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About the Author
Andrew Fenner is a musician, electronic composer, and writer of poetry and prose. He currently lives in Cincinnati. He delivers his writings to Mistress McCutchan on the back of a domesticated dragon, which he rides through the night wind following the magnetic field of the Earth. Just kidding, he actually had his cat deliver the stuff.
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In Rotation, September 2007
Andrew Fenner
Heaven Falls Hard – Solace
Track Listing: Frightened, Burn, Take Anything, Undone, Under Glass, Constant, Still, The Shroud, Thank You, Aliena.
This is a protracted excursion into the realm of melancholia. Stark, mostly unadorned guitar or piano and a smattering of other instrumentation, with some bowed strings (or pads) to break the minimalism here and there. Almost painfully slow tempos featuring plaintive female vocals that seem to be alternately pleading and giving up hope. The tracks return again and again to the same bleak tonality, the lyrics sometimes hinting there is an attempt to find some kind of respite... some solace... perhaps ultimately finding it only in the act of making this desolate outcry. The two exceptions to this formula are “The Shroud”, which borders on being outright beautiful, and “Thank You”, which metamorphoses startlingly from the familiar sad lament to a beat-heavy, ethereal dance groove.
For more information, visit the Heaven Falls Hard website or their MySpace page.
Digital Geist – The Zero Engine
Track Listing: Earworm (No Light Guides Us), Phase I, Phase II, Someone Like Me, Mutually Assured Distortion, Red Techno, Circuit Crusher, Keep the Faith (featuring Christian K. of Dharma Lab), Segway, Someone Like Me (Front 242 Remix), Red Techno (Neotek Remix), Circuit Crusher (Timid Remix).
The band consists of Brooklyn’s Alex K. in the studio, and adds the services of N3WT for live performance. The music is mostly instrumental club-mix electronica with scads of other influences deftly entwined. There is occasional spoken word, and even vocals, as with two remixes of Front 242’s “Someone Like Me”. Very danceable, easy grooves throughout. Solid work that knows what it means to do...and does it.
For more information, visit the Digital Geist website or their MySpace page.
The Secret Meeting – Ultrashiver
Track Listing: Touch, Am I Here?, Every Little Thing, Beautiful Noise Machine, Blacker Than Blue, SoulCreeper, Shooting Laser Beams, Forwards and Sideways, Shiver X, Imaginate.
Yummy...mmmmmmmmmmm. Two members of Collide get together with a notable member of Curve for a secret meeting. The results are decidedly delicious. The musical aspect is not as metallic or cyborgian as Collide can often be, and this lets kaRIN’s sensual, sinewy vocals encoil the listener even more than he/she might be used to. Need I say more?
For more information, visit the Secret Meeting website or their MySpace page.
Stendeck – Faces
Track Listing: The day I saw you cry for the first time, Beneath wonderland’s decay, Like falling crystals, Anywhere out of this world, A perfect place to say good-bye, Acting like you are not bleeding, Behind waterfalls, The woman who burnt on her bed, She watched the corners of the roof and then she left, Steal flowers to make drugs, Nocturnal manoeuvres before dawn, The massacre of the black flying horses, The porcelain and the girl I dreamt about, Aura Borealis the extraordinary adventure of a boy against the infinite darkness, All the things I wanted to tell you but I didn’t, Frames and teardrops, Faces (where are you now?).
This Swiss guy, Alessandro Zampieri, has accomplished something which is becoming nearly impossible anymore in the industrial electronica genre... originality. He has classical training, and it shows. These compositions really are composed. There is a level of artistic sensitivity and vision rarely found over drum ‘n’ bass rhythm tracks, and he avoids the usual cliches with easy grace. The titles are provocative and suggestive, leading the listener to hear them as something like sound poems or lifescape paintings. Fine, compelling work here.
For more information, visit the Stendeck website or their MySpace page.
Phenotract – Transient Messages
Track Listing: Passage_Intro, Connections Missed, In Another Life, A Million Colors, Midway, Piece of Mind, Heightened, At The Sign, Light Towers, Smooth Flow.
Brooklyn-based like Digital Geist, Phenotract also consists largely of the efforts of one person. In this case it is Eric Shans; his sometime collaborator being female vocalist Niabi Caldwell. In the current release, we find Eric’s tradition of airy instrumental intro giving forth to songs constructed of many layers over drum and bass, with the textures of the intro weaving into the mix in various ways. As usual, the work is very well crafted with dreamy melodies, novel twists where you don’t expect them, thematic inversions and mutations carrying over from track to track... and, of course, you can dance to it.
For more information, visit the Phenotract website or their MySpace page.