11th, 2021 appeared first on I Die: You Die.

Potochkine, “Sortilèges”

Potochkine - Sortilèges


Potochkine have come by their sound honestly. The French duo ply a style that is certainly shaped by modern dancefloor standards, but has a clear throughline back to classic French coldwave, darkwave, and electro. New record Sortilèges adds some extra club polish and drama to an already developed sound, and acts as an excellent introduction to the band.

It’s easy enough to hear the slinky combination of darkwave and EBM production plied by Pauline Alcaïdé and Hugo Sempé and imagine them to be of a piece with a current wave of dark club music most notably championed by Boy Harsher. But pay closer attention and you’ll be able to find connections back to classic acts like Kas Product in the combination of spiky synths and metronomic beats in “Les Chevaux”. Alcaïdé’s vocals, alternately panicked and yelping then softly reflective (and willing to drop a Matisse reference at the drop of a hat) hearken back to plenty of French acts while also having more than enough of their own character.

Potochkine’s progression with Sortilèges has been marked by refinement rather than reinvention. Alcaïdé’s vocal charisma and talent was apparent from the duo’s first releases in 2016, and there was plenty of pulsing immediacy to that work, too. But the dramatic vocal strain added to the trills of “Possédée”‘s tale of envy and seduction (already one of our fave DJ numbers of the year) or the savvy paring of the manic “Pogo” down just to its incessant titular bounce feel like the finishing touches a band applies when they’ve really figured out how to fully deliver their chosen aesthetic. Factor in the oddities of the band’s extant discography (demos, theatrical scores, an EP reprising some of the demo material) and Sortilèges is exactly the sort of unified calling card Potochkine would hope to be putting forward.

Potochkine was brought to our attention by a friend of the site who was at the now-fabled Kalabalik Festival a couple of years ago. When we asked which acts she’d most enjoyed who we likely wouldn’t have heard of all the way back here in Canada, Potochkine was her immediate reply. It’s now readily apparent to us why that was, and based on the quick impact and appeal of Sortilèges, we imagine plenty of others will be pointing friends to the band just as swiftly. Recommended.

Buy it.

Sortilèges by POTOCHKINE

The post Potochkine, “Sortilèges” appeared first on I Die: You Die.

We Have A Technical 356: Was That Too Gross?


Get your life back with Marsheaux.

As much as we’d like to convey the image of austere, stoic hermits who only listen to music when we’re giving it our full attention in a darkened room with top-of-the-line stereo equipment, like everyone else we throw records on while we’re doing other stuff. It’s with that in mind that we’re each picking five task-driven records this week – what do we listen to while we’re driving, cleaning, working, and whatnot? Listen to this episode and find out! All that plus some talk about the slow reemergence of live shows in the US and (*sigh*) the new :wumpscut: record. You can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, or download directly or stream from Spotify or the widget down below.

The post We Have A Technical 356: Was That Too Gross? appeared first on I Die: You Die.

This Morn’ Omina, “The Roots of Saraswati”

This Morn’ Omina
The Roots of Saraswati

This Morn’ Omina’s 2021 album is a rebirth of sorts for the long running Belgian project. The basis of founder Mika Goedrijk’s vision for “ritual musik” are still here in quantity; dark synthetic atmospheres, extensive use of Hindustani, Middle Eastern, Northern and Western African percussion instruments and extensive references to buddhism and Hinduism in track titles and samples have long been TMO’s calling cards. Where The Roots of Saraswati departs from the band’s most recent catalogue is in the de-emphasis of electronic dance music tropes – gone are most of the overt rhythmic noise and trance markers they often dabbled with – in favour of a more ornate, cinematic orchestral sound.

Which is not to say that the album abandons danceability, more that its structures and ideas seem less beholden to those of DJ friendly dance music. Listen to the construction of “Naoús”; distant drums and bass drones provide a foundation for an arrangement of hand percussion which after an extensive two and a half minute build eventually coalesces into synthetic 4/4 beat, which itself breaks down into a swarm of analogue synth tones that cut apart the track’s ominous vocal sample. It’s a song that contains no end of rhythm and movement, but whose arrangement has a complexity and intent that separates it from many comparable compositions from TMO’s past.

Some of this change must be due to the influence of Scott Fox, the Canadian producer who has long cited TMO as a major influence on his work as iVardensphere. He and Goedrijk are the credited writer-producers on the record, and Fox is also credited with the mix and master, meaning that his touch is felt in basically every moment of The Roots of Saraswati. You can hear the sort of delicate sampled instrumentation that has informed contemporary iVs releases on the string-laden “Vadavigni (The All Consuming Fire)”, or in the deep synth tones that form the basis of “Nepenthe”. That latter number might be the most instructive in understanding Goedrijk and Fox’s approach to making the record; in withholding big payoffs and concentrating instead on slow builds towards melodies which it then deconstructs, it has a remarkable subtlety that belies its bursts of percussive bombast.

Truthfully, it’s those moments of vast, soundtrack like construction that offer the best and most interesting ideas that This Morn’ Omina have to offer on The Roots of Saraswati. While technically perfectly executed and designed, the albums major concessions to giving the listener a traditional banging TMO tribal industrial experience – “The Mongoose King” and “Blood Oath” – are simply less interesting than songs like “1000 Cuts (Lingh Chi)” which takes their kick-drum-first approach and creates vast, organic waves of accompaniment and counterpoint using it as a foundation. The record’s sound is less of reinvention than expansion, taking what we know and understand of This Morn’ Omina and building it out to sometimes meditative, sometimes awesome proportions.

