Music Reviews & Commentary
Publication: Alternative Press
Resurgence is an apt title, as these 29 Pacific Northwest terrorists fight to reclaim what the Wax Trax! scene surrender to Europe back in the '80's. As usual, everything from Techno to Grunge crossover is covered in fine form. Resurgence matches step with any 21st Circuitry, Re-Constriction, or COP International compilations and is essential for Industrial evangelists. Idle trespassers should wander elsewhere.
This compilation is a really interesting release I recommend to all those of you interested in synthcore and other noisy deviations. Moreover it will give you a good picture of the US scene in this genre as all tracks featured here are "Made in America". Almost 30 acts are presented on this compilation and most of them probably won't ring a bell to you. However, this could be a good reason to try it and so maybe to make some nice discoveries. I will quote a few names just to give some hints to the the synthcore-eaters: SMP, Static, sexwithsarah, Thine Eyes, Tension Factor, SpineFolder, Attenuated Euphoria, Mesmer, Cult of One, & Consortium. There are still many others waiting for you and of course it is up to you to jump into the unknown. The only thing I can do is give you a little push but nothing more, sorry. Before ending all this, there is a funny thing to notice on this compilation as more than 10 bands come from Portland, Oregon. I didn't know there was such a big scene over there, did you?
Issue: Vol 2, Issue 4
A 2 CD compilation of almost 30 tracks from different Oregon and surrounding artists, that, as with most compilations, have a handful of extremely promising artists. The stand out is Noxious Emotions' Indefinite-Unspecified, which reminds me heavily of Clay People's Strange Day, both in mood and vocals. I seldom like just straight out shouting in songs, but his growling yell has so much more impact than most, and it sounds so strained and concerned, rather than just mad, or whatever other people's yelling is supposed to impress you with. The music is really nice, with pretty bells and electronic strings dancing around the beat. I really love this song. I was excited to see another track from Nu Mantra, as well, after their song on Circuit Noir, which I adored, but Hypnagogic isn't as solid a song. Still, it has sitar, and good percussion, but none of the female vocals that really make the song break out. Gasket's Home is subtle and sing well enough to also make it one of the best here. The music is very minimal, with just an ongoing bass beat, and some low synths, while the vocals and somber atmosphere take the song over. Salamander by Pet of the Future is a good instrumental song, with production values many levels higher than others here. It actually moves along, and builds, with excellent strings and synths. Piano, mood suiting samples, a well constructed beat, and finely structured layers of synths and sounds. Nefarium make a good effort, having both male and female vocals singing throughout, but the melodies don't really hold you, despite both their voices being good enough to do so, given the right music. SpineFolder's instrumental is another well produced piece, that is filled with nice melodies and rhythms. The only track to even really have a bass synthline, Death of a World, by RKiK, impresses because of the synthline, along with his vocals, and the beat, it moves better than many of the others. PEN-15 have vocals way higher than the music, which is strange in many of these independent compilations - the only artist I've really noticed before was Terminal - and these vocals hold their own just as well as Terminal's. The music in SinSomnia is a good accompaniement to his voice, but definitely merely a backdrop for the vocals. This particular handful of tracks together with a few of the others have made a really strong compilation. Often, though, good tracks get lost on compilations that are a little too populated with lesser ones.
Publication: CDS Mail Order
The single CD is a set of artists from the Portland area of the USA, while the double features artists from Portland and Seattle. On the double you get 29 tracks and 14 on the single, but what they have in common, is overall, some absolutely superb music that covers a wide range of the Industrial electronic Metal spectrum, right from the spacious and following to the aggressive and hard. All the artists are unknown in the UK and my advice is to take the double first because it is not only great value for the money but 17 of the 29 tracks are absolute gems and there isn't really a bad track on the whole thing.
