This is a bit more like it. Of the four tracks here, the first, 'White Star Falling' is the only assertively dancy track, vaguely like Nitzer Ebb's Murderous, intat it's basically a drum pattern bashed out for four minutes. However the end result is more like Skinny Puppy than Nitzer Ebb with samples and growled vocals low down in the mix. The rest of the EP is more brooding in feel, the best song being the drum-free 'Heaven's Light', which creates a downright ominous mood through which you can just hear a woman describing a disturbing dream in which she made love to some repulsive old man. (Convulsion, Issue #3)
Soft Colour Bleed (demo tape)
Have you ever
tried to describe some music that you really think is good and that you
really like without drawing any similarities to other bands that fit roughly
into the same genre? Well, welcome to my small problem. I'm
going to give into temptation and say that if you like Front Line Assembly,
this is kinda like that, but not a direct imitation. Incldued on
this demo is New Mind's Body Politic 12" which is pretty good.
(Technology Works, Issue #11)
Yet another good release on Machinery. This release is VERY uneasy, with strange breaks and samples. At times it reminds me of Skinny Puppy and Numb. Pounding percussion and nice fact analog bases. (GPC #007 booklet)
New Mind is a relatively new band and Fractured is their debut CD. This band styles their music as cyber-minded-electro, and comparisons could be made to Front Line Assembly, Numb, Stockhausen, and Skinny Puppy, but danceability is not their only objective. The compositions are often too complicated and the rhythms too diverse. Jonathan Sharp has certainly released a convincing product which deeply penetrates the world of cyber-electronics. This first release in the series "progressive-industrial" sub-labelled 'Think Tank' is very promising indeed. (Phosphor Magazine August 1993)
Holy shit, what the hell is inside my CD player? This is fucking awesome. Who said orginality was dead? This is the result of a lot of work and damn fine nerve-shredding industrial music that h(a)unts the subconscious. Extracts of experimental ideas and film samples interlock within the more usual industrial sounds to make a debut worthy of the highest praise. Tracks like 'Guilt' and 'Hatespill' are typical harsh industrial, while the tracks 'Like Love' and 'Blowtorch' are sublime and surreal. Definitely not your typcial guitar-driven industrial drivel. This is REAL industrial. (Cybernoise)
New Mind first
came to my attention late in 1992, when I purchased the Dossier label's
Dossiers compilation. On what was generally a high-quality compilation,
the two New Mind tracks stood head and shoulders above almost everything
else. Both were prime examples of the best of electronic body music, with
powerful percussion, copious samples, the customary heavily distorted vocals
and an interesting ability to somehow weave an attractive melody through
the resulting maelstrom of found-sound and noise. So it was with quite
high expectations that I picked up "Fractured", their (well, his, New Mind
is basically Jonathan Sharp) first full length release, which appeared
late last year on the Machinery label.
- I'd be lying if I said that the album matched those expectations. However, while I don't think there's anything on the disc that quite equals the two tracks on Dossiers, many of the tracks here demonstrate the same combination of ingredients that made those tracks work so well. So while the album isn't quite what I expected, it's still a good listen and my disappointment reflects over-optimism on my part rather than any fault on the part of New Mind.
- So what do they sound like? Well, much as I dislike making direct comparisons, I'd place them somewhere between Front Line Assembly and Skinny Puppy in sound, with just a dash of older Severed Heads. Some of the tracks sound very like FLA or SP in places, although Jonathan Sharp's voice has a rougher quality that's consistently closer to Nivek Ogre than Bill Leeb, and thesound often has a heavily layered, chaotic feel that's more characteristic of Skinny Puppy than FLA.
- That said, the first track 'Life In Hell' is more strongly reminiscent of Clock DVA's darker, more ambient moments than anything else. Nice samples, fascinating noises and textures, shame it's so short. The second track, 'Enviro 4' is rather more aggressive, with varied percussion (enormousthumps, staccato machine-gun bursts), odd little melodies floating in and out and unintelligible vocals. Great stuff, and the way some of the stranger samples distort and swirl around is suggestive of old Severed Heads.
- The percussion in 'Guilt' reminds me strongly of older Skinny Puppy, as does the choice of samples. However, Sharp's vocals and the synth-line are distinctive and prevent the song from sounding too derivative. 'Hatespill' opens with a fusillade of samples (including one that wouldn't be out of place on a Severed Heads track) before crashing its way into the heart of Front Line Assembly territory. The beat's FLA-ish, so are the vocals, even one of the samples that pops up in the background is familiar, as it featured in FLA's 'Mindphaser'. This wouldn't be at all out of place on "Tactical Neural Implant".
- 'Onezero 8' again bears more than a passing similarity to the work of Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber. Is it FLA or is it Noise Unit? Neither, but you could be forgiven for thinking it. 'Like Love', on the other hand, isn't obviously derivative of anyone else. Unfortunately, the attractive and distinctive intro (which is close in feel to the material on Dossiers) soon gives way to something a little less unusual but, despite a passing resemblance to Skinny Puppy's 'The Killing Game' in places, the track is largely original and quite impressive. The same is true of 'Soft Colour Bleed' - nice, hard percussion, plenty of varied samples and assorted strange noises flying around. 'Blowtorch' is minimalist and dark. No beat, no obvious structure or tune, just sounds and samples flying in and out, with the occasional heavily distorted vocal. Very enjoyable.
- Next is 'Individual Will', powerful and Puppy-esque although the instrumentation and vocal style suggest that New Mind might just be playing at parody here, since the track's also more than a little reminiscent of Will at times. 'Rain (Absolution)' is very effective, by turns dark and brooding in Lustmord fashion and slightly anthemic and, dare I say it, hopeful.
- The album's rounded off by two versions of tracks that appeared elsewhere on the album. 'Enviro 2' is (as it's name suggests), 'Enviro 4' with a few changes (none are particularly obvious though, since it's not the worlds most structured piece) while the second version of 'Guilt' adds a whole ten seconds to the original.
- Overall? Overall, I'm highly impressed. If you can ignore the at times very obvious influences (although sometimes this becomes very difficult) and appreciate this album on its own merits, it's a very good album indeed. The tendency to wander between several influences also gives the album a bit of variety. It's not as FLA-ish as an FLA album, or as Puppy-esque as a Skinny Puppy album, so if you're not in the mood for either of those (or are in the mood for both) it's a happy medium.
- I suspect that someone who'd never actually heard either Front Line Assembly or Skinny Puppy but was into this type of music would be extremely impressed with Fractured. Alternatively, those who are familiar with the the sources of a lot of New Mind's ideas but who're not particularly bothered by derivative material, as long as it's good derivative material, won't feel they've wasted any money on this one. If, however, you hold either FLA or Skinny Puppy as sacrosanct, and consider anyone who sounds like them to be by definition inferior (I'd go so far as to say that New Mind outdo each of these groups at their own thing in places on this album) you should probably give this one a wide berth.
(© Al Crawford)
Zero To The Bone
About two minutes into the first track and I had my mind made up that I like the disc. It made me want to go home from work and play video games so bad that I played sick and went home and played my games. A slightly stupid (but realistic) analogy of some of the music could be: cybertek rave. The music programming is really sprockets. Not many elektro bands can keep me interested as long as New Mind has. Incomparable is the intense cyber trip New Mind takes you on. Dance-wise this is one of the top releases on my mind recently. The sounds and beats programmed on this CD are super great. No one has compared to this disc recently. Definitely recommended to everyone who is into cyber gear and music. (Hortechk Vol. 2 , Issue #1)
New Mind became well known and respected when they made their deubt on the Machinery label with "Fractured". They have a surprisingly fresh approach to industrial music presenting an excellent quality mix of ambient and industrial textures. They, as well as their label Cyber Tec, seem to be grealty influenced by the Japanese sci-fi move Gunhed, the same movie Front Line Assembly used for their Mindphaser video. I would not doubt the success of this band as they show a very promising future. (Terra Industria Issue #2)
"Zero to the Bone"
is New Mind's secondrelease and more dance-oriented than their more experimental
debut. Despite overly distorted male vovals, the music is solid:
a rock-hard-fourth-generation descendent of Kraftwerk with Traces of Leaether
Strip backing chords. Especially interesting are the ghostly backdrops
on 'Blindfield1' and 'Badheadgirl'. Synthetic voices sound like angles
fading in and out of alternate realities, effectively constrasting the
harshness of the beat. In a similar fashion, light synthetics evoke
spirituality on 'Touch', which is also otherwise a hard-edged dance piece.
(Alternative Press Vol. 10 , #93 April 1996)
Some bands change for the worse and some for the better. Well, New Mind has changed for the better. They are more upbeat, more organized and more complex with this new release. The addition of some female vocals and great beat sampling (one song borrows beats from The Chemical Brothers) is a vast improvement - overall this is a great disk - the first New Mind release sucked but this one never does. (Industrial Information Station review archive)
Part of the new cyber-assault team on the English Cyber-Tec label via Fifth Colvmn in the US, New Mind mix aggro-metal vocals (the really distorted variety) with clean and aggressive electronics showing that EBM and pure synth-based industrial music is definitely not a lost cause. Heavy on the percussion on the dance-oriented numbers such as the damaging snare on 'Blindfield1', space-laser effects on 'Touch',and the metallic bits and pieces on 'Left to Fade' (Gunhed Remix). New Mind also offer a wide variety of style with atmospheric cuts like 'Stoneheart' and noise excursions like 'Silent'. New Mind have a total grasp of the industrial genre as a whole have something to offer every faction. Along with John Luc DeMeyer's Cyber-Tec release, this is one of FCR's strongest new releases. (ARC Magazine)
Top quality cyber sounds. 'Blindfield1' is hard pumping cyberpunk, 'Stoneheart' sounds like Mike Paradinas re-mixin Bono, 'Blindfield2' is my fav top cyber dance track in my charts! The track has slamming beatz with the evil voice singing from hell promises to cajole all to jump about crazily in lustful abondon, wicked!! 'When I Was A Boy' is a cyber ballad, 'Turn To Stone' is an awesome experimental dub techno track eye love dearly. (Iron Feather Musik)
This Cyber Tec artist does not cause any boredom. New Mind is predominantly electronic (electro) and dance (techno) while throwing a mean streak in the mix. This is one of the finer examples of how to be harsh without guitars. There's no problem in hearing the slick electronic beats and synths. The music is crystal clear (good recording quality) and varied. It's the vocals, pay attention to New Mind for its devastating vocals. If it was thought that Ministry's use of mutilated vocal chords on its Psalm 69 was the best, think again. A static slut upon New Mind's vocalist createas a . . . this is one of those things "you have to hear for yourself"; it's awesome. The unstoppable bass boot-stomp drum kicks provide the spine for the songs. They synthetic sound are not complexly layered, but are interesting enough. Exploration of new sounds begins with 'Blindfield1', crystal glass is used for percussion. Other effects tend to resemble analog signatures, those that twist in pitch or sustain while rising in tone. Cubanate has a worthy competitor. (New Industrial Sounds #4)
New Mind have
been kicking around for some time now, appearing even on the music from
the Empty Quarter compilation Ghafran. Earlier New Mind was very
much in the style of Front Line Assembly. "Zero to the Bone" focuses
in not only on the complete textural sounds, but showcases well that New
Mind can mix up elements of hard techno, ambient mood scapes and more into
one completely exciting CD. Imagine songs with mahcine gun beats
that sound so spooky and spaced out that your not sure whether you should
gyrate convulsively or hide in a closet. A high concentration on
mingling with technology is upfront here. Excellent CD for the cyber
(In Perpetual Motion #6)
As much as I despise making direct comparisons between one band and another, the only way to do this album justice is to compare it to the two most recent Front 242 releases. Like those, "Zero To The Bone" features strong female vocals, groundbreaking, innovative programming, and the ability to stop on a dime while in a dancefloor breakbeat and dip into an ambient backslide, only to give you whiplash whith the sudden reacceleration -- all elements of someone with a strong musical schooling exploring the electro-industrial scene. Don't get me wrong, this band is NOT Front 242; but many of the elements that made their recent albums tightly integrated are utilized with the same fine degree of musical genius by New Mind. New Mind is one of the many third-generation industrial musical acts that all eyes will be turning towards as they begin to redefine much of the genre. (Sonic Boom)
Just when the distant lights of electro were about to fade, up comes another brilliant piece of synth mastery that deserves great attention. New Mind is one of the freshest, most diverse sounds to hit the States. As well, another female vocalist in industrial has risen up from the great abyss. One of the reasons why I love New Mind's "Zero To The Bone", besides New Mind's beautiful moodiness, programmer J.S.9 adds to his music the occasional vocals of Jane Helena. Reminiscent of 99 Kowalski, vocalist on Front 242's "Off", Helena gives a rich texture to the songs she graces. So much, in fact, that her voice on the stand-out track, 'Touch (Can't Afford to Be a Woman)' reminds me of the movie Strange Days for some reason. J.S.9, who assumably provides the male voice of songs like 'When I Was a Boy' and 'Left to Fade', does a masterful job at both vocals and programming. 'Left to Fade' is a strong EBM cut, whereas songs like 'Stoneheart' and 'Turn to Stone' are more experimental. 'Turn to Stone', for example, is an alluring fusion of electro and funk. The Gunhed remix of 'Left to Fade' is also choice. With a name like Gunhed, you gotta admit this is a tech band. Lastly, in the recent past there has been some controversy over the cover art of "Zero To The Bone", which includes a picture of a woman (looking as though she is being raped) with a gun to her head. By verbal description alone, it sounds offensive, and an unmentioned magazine panned the band solely for this reason. However, I interject (as a woman), that the picture is used to a calculated effect and is obviously not meant for sexist or shock value. Considering the content of the band itself, including the above-mentioned song, 'Touch (Can't Afford to Be a Woman)', which is extremely powerful, I would have to say that this band is, perhaps, one of the least sexist in the genre. If you don't believe me, then ignore the picture and just listen to track five. That should about settle it. (Permission Magazine)
If I had to pick
one word to describe New Mind, it'd be "underrated". The band first came
to my attention on the Dossier label's 1992 compilation Dossiers. Their
two tracks - 'Ice Dream' and 'Walls' - were amongst the best on the disc.
The style - hard electronics, distorted vocals and movie samples - was
perhaps not hugely original, but the execution was exemplary and the songs
- They followed this up in 1993 with the album "Fractured", similar in approach but a little more stylized. By this point I was beginning to wonder why nobody was taking notice of the band, as they'd developed a distinctive approach and were carving out a place of their own at the dark, hard, unremittingly electronic end of the dance industrial scene. They were perhaps a bit derivative of the likes of Skinny Puppy and Front Line Assembly, but were undoubtedly talented and managed to bring an eerie, disturbing quality to their music that was reminiscent of Skinny Puppy at their best.
- After this, New Mind seemed to have sunk into oblivion until earlier this year, when "Zero To The Bone" first appeared in Europe. It's just been given a US release courtesy of the Cyber-Tec label's arrangement with Fifth Column, so now seems like a good time to catch up with the band.