Buy it.

The Roots Of Saraswati by This Morn' Omina

The post This Morn’ Omina, “The Roots of Saraswati” appeared first on I Die: You Die.

Tracks: April 6th, 2021

Now that there’s some light at the end of the seemingly endless tunnel of Covid, we’re starting to see some tentative show announcements for the fall, a time when projections say most of the folks in North America will be vaccinated (if they’re smart enough to get the fucking shot, but that’s another story). Regardless, it’s been a pleasure to see our pals in LA Das Bunker announce a slate of new shows , partially because it includes so many acts we love like Mr.Kitty, Twin Tribes, Riki and Wingtips amongst others, but also for the hope it brings regarding the return of live music as a thing we can all enjoy communally, something we’ve been missing for so long now. More shows will pop up shortly we’re sure, many to be discussed herabouts we’re sure.

Ashbury Heights

If you’ve gotten through a year of lockdown and maintained half the sartorial dignity of Anders from Ashbury Heights, you’re doing better than us.

Ashbury Heights, “One Trick Pony (feat. Massive Ego)”
Ashbury Heights are amongst our favourite acts here at I Die: You Die for a few reasons. Firstly, they’re an electro-synthpop scene act who have genuine songwriting chops, it’s the rare AB track that doesn’t have a sticky hook or a memorable chorus. Secondly, Ashbury Heights songs are always about something, and expressed in a relatable way. Such is the case with new single “One Trick Pony”, a collab with Massive Ego which takes on the idea of balance between the person you need to be for professional or “adulting” and reasons and the person you feel like you actually are, or want to be. It’s a theme that resonates with us as aging scenesters, and might strike a chord with you as well.
One Trick Pony (feat. Massive Ego) by Ashbury Heights

Flint Glass, “teyolia”
Folks might remember us gassing on a while back about Tzolk’in, a collaborative project from Flint Glass and Empusae. Looks as though Gwenn Trémorin is taking that project’s interest in ancient South American myth and practice as a guiding light for psychopomps, the forthcoming Flint Glass EP and by our measure the first new non-collaborative work we’ll have from Trémorin since 2006’s incredibley Nyarlarthotep. Deep, watery, but still entirely rhythmic, stuff like this is always going to scratch a very particular itch of ours that little else can.
psychopomps by flint glass

HEALTH, “Slaves of Fear (Comaduster remix)”
The homie Réal Cardinal roars back this week with two very separate musical excursions. The first is a deep, subtly designed but of ambient dark folk, subtle, gentle and a triumph of minimalism in design and performance. The second is this outsized remix for Los Angeles electro-rock giants HEALTH, taking the title track of Slaves of Fear and transforming the thrashy original into a monolithic slab of bass and syncopated rhythms. The two sides of one of Our Thing’s modern originals.

Wet Skin, “Sex Negative”
The debut record from Wet Skin offers something very different from the rubbery TBM we’ve come to count on X-IMG for. Slow and seething, tracks like “Sex Negative” into the same fusion of classic industrial textures and moody pop songwriting as NIN, while tackling “a meta-thematic confrontation with the proto-incel themes of some industrial music”. Ugly, difficult stuff to be sure, but likely necessary to examine.
Animal God [X-IMG23] by Wet Skin

Slighter, “Complicit (Innocence is Dangerous)”
Slighter is a project we have a lot of respect for. The strong quality of his productions aside, Colin Cameron just steadily keeps working on and releasing music, building himself a small world of releases under the Confusion Inc. banner. If you aren’t familiar yet, “Complicit (Innocence is Dangerous)” is a good jumping on point; brooding downtempo production meets a hypnotic groove that works in headphones, in the DJ set, and on the last train home.
Complicit (Single) by Slighter

Sophrosyne, “Human Abbatoir”
We’re not entirely sure what to make of Ecclesiastes, the neck-snapping debut from the mysterious Sophrosyne project. Ostensibly a metal release but shot through with a range of unexpected industrial and electonic sounds, it’s not quite like any other industrial metal record we’ve heard before. The combination of black and nu metal markers being delivered alongside post-witch house and broader hardcore programming sort of ends up being a neighbour to aggrotech (sort of), but one with an entirely different evolutionary background.
Ecclesiastes by Sophrosyne

The post Tracks: April 6th, 2021 appeared first on I Die: You Die.

We Have A Technical 355: A Good Point

Sturm Café

Sturm Café straight flexin’.

The gents from Sturm Café are our guests on the podcast this week, and we had a blast chatting with them about their changing relationships with EBM, the importance of a catchy melody, and the nation-wide rewards of investing in music education (no, really!). Sturm Café are a band that has long been a favourite of the Senior Staff and we were very pleased to finally have them on the show. On a less upbeat tip, we’re also discussing recent discoveries about goth rock band Sonsombre. You can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, or download directly or stream from Spotify or the widget down below.

The post We Have A Technical 355: A Good Point appeared first on I Die: You Die.

Kill Shelter & Antipole, “A Haunted Place”

Kill Shelter & Antipole
A Haunted Place
Manic Depression Records

Kill Shelter and Antipole’s team-up effort A Haunted Place does quite a lot to highlight each post-punk act’s own character over the course of its eight tracks. Where Karl Morten Dahl’s work as Antipole has often favoured open song structures that unfold in at their own pace, Pete Burns’ largely collaborative catalogue as Kill Shelter is generally tightly focused on individual sounds and ideas as the song requires. The two meet in places that contrast and compliment one another, sometimes finding common ground, and sometimes supporting the other act’s approach.