Highlights from the double include the rampant set of Hotrod-esque Ministry style samples, electronics, drums from SMP, only with added dynamics that kill at twenty paces, the big beat rifle fire rhythms and electronics drums and synths that mark the alternately dark, somber and pounding evil that is the awesome track from static., the brilliant song from Noxious Emotion that comes over as a titanium strengthened version of Industrial Heaven 17, the epic, flimic quality that is the massive electronic, synth, percussive, and sample laden instrumental soundscapes of towering rhythms and multi-layered lead lines/effects to shred you alive care of Thine Eyes, the dark and sinister blend of synths and percussives that is the positively scary instrumental from Tension Factor, a quite amazing combination of rolling drums, percussion, more drums, sitar, effects, pounding bass undercurrents, samples and more that make up the awesome track from Nu Mantra (A whole album of this please!), the brooding and eerie synths that open the track from Triple Point, leading into an unnerving yet relaxing song using distant voice, flowing synth lines, piano chords, and percussion, full of mixed emotional depths and that is just a few of the highlights from the first disc of the double.
The second disc has ten of fifteen tracks as absolute classics including superb compositions from Pet of the Future, fockewolf, SpineFolder, Attenuated Euphoria, Volition, Mesmer, Cult of One, Consortium to name just a few. Overall, it does show that there are just so many talented bands out there. Lord knows how many will ever release a full length album, but here's to hoping you support them and try out two excellent CD's of original Industrial and electronic music, the future offspring of FLA, Ministry, Prodigy, Swamp Terrorists, and a whole load more - right here and right now.
Radio Show: STORMING THE BASE OF THE ALIEN FOE
Station: CKMS 100.3 - Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario
A 2CD compilation of almost 30 tracks from different Oregon and surrounding artists, that, as with most compilations, have a handful of extremely promising artists. The standout is Noxious Emotion's Indefinite-Unspecified, which reminds me heavily of Clay People's A Strange Day, both in its mood and the vocals. I seldom like just straight out shouting in songs, but his growling yell has so much more impact than most, as it sounds so strained and concerned, rather than just mad, or whatever other people's yelling is supposed to impress you with. The music is really nice, with pretty bells and electronic strings dancing around the beat. I really love this song. I was excited to see another track from NuMantra, as well, after their song on Circuit Noir, which I adored, but Hypnagogic isn't as solid a song. Still has the sitar, and good percussion, but none of the female vocals that really made the song break out. Gasket's Home is subtle and sung well-enough to also make it one of the best here. The music is very minimal, with just an ongoing bass beat, and some low synths, while the vocals and sombre atmosphere take the song over. Salamander by Pet Of The Future is a good instrumental song, with production many levels higher than most others here. It actually moves along, and builds, with excellent strings and synths. Piano, mood-suiting samples, a well-constructed beat, and finely structured layers of synths and sounds. Nefarium make a good effort, having both male and female vocals singing throughout, but the melodies don't really hold you, despite both their voices being good enough to do so, given the right music. SpineFolder's instrumental is another well-produced piece, that's filled with nice melodies and rhythms. The only track to even really have a bass synthline, Death Of A World by RKiK, impresses because of that synthline, along with his vocals and the beat, it moves better than many of the others. PEN-15 has the vocals WAY higher than the music, which is strange in many of these independent compilations - the only other artist I've really noticed that in before was Terminal - and these vocals hold their own just as well as Terminal's. The music in SinSomnia is a good accompaniment to his voice, but is definitely merely a backdrop for the vocals. This particular handful of tracks together with a few of the others would have made a really strong compilation. Often, though, good tracks get lost on compilations that are a little too populated with lesser ones.
Oh wow! I adore this. Been playing it VERY loud over and over while doing household chores. Two CDs of bands coming from mostly Seattle or Portland, doing Electronic, Industrial, some EBM, Wave and some Goth. You can't believe how cool this CD set is. I can't find fault with it. I won't even start mentioning all the 29 bands in this, suffice to say that they are all good for a reason or another. Best song title: PentaCrowley (The Short Attention Span Remix) by UGLYSYN. My personal favorite is the evil and very danceable litany of Hypnagogue by NuMantra, but it's a totally personal thing. The ubiquitous Tinty Music are in too. Goth-wave-industrial readers (IF there are any): this is unmissable. Other readers: this compilation is damn good. Trent and Marilyn should really start trembling in their fishnets - sooner or later some of these guys will take over.