- The band's style has changed a bit. "Zero To The Bone" is best described as hardcore industrial techno. The beats are more techno-influenced than industrial, with some impressively heavy bass (to be honest, the first time I listened to this one, I began to wonder if the car doors were going to fall out), and the sound is much sparser and less densely layered. The vocals are a mixture of guest female vocals (courtesy of Jane Helena) and JS9 himself, still electronically distorted to the very edge of unintelligibility. The band's sound has altered considerably, but listening to the two albums back to back there's a feeling of evolution or progression rather than veering off at a tangent to a "trendier" direction.
- It took me several listens to figure out what it was that "Zero To The Bone" reminded me of. New Mind, of course, but the brief thanks to labelmate Jean-Luc de Mayer in the sleeve notes proved revelatory. Hard EBM with a mixture of male and female vocals - the resemblance to Front 242's "05:22:09:12 Off" isn't too obvious, but it's there, and reinforced by the first track, 'Blindfield1'. This fuses techno percussion, JS9's distorted vocals, and...sampled female operatics. Yep, 'L'Ange Moderne' from 242's "Angels Vs Animals" does come to mind when I listen to this one.
- That said, the resemblance isn't strong enough that I'd automatically suggest fans of recent 242 buy "Zero To The Bone". Or, at least, that's not the reason I'd suggest they buy it, as it's got lots of other admirable qualities to commend it. It's varied, with the ground covered ranging from industrial/EBM material like 'Badheadgirl' and 'Touch' that isn't a million miles from the stuff on "Fractured" , to mutant pop-techno of 'When I Was A Boy'. In addition to this, there's some disquieting Puppy-esque ambience in the form of 'Silent', a bit of musical incest with 'Turn To Stone' drawing on 'Stoneheart', while 'Left To Fade' is included in both vanilla and "let's try to sound like Millennium-era FLA" flavours, with the latter featuring a more prominent beat and lots of sampled guitars. These assorted tasty ingredients are moulded together into a coherent whole by the skilful application of a steady drizzle of sounds and samples that are more recognizable as being by the New Mind that recorded "Fractured".
- My favourite tracks - well, the album took some getting into (the appeal isn't nearly as immediate as with "Fractured"), but I'm particularly partial to 'Silent', 'When I Was A Boy' and 'Left To Fade'. At the other end of the scale, there's nothing here to trigger the skip reflex. That's not to say that your mileage won't vary - I imagine the use of female vocals may put some off, as might the more dance-oriented style of the album.
- Still, despite those minor reservations, I'd certainly recommend this one to those whose tastes encompass the more electronic end of the EBM genre. Those looking for contemporary dance industrial with lots of sampled grinding guitars are going to be disappointed, unless they listen to 'Left To Fade (Gunhed Remix)' on continuous repeat. (© Al Crawford)
is back to his original project, New Mind, after working on a few side-projects
like Cyber-Tec and Bio-tek. And the album starts of with a very hold
back track 'Providence'. Then it plunges you in the very melodic
'LD 100', with hard, mixed to the front vocals. Next up is the danceable
'Furnace', to be followed by the title track 'Forge', a track that is constructed
around a few guitar samples. Perhaps due to the guitar, it sounds
a lot more aggressive than the previous tracks. 'Spiritshield', is
to my point of view, one of the most up-to-date songs. In all the
previous songs, I had the idea I heard it all before, but this track somehow
manages to be more '90s oriented. 'America KIA' is constructed round
a few typical rap sounding sounds. Sampled scratching and those typcial
Cypress Hill sounds. If you add to this a quite rap-oriented text,
that sometims turns into vocoding, and you get something new altogether.
'Stone Hate Steel' starts of with a vocoded voice intro, and then gradually
elapses into somehting dancealbe and very aggressive. This track
is perhaps the closest this album comes to side-projects like Cyber-Tec
or the like. 'Surge' is too overloaded for me. Again, it's
too hold back, and the vocals are mixed too much to the front. The
intro on 'Fusion' is filled with horror sounds, taken over by some very
melodic piano part, but again, the vocals don't really support this type
of track. 'Purify' is a very dance-floor oriented songs, meant to
kick ass, and 'Falling in Love' - well, it's a very romantic soundscape.
The overall conclusion to this album is that on a musical level, it definitely
has something, but the voice could have been worked out a lot more.
It needed more time in the studio I guess.
(Side Line #22, No. 2 1997)
is finally getting the attention he deserves and this third full-length
from New Mind is hard evidence of why the recognition is long overdue.
If "Zero to the Bone" was an evolution of the old New Mind sound, "Forge"
is a complete restructuring of it. He seems to be diverting a lot
of the old sound toward the Bio-tek project, and letting New Mind run free.
Much of "Forge" explores the sound introduced on the Gunhed remix of 'Left
to Fade' on "Zero to the Bone"; throbbing, guitar-driven electro with nods
to techno and ambient, similar to a darker Cubanate. But unlike Cubanate,
he doesn't lock into that style. The compositions are very musical,
with guitars, melodies, teutonic rhythms and undertones, and bubbling effects
playing off each other throughout. Most of the tracks are very danceable,
though the tempos vary greatly from track to track, and there's a lot of
funky beat play underscored by the main sequences. Jonathan's vocals
are also evolving and diversifying, and while they retain his distinct
style, he experiments with some very different melodies, and occassionally
uses a pronounced vocoder effect. I must admit that my favourite
tracks are 'Stone Hate Steel' and 'LD 100', which nix the guitars completely,
and 'Providence' and 'Fusion', which recall the early days of New Mind.
Honorable mention goes to the surreal vocal meanderings of Jane Helena
of 'Falling in Love Again', and the fantastic backing vocals of Hexedene's
Kattie Helby on 'Furnace' and 'Purify'. Overall, "Forge" is a very
diverse and accomplished piece of work, well worth the wait.
