We Have a Technical 269: Who’s Afraid of Sylvia Plath

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Plack Blagueloves it when we’re cruisin’ together.

It’s a Pick Five episode of We Have a Technical this week, as the Senior Staff chooses bands emblematic of I Die: You Die we think you should know. But this ended up being a super roaming episode, touching upon everything from PC Music to Virginia Woolf to Senor Cardgage. Stick with us, and we hope you find some new bands to check out! 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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Bustié, “Birds Of Paradise”

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Bustié - Birds Of Paradise
Bustié
Birds Of Paradise
Climax!

Latin freestyle and deathrock may not have much in common historically, but the idiosyncratic aesthetic of Bustié sets out to change that. The LA project has been germinating over the past few years after the end of synthpunk outfit Ssleaze, and after a handful of tracks here and there Birds Of Paradise presents ex-Ssleazist Angie’s vision of “anarcho body music”. Whatever the provenance of its influences, the resulting release is a tight and catchy set of tunes replete with personality.

The backstory of Angie’s shared fascinations with classic deathrock (their “Pogo Pope” alias nods to Rudimentary Peni, of course, but hints of Rozz Williams’ catty bleat can be found here and there in the vocals) and summery freestyle beats coming together on this record sounds more outré in theory than it is in practice. The combination of dirge-ish, flanged programming and lithe but thudding drums ends up feeling somewhat sympatico with millennial electroclash, or at least the practitioners of it who were conversant in EBM and acid (Magas). A track like “Troth” does a good job of showcasing Birds Of Paradise‘s propensity for inspiring simultaneous moping and booty shaking, and with eleven tracks slinking by in just thirty-seven minutes, there are plenty of recombinations of both elements.

But Angie’s vocal presence on that track and the rest of the album can’t be understated. Pitched, tuned, echoed and layered to suit just about any purpose or register, they hold sway over the whole record. It’s a varied feast thematically, too: compare the racial politics of “Inferior & Slain” with the extended queen bee analogy in “Negative One”. Factor in a flair for the erotic which moves between the sleazy and spiritual with ease, and it becomes easy to read Birds Of Paradise as the presentation of a personality in a way that owes more to classic pop than any singer-songwriter auteur, regardless of genre.

That Birds Of Paradise ends up as a unified whole more than the sum of its points of inspiration says something not only about the flexibility of seemingly homeostatic sounds but also Angie’s commanding charisma. Bustié feels like a natural ordering of music to suit the latter, and it’s only when you start teasing out individual sounds and styles of origin that its hybrid lineage really comes into focus. You’re certainly welcome to do that, of course, but it’s probably better to just let the whole melange wash over you.

Birds of Paradise by Bustié

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God Module, “The Unsound”

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God Module
The Unsound
Metropolis Records/Infacted Recordings

Industrial act God Module have have been active for more than 20 years, a deep genre act of the kind that makes up the DNA of any long-running underground music scene. What’s especially fascinating about listening to Jasyn Bangert and company’s material in 2019 is how representative it is of the hyphenated goth-industrial phenomenon; God Module are a perfect example of the loose amalgamation of spooky signifiers and EBM and darkwave musical tropes that dominated club formats and label rosters for decades. The Unsound will sound absolutely familiar to those who came up in that milieu while simultaneously being strange and impenetrable to those who didn’t.

With that understanding, the LP works as a broad sampling of the things God Module has always done pretty well. Musically they’re an act who understand the context of the clubs that cater to their audience, and produce songs that fit snugly into that niche. Opener “Cross My Heart” hits all the right notes: a distinctive opening sequence (designed equally for instant recognition and to allow patrons to get the dancefloor before the beat kicks in), side-chained pumping rhythms, and dark twinkly melodies that are married to processed vocals distinct enough to allow for the hook to sink its teeth in. Whether slowed down slightly on the aggrotech-touched “Hindsight” or sped up and smoothed out on “Display” (a song that flirts with classic NRG in the vein of 2 Unlimited’s “Twilight Zone” or the like), it’s God Mod doing themselves effectively and efficiently.