Issue: August 1998
The Northwest may be rife with quirky, indefinable ways, but it is not lacking in its proud population of gearheads. They can be seen in the dead of summer, fully done up in leather trenchcoats. Sometimes shirtless and provocatively pierced, they're cruising Hawthorne. They are among us and I fear they want to eat our babies. Beaverton's Doppler Effect Records has been evil enough to issue a beautiful 2-CD set of 29 regional projects that fuel local baby-eating and occasional dancing. The fare is necessarily varied, given the wide range of Industro-Goth-Experimental styles that have cropped up since the birth of Alternative (aka: the death of music). This given, both CD's are mixed extremely well, and are quite listenable as a whole. I was pleasantly surprised (whilst sweating in my leather garters) at the quality and diversity of the Northwest electronic scene as presented. There's little in the way of Goth posturing (only a couple of tracks I outright hated/laughed at). At worst, some of the bands sound like a second string Skinny Puppy, Download, NIN or Front 242. But there are many whose leather buckles I should like to be licking.
Tension Factor's Cog comes on like the pacing of a great electronic hairy ape - a mute beating of fists in a drizzle of metal. It's quiet and dark, like death about to pounce, and awesome. Directly following is Bäuk Blinden's driving The Ebonic Plague, something of an old school Techno Industrial Instrumental. From this beat pasta we rise into the Middle Eastern whirl of Nu Mantra's Hypnogogic. While containing shades of Crash Worship and Muslimgauze, they copy neither. Triple Point's No Ordinary Psychosis calls up the ghost of old OMD and outros into the somber flanges of Distance Memories from Fell.Head. Disc 2 features the fetish of fockewolf, which is akin to Die Form or Sleep Chamber (if Zewizz were female...dog forbid). Uglysyn is next with Pentacrowley, which is minimalist Techno excellence. Tinty Music's Opacity Grid and Cult of One's Synopsis focus on the compilation's soundscapey side to delicious effect a la Nocturnal Emissions or Jim O'Rourke. Peppered between both discs are various Techno Industrial Dance club smashes and angst-ridden anthems. Not much in the way of swirly-girly shite, but neither is the set a beat explosion. A remarkable collection that should impress and entertain tasty baby-eaters from Lake Oswego to Osaka.
This double CD from Doppler Effect Records contains mostly unknown / less known bands. A total of 29 bands. All up and coming, a shitload of talent here! Everything from Electronic to Industrial to Gothic. Bands that made me sit up and listen are: static., with its Nine Inch Nails, Beatles-esq sound (Pretty Hate Machine and Magical Mystery Tour). sexwithsarah, with its distorted Goth sounds. Noxious Emotion, a mix of Industrial and 80's New Ave sound (love it!). Omnibox, similar to God Lives Underwater, but noisier and with a Gothic influence. Pet of the Future, a sound compared to a mix of Underworld, Delerium, and Noise Unit (no vox). Harsh and beautiful all at the same time, great!
Publication: Willamette Week
The indefatigable Chris "Jester" Christian continues his one-man quest to document the Northwest industrial scene with Resurgence, a comprehensive two-disc collection on his Beaverton label Doppler Effect. Many acts tread upon the oft-visited turf outside the Temple of Trent (Reznor, that is), but some are praiseworthy in their own right: Area88's professional production values and mutating background sounds position it as a strong crossover contender; Tension Factor's electric spasms prevent rigor mortis from setting in; Numantra goes on tribal trip; fockewolfe and Nefarium inject some much-appreciated estrogen; and Tinty Music, Cult of One, and Jester(*) himself float out some evil ambience. Look no further for your synthetic listening needs.
Perhaps the compilation's finest track is Thine Eyes' Short but Crushable, a collage of playful samples, spurting analog synths and sputtering drum machines. Their full-length debut, Christian Sex Loops, stretches the standard higher. It's chock full of eccentric rhythms, warbling keyboard work, and unexpected modulations; even with the occasional inadvisable vocal bits, Christian Sex Loops is one of the most rewarding electronic records you will hear this year. Thine Eyes may well become underground techno heroes--and remember, you read it here first.
(*) Editor's Note: Jester did not appear on this compilation. The bonus track in question was written by Peter Marks of Consortium
Issue: Volume 8, Issue 4 - June 11, 1998
But that's not all of the intersting shows on Friday, June 12th. The Paris Theater has AREA88, OMNIbOX, and Nefarium playing a celebration of the release of Resurgence, the second compilation of Northwest electronic Industrial acts from Doppler Effect Records, the folks who brought you last year's Undercurrent - PDX compilation.
They've certainly outdone themselves. That label-head Chris Christian - aka Jester - dug up over a dozen regional hardbeat acts for Undercurrent was impressive enough, but this new collection sports a whopping 29 acts on two CD's.
As with the first compilation, most of the material on the two discs is listenable, with a fair mix of annoying and entertaining moments. Many tracks suffer from the usual shortcomings of Industrial Rock: trying too hard to be sinister, cheesy keyboard sounds, predictable arrangements, and unoriginal vocal styles. The vocals, in particular, seem to be the most common detractor; if they're not imitating Trent Reznor, Peter Murphy, or Alan Jourgensen, these guys just go for the standard distorted vocal sound. If you can get past the predicatability, however, there's plenty of decent music here. Industrial fans certainly won't want to miss this release.
Portland, Oregon has a scene? Apparently a 2 CD's worth! This double CD compilation showcases the indie electronic scene from the Pacific Rim (mostly Portland). Most of the bands are Post-Industrial, Rock projects, but a few EBM and Techno geared electronic groups creep in. None of the bands are terribly amazing, but there's little doubt that there's something here for everyone, especially for those of you with the "first on the block" syndrome. With a line-up as varied as this, surely some of these bands will rise above their current unknown state. Possible candidates? AREA88, sexwithsarah, Thine Eyes, Bäuk Blinden, NuMantra, Volition, and Noxious Emotion. Unsigned band compilations always suffer from the inexperience of the bands that they are promoting, but Resurgence fairs quite decently, but mostly due to the quantity of new bands than anything else.
Publication: In Vein
After the delicious Undercurrent compilation from Doppler Effect, when I was received this double CD I was quite excited. Resurgence features many bands, both old and new, from the Oregon and Washington Industrial scenes. Many of these bands such as Area 88, Thine Eyes, SMP, and Noxious Emotion have appeared on numerous compilations over the years and are building their names up well in this scene. This 2CD features angry Industrial sounds like Volition, to smooth electronic masterpieces from Thine Eyes, to raw drum-dominated rhythms from SMP, to funky beat cuts by the likes of newcomers sexwithsarah (be sure to check out their cut on the Glory Of Destruction compilation as well), as well as many others. Unfortunately, along with the many strong tracks on this compilation there are also a few follies. The main faults in bands like Pet of the Future, Omnibox, and Cult of One is the production. A few more trips to the studio could definitely due many of these bands some good, but none the less the potential is still there. This compilation covers a lot of ground and pieces of the electronic music genre, exposing many new bands, but some of them just don't need to see the light. This one is worth it for the fans of the bigger names you know on this comp, as well as a few newcomers, or for fans of the Northwest scene, but otherwise I'd pickup the Thine Eyes album, which I hear is getting pressed beyond the CDR version that was previously available.
Publication: The Rocket
Issue: 5/13/98 - 5/27/98
As a follow-up to last year's Undercurrent - PDX compilation, Oregon's Doppler Effect Records has just released Resurgence, which effectively serves as a window to the local underground electronic Industrial music scene. While its predecessor featured only Oregon artists, Resurgence expands its coverage to include artists from Washington as well. But though the album's two discs provide a comprehensive collection of these Northwest artists - featuring acts such as SMP, AREA88, sexwithsarah and Noxious Emotion, who play live locally fairly consistently - Resurgence is not all that diverse in sound. A few tracks stand out like Bäuk Blinden's The Ebonic Plague, with its steady beats and haunting minor melody, or NuMantra's Hypnagogue, with its swirling sitar. Much of the album's remaining tunes, however, feature typical growled vocals or 80's style synths, sounding like a New Wave version of KMFDM.
Doppler Effect should, or course, be given credit for putting out such an extensive effort, which features 29 bands and highlights a genre that is often overlooked here in the Northwest. Perhaps the album's less than eclectic sound is more indicative of the scene in question that it is of the label trying to document it.
After their debut compilation Undercurrent-PDX showcased Portland, OR, Electro-Industrial bands, Doppler Effect Records immediately organized this more complete double CD of Northwest artists. Nearly 30 Gothic, Experimental, and Electro acts appear here, and most of them offer exclusive songs on this compilation. SMP donates their trademark Post-Industrial Punk with Born of Science; AREA88 busts open with their hard-edged Techno on Flesh, Nails & Razorblades; and Thine Eyes offer their bizarre, blazing dance track Short but Crushable on the first disc. The hidden gem on this first CD is Bäuk Blinden's The Ebonic Plague, a brilliant bit of beat heavy Techno that will set your ass a-shaking. The second CD starts with Pet of the Future's sinister Techno Instrumental Salamander and head straight into fockwolfe's Gothic Electro on A Doctrine Against Flesh. SpineFolder's sparse electronic beats and atmospherics provide a cerebral segue into the last half of the CD culminating in Tinty Music's sparse Experimental textures on Opacity Grid. Consortium finish the CD with their fuzzed out Hardcore on Await, and they close out the collection with an untitled bonus track of sinister Ambience. Resurgence offers some of the best unsigned talent I've heard in one place for a long time, and it proves that the Northwest has become a hotbed for innovative electronic bands over the past five years.
This is the brand new two CD set of North West Elektro/Ambient/ Industrial/Crossover bands. All hailing from Oregon and Washington areas, this is another commendable effort and even more pleasing than the original Undercurrent. It's great to see the amount of talent emerging from this area of the USA. Bands featured include: SMP with a signature SMP track becoming catchier each time. static. provide a different type of crossover, somewhat accessible. AREA88 are up next with a very dark and aggressive long track. sexwithsarah have a distinct style and are also geared towards Crossover Rock. Noxious Emotion then give us a nice surprise with a very new wavish meets Project Pitchfork type sound, anthemic. Other highlights for me on disc 1 included UXB with a nice mesh of Techno Electro and Pop elements, Triple Point, Fell.Head and Gasket had some distinct tracks and NuMantra have a Pigface influence with cool sitars. Disc 2 opened up with the soundtrack-like Pet of the Future track. fockewolf have a very addictive track that I just want to listen to over and over. Attenuated Euphoria really caught my ear with a chaotic elektro industrial track at just the right moment. I really like the rest of the album from here on out, Volition has a nice mix of styles that I'd really like to hear more from this band. RKiK had a very catchy track and everything I hear from this man I like as well. Minimalistic Elektro but effective. Mesmer also provided a different style to the CD with a mix of robotics, psychedelics, and Doors-ish vocals. lxl, Pen-15, viktim, Tinty Music, Cult of One, and Consortium round out this very interesting fun and diverse disc. Pick this up right away, it will open your mind to some great new talent!
Publication: Last Sigh
Issue: May 1998
Resurgence is the best release to come out of the Pacific Northwest United States. It has twenty-nine bands on two CD's for under twenty dollars. It is diverse in sounds and genres. It is harder in sound structures for those of you who like the more Industrial thing, softer for the Dark-Wavey Gothic folks, and blends in some excellent Tribal-Acid Techno, as well as some Neo-Synth-Pop too. The bands listed on this CD are incredibly talented, and not to be missed! Overall rating from me: Excellent!
Doppler Effect Records has done a great service to the bands and fans of underground music by bringing you this release. It is THE most impressive collection of music I have heard to date.I tend to lean towards enjoying music more in the veins of Experimental-Tribal-Ambient-Cultural, and Dark-Industrial Electronica composition -- but I tolerate much more. I found a number of bands, if not all of them on this release to be SO GOOD, I am going to check into them further and try to set up some interviews with them, and reviews, so you too can get to know what gems lay hidden in the underground of the Pacific Northwest of America.
I think you will be amazed at the diversity in the list. If you don't order these two CDs you are just not with it! The Pacific Northwest is bursting with new innovative acts/music, and you can get a very good feel for who they are and how they sound with Resurgence. I play it daily. Order this CD now!
Author: Kevin Potts
The second collection from this recent label. This installment expands into two discs, showcasing a huge pool of mostly unheard talent. Again focusing on the Northwest, included are SMP, lxl, SpineFolder, fockewolf, AREA88 and many more. The songs are surprisingly good and standouts include Thine Eyes' instrumental Short But Crushable, Noxious Emotion's memorable Indefinite + Unspecified and Pet of the Future's Salamander. AREA88 and sexwithsarah also contribute their respective brand of Electro-Industrial chaos, adding two more great pieces to the mix. Although there is a fair share of throw away material, getting a hold of this compilation will give you immediate insight into just how expansive the Northwest's bubbling scene is and just what a travesty is is that none of these groups are signed.
Publication: The Plague
Resurgence is a double CD of Northwest electronic bands brought to you by Mr. Sonic-Boom himself. This compilation has a variety of sounds including EBM, Experimental, Darkwave, and Cybercore. No complaining about variety here. Amazingly enough, every band on this CD compilation is from either Oregon or Washington. I'm not sure what is in the water out there, but the underground electro scene seems to be growing like a plague. Resurgence showcases these fairly unknown bands in hopes of educating the rest of us.
On the first disc, the first few songs are that catchy industrial sound slightly reminiscent of early Nine Inch Nails Nothing to terribly innovative, but perhaps radio friendly. Thine Eyes breaks the barriers with Short But Crushable, a unique "trippy" experimental groove that leaves you questioning. OMNIbOX impressed me with their radio edit of Hold. Bäuk Blinden was the most European sounding with their instrumental The Ebonic Plague. Triple Point proves there are no barriers in variety of styles, and Fell.Head is hypnotically soothing in a demented machine-like systematic way.
On the second disc, Nefarium's Sleeping Beauty reminded me a bit of the 80's with a catchy beat and good male/female vocals. Spinefolder's Illartia (PDX Edit) was one of my favorites on this disc. Perfect for a soundtrack. Volition, RKiK, and lxl also deserve to be noted for their strong electro sounds. I'm sure the DJ's will take note.
Overall, a decent collection of the Northwest's young electro scene. I think given a few years, these bands will have a better grip on their "sound" and continue to move forward. Maybe Jester will release a sequel in a few years so we can hear their music progression.
Issue: March 1998
There are so many industrial/electro bands in the northwest that Doppler Effect Records decided to release their follow-up CD compilation as a 2CD set. Resurgence focuses on underground bands residing in Washington and Oregon, which is a virtual hotbed of electronics. The only problem is that only a handful of them are doing anything interesting, and those seem to be the ones who we have heard from before. Noxious Emotion, SMP, fockewolf, and sexwithsarah are a few that I'm referring to. Static. impressed me with their jumping electro concoction, Flux (Happy Piano Mix). This track goes through a variety of changes that make it very interesting. A lot of the other bands presented on here need to take lessons from these guys so they don't come of sounding so drab and monotonous. I'm a firm believer that compilations such as this are a great way to get unknown artists heard, but I think that 2 discs worth is a bit much to swallow at once. Spinefolder's Illartia (PDX Edit) uses some nicely orchestrated sequences, crisp melodies, and bombastic percussion elements, giving it a higher pole position on the compilation. I'll give credit where credit is due and I think what Doppler Effect Records is trying to do with this compilation is valiant, but I fear that the northwest scene needs some fine tuning before the world will be ready to accept a release such as this. I do believe that this CD set might be more readily acceptable within the scene that it covers.
Publication Noize Foundation
Issue: March, 1998
This is the second, and most recent of the only two releases by Portland, OR's Doppler Effect Records. Resurgence is a two CD set, packaged in one standard CD case with a hinged CD tray, featuring 29 listed industrial/electronic/EBM artists from the Northwest. Unlike Undercurrent PDX, the freshman release from Doppler Effect, this sophomore release is not restricted to artists from Portland and surrounding areas. Seattle is well represented by artists such as fockewolf, Noxious Emotion, NuMantra, sexwithsarah, SMP, SpineFolder and Tinty Music. Having been on Undercurrent PDX, AREA88, Attenuated Euphoria, lxl, Mesmer, Pet of the Future, Thine Eyes and Triple Point make their second appearance with Doppler Effect.
The first of the two CD's is definitely where Doppler Effect seems to have put the more well known artists, reserving disc two for some of the artists you don't see a lot of in the live scene.SMP opens the disc with Born of Science. This isn't the best SMP track I've heard, but Jason Bazinet and Matt Sharif definitely welcome you to Resurgence in typical rhythmic form. Following up SMP is Static, proving that there is a great deal of potential in this act. Justin Chia demonstrates a variety of musical and vocal talents. This is a great track if you like the more precise, clean side of industrial, similar to Machine's of Loving Grace with Chris Cornell of Soundgarden on vocals. It is a little uncanny how similar Chia and Cornell sound at times. AREA88 adds Flesh, Nails and Razorblades to Resurgence. This is an uncharacteristicly subtle song for case's vocals; almost indistinguishable at times. Unfortunately this song seems to drag a little, although I found its great to have playing while you are wandering around or driving. It definitely effects your mood. Following up AREA88 is sexwithsarah, with their hedonistic, sexually aggressive Angel of Indulgence. While a little sloppy and dirty in the mix, as a listener you can clearly see the road of sex and pleasure that sexwithsarah are pulling you down here, and you can't help but go along. Noxious Emotion follows up with Indefinite and Unspecified. Typical of Noxious Emotion, this track has a fairly long intro, but once you get to the blackened heart of this song, Mike Wimer takes you down into his dark world and your dark face. Layers of analog and digital synths provide a rich texture for their chorus anthem, "Why are you shouting at me?"
Other standout tracks on the first disc include UXB's The Wreckage, with some distinctively different vocal effects, ranging from overly distorted to overly pitched up. This track has a great club beat, and has the potential to do quite well. OMNIbOX's Hold [radio edit] has a great feel, reminding me of old Kill, Switch...Klick. I like this track! If you like those tribal rhythms, NuMantra are your pick off this compilation. But whatever you do, only play this one loud. You just doesn't do this track justice unless you can feel it.
Thine Eyes' Short But Crushable was a bit confusing, but in a twisted, sick, piss your mother off kind of way it was one of the most creative tracks on Resurgence. The song is constructed of samples from some strange songs that I can't identify, over layered with all means of synth work. Definitely listen to this one more than once. My only complaint is that this song is about twice as long as my attention span could handle for this style of collage.
The second disc certainly doesn't come without any talent, the disc opens with a very strong track from Pet of the Future, Salamander. This is movie soundtrack kind of stuff. Not the soundscape kind,, but that upbeat, get you excited cause you're watching a trailer for the next digitally created total sci-fi futuristic cyber thriller kind of movie music. Pet of the Future is immediately followed by fockewolf, the new project from And Christ Wept's Robert Wilhelm. His new partner, Severina, has a distinctive voice that pulled me right into the song. It's a little casual, sultry and indiscreetly charming. SpineFolder brings in their track low and with a nice high hat rhythm. The synths and samples start building as Tim Ebling gives you a handful of different moods condensed to only a few minutes. Reminiscent of some of the all electronic industrial from the early 90's, with the flavor of the late 90's added. Mesmer's Syncretism is an interesting piece, utilizing synthesized vocals to recite poetry throughout the track. This one's got a good beat, and some interesting elements, although it doesn't really go anywhere. lxl's Prophecy is a great song to have playing while you are doing something else. It is upbeat and energetