The Dark Electro act, SPANKTHENUN charged the scene in 2019 from Dallas TX, releasing their first EP with remixes from Assemblage23, LaeatherStrip, Slighter and ESA – produced by IVardensphere. 25 releases later, this latest Chrome EP brings what appears to 3 remixes from Exitize, Gutenberg and Psyence Fiction from an upcoming release “From the Bunker III” – the original being listed as “Version II”. A slow brooding stomp, this one seems to bring some alternate EDM flavors you might not normally find and an industrial release but instead on some early Knife Party, along with some hip-hop scratching. But don’t get me wrong, the sound is pure dark electro with vox reminding me of KMFDM – no idea why, its not in German, but still growly and visceral. 4 versions appear on this EP, my favorite being the Exitize version. Gutenberg mix brings the beat upfront with more varied beat, not as easy to dance to. Version II is also more hip-hop style beat, and takes more time to get going, but ends up being a stomper. Psyence Fiction rounds it out with a short version that is slow, gruff, and adds some dissonance as it ends it with a bang.
It is 10:30pm on a Saturday and I am 3am drunk. Let us stumble through bandcamp and seek out what is sparking joy on this fine October night.
COMPACTOR – Tension Crucible – Brand new album from New York City artist. They have a unique creativity to both his music and the formats he releases it in. I am always astounded by his out of the box thinking for the delivery system of his tracks. People use the term Industrial music, but I feel like Compactor really embraces the blue collar concept of found machinery recorded, converted, and repurposed into true Electronic music meant to infuse with the human body. There are no words. This is not poetry. This is working music. Rhythmic, grinding, sparks flying from sheet metal destroyed with power tools. This is grease and grime with clean streaks of sweat. It’s music of inspiration to drive yourself until you can’t do more. To complete the task. Seldom do I review an album with such a clear purpose.
Favorite Track: War of 1312 – I’m not sure what the reference is to. The marching beat, the syncopation, the metal on metal tension building in aggression and machine precision is unnerving as it is powerful. A perfect summary of the tightening of the muscles this album creates. (I learned later this was a reference to the Code 1=A 3 = C 1 = A 2 = B in regards to the street clashes between BLM protesters and police) Added a whole new layer.
unitcode:machine – Themes for a Collapsing Empire – Dallas TX Industrial artist has been on my radar for a while. This new album hits a whole new gear. I remember being at Cold Waves this year and hearing person after person in the know say “Holy shit have you heard this album”. This is a masterclass in marble statue precision craftsmanship in electronic music. The vocals are melodic and driven in a way that haunts your head. I love how clearly the poetry of the lyrics rings out beyond music that fills every wall of a dance club. It follows the template of classical industrial while finding a tone distinctly it’s own. People need to know about this, it needs to be appreciated.
Favorite Track: Falling Down/Drift Away – It’s so hard to choose, because while Falling down is the zenith of everything i just described that makes me love this album. So Eric. Drift away brings in Emileigh Rohn of CHIASM with her fusion reactor bright burn voice over a slower deeper musical concept to break up the runaway freight train of the other tracks.
Slighter – Void – LA electronic songsmith producer with another powerful release. Colin Cameron is an absolute maestro of riding the razors edge between drifting spaceship on the edge of the known galaxy and that hook that gets stuck in your mind for days. The true modern day composer commanding a symphony of expression at the tips of his keyboard. The aptly named Void is a lost soundtrack of space horror like Event Horizon. Cameron has a sexy whisper voice that leads you like a siren into the unexplored darkness. Brilliant use of guest talent like Vocals on “Spill Blood” by R.A. Desilets. Proving again to be at the top of the game while drawing far outside the lines.
Tigersquawk vs. COP International – I love Compilations, I love Tigersquawk, I love COP International. One low price for 36 badass tracks to put you in the know of some of the best EDM Industrial in the world. This is wide in it’s scope. It is mixed and mastered by Slam, with wicked art by Greg Rolfes. So much value in one place where I guarantee you will find 7+ bands that you will immediately follow. The level of quality and diversity here is staggering.
Favorite Track: Ok normally this would be near impossible because there is so much good here. The Batavia is a undisputable jam. In fact everything i hear from them is pure gold. However one track did absolutely destroy me. Gasoline Invertebrate feat: Chris Connelly remixed by Ivardensphere “Scarlet Slip” was a dream team too powerful to overcome. It had Brian’s leg day industrial with Connelly spitting highspeed pew pew poetry and buzzing bass beats. It’s absolutely captivating. One of those tracks you didn’t know you needed until you couldn’t live without it.
Industrial music wasn’t a thing that happened in the 90’s. There is still so much ground to break. Still so much to be excited about.
In 2012 a musician and sound engineer much beloved by the scene named Jamie Duffy was taken too soon. In an effort to pay tribute and help his family, a group of bands collaborated to create a music festival. Eight years later it has continued to grow and thrive as a celebration of music, counter culture, and dancing. Somehow in those previous seven years I have never attended this festival. This year I am changing that. I figured I would create a preview of each of the four days line up. Then try to share them before I head to Gotham City this weekend. Friday is sold out but tickets are still available for the other days and I would love to share my Cold Waves deflowering with as many of you wonderful people as possible.
Day 2 was the first day to sell out and it is an amazing lineup. I will be charging to the front of the stage like the big goth Saint Bernard while I am dancing like a 42 year old demon in sensible shoes. Lets break down this lineup.
On the Smart bar side Physical Wash from Portland OR. Susan Subtract of High Functioning Flesh does a synth slither dance groove with obscure samples and growling chant vocals. Some lovely heavy pad work here.
Patrick Codenys of Industrial forefathers Front 242 does an EDM DJ set spun by a master of the craft. If this doesn’t get you shaking you might need to hit yourself with the paddles because you are dead.
At Metro Chicago’s own Wing Tips are an amazing retro dream flow of beauty playing a party in the post modern world. The duo of Vincent and Hannah transport you to the dark parts of science fiction and high school melodrama. I’m so excited to finally see them live I may spin myself into a tizzy.
Klack is our most recent review of Madison WI dynamic duo of Matt Fanale and Eric Oehler. They mix fierce dance beats, witty humor, and electric energy with an old school flair and dynamic grinding style. There is a chance I might loose my shit for this so be forewarned and give space.
Just wow, Shannon of Light Asylum is a force of nature. Crackling explosions coupled with the rawness and elegance both of Grace Jones and Patti Smith. The odds of Rachel having a fan girl breakdown during this performance is currently 10/1 and I will not be betting against that action.
When Haujobb had to cancel IVardensphere of Alberta stepped up to fill some big shoes with there pounding rhythmic sonic assault. Furious beats fired at you through a particle accelerator.
Metro closes out with Electronic music deities Nitzer Ebb . I think the last time I saw them was in Chicago in the 90’s and it is a experience which changed my view of music. An engine of burning sound running red straight through your bloodstream . Even if you didn’t save anything this will be a shot of pure adrenaline.
Food trucks are available, lay down a base. Stay Hydrated. Bring your most comfortable footwear. By day two this will be a marathon not a sprint and you will not want to miss a moment.