Earlier tracks on the record certainly have the Kill Shelter flair to them. Goth-rock club bid “Raise the Skies” and the bass-driven reverb-riffage of “Burn Bright” are weighty but spry, with well-paced drum machine grooves and deep-voiced vocals from Burns, easy choices for those seeking playlist or dancefloor fodder. Later in the record “Of Roses and Thorns” hits the same mood but with even more grandeur via its swelling dual-guitar attack, establishing a filligreed lattice of notes that sounds both steady and ornate.

Interestingly, closer reads of the album start to reveal the influence of Antipole, specifically in some of the more delicate touches. While the Norwegian act has many of the same darkwave markers as their UK compatriot, their application is often looser and more open to letting songs form around a simple bass groove. You can identify it in the sparseness of the skeletal “A Kiss In the Rain”, or in the breathy atmospherics of closer “Every Waking Hour”, where reversed reverb and slow rolling rhythm push onward with glacial certainty.

Truthfully though, the Antipole and Kill Shelter are like-minded enough that trying to identify which songs originated with each act is largely guesswork. An ethereal number like “Into the Fire” or a groovy head-nodder like “All For Nothing” could hail just as easily from one catalogue as the other, which only serves to highlight the nature of A Haunted Place as a collaborative effort. It’s strengths – good hooks, solid production and healthy dollops of atmosphere – feel like the product of partnership. The quality of the record certainly suggests that the team-up is a fertile one.

Buy it.

MD132 – Kill Shelter & Antipole "A Haunted Place" by Kill Shelter + Antipole

The post Kill Shelter & Antipole, “A Haunted Place” appeared first on I Die: You Die.

Kanga, “You And I Will Never Die”

Kanga - You And I Will Never Die

You And I Will Never Die

In a recent discussion of the intersections between pop and industrial, we put Kanga forward as an artist capable of lifting from both traditions with a certain sense of ease and comfort. With only a couple of tracks from You And I Will Never Die out at the time, we had no idea how pursuant to that subject the record would prove to be, nor how subtle its appeal would be.

First-time listeners will likely be struck by a pair of seemingly incongruous characteristics – You And I Will Never Die pushes further into smooth electro-pop territory than we ever could have imagined after seeing Kanga’s confrontational performance at DB20 back in 2016, and yet at the same time demands more of its listener than any of her previous work. The overt Nails-isms of the first record are nowhere to be found, nor is the bombastic approach to percussion which guided the Eternal Daughter EP. Instead, Kanga’s vocals are placed front and center, cycling between hazy self-doubt on “Say Goodbye” and wistful loneliness on “Home”.

Each of these tracks slides along a spectrum of darkwave and electro-pop which perhaps brings Black Nail Cabaret or Noblesse Oblige to mind. Icy electro-industrial and nicely timed EBM programming is worked into the corners of tracks like “Brother” and “Violence”, but are finessed to sit alongside the friendlier pads and melodies to the point that someone hitherto unfamiliar with the project would likely never spot them. And more than any particular genre allegiance or bid for club play, it’s the hypnotic allure, mood, and je ne sais quoi of the entire record which cinches things. I mean, I could pitch “Moscow” as motorik dream-pop or make comparisons between “Ritual City” and a handful more recent darkwave acts, but both songs have a richness which only emerges after attuning oneself to the LP’s smoggy yet hopeful vibe and Kanga’s own vocal decisions.

It perhaps sounds contradictory to describe the release of a record so smooth and at times pretty as a risky or controversial move. But, without totally forsaking her roots in industrial, Kanga’s showing just how much range and talent she has beyond those sounds. A finely calculated and effective move towards the big-time, we hope You And I Will Never Die finds Kanga some listeners who’d likely never find themselves perusing this site. Recommended.

Buy it.

You and I Will Never Die by KANGA

The post Kanga, “You And I Will Never Die” appeared first on I Die: You Die.

Tracks: March 29th 2021

The Senior Staff did some podcast moonlighting this past weekend, recording an episode with our pals at History For Misanthropes. Tune in on Tuesday to hear us discuss the unlikely heroism of Stanislav Petrov, a tale we often mused about over a pint in the Before Times. We had a lot of fun with all of the apocalyptic twists and turns the conversation took, and we hope folks enjoy it. Like we said, the episode drops on Tuesday, but we heartily endorse checking out some of the arcane and morbid corners of history in the podcast’s archives until then…along with this week’s Tracks.


Ultra Sunn, “Night is Mine (New Beat mix)”
The SARIN remix of electro-darkwave act Ultra Sunn’s club banger “Night is Mine” has been a regular staple in streaming sets for a minute now, working a nice middle ground between evocative atmosphere and DJ friendly beats. Enter this brand new New Beat mix (dig the Belgian flag on the single artwork for extra authenticity), a slowed but equally hard hitting take on the track. Big orch hits, portentous spoken vox and the addition of glass bottle percussion are the big markers here, and for real, this kind of seems like the way the song was always meant to be.
Night Is Mine (New Beat Mix) by ULTRA SUNN

thewalkingicon, “Naïve”
We’ll admit to ignorance of the various projects the members of Russia’s thewalkingicon were previously involved in, but you don’t need much background to enjoy “Naive”, the first taste of the duo’s second LP and first on Negative Gain Productions. An immediate blend of darkwave and electro-pop sounds, “Naïve” is bringing to mind the bounce and melody of the likes of Parralox and Zeigeist.
Naive by thewalkingicon

Xibling, “Butterfly Curbstomp”
How do you even start to describe Portland based electro-oddballs Xibling to the uninitiated? You could start with some genre markers – darkwave, electroclash, maybe a splash of synthpunk – but that would only be describing the duo in a moment. They move fast and each release works as a refinement or stylistic shift, keeping them unpredictable. Enjoy “Butterfly Curbstomp” and the Maladjusted EP, and know that whatever Xibling get up to next it won’t sound exactly like it.
Maladjusted by Xibling

Semita Serpens, “A Voice Beyond”
In the “rather unexpected” category, here’s something from a new EP by Semita Serpens, the new side project of Denman Anderson of ID:UD mainstays Statiqbloom. While perhaps not as sunny as the album art might suggest, the style of techno Anderson’s working with here is far less grim and oppressive than his work on the past few Statiqbloom LPs might lead you to expect, though there’s certainly something of that project in the woozy and druggy drones weaving through this number.
NYH237 Semita Serpens – Indulging The Fever Dream by New York Haunted

Empusae, “The Wraiths And Strays Of Paris”
There’s an incredibly broad list of contributors to Coitus Interruptus’ new Coil tribute release, though that’s perhaps no surprise. Everyone from Snowbeasts to God Mod to Flint Glass to Michael Idehall does, in fact, owe some fealty to Coil. Here, Empusae lends a neo-classical ascent to one of Black Antlers‘ gnarly and knotted creations.
Channeling the Solar Lodge (A Coil Tribute) by Coitus Interruptus Productions

Second Skin, “Colder”
We’re probably stretching things a bit with the inclusion of this song from Los Angeles act Second Skin, their first single as a matter of fact. That said, in a world where some bizarre, cartoon version of “the 80s” propagated by hundreds of generic synthwave acts has taken hold, it’s great to hear something that actually sounds like it reflects the production and songwriting sensibility of the decade (Matia Simovich in the studio will help with that, natch). This is the music that plays in the movie while a montage of a band of teens makes their preparations to go fight vampires.
Colder by Second Skin

The post Tracks: March 29th 2021 appeared first on I Die: You Die.

Observer: Randolph & Mortimer and Den Sorte Død

Randolph & Mortimer
Born to Consume

We here at I Die: You Die are long time are long time proponents of Randolph & Mortimer; the Sheffield based industrial and body music powerhouses have been a regular part of our coverage since the release of their first proper EP $ocial £utures was released back in 2014. That said, we’ve never heard Randy & Mort’s initial forays into music before, which is what makes Born to Consume such a pleasure. Made up of 5 tracks from the 2012-2013 era, one much later free download and one wholly unreleased demo, you can hear influences and ideas that are not necessarily ones we associate with groovy, sample-laden EBM-adjacent tracks that R&M have made a meal of for the latter half of the last decade. Specifically, “The Markets” and “Debt is King” show a significant debt to vintage Ministry, with the former playing as an inversion of “N.W.O.”‘s sirens-and-chopped-up-riffs and the latter working a Barker-esque bassline and vocal sample to an explosive climax. 2017 era-track “Eastern Bloc” takes a Peter Hook bass riff and works it up into a massive, annihilating groove, ornamented by digital bleeps and crashing snare drums. The contemplative “War Game” is a pleasant enough bit of synth composition and jazzy drum programming, although it’s closer “Legacy of Orgreave (Demo)” that might be the most fascinating thing here; a post-punky synth number with a bit of lo-fi new wave sheen, it’s a lovely and unexpected track unlike anything you’ve ever heard from Randolph & Mortimer before. A really excellent document of one of our favourite acts that inhabits a space well outside our expectations from them, and is all the more interesting for it.
Born to Consume by Randolph & Mortimer

Den Sorte Død
Den Sorte Død
Cyclic Law

Don’t let the name (“The Black Death” in Swedish) or the cover art fool you – Den Sorte Død ain’t a death industrial project, nor is it really dark ambient in any traditional sense despite the project’s new LP being released by Cyclic Law. Instead, the collaboration between Denmark’s Offermose and Sweden’s Angst Sessions offers a delicate and elegant take on moody analog synth composition. Too earthy to be kosmische, too willowy to be dungeon synth, simple but affecting melodies are woven in shimmering and wintry fashion. Spiritual connections could perhaps be found with Witch Root and Pod Cast, but the slow, processional feel of just about every track on this new LP creates a unique and sustained mood. Further afield, Wendy Carlos’ arrangements for “A Clockwork Orange” are brought to mind by the title track’s elegiac march, with shimmering synth pad laments punctuated by deep space echoes. Calming, meditative stuff which manages to be enveloping but not anodyne.
Den Sorte Død by DEN SORTE DØD

The post Observer: Randolph & Mortimer and Den Sorte Død appeared first on I Die: You Die.

We Have A Technical 354: Two Chew Toys

Absurd Minds

Absurd Minds

The mean and gritty retro-futurism of Pure Ground’s brand of minimal synth and Absurd Minds’ uncanny obsession with a particular era of Project Pitchfork’s work inspires this episode of We Have A Technical, in the classic two albums format. The Senior Staff are also talking about the recent reporting on and revelations about abuse and harassment at LA’s Cloak & Dagger club, and on a lighter note, teeing off on that forthcoming Smiths movie which is just gonna be total dogshit, y’all. You can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, or download directly or stream from Spotify or the widget down below.

The post We Have A Technical 354: Two Chew Toys appeared first on I Die: You Die.

