It has been another busy week gathering and writing content at amodelofcontrol.com, and there will be a few posts in the next couple of weeks as a result. The first of which is this, the best tracks of the past month.
292: Tracks of the Month (April 2017)
As the year gathers pace and we start to edge into the early reaches of the summer season, release schedules have started filling up for the autumn too, and as is usual, I can’t cover everything.
So there are a few more releases worth checking out that I’m unlikely to have the chance to cover. These include a new Empathy Test single, which I’ve decided to hold over until I cover their two albums due in the summer – self-released via crowdfunding, and which reached double their target within twenty-fours of launch, and commendably 10% of anything over the target goes to MIND.
Track of the Month
Still no sign of new Edge of Dawn – which had been suggested in the past year or so – and and while his Ghost & Writer collaboration has seen limited live shows, Frank Spinath has continued what seems to be a never-ending production of music with what is effectively a solo project (although there is production work by Hecq, and it shows). Intriguingly, though, the first song released under the Lionhearts name is an old, old song dusted down. Murder was on the original Seabound demo in 1996, and is rather updated, with a sumptuous electronic backing that while still having links to Seabound in particular, does see Spinath perhaps looking down a new path. I await the album with interest.
The release of 3TEETH’s second album Shutdown.exe is nearly upon us, and the title track is the latest teaser from it, with a trippy, newsroom-gone-mad video. The song itself, if you’ve been following 3TEETH so far, will perhaps not surprise you too much – synth-heavy (that hook!) industrial metal that builds to a controlled explosion of a chorus, that, as proved when they aired the song at Infest last summer, absolutely rips.
Victor Hugo Daza (Water Is Right Remix)
Capitalism – Continuing Crisis
Long one of my favourite noisy industrial acts, I’d been beginning to wonder that despite occasional live appearances over the years, whether we’d ever hear a new album from them. But out of the blue, their first new album in eight years has dropped, and their resolutely political edge has remained. They’ve moved on from Depleted Uranium Weapons (‘4 2009), to a critique of Capitalism, with various samples adding weight to the titles that broadly make their views pretty fucking obvious (none of this should come as any surprise to anyone who has seen them perform live – the only act I’ve ever seen with a red communist flag onstage with them ever single time). Musically, this is a continuation of the dense, complex and surging rhythms that they’ve long since perfected, the best of which here is the stampede of beats and chanting, protesting voices of this track.
Bryan Erickson returns with a new EP under his long-running VAC monicker, and you know what? This is the best VAC release in ages. He’s turned back to groovy, punchy dancefloor industrial, and the lead track combines female vocals in German, Bryan’s howls in the chorus, shredding guitars, and the general feel is of a whirling maelstrom of fury. Also of note is Cog, where David Thrussell of Snog fits in perfectly with the trippy, trance-influenced industrial.
Exile in the Outer Ring
Erica M Anderson returns at last – after the technological and psychological nightmares of The Future’s Void – and the first track from her forthcoming new album (due later in the summer) has apparently ruffled a few feathers, if a follow-up post on her social media streams after release was anything to go by.
Perhaps the reaction was to be expected, as she holds up a mirror to her midwestern compatriots in a furious tirade at those who vote and believe in groups totally at odds with their own interests and needs. Yes, it’s broadly another song against Trump and the Republicans: as Anderson puts it herself: “I…believe that there is another way than directing your anger at those who often have less power than you. Don’t let your discontent or your patriotism be exploited“. The song itself is raw, unpolished and as spiky as the lyrics, and I wonder how much politics have influenced the rest of the album. I suspect quite a lot.
Daniel Myer’s almost relentless push forward with Architect – where each and every release takes the styles and sound one step further than before – continues with the first track from a forthcoming new album (apparently due later in the year). This is a near-straightforward techno-industrial track, but with a production clarity that is absolutely extraordinary – on headphones this is an absolute aural treat. Also of note is the Rhys Fulber remix – he recently announced an EP of industrial-techno, and perhaps this remix gives us a pointer of where he is going, with spaced-out synths crossing the mix like meteors, and a languid feel that is at odds with the incessant rhythm.
A Shiver of Want
John Fryer’s Black Needle Noise project has been around for a while now, and has had a string of intriguing singles with a big variety of guest vocalists, including ex-Blindness bassist Kendra Frost, and now Bill Leeb (of FLA, of course) has now joined in. This is perhaps the best BNN track yet, too. For the most a beatless, echo-chamber ballad, Bill Leeb’s vocals take him out of his usual comfort zone (much like the masterful Angriff did, actually) to elevate this to an exceptional song.
Out the Way
Like many others, perhaps, I was late to the party with Nadine Shah, only getting into her second album Fast Food a little after release – but I’ve rather made up for that by listening to it a hell of a lot in the meantime. That album was an introspective, after-dark wonder, with flashes of a spiky sense of humour and clear nods to PJ Harvey, Nick Cave and Gavin Friday in particular. There is little humour in the first song from the new album, though, instead this is another scathing critique of the politics of our time, with Shah addressing her own status as a second-generation immigrant and questioning exactly why that should make her so different, and the music is equally caustic (particularly the saxophone that appears to be fighting the rest of the song to great effect).
The Road To Perdition
I posted (for a limited few hours) a stream of this album the other week, and this is an album well-worth hearing. An unexpected meeting of minds between two French electronic and avant-garde musicians and Gavin Friday (!), this is a deep, thoughtful work of electronic sculpture. On the songs Friday appears on, he perhaps unsurprisingly dominates proceedings, and he lets rip fully on The Road To Perdition where a grinding electronic-jazz hybrid provides the ideal backing for his voice to soar.
The Robots (Live)
The Catalogue 3D
While the announcement of this took me by surprise, in retrospect I really shouldn’t be. The rapturous reception to Kraftwerk’s recent catalogue shows (in 3D, both visually and sonically) – including by this site after seeing them four years ago at an extraordinary show in Düsseldorf – meant more live albums were always on the cards, but I wasn’t quite expecting a full live box set. The Blu-ray version looks expensive, but…
What is there to say about the song? It’s eight minutes of the latest version of one of the greatest electronic songs ever released, with an extended tease before you get that sequence of bleeps that make the hairs on my neck stand up every single time. And multiple versions of this song make sense, when you think about it – after all, robots get upgraded, right?