(Culture Shock, Transmission 01.97)
A constant man in motion, Jonathan Sharp hits hard with "Forge". Now signed to Off Beat, New Mind’s sound progresses even further, fusing solid tech beats and riotous rhythms together with minimalistic guitar riffs and brutal vocals. "Forge" is one of those albums, which after a few listens, becomes extremely addictive. The album opener, 'Providence', layers mechanical beats, echoed vocals and sci-fi sounding sequences over top of a barely audible, repeated sample. From the melodic opening of 'LD 100', I was intrigued with Jonathan’s use of a slow tech beat and semi-whispered, yet guttural vocals. About half way through this track, he begins to implement a piano effect over the dreamy sequences. 'Furnace' is a hyper-speed excursion into the realm of techno influenced, ‘cyber’ industrial, complete with simple, yet effective, guitar riffs and angst-ridden vocals. The guitars are a bit more prominent on 'Forge', a crossover metal/industrial track with slower paced, and well placed, breaks and a driving rhythm. Robotic vocal effects aligned with a Swamp Terrorist approach to beat programming and random scratching propel 'America K.I.A.' to one of the gems on this CD. 'Stone Hate Steel' is one of the tracks on "Forge" which borrow heavily from the intelligent techno scene. Spacey sequences, a techno beat, and nicely manipulated vocal effects are used in unison to create a unique atmosphere and sound to this track. Sped up guitar (samples?), shouted vocals, and phenomenally programmed sequences are executed simultaneously on 'Purify' to produce, what I believe to be, the best piece on "Forge". Overall, "Forge" is a tremendous album, full of driving rhythms, unusual sequences, fantastic beats, and tough vocals. Soon to be released stateside, "Forge" is a must for those who enjoy hard, dark electro with intricate programming and a danceable beat. (Industrial Bible)
There is a lot of variety to be found on this album. Song one 'Providence' is kind of just an intro to the album with scratchy malfunctioning electronics, samples and some angry shouting vocals all in the mix. Song two 'LD 100' is medium paced and melodic with electronics, synths, piano, samples and whispered vocals that sing along perfectly. Song three 'Furnace' explodes with dance energy with techo electronics combined with sampled guitar and angry distorted screaming vocals. The singing is a bit off key at times, but the singer still growls with enough intensity to get his point across. Song four 'Forge' has more of a Cyber-Core sound to it with rapid fire drum attacks, guitar and malfunctioning electronics in the background while angry distorted growling vocals shout over it all. Song five 'Spiritshield' is a rather repetitive funky electro instrumental that I myself just skip past because I find it to be annoying. Song six 'America K.I.A.' has a slight hip-hop beat combined with guitars, electronics and distorted angry shouting vocals. Song seven 'Stone Hate Steel' is a a pure electro song with a sci-fi techno vibe combined with a mixture of both robotically enhanced vocal treatments and clean angry growling. Song eight 'Surge' is another hard and heavy aggressive song with electronics going haywire and guitars thrashing while angry yelling vocals complete the package. Song nine 'Fusion' is a dark and dreary song that combines electronics, piano, guitar and female background singing with angry distorted male vocals. Song ten 'Purify' has kind of an 80's synth-pop sound mixed with noise, electronics, samples, guitar and a combination of both whispered and yelling vocals. Song eleven 'Falling In Love Again' is very slow, melodic and ambient with sci-fi electronics mixed with synths and whispered female singing. I guess it's a good way to end the album even though it does seem out of place in my opinion. The overall sound of this album is very noisy and aggressive. Most of the music seems to be missing something. I personally feel that greater uses of synth harmonies would have helped a lot more. Also, the vocals are pretty much just distorted yelling for the most part. The singer can't really carry a tune. If he can, he doesn't prove it here. I do like this album because it's different, but I don't think that it's for everyone. If you like noisy, angry and aggressive electro industrial music that features guitar, then you will like this album. (Wrapped In Wire)
Jonathan Sharp and company build a slow burner with "Forge". The first two tracks, 'Providence' and 'LD 100' are dark and slow. Mellow key work and muffled vocals for the two songs set the listener into a languid state that is destroyed with the onset of track 3, 'Furnace'. This guitar-tinged, beat-laden pace holds for the rest of the album, which is more diverse than average, twisting between mellow, guitar-aggressive, and electronically-fueled. There's turntable mayhem (well sort of) on 'America KIA', and 'Stone Hate Steel' picks up the pace and drops the guitars for a wholly electronic sound suited for any blackened dancefloor; hell if it wasn't for the "scary" distorted vocals, those of anti-industrial, techno leanings would probably embrace a 12" remix of this. The US-licensed CD has a bonus track of 'Providence' remixed by Xorcist ,which, quite honestly, is barely different from the original version excpet for some vocal tweaking, unless this ear is not so attuned to pick up the nuances of the changes. The credits show three females as being integral parts of this album: Loretta Sterling on guitars, vox, and turntables; Katie Helsby, vox; and Jane Helena, vox. All in all this album is a solid and good piece of work, but not ground-breaking; it's more worth a listen than a lot of what's being churned out. Between 1 and 5, 3 1/2. (Interface, Version 11)
Jonathan Sharp continues to tweak the New Mind sound, injecting a heavy dose of guitars without losing the sequenced heatbeat. In this way "Forge" incorporates the guitars constructively, not just for the crunch factor. 'Furnace' rips along at a lively clip, ragged, pumping iron guitars complimenting the electronics without intruding on their dominance; 'Surge' opens up with salt on the wound sequencers, adds grinding guitars, Jonathan's forceul vocals, and a ferocious attitude; 'LD 100' loses the guitars, unleashing a brooding electro shambler that stalks the perimeter, wary, hesitant; the title track is riff-rousing and chunky, but the synths keep it firmly rooted on the electro edge of industrial, sidestepping a potentially messy pile of metal cliches along the way. "Forge" succeeds as being one of the best examples of how electronics and guitars can work harmoniously together. (Outburn, Issue #6)
With "Forge", Jonathan Sharp turns New
Mind in a direction of techno metal. It really reminds me a good bit of
a less rave version of Eskimos & Egypt, but the programming is something
rather new, with strong bass rhythms with slight textures running throughout.
The style doesn't stay in one area though, it runs the whole electronic
gambit. 'Providence' features building synthesizers, but rather turning
into a high-speed dance piece, it uses heavy distorted drums in the style
of Suicide Commando, along with Jonathan's harsh vocals. 'LD 100' is a
more ambient track, with light pianos and a slow beat, while songs like
'Furnace', 'Forge', America K.I.A.', 'Surge', and 'Purify' are the high
BPM techno metal that define much of "Forge". 'Spiritshield' is my favorite
track on the album, which follows in 'Providence' style of a slow beat
and a focus on the electronics. For American audiences, 21st Circuitry
has added a bonus track, a remix of 'Providence by Xorcist. It keeps a
similar style to the original, but adds some extra orchestral elements
in line with Xorcist's work. Overall, a nice disc.
(Base Asylum #1)
As the album title suggests, this is mutation of old school industrial, finding its joy in varied beats and gothic sensibilities. Sure, there are a few nods to the club set, but New Mind worries most about sonic sculpture, not simplistic dance music. Great care is taken to ensure that all of the creative excesses are funneled into crafting intriguing music. New Mind doesn't stick to any one sound, wandering all over the German electronic landscape, from Kraftwerk to Einsturzende Neubauten to KMFDM, often using elements of each in any one song. Very cold and sterile, as intended. This music is not nice, pretty or simple, but it is engaging. An appreciation of the unusual is needed, but donÕt fear: New mind is simply out to craft its own sound, not be weird for strangeness sake. At times, the different elements clash more than mesh, leading to a couple confused-sounding songs. On the whole, however, New Mind has done a good job of updating the German Engineering standard, even if its members are Brits. (Aiding & Abetting, issue #149, 12/97)
Ok, let's start by saying this album
is a slight departure from the previous "Zero to the bone" due to the presence
of guitars in most tracks and some kinda hip-hop rhythm on one track, but
don't fear: these elements are well placed and executed. What I most admire
about this album is that, at the contrary of most electro-industrial-dance
acts, "Forge" begins with two slow songs leaving the hi-bpm songs later,
which I find quite original. This 2 songs are living nightmares tossed
daylight, Mr. Sharp knew how to express anger, aggression and other mixed feelings in these two quality crafted songs, and unlike most slow-industrial songs, these ones are really enjoyable, ended this fine introduction come the more usual songs with hard electronics powered by guitars (and the hip hoppy affair),guitars never suffocate the electronics and are used only to support the sequences. Lyrics also are beautifully disturbing and you should read them carefully. Anyway all these are excellent tracks, well produced and finely-crafted, as "Zero to the bone" was too but regrettably the follow up "DeepNet" was a big disappointment. "Forge" is highly reccomended because is far above average considering the many ebm crap bands with repetitive and boring sounds/songs.
(EEEI Data Smasher)
This, New Mind's
third album, is quite simply the most impressive release yet from Jonathan
Sharp. Given the quality of both the previous New Mind album and
the Bio-Tek debut, that's saying something.
- Having channelled much of his love of European-style EBM into the Bio-Tek project, Sharp has freed New Mind of some of its "obligations", allowing him to experiment more. This is very evident on "Forge" which is all over the shop stylistically, although it's still got a distinctive New Mind sound at its core. On this effort he's aided and abetted by his Hexedene cohorts Ian Palmer and Katie Helsby, with Jane Helena again providing some vocals.
- You wouldn't really suspect what was to come from the first track, 'Providence'. This harks back in some ways to the sound of New Mind's debut album "Fractured". It's got a tight, stripped down sound that combines an appropriate spoken word sample ("Life is a nightmare") and JS9's usual highly distorted vocals with a crunchy, pounding beat and some understated synth work. The second track, 'LD 100', doesn't at first seem to diverge much from familiar New Mind territory. It opens with a suitably disturbing sample and some Puppy-esque synths. However, the beat that soon emerges is more characteristic of the second album "Zero To The Bone" and the vocals seem less distorted, or perhaps even not distorted at all. Well, either that or the distortion is the same and he's speaking instead of shouting. The next new ingredient to emerge is a rather pretty piano melody, which weaves in and around the more familiar ingredients.
- If 'LD 100' seemed to break into new areas by comparison with past work, it's positively generic compared to 'Furnace'. First, to break the news in advance to those who're sensitive about such things, it features guitar. Metal-style guitar. However, when you hear it, you'll forgive him, since 'Furnace' is a wonderful, pounding, driving track that just roars along on both Ian Palmer's sampled guitar work and a solid foundation of synths. The guitar sound has been remarkably well integrated, and is often difficult to spot as it becomes just a rough texture that fills in gaps between the synths and rounds out the sound. While the vocals sound distorted, Jonathan assures me no distortion was used, and that he sounds that way naturally. Scary.
- The guitars are back again on 'Forge', this time in a style that's more typical of industrial-metal (i.e. chugga-chugga-chugga). However, there's still plenty of familiar New Mind-isms floating around the mix - while the verse is largely guitar-driven, the chorus doesn't feature any audible guitar work. I like the track a lot, but I'm not personally completely opposed to industrial-metal - it's just bad industrial-metal, or metal with added samples being marketed as industrial that gets my back up. 'Forge' is closer to FLA's Hard Wired in terms of guitar use than that band's Millennium or recent Die Krupps. However, those who come out in a rash at the very thought of guitars in an EBM/dance-industrial track should be wary.
- 'Spiritshield' is a very compelling piece, and the first time that I've heard whalesong used in dance industrial. However, it's not used in the "relax, listen to the pretty whales, and let your troubles float away" sense so beloved of the tackier end of new age music, but is combined with some nice synth work, a pounding, loping beat and some well chosen samples to conjure up an impression of something unpleasant, ancient and evil living in the ocean depths, the sort of thing that might well consider the whales to be lunch.
- JS9 seems to have been a little worried about the reception 'America K.I.A.' would receive. After unfairly being branded a misogynist for the use of a still from "Tetsuo - The Iron Man" on the cover of "Zero To The Bone", he was concerned that this track would get him branded an America-hating misogynist. He needn't worry, this anti-political diatribe makes its point without coming across as anti-anything, except politics. It's refreshing to hear a political track that isn't saying "system X is wrong, system Y (which I just happen to support) is wonderful" but instead goes for politicians in general. Musically, the track's very interesting indeed, with a hip-hop flavour (apparently mandatory for political EBM), Ian Palmer's guitar, samples, undistorted vocals and even some scratching. If there's one track on this album that I'd pick as being way outside the territory previously explored by New Mind, this'd be it.
- 'Stone Hate Steel' is back in more familiar territory, and wouldn't have been too out of place on "Zero To The Bone", since it's got a strong techno influence. JS9's vocal appears in two forms, the usual distorted one and also fed through what sounds like a vocoder. It's a nice track, but after what's gone before, it doesn't grab you in quite the same way.
- Next up is 'Surge', which starts with a very odd sample, then builds into a wonderfully aggressive fusion of pounding EBM and furious guitar. As with 'Furnace' the guitar is highly integrated into the track's sound, in many places blending into the mix so seamlessly that you can't distinguish it. Infinitely preferable to the bolt-on metal guitar beloved of many who've decided to jump on the industrial-metal bandwagon. The subtle use of guitars is repeated on 'Fusion' which, after an atmospheric intro, builds into what I can only describe as a slow EBM/techno hybrid. The guitar's there, but as an effect, or an added texture, rather than sitting right in front of the mix thrashing away. The end result's very engaging indeed.
- 'Purify' also features guitars, although it's clearly sampled this time and heavily treated. The track itself is up-tempo techno-influenced EBM - not spectacular, but highly enjoyable nonetheless. Spectacular is a word I'm saving for the final track, an incredibly eerie cover version of 'Falling In Love Again', with haunting vocals by Jane Helena. Imagine Marlene Dietrich cast instead of Sigourney Weaver in "Alien". Yes, yes, I know it's a strange image but just try. Now imagine she decides to start singing the song in the original German as she wanders those deserted corridors, waiting for something to dissolve her face. Touched by her words, the alien stops dripping acidic saliva and decides instead to get out its electronic accordion and join in. That is what the final track sounds like. It's very strange, very eerie, and very good.
- In summary, "Forge" is the best New Mind album to date. I personally prefer it to the Bio-Tek debut too, but it's difficult to compare the two directly since they're rather different beasts. "A God Ignored" is better as an EBM album, since it's the pure, undiluted stuff, whereas "Forge" is better in a more general sense, experimenting as it does with a number of different styles. There aren't any bad tracks that I can think of, but material like 'Stone Hate Steel' and 'Purify' does rather pale in comparison to the first half dozen tracks and 'Falling In Love Again', being merely good rather than great. At the time of writing the album is only available on Off-Beat and no US label has yet grabbed it. I'd suggest that if no US label licenses this one, they're completely beyond hope.
(© Al Crawford)
Black Talon (part of O-Files Vol. 3, promo only)
New Mind is back with a brand new single included as part of "O-Files Vol. 3". Allow me to reiterate, "Black Talon" is not sold seperately; it is accompanied by singles from Individual Totem (whose tracks can also be found on the domestic Quadrophobia), Numb, and Click Click. The reason only New Mind is reviewed, however, was that I received the three tracks that make up this short but sweet single as a promo. 'Sewercide (Black Talon)' starts things off with a bang. The best track of the three, 'Sewercide' also happens to be the most evil-sounding piece I've heard from New Mind... and I like it! This track alone should make you crave the upcoming album "Deepnet". Kalte Farben and Forma Tadre both contibute very good remixes of upcoming tracks. It is hard to say how good the original tracks are, however, both because of the prevalent sound of the remixers throughout the tracks and the simple fact that these tracks have not appeared yet! "Black Talon" is a very good precursor to the upcoming fourth album from the hard working Jonathan Sharp and his project New Mind. For those who object to import prices, fear not; the various tracks will all find their way into the states via compilations. On the other hand, after hearing this single and "Flow" by Individual Totem, it's safe to say that "O-Files 3" is very much worth the money. It's up to you as to how you want to get this single, but these tracks are definitely worth hearing. (Grinding Into Emptiness Webzine)
Jonathan Sharp returns in late 1998 with his fourth full-length release under the New Mind moniker. The depth and diversity of this album are nothing short of amazing, all sorts of genres find their way into the mix. The album leads off with the original studio version of 'Xenomorph' an altogether bristling affair of synthetic mayhem. Breakbeats do appear although they are restrained and used as accents instead of the main focus of tempo. Mournful strings bring the listener right into the chaotic tone which has been set for this album. A fine cover of the song 'Lather' is next presented for the listener's perusal and Sharp growls out the cynical lyrics to this song originally written by Grace Slick. VERY effective usage of atmosphere gives depth to 'Overcity' which features one of the darkest samples I've ever heard. The tempo is divided into three sections one of which is sure to devastate any dancefloor it graces. An entirely different version of 'Sewercide' makes it's mark on the album as 'Sewer Child' an chilling and evil sounding song which is quite cinematic in it's content. 'We Can be Together' features some guest vocals from SMP and is wickedly driven to possibly insight the riot samples it has characterizing the background. 'LD 50' is next and is followed by the absolutely stunning 'Lightning Zone' and I can see why he's been playing this one live as it can easily be translated into a powerful performance peice. The remaining tracks continue this dense and labyrinthine feel. The theme of a choked, collapsing and polluted world may indeed be the theme for this release. Claustrophobics had best give this one a miss. Everything is layered expertly and sample placement is at an all-time high. 'Second Boy' is featured on the album as well in it's original form. Quite heavy stuff here, and the guitars have been toned down QUITE a bit since 'Forge' this album is much more melodic and moody than any that have come before it. Some absolutely beautiful chord progressions are evident and the mixing and production on this disc are of the highest caliber. Sharp is working on getting a domestic release for this gem but I would highly recommend picking it up at import prices. (Peter Marks)
If i'm not wrong, this must be the fourth
full-length album of Jonathan Sharp's main project, New Mind. This
productive Englishman seems to never stop composing and releasing CD after
CD. And yet, productivity isn't always the equivalent of of the quality.