Cygnets, “Swansongs”

Cygnets - Swansongs


The charms of Edmonton’s Cygnets were as palpable on their varied LPs as they were on the festival stages where we first caught them. The trio’s combo of glam, new wave, britpop, and goth sounds could have come across as being far too hammy or excessive for its own good were Chris Bruce and Dan Snow not so adept at honing their influences down into tightly paced and instantly memorable tunes, or if Logan Turner didn’t have the perfect combo of pipes and charisma a band of their ilk needs in a frontman. After a few years of inactivity, Swansongs arrives, confirming the band’s end and bringing together their last recorded work – two 2017 sessions dedicated to revisiting some of the band’s earliest and unreleased songs.

There was precious little that was subtle about Cygnets on most days, and Swansongs doesn’t play anything coy. The New Order-isms of the furiously anthemic opener “My Dead Self Again” are overt and unabashed, but Turner’s Rimbaud-like, sensory-overload reverie ensures you don’t forget who you’re actually listening to. “Herself Is But A Voice” (previously released in a handful of remix iterations, now here in its unaltered form) serves as a great reminder of how easily Cygnets could command the brighter sides of synthpop and new wave while still delivering all of the emotion and pathos that a song referencing Persephone and Lawrence requires.

Given that the songs which have been reprised for Swansongs are among the band’s oldest, it’s perhaps not surprising that there’s less of the over gloom the trio would. Oh, there’s drama and intensity aplenty, as the raging “Inferno” shows off, but mid-period darkwave cuts like “Gallows” or the morbid elegance of final original LP Alone/Togehter are nowhere to be found. Instead, much the material on Swansongs is shot through with a distinctly disco flair, cropping up in the compressed piano thump of “Venus And The Wraiths” and the Moroder pulse of “Call It A Night”, a charming, Pulp-esque tale of a hook-up turned awkward.

Parting may or may not be such sweet sorrow, but Cygnets’ apothocary is true and their drugs quick. Swansongs shows off both the band’s polished final era and their earliest, most heart-on-sleeve ambitions. We won’t lie – we’d love to see the band back on festival stages someday, but if this is indeed the last word from Cygnets we’re glad they gave us the chance to wish them a proper farewell.

Buy it.

The post Cygnets, “Swansongs” appeared first on I Die: You Die.

Absolute Body Control, “A New Dawn”

Absolute Body Control
A New Dawn

Absolute Body Control’s 2007 reformation came in the form of two-releases: Vinyl-On-Demands’ comprehensive Tapes 81-89 and Wind:Rewind, the latter of which found the duo of Dirk Ivens and Eric Van Wonterghem revisiting and rerecording selections from their influential but still somewhat obscure catalogue. That they chose to do so is probably not a coincidence; while minimal synth was having a moment in the mid-to-late aughts, Ivens and Von Wonterghem who (who went on to work together numerous times after ABC’s dissolution in the mid-eighties) have always had an interest in adding to that group’s legacy. A New Dawn is their first release since 2010’s excellent revival LP Shattered Illusion, and like that record shows the duo exploring their classic sound without modern stylistic concessions.

Instrumentally, the six song EP makes use of the traditional Absolute Body Control toolset; buzzing analogue synths, simple patterns programmed on vintage drum machines, and Ivens singing in a more melodic style removed from the forceful desperation and anger of his work in The Klinik and Dive. Opening songs “Waving Goodbye” and “Earth Takes a Break” show some of the variety that can be drawn from that simple template – the former is almost all kick-snare, a simple two-note synth bassline and a distant lead on the chorus, while for latter speeds things up and adds loads of springy synth lines to the proceedings. Both tracks sound as though they could have been classic ABC numbers, albeit with a bit more clarity in the recording and mix.

Interestingly the EP shows some of Absolute Body Control’s rarely heard sentimental side. “Empty Cities” has Ivens sounding positively wistful as he sings about waiting for something new to happen in the titular barren world, a simple arrangement of synths and a rattling rhythm pattern filling out the plaintive arrangement. Follow-up “Seven” is an instrumental that touches on light Kraftwerkian electro-pop, complete with robotic melancholy baked into its hopeful melody. When the band revert to their more sinister and plodding sound on “Invisible Touch” (not a cover sadly), and finish on the noisy, Klinik-esque paranoia of “Thundering Silence”, one really does feel like the EP is sequenced to comment on the band’s character and evolution. Now close to 40 years removed from their original run and recognized as a formative act in their genre, Ivens and Van Wonterghem show that they can still inhabit this particular instance of their musical partnership.

Buy it.

A New Dawn by Absolute Body Control

The post Absolute Body Control, “A New Dawn” appeared first on I Die: You Die.

Tracks: March 22nd, 2021

We hope by the time you’re reading this some of you will have checked out this month’s We Have a Commentary, dedicated to Cabaret Voltaire’s classic Micro-Phonies. By some strange kismet, it dropped the same day as this excellent round-up of Cabs’ career, which seems as good a time as any to give our endorsement of Bandcamp Daily. With the collapse of most of the traditional venues for music crit, it’s good to see BC using their platform as a venue for people to write about music, under the watchful eye of senior editor (and scene vet) Jes Skolnik. Much love to them!



Vomito Negro, “In Strikt Tempo”
The kings of unpleasant, gritty body music are back! It’s been about 4 years since the Belgian act led by Gin Devo released their last full length Black Plague and from the sounds of “In Strikt Tempo” the band hasn’t gotten any less cantankerous in the interim; we fully expect that when Entitled drops later this week we’ll be swimming in nasty EBM bass, rough electronic textures and Devo’s distinctive growl. A legacy act that has never lost their edge, we’re always happy(?!?) to hear more of their particular brand of bile.
Entitled by Vomito Negro

Leaether Strip, “No Place Like Home
Speaking of dark electro legends, through all of his personal upheaval and tragedy, Claus Larsen isn’t just releasing another collection of Mode covers, but has also been prepping a brand-new seventeen track LP. Back To Industry drops today and based on this and a couple of other preview tracks, looks to be a back to basics, aggressive return to the early furious style with which Claus carved his rep. Always a workhorse, always an inspiration.
Back To Industry by Leaether Strip

Menthüll, “Maude”
Québec duo Menthüll impressed us greatly in the last days of 2020 with “Corian”, a billowing and enveloping coldwave tour de force. New track “Maude” is a bit more forthright in its thumping dancefloor ambitions, but the art and elegance with which the vocals and other elements are woven in speaks to their delicate hand. Single track by single track, Menthüll have built an impressive track record for themselves and positioned themselves to be a sought after act once Canadian touring is feasible.
Maude by Menthüll

Awwful, “Architecture”
Speaking of Québec, Montreal’s Awwful offers up a take on hyperpop which perhaps accidentally ends up backing into some industrial-adjace territory by way of HEALTH or TRST. A little bit lighter and poppier than we generally go around these parts (with some unexpected grunge overdrive), but a hook’s a hook. And hey: anyone who can combine classic NYC club kid aesthetics with an appreciation for Crow-era Sting is aces with us. Tip o’ the hat to our boy BP Hughes for the heads-up on this one!
Architecture EP by Awwful

Pixel Grip, “ALPHAPUSSY”
Midwest trip-hoppers Pixel Grip have been at it for a minute now, putting out tracks and albums that dip into synthpop, electro and other styles. The first tracks we’re hearing from their forthcoming record Arena have a bit of EBM thrown in on the bassline and we’re feeling it; check “ALPHAPUSSY” for a sampling of how they’re integrating 16th note bass and cymbal programming into their mix. Definitely eager to hear more of this mix, or whatever the genre-agnostic trio have cooked up.
ARENA by Pixel Grip

Tronik Youth, “U R A Slave (Mundo D remix)”
UK based producer Tronik Youth has been active for about a decade or so, working in areas that border Our Thing without necessarily crossing over into it; you know the fertile neutral zone between techno, acid, EBM that has been so explored for the last few years. That said, forthcoming release on Berlin’s NEIN sure perked up our ears, specifically the Mundo D remix that goes full post-industrial dance with all the delayed and chopped vox samples, cracking drums and sinister synths you could want. DJs take note of this one.
U R A SLAVE by Tronik Youth

The post Tracks: March 22nd, 2021 appeared first on I Die: You Die.

We Have A Commentary: Cabaret Voltaire, “Micro-Phonies”

Cabaret Voltaire - Micro-Phonies

This month’s bonus commentary podcast finds us discussing the charming confidence of Cabaret Voltaire’s overt push into funk and pop territory, 1983’s Micro-Phonies. A band whose evolution in some ways mirrors that of industrial as a genre, Cabs don’t get nearly enough love and discussion around these parts as they perhaps should, so we’re atoning with some discussion of Cold War paranoia, the free-flows of influence from dub, electro, funk, industrial, and post-punk, plus the band’s johnny-on-the-spot conversance with the emerging cyberpunk aesthetic. You can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, download directly or stream from Spotify or the widget down below.

The post We Have A Commentary: Cabaret Voltaire, “Micro-Phonies” appeared first on I Die: You Die.

Observer: Some Ember & Dead Voices On Air

Some Ember
Held a Fragment of the Moon

Some Ember have been active and releasing music for nearly a decade now, transitioning through various styles and lineups while the willfully rough edges of their earliest material gradually gave way to a smooth and velvety take on the modern darkwave. You can hear the evolution in Dylan Travis’ work on new EP Held a Fragment of the Moon, especially in terms of his programming and production which have a clarity that sets it apart from even his most recent efforts. That means that the synth bassline and snappy drums of “Excavate” have a pleasing weight to them, but allow plenty of space for Travis’ dramatic vocal delivery on the song’s hook to embed itself in the listener’s ear. Similarly, “Fragment” works a post-punk rhythm section against synthesized choirs and a vocal lament that conveys emotion with carriage and impact in spite of the track’s mournfulness. Travis’ voice is especially important to the mood of the EP, his tenor delivery somewhere in the neighbourhood of latter-era Scott Walker, creating pockets of lament in the bouncy electro of “Wellspring”, and doubled-up for dimensionality during the the half-time swing of “Rift”. It’s a brief but potent dose of an act who are forvever zeroing in on what makes them stand out from comparable acts in their style.
Held a Fragment of the Moon by Some Ember

Dead Voices On Air - The Piss Frond Tapes Volume One
Dead Voices On Air
The Piss Frond Tapes Volume One

As we’ve discussed in the past, Piss Frond is a landmark achievement in Mark Spybey’s distinguished career, and so an archival trawl through the demos which spawned that drone/experimental masterpiece comes as a welcome exercise. That this marks the first of two such releases, with the second to come in April, speaks to the creative run Dead Voices On Air was on at the close of the millennium, as is spelled out in the detailed notes which accompany the release and contain revelations that are eye-popping to experimental music fans and Vancouverites alike (Dadaist free association with Holger Czukay? Oh right, that Alexander Varty!). The early versions compiled here are arranged with the same sequencing as their final counterparts, allowing for the experience of listening to the record through a glass darkly. Some, like “The First Swan Flax” are almost indiscernible from the originals, while the roots version of Piss Frond centerpiece “Sulphur” is so radically minimal in comparison to its lush later execution that Spybey’s valorization of the contributors who worked to flesh it out into what it would become begins to make sense. Piss Frond is a record of moods and textures, and so there’s something of the uncanny about listening to an early version of “Red Kerre” which has its proportions and frequencies just tilted a bit differently here and there – akin to putting on a favourite sweater and finding it to be a shade bluer than you remember and just one of the arms half an inch longer. A couple of unreleased tracks plus thirty-odd minutes of live improv from a 1999 show add some extra value. An absolute must-purchase release for any fan of the original record.
The Piss Frond Tapes Volume One by Dead Voices On Air

The post Observer: Some Ember & Dead Voices On Air appeared first on I Die: You Die.

We Have A Technical 353: Bonobos


We didn’t even talk about Cygnets’ fantastic cover of the unofficial Canadian National Anthem, “Run With Us”.

Scene-rooted cover tracks are the subject du jour in this episode of We Have A Technical. The expressive, the rote, and the crassly commercial versions of other artists’ work which we’ve been drawn to and repulsed by over our years in the goth/industrial trenches are all up for discussion, along with new release news concerning Hide, Clock DVA, and Cygnets. You can rate and subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, or download directly or stream from Spotify or the widget down below.

The post We Have A Technical 353: Bonobos appeared first on I Die: You Die.

Louisahhh, “The Practice of Freedom”

The Practice of Freedom

Louisahhh has been a noted quantity in the techno scene for a decade, both via her wide-ranging DJ sets and her numerous productions, both as a solo artist and in collaboration with notables like Dave Clarke and Brodinski. If you checked her 2017 EP A Trap I’ve Built or her recent singles in collaboration with producer Maelstrom you might have an inkling of the industrial direction of her new LP The Practice of Freedom, although it’s striking how hard the Paris-by-way-of-New York artist goes in on the style, exploring harder and more mechanized sounds than at any previous point in her catalogue.

Lest you imagine that the sound of the record arrived on industrial shores by coincidence, a recent and entertaining chat about the record on Twitch featured Louisahhh commenting on her favourite KMFDM remix, examining Skinny Puppy performances and seeing Ministry with 3Teeth. You can hear traces of those influences in various spots; in the churning riffs that boil underneath programmed bass and drums on “No Pressure”, the chopped up guitar that forms the basis of “Chaos”, and the thudding percussion that drives “A Hard No”. That those elements are put in service of tracks that maintain some of Louisahhh’s pedigree in techno while (and DJ accessibility) speaks to her aims as a producer and performer – bridging and finding commonalities. A song like the uncompromising “Ferocious – Unchained” would feel as home at annihilating your ears at Berghain as it would coming through the PA between bands at your industrial scene fest of choice.

Beyond that exploration of sounds and common grounds, the record finds much of its personality in Louisahhh’s vocals. Although the icy monotone delivery she’s used in the past isn’t entirely absent, you can clearly hear her efforts to expand her range as a singer, both emotionally and technically. Sometimes it’s via how she approaches a track – the punky and off the cuff delivery she adopts on “Love is a Punk” drives home the song’s role as album opener and mood setter for example. But when she really pushes herself it yields the records finest moments: “Master” has her doing soulful and vulnerable over a crunchy slow groove, hints of struggle and triumph landing between each word, where “Numb/Undone” has her passionately shredding her vocal chords over what amounts to a hot rhythmic noise instrumental.

The Practice of Freedom ends up being a kind of dual showcase for Louisahhh as producer and performer. Her work in the former (along with producer and instrumentalist Vice Cooler) eschews standard techno-industrial tropes in favour of a more philosophical exploration of the neutral zone that borders the genres, while her exploration in the latter shines a new light on her as a personality. As a record it’s messy, impassioned, and doesn’t fit easily into any specific genre divider, and you can’t help but feel that’s exactly how Louisahhh envisioned it. Recommended.

Buy it.

The Practice of Freedom by Louisahhh

The post Louisahhh, “The Practice of Freedom” appeared first on I Die: You Die.

Affet Robot, “Fiyasko”

Affet Robot - Fiyasko

Affet Robot

You might think that Affet Robot might be well-positioned to capitalize on recent interest in Turkish post-punk, but the one-man project of Eren Günsan has remained true to a brighter and more melodic strain of darkwave and synth sounds than those plied by many of its countrymen. With a solid pair of releases already on the board, Günsan isn’t setting out to radically rework Affet Robot’s sound on new LP Fiyasko. But in sticking to a style that prioritizes catchy melodies and sophisticated atmosphere, he’s perhaps challenging himself even more by needing to maintain interest in a familiar template, of which Fiyasko does an admirable job.

Aficionados of smoother European acts from the beginning of the cold and darkwave eras will have a field day influence spotting Fiyasko. The high drama new wave of B-Movie or End Of Data, the glowing jangle of The Wake (the Factory one, not Cleopatra’s), and the emotive coldwave of Norma Loy or Asylum Party can all be found in its big synth sweeps and the more insular corners of its restrained guitar work. Affet Robot’s compositions hold up on their own outside of genre exercise, though. The loping synthpop of “Saplantıların Kölesiyim” has an immediate and sweet charm (that one of its lyrics phonetically sounds like “candy candy” to English ears seems like kismet), while “Çelişki” does a good job of switching focus between vocals, synth and guitar while maintaining the same smeared, pastel melodies across all instruments.

That acuity with instrumentation leads to another of Affet Robot’s skills – rendering sounds most listeners are most accustomed to hearing on old vinyl or dodgy mp3 blog rips with modern clarity. If filtering the gloom of 80s darkwave through a modern pop sheen sounds a bit like Drab Majesty to you, well, you’re not entirely wrong. There’s definitely something of Deb & co. in the synth-toms and slowly building drama of “Tutsak”, but Günsan’s relatively strong presence as a vocalist and the slightly sinister turn of the melody gives the track its own appeal.

Fiyasko is, by definition, an exercise in nostalgia; as Günsan notes in the promo, Affet Robot aims to gather “influences from the obscure side of the 80’s”. Fiyasko is certainly the product of someone who’s spent a large portion of their life crate-digging for evocative gems from a time gone by, but thankfully it isn’t just limited to that sort of formal appeal, and does right by its influences with an enjoyably melodic set of tunes.

Buy it.

Fiyasko by Affet Robot

The post Affet Robot, “Fiyasko” appeared first on I Die: You Die.

Tracks: March 15th, 2021

We’ve been spending a lot of time discussing the forthcoming Love’s Secret Domain reissues (and will continue to do so!), but the quiet announcement of a massive CD box compiling the earliest work of Clock DVA reminded us of the fantastic work done by Vinyl On Demand in compiling, collating, and reissuing hopelessly out of print work by early electronic pioneers. VOD’s boxes have brought crucial works by Snowy Red, Portion Control, Crash Course In Science, Absolute Body Control, Esplendor Geometrico, Muslimgauze, and so many more back into the spotlight. But they also deserve kudos for keeping the secondary market at heel by doubling back on their existing vinyl boxes to create economical CD reissues (contrary to their name) like this one.

Red light go with Odonis Odonis

Brand new single from Brant Showers (∆AIMON)’s SØLVE and it’s a somewhat different affair. If you’ve been following the project (or heard the split with The Blood of Others we helped put out), you’ll associate it with atmospheric ritual music informed by post-witchhouse sounds. “NEVER + ENOUGH” shoots that through with some hard industrial rock drumming, translating Shower’s ever more confident vocals from pensive to commanding. The single comes in a package with remixes from artists like Sidewalks and Skeletons, Bara Hari, Null Device, V▲LH▲LL, and FIRES amongst others, and you can nab it on Bandcamp in digital or as a limited CD right now.

XTR Human, “Leben Ohne Licht (feat. Luca Gillian)”
An absolute stormer from German wave act XTR Human, one that splits the difference between cold wave and EBM with precision. The springy bass-driven verse and hard-edged vocal from Johannes Stabels sets up the lovely, melodic chorus featuring Die Selektion’s Luca Gillian, recontextualizing what we’ve heard in the track up ’til that point. Addictive and eminently relistenable, you’re gonna wanna snap this one up ASAP.

Potochkine, “Possédée”

Some friends in Europe put us on to French act Potochkine after catching them at Kalabalik (thanks, Lindsey!), and even without seeing them live their elegant darkwave charm still comes across. New LP Sortilèges is out in a week and we’ve been getting pretty hyped for it on the basic of numbers like this which combine the classic rough minimalism of Kas Product with the modern sheen of Black Nail Cabaret (and maybe a bit of the smokey intensity of our beloved Animal Bodies).
Sortilèges by POTOCHKINE

Aurat, “¿Can You Hear Me?”
LA’s Aurat impressed us late last year with an LP combining classic darkwave and post-punk sounds with Urdu vocals. While the latter aren’t present on new stand-alone track “¿Can You Hear Me?”, it’s still a nice demonstration of Aurat’s ability to hold their own even while working in some more broader and more accessible territory. Nice hint of italo in this poppy darkwave number.
Khaar by Aurat

Odonis Odonis, “Salesmen”
Toronto industrialists Odonis Odonis return with some tracks from their forthcoming LP Spectrums and they are not screwing around. “Get Out” is of the sort of noise-rock crossover sound that has informed a lot their previous releases, but it’s “Salesmen” that makes the big impression: livewire rhythm programming and blasts of distorted synth collide with massive force, unrelenting and undeniable. The band has always had a streak of the sardonic to them, but for the first time they sound downright mean, and we are very much on board with it.
Spectrums by Odonis Odonis

Donna Haringwey, “No Life”
Abrasive synthpunk wipeouts await on Feral, the new EP from mutant noise artist Donna Haringwey. It’s a difficult but immediately viscerally rewarding listen, without a second being wasted. Tracks like this one are shot through with a manic yobbishness that’s quite different from the deconstructed EBM which guided the debut The Child Of God EP.
Venal by Donna Haringwey

SPÆCIALISTA, “Muerde y Huye”
Another banger from Colombia’s SPÆCIALISTA, a producer whose tracks have rapidly become secret weapons in the crates of sharp-eared DJs the world over. It’s something about the combination of classic new beat/body flavour with funky electronic percussion (those bongos and congas!) that makes his small but potent catalogue so instantaneous. Like basically all of SPÆCIALISTA’s stuff, this one comes to us via a compilation, in this case the massive Universidad de Vampiros from Georgia’s SHISHI, you might wanna go and put it on your Bandcamp wishlist.
Universidad de Vampiros by Various Artists

The post Tracks: March 15th, 2021 appeared first on I Die: You Die.