The other aspect of God Module’s longevity and success is how well they engage with the aesthetic trappings of “dark” music. Hate it or love it, the ubiquity of their 2007 club anthem “Spooky” steams from the desire to hear music that reflects popular manifestations of the macabre: serial killers, horror movies, and the camp-occult. While nothing on The Unsound is as overt as the former song, it is a record that suggests the ghastly through sound design and lyrical themes. Melodies are in a minor key, samples are spooky and horrific in equal measure and reverbs and delays are layered to create an appropriately morbid mood. It doesn’t always work well – instrumental “Behind the Curtain” is bombastic but lacks direction, “Phenomenon” feels rote – but when it does, as on the bouncy, Leaether Strip-esque “Grey Forces” it has a specific charm of its own.

Moreso than any fellow industrial act, a better comparison for God Module would be genre acts like Cannibal Corpse or DJ Assault: without a grounding in the scene that birthed them and an appreciation for their chosen subject matter the appeal can be hard to grasp. In some ways that makes them critic-proof but it also highlights the history and demographics of the genre they participate in. With that understanding, The Unsound is a record made by a project that has thrived for years doing what works for them. God Module are intrinsically themselves, and there isn’t a single compelling argument I can think of why they shouldn’t be just that.

Buy it.

The Unsound by God Module

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Tracks: July 15th, 2019

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Those with sharply tuned social media senses might have already detected this, but we hopped aboard the USS Space Couch yesterday for some Q & A with Gothsicles head honcho Brian Graupner. In addition to being a fun and productive conversation which touched on our own history and methodologies, this was a somewhat surreal experience for us as Brian was one of the very first people we ever interviewed for ID:UD way back in 2011. We’ve said since day one that one of our biggest hopes for this scene was more organs and outlets for discussion and analysis of Our Thing’s music, be that in the form of blogs, podcasts, or intergalactic live streaming enterprises, so

Vueltas

Vueltas

Body of Light, “Don’t Pretend”
Way up near the top of our list of anticipated 2019 album we find the Brothers Jarson, aka Body of Light. We had feelings regarding the smooth flavour of first single “Time to Kill” (and the hot production assist’s from studio wizard Matia of Inhalt) and the latest drop is just as exciting: a hot mix of sweet synthpop melody and body music bounce with some synthwave touches at the edges. Absolutely stellar stuff from an act that have yet to disappoint us. Album is out July 26th!

Download, “44 Days”
The assessment of any Download material from here on out is going to be coloured by the sad passing of Phil Western earlier this year. Of course that also means that songs like “44 Days” (found on a 7″ b/w “Takanadobabble (take 2)” via Artoffact) will also serve as something of a tribute to Western. Like Unknown Room, the song highlights the wild, uncategorizable analogue weirdness of the Cevin Key and Western collaboration, featuring sequences and sounds that twist and evolve from one unexpected shape to the next. As tributes to the fallen go this one feels very, very appropriate.
44 Days by Download

Kangarot, “Function”
Longtime readers will know that Josh Reed’s Kangarot project has remained one of our most championed yet still most overlooked projects here at the HQ. Kanagarot’s music walks a tightrope, calling out both to electro-industrial’s most psychedelic and lush sounds while still remaining a stripped-down sense of no-frills aggression. 2016’s Wholly Hex marked a turn to the rougher and harsher side of roots industrial, but on a couple of quick passes new LP The Demon-Haunted World is taking no small joy in the lighter and brighter side of synth. We’ll have a full review up in the days ahead, but for now catch up with what you’ve (probably) been missing.
The Demon-Haunted World by Kangarot

Cryo Unit, “Artificial Universe”
Here’s some fresh and clean stuff which nicely connects the dots betwixt futurepop, synthwave, and classic dancefloor electro. Kansas City’s Cryounit has been active for a hot minute or two and was actually featured on our Telekompilation release last year, but Paradox is the one man project’s first release. Otherworldly but approachable melodies and soothing pads make this track an excellent first impression if this is your first session in the Cryo Unit.
Paradox by Cryounit

Vueltas, “Cadena”
With all of the droves of post-punk bands coming out of Portland for good and for bad, it’s easy to forget that the city also has a recent and healthy tradition of bands who don’t play around with open-ended genre tags and go right for the deathrock jugular. Vueltas’ band members’ lineages can be traced back to a number of turn of the millennium dark post-hardcore acts, but there’s a clear callback to the even earlier originators on the trio’s demo tape, like this number which feels like half Heart Of Snow, half X-Mal.
5 song demo by Vueltas

Poppy, “Meat”
Okay, all controversy regarding pop act Poppy aside, we’ve generally been fans of her aesthetic and music. Still, we weren’t expecting her to release this wild-ass animal rights by way of science fiction circa 2009 industrial club track. In a song that lands somewhere between mid-2000s electro and say, modern Ashbury Heights our heroine details a scenario in which she goes details the horrors of factory farming in the first person. Pop act or not, how you gonna act like a track like this can’t work in your local club?

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Observer: Nootropic & Mind Teardown

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Nootropic - Blood Vapor
Nootropic
Blood Vapor
DTHXCMP

Dutch-by-way-of-Washington producer Dominic Smelt’s background in breakcore and bass music can’t help but influence how he approaches the cyberpunk themes of his Nootropic side project. While Blood Vapor has a grounding in techno and downbeat rhythms, the actual structure of the six original tracks on the EP is far looser, with rhythmic and synth programming emerging out of wispy ambiance, playing out static figures, and retreating back into shadow. Rather than a + w style concrete blasts, sound design and soundtracking of the sort offered by The Sprawl or Herd feels closer to what Smelt is reaching for. Sure, a piece like the opening “Heart Clutch” has a build to it and coasts along with slick ease, but as it begins to disassemble in its last passages the lasting memory is one of mood, not melody or beat. And even when things are tweaked out into full-on Shadowrun “decker hacking the Renraku Arcology” mode as on the bendy acid passages and whining klaxons of “Silicon”, Smelt never seems to be going for broke purely for the sake of speed or aggression, but only to counterbalance the bubbling and almost jazzy wistfulness of the following “Seq100574”. Taken at their most literal, “dark techno” and “cyberpunk” can be connoted and conjured via a range of means, and Smelt does a good job here of arriving at them via fresh means.
Blood Vapor by Nootropic


Mind Teardown
Find
self-released

The music on Find flies in the face of our expectations from Croation producer Domagoj Krsic. His main outlet How Green Is My Toupee (and it’s predecessor Cyborgs on Crack) is a funhouse mirror version of the post-industrial genre, morphing into psychedelic shapes that are hard to anticipate and process. While his latest as side-project Mind Teardown is equally unexpected, it’s in a wholly different fashion; where all of Krsic’s work is generally marked by his arch sensibility and sense of humour, Find is a very straight record of mopey post-punk and neo-folk. Where it shines is in highlighting Krsic’s strong grasp of melody and arrangement. Listen to the out-of-time darkwave of “Not a Pineapple” with it’s shimmery guitars, low rumbling bass and deep, flowing reverbs, or the strummy “Sea” which is accented with distant horns and sorrowful pads for examples of how effortlessly Mind Teardown sounds in this milieu. You could be forgiven for assuming songs like “Laminae” and “Vik” were classic Projekt records joints, their shoegazey electronics and guitars tied together by heartfelt, mounrful vocals. In a DIY music career marked by unexpected turns, Domagoj Krsic somehow manages to stay whimsical even when playing things straight and serious.
Find (2019) by Mind Teardown

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We Have a Technical 268: Ruined the Whole Thing

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Trident neck and drums from heck with Harsh R.

Avi Roig from Harsh R dropped by the old ID:UD HQ this past weekend in anticipation of his set at Vancouver’s Body 2 Body Cascadian EBM showcase. We chatted with him about his roots in hardcore, the importance of minimalism, and just how freaking much Babyland rules. We’ve also got a breakdown of all of the sets from the aforementioned Body 2 Body, along with news about a far-reaching dark music event just announced for November in LA. It’s this week’s We Have A Technical: come on in, the water’s fine! 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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