But i'll immediately reassure the numerous fans of Jonathan by telling
them that "DeepNet" is probably the best New Mind production so far!
You can easily recognize the complex and saturated arrangements of New
Mind, but this album sounds first of all very Teutonic! The influence
of bands like Evils Toy and Haujobb are sometimes pretty close! Just
take the second song 'Lather' for example. It seems like a traditional
body song with voice-strings reminding to Evils Toy. Or pay some
attention to analyze 'LD50.' It contains very complex structures
which are in the line of Haujobb or our own Belgium
(IN)ternal. The heavy electro parts are regularly reinforced through guitar sounds injecting a powerful element. It's just regrettable that this CD doesn't contain a real hit, but that remains the major point of New Mind. Anyway, a respectable body production! (Side Line, No. 26, 1998)
I really didn't think New Mind could
ever top his previous release ("Forge"), but I was sadly mistaken. "Deepnet"
is Johnathan Sharp's newest offering in which he takes the musical thickness
behind "Forge" and gives it another edge….aggression. From start
to finish, "Deepnet" entices the listener with interesting sequences, dynamic
beat programming, rough rhythms, gratifying samples, and an array of vocal
talent. Joining him on various tracks is Jason Bazinet of SMP and
both Reza Udhin and Alexys B of Inertia. The result of these collaborations
is phenomenal. Aside from the guest vocals from Jason Bazinet, 'We
Can Be Together' features political samples, thunderous beats, and even
and rough SMP approach to the sequences. The vocal union between
Johnathan and Jason adds tremendous depth to this powerful and sometimes
noisy electro piece. 'Endgame' features Reza on vocals, as well as
jagged break-beats, stabbing synth lines, and lighter, cascading backing
sequences. There's also a certain dark aura that surrounds this piece.
'Lather' is an outstanding electro piece comprised of slow, booming beats,
both bellowing and buoyant sequences, and Johnathan's own distinct, roughed-up
vocal delivery. The album closer, 'Wirehead' has some humorous samples
tossed in amongst gruff vocals, trippy beats, airy sequences, and abrasive
rhythms. Alexys' smooth vocals, joined with Johnathan's aggressive
style give this piece a slight Dust of Basement feel. While New Mind
has not found a home in the states yet, you can be assured that it will
not be long until some US label picks this up for distribution. I
always look forward to anything Johnathan has his named attached to and
"Deepnet" definitely did not disappoint. Buy it immediately or be
the only electro-head that hasn't a clue as to what makes up good music.
(Industrial Bible – August 1999)
A few years ago, I heard some New Mind material on a few compilations, and I wasn't impressed, to say the least (with the exception of the work Jonathan Sharp did on the first C-Tec release…) But this time around, has become much more solid and promising. Old school electro/industrial stylings in the vein of In Strict Confidence, Abscess, and THD. Very attractive vocoder effects, contrasted by aggressive vocals on other tracks. There are some weird samples, sometimes funny, but effective. Dancefloor friendly, but mostly a listener CD for me. Strong tracks are 'Sewer Child', 'We Can be Together', and 'Endgame'. (Deadwyre)
Jonathan Sharp has once again managed
to deliver another outstanding album. Every one of his projects (Bio-Tek,
Hexedene Hyperdex-1-Sect, New Mind) is quality in every way possible. He
never disappoints his listening audience. This "Deepnet" CD is no exception.
It's an incredible electronic journey from beginning to end. This album
is pure electro bliss with extremely layered programming and creative sampling.
Electronic sounds surround you and fly off in various directions coming
and going at different rates. Distorted guitars are also placed into the
music perfectly adding another element. Jonathan has a unique way of including
his vocals into the music. He sometimes alters his voice to sound robotic,
as well as distorting it at times. Instead of singing, he tends to talk
the lyrics out with aggressive anger. The lyrics are rather well written,
and are delivered with passion. The music is very intense and powerful.
It creates a lot of emotion and mood. While it does offer solid rhythms
and beats, it's not dance music. It plays at a rather medium pace with
creative sounds and beautiful atmospheres. It's meant to make you think,
not move. You will most likely enjoy listening to this music for how diverse
and well crafted it is. There's plenty to pay attention to here. You definitely
won't get bored. Most of the tracks do include vocals. There are a few
instrumentals that are good as well. Everything blends well together and
flows smoothly from start to finish without any snags along the way. If
you like electro-industrial music, this New Mind "Deepnet" CD is a must.
(Wrapped in Wire)
Certainly one of the best of 1998 (if
not THE best), Jonathan's fourth full length release is his greatest work
yet. Dropping most of the guitars from the previous release Forge, "Deepnet"
goes full steam ahead with electro-terrorism.
- From the first track you know you are in for a ride. 'Xenomorph' is a powerful song with amazing vocoded vocals and driving beat. LD50 has similar vocals, a little slower, but just as effective. You really need to hear these tracks. The most interesting aspect of "Deepnet" is Jonathan's covers of 2 Jefferson Airplane songs, 'Lather' and 'We Can Be Together'. Obviously, the 60's are something of a theme here, anti-authoritarian, power to the people, etc. You can see it in the CD layout as well. These themes apply as much today as 30 years ago. This new effort should appeal to everyone, especially if you liked his side projects Bio-Tek and Hexedene. There is a really great mix of styles here. I give this CD my highest rating for any release, it is THAT good. (The New Empire)
This is the new (third?) CD from Jonathan
Sharp' main project, New Mind. "Deep Net" has been a very awaited album,
since his release had been postponed by the end of the Off Beat label.
Anyway, the band has now signed with Canada's Gashed, and we find here
the whole "Deep Net" album as well as some more songs which were not intended
to be on the European release.
- New Mind has quite obviously evolved with this CD. From its guitarirzed aggressive EBM, the project is now more various, as the songs on "DeepNet" tend to be very different one from the others. Some are in the typical vein of New Mind, like the opening 'Xenomorph', and some sound very much like Sharp's Bio-Tek project, more EBM with a very typical distorted and aggressive voice. Those are maybe not the best track of "DeepNet", as they do not incorporate the dancefloors old school elements you can find in Bio-Tek. But this record has also his very good moments, which starts with the third song, 'Overcity', a calmer song with very nice samples from a woman speaking about LA. Another height of this CD is 'We can be together', a cover of the song by Jefferson Airplane. Although this version may not be as good as the one on the "Septic" sampler, it's really worth listening, as that's not the kind of structures and sounds you find in every electro CD.
- One again, Jonathan Sharp has known how to collaborate with talented people. That's how the disc feature a song by Scar Tissue / Forn Alkaline, "Netscape 2" but also some vocals appearances from Reza and Alexis from Inertia.
- If you accept the first half of the CD, which has good track but no killers, you will be delighted by the second part of it. There are many very interested stuff at the end of "Deep Net". The songs there are less aggressive, contains more samples (often quite obvious, but well used), and sound more complex. Try, for example, the soft and moody 'Sensenet', the drum'n'bass 'Netscape 2', or 'Second Boy (Strike 2)', my favorite of the record. Then, 'Wirehead' is a nice piece, with the soft voice of Alexis from Inertia. 'Lightning Zone' is the last violent track, with quite a lot of guitars, and both 'Fading Giant' and 'Close out' are musically very interesting track.
- A very good side of "Deep Net" is the many approaches Sharp has had on this CD. The record contains both very un-original tracks, mostly in its first part, as well as more worked out songs, with interesting structures, sounds and melodies. Moreover, even the theme of the songs may be seen as out of the usual electro cliche, once again in the second part of the disc, when the lyrics seems to part from the cheesy electro-industrial themes to be more moving or personal. Good and interesting job from an often under-rated band. Probably not the electro CD of the year, but a very solid release apart from the mass-production in this style. (Totentanz)
On his newest release, Jonathan Sharp
is slighly moving away from what New Mind have usually bring us, beauty
and clarity nicely replace harshness and angst. Under the seal of Canada's
Gashed! Records, New Mind's "DeepNet" is an engaging demonstration of electronic
- Playing with different genre such as EBM, electro, break-beats and even with some hip-hop influences, "DeepNet" is a long highway to the dark world in the mind of Jonathan Sharp. His music is unique as making comparison is useless.
- Saturated by speech samples, filled with rare guitar samples along Sharp's harsh computerize vocals surrounds a complex melodic track with great keyboards sequences, 'Xenomorph', the opening track, brings the overall sound of "DeepNet". 'LD50' brings a lightner side that you wouldn't expect from Sharp, well-structured rhythm along a nice landscape of electronics supports Sharp's
vocals. As a guest artist, Scar Tissues helps on the bonus track 'Netscape 2', which bring a unique blend of noise, trip-hop and hip-hop; a very original track with nice scratch samples. 'Lightning Zone' brings a hard EBM rhythm with grinding guitars where Sharp's vocals are pretty harsh, an aggressive track where the refrain is a strong reminiscent of Front Line Assembly' "Millenium" period.
- From dark intriguing tracks to more aggressive and upbeat ones, "DeepNet" is the best example of New Mind creativity and this is Jonathan Sharp's most notable work. Even as not a fan of his work, "DeepNet" satisfy and impress me. (Final Man, Electroage - 2000)
While this isn't a new album, it's more
of a weird "best of unreleased". "Phoenix" displays the workings
from Jonathan Sharp's New mind project spanning over a decade showcasing
how talented this man is. If you haven't heard New Mind, this is your first
cd to check out. 'Lightning Zone(Razed In Black remix)' and 'Phoenix' are
by far the best tracks on here. 'Lightning Zone' is taken by RIB and pretty
much given the usual heavy guitar treated remix, but yet still sounds good
and very intresting each time they remix. The song 'Phoenix' is a laid
back ambient-like song.
Rating: *** (email@example.com)
Jonathan Sharp, the man behind New Mind,
is nothing if not prolific. With a hand in at least 11 different projects,
this particular point cannot be argued. Nor can his abilities as a superb
electronic songwriter. It is a pity that "Phoenix" showcases virtually
none of this striking talent. Upon reading the New Mind bio on their website,
I discovered that comparisons to older Front Line Assembly have haunted
New Mind for almost the entirety of the projects existence, and indeed
are unwelcome. Well, sadly, "Phoenix" does nothing- to address the problem
of writing New Mind off as an FLA clone. "Phoenix" is a collection of remixes
and unreleased tracks spanning the decade e long history of New Mind, and
almost every track on "Phoenix" sounds like "Gashed Senses and Crossfire"
outtakes. Thankfully, I happen to love that era of FLA, so it's not like
my ears bleed upon listening to "Phoenix", but I honestly expected more
from the man who gave us "Deepnet"', or who gave us the only good Cyber-Tec
Project song, or who gave us the viscerally brutal Bio-Tek... I guess this
cd was designed for New Mind completist fans. Personally speaking,
it's a filler cd in my eyes. HOWEVER, and this may have been a purposeful
move, the final track on this cd is one of the most stunning, beautiful
cyber-ambient tracks I have -ever- heard, and almost completely salvages
the entire cd. The track title? 'Phoenix'. Ironic, no? 16 tracks
of solid-but-uninspiring quality, then 1 song that leaves the listener
twitching for more of the same. The final track on the cd is the one instance
on the cd of Jonathan Sharp's brilliant abilities, and hopefully is a glimpse
pse of the future of New Mind. For that I'll be willing to forgive almost
any mediocre release. If you're a longtime fan of New Mind, "Phoenix" will
be pleasing to the palate. If you're new to New Mind, get "Deepnet" first,
then look into this CD. (Psionic, Starvox)
As New Mind was playing in the shadows
of Jonathan Sharp's numerous side-projects (Takshaka, Hexedene, Hyperdex-1-Sect...
there is twelve in all), this new release is refreshing our memories. More
like a retrospective, "Phoenix" features an array of exclusive tracks and
remixes from the past decade of New Mind existence. From the electro rage
and angst found in Sharp's early compositions, to the more complex clarity
of his recent efforts; New Mind has always been in a constant state of
evolution, bearing lots of influences from its diverse side-projects.
- Beginning with unreleased tracks from the first ever New Mind's releases, the out-of-print "The Body Politic 12" and the "Fractured" full-length, the first eight tracks are more on the grinding electro-industrial side. Those tracks unveiled New Mind in its embryo state, experimenting with ambiences and atmospheres (the brilliant 'Heaven's Light Parasite mix') along strong influences from 80s EBM ('Second Cut' and the great 'Soft Colour Bleed').
- Post-Fractured compositions clearly shows Sharp leading to a more techno-flavored New Mind sound. Taken from a demo submitted to Machinery as a sequel to the "Fractured" album, 'Arcogen' is dark techno with subtle psychedelic touches; same for '586 Run', made for an horror short-film soundtrack. Approaching the "Forge album", New Mind is particularly more heavy and loud tracks like the Chorazin mix of 'Piss Christ' or the XOL DOG 400 version of 'Stone Hate Steel' are straightforward violent electro that doesn't equalize the quality of Sharp's most recent material.
- Only one track from the "DeepNet" album-session is featured and the Razed In Black version of 'Lightning Zone' is simply the expected energetic industrial-rock; Sharp claims as being better than the original, though. Following is two of the most recent material made under the New Mind moniker. There is the excellent technoid-noise found in 'Stammheim V1.02' taken from the Dystopian's compilation "Resist the Command". Made early this year, the excellent title track is actually the only true "new" New Mind's track. Similar to 'Stammheim', it clearly shows influences from the noise-oriented projects Takshaka and Tyrophex14; moving with a certain ambient feel under crunching beats along an heavy use of samples from HAL in 2010 movie that is grandly appreciated.
- Through its exclusive and rare featured tracks, "Phoenix" comes off as a solid overview of Sharp's career under the New Mind moniker. Also to notice is the nice artwork and booklet featuring personal quotes from Sharp regarding each songs. Overall, an excellent release. (Electroage - 2001)
New Mind's Phoenix is a ten year retrospective
of the bands decade long music making existence. The album consists of
rare unreleased matrial, exclusive remixes and a brand new track to celebrate
the band's ten year anniversary. According to the inlay this is CD maps
out New Mind's (Jonathan Sharp) history from 1992 to the present via previously
unreleased tracks. You probably know Jonathan from works like Takshaka.
- New Mind brings a bit of old-school Industrial and sample style to the modern music scene with just enough newer influences to attract your attention. However, if your looking for the dancy industrial or a New Mind club hit skip to the Razed In Black remix of 'Lightning Zone' because this is all you're going to get and it's more in the vein of KMFDM with more gutteral vocals.
- The first track starts out with a very rhythm much like Die Warzau's first album is known for. New Mind vocals are very grovely and distorted in a very old style Industrial way that is reminiscient before the birth of bands like Wumpscut. I like the sampling interludes and ambience which follows in the next track as it seems to be more thought provoking. You will recognize the cenobite sample "what's your pleasure sir" used here. 'Soft Colour Bleed' has a bit of a Cabaret Voltaire early years feel to it mixed amongst it's elements. What follows are a few tracks which experiment with ambient tones, sampling techniques and harsh metallic percussion now and then.
- 'No Pleasure In Killing' picks up the pace with a more staunch rhythm and remains one of the most unique tracks on the disc. Vocals are added on 'Through The Net' as well as an overall harsher sound that the previous track. This becomes a bit more noisy and chaotic on 'Fracture'.
- The pace drastically takes a turn on 'Arcogen' which has a much more dance oriented beat and clearer tones. This track is much less noisy and experimental than most of the album and could easily fit in with a late night Techno oriented playlist. This rather digital structure is maintained on '586 Run' which is slightly trancey. 'Impact' is straight up Techno Rave. The pace and tone drop a bit but remain in the Trance arena with 'Blindfield 2'. This is a bit related to something like Lords of Acid.
- The album begins to be more Industrial oriented again on 'Piss Christ', probably named after the art photo by the same name, and has a heavier Skinny Puppy meets KMFDM feel to it. This is also one of the better tracks on the disc and may also remind you a bit of TKK or Electric Hellfire club because of the vocal style used.
- 'Stone Hate Steel' is one for Noise fans of pounding, throbbing rhythms. This is followed by the rock-industrial tune 'Lightning Zone' mixed by Razed In Black. Track 16 takes a distinct dive into subterannean territory dropping the pace drastically and reminding me very much of Greater Than
One all the way down to the "brother and sisters" sample and blips.
- Finally we come to the title track. This is a very ambient, Noise oriented atmospheric track and is definitely beautiful in it's own way.
- At first I was not extremely impressed by New Mind but after further listening realized that they were not simply rehashing old industrial and techno but actually created some real thought provoking and influential tracks. While I don't like everything on the disc I do think it has some excellent sounds to offer and is definitely worth a listen and adding to any hardcore industrial music fan's collection. The finaly track sounds more like what you might expect from Takshaka.
(In Rythmus Bleiben - 2001)
New Mind is the Jonathan Sharp's industrial
e.b.m. project (he also works in Bio-Tek and Hexedene and collaborated
with Front 242's Jean-Luc De Meyer as Cyber-Tec) and PHOENIX is a ten year
retrospective of what the band produced over these years. The album consists
of rare unreleased material, exclusive remixes and a brand new track. The
album structure lead the listener through the years, chronologically, starting
from "The Body Politic's" B-sides ('Second Cut' and 'Heaven's Light - Parasite
Mix') just to
arrive to 'Stammheim V1.02' and the brand new 'Phoenix' (which is a reflective instrumental track with some distorted vocal samples. Something like an industrial version of Jean Michel Jarre) passing through two songs coming from the "Fractured" album sessions ('Soft Colour Bleed Nightmare Mix' and 'Backdown') or through never released tracks now remixed. More experimental than the Front Line Assembly's music of those years, New Mind's music has got an high grade of psychedelic effect (some tracks have got also some techno influences), few vocal parts and a good amount of energy.
(Maurizio Pustianaz, Chain DLK)
How did I adore New Mind's "Fractured"
album in 1993. Pounding, dark, electronic echoes. That's how EBM atmospheres
were supposed to sound. New Mind's following albums were also good, but
no longer possessed this original synthesis of ambient and rhythm. 'Enviro
4' has remained my favorite New Mind track. Thus, I was delighted when
I received this collection or rare,
unreleased and remixed tracks as it contains music from this phase. Tracks from the first 12", from the "Fractured" sessions, the planned 3 track follow-up single, idiotically scrapped by Machinery, soundtrack work, incomprehensibly rejected remixes from the "Zero To The Bone", "Forge" and "Deepnet" times, compilation appearances and one exclusive track. If I am allowed to quote
the German promo info for New Mind's 1991 first 12" "Body Politic": "New Mind deliver the sound of the Spanish Inquisition which, as is widely known, nobody expects. Removed from the chart-approved (new) sound of Front 242, they pound their beats into the ear canals, make it stick and cast their spell over your motor skills." Interestingly enough this is still true, especially after Front 242's "Reboot". Even the oldest tracks still sound fresh. Despite his many side projects, Jonathan Sharp always kept it varied within New Mind, even if the later albums lost a voice of their own among the style influences. From drilling club tracks to technoid ambient. A great overview of a decade of hard and dark electronic metamorphoses of an unfortunately unnoticed and especially in its early stages impressive project. (Till, Black #26)
Maybe one of the most active musicians
in the genre of dark electronic sounds is Jonathan Sharp. His projects
Bio-Tek, Hexedene or New Mind are well known to insiders and also the political
content of his music is no secret. Mr. Sharp is a man who cares and who
thinks about the world around him.
- The release "Phoenix" is not really a new album of New Mind. It is a "best-of"-compilation or retrospective featuring 17 tracks of former releases, often in special remix-versions or seldom compilation-tracks like 'Stammheim V 1.02' that was only released on the "Resist the Command" compilation on Dystopian Records. The aggressive, psychotic sound of the music characterizes the whole album. Abstract dark electro tracks with a very threatening ambient that remind me sometimes of complex Mentallo & The Fixer songs. A lot of samples create additional atmosphere and the music leads you on a trip into the black abyss of Sharp's soul. Distorted vocals on humming basses, combined with strange screams of martyred souls, this is how the album begins when the track 'Second Cut' reaches its climax.
- Remarkable is also 'Soft colour bleed' in the Nightmare Mix-version. The manipulated voice seems really to come straight out of a horrible dream world and the rhythm is never steady enough to become a secure guide through this nightmare: many breaks reconstruct the whole track from time to time.
- One of the straighter, technoid tracks is the short instrumental '586 Run' where the musician shows he is also able to create sounds for the dance floor. It was originally made in 1995 for a short-movie. Noisy and sick sounds await the listener on 'Stone Hate Steel', a song driven by a harsh, hammering rhythm with distorted drums and over-sampled vocals. It has nothing to do with the original and in the explanation the artist doesn't call it a remix but: here is New Mind destroyed by Xol Dog 400. I'd think that's true. After all this hellish sound-adventures the album ends very quiet with the instrumental 'Phoenix' which is the title-track of the album and could be described as "Psychedelic Hate Noise" according to Sharp himself. But that's a wrong track I'd say, because the song is very quiet, almost relaxed with epic spheres and only few disturbance of the sound-flow by some bleeps and beeps.
- Over the years New Mind with it's mastermind Sharp has changed a lot and this is reflected in this album. Fans of this project will find a lot of rare material like the Live-Intro for the gigs or special remixes that were never released because of different reasons. The album ends with a new beginning like phoenix from the ashes. Maybe it is a re-birth or maybe the project gets back to its roots. However, this CD shortens the time we have to wait for the new releases of this exceptional project. I give a low rating, because in my opinion the album doesn't contain really brilliant material due to the fact that most tracks are "forgotten" remixes and B-sides. But it gets a high coolness-rating instead, because I think it is a well done addition to the regular releases of New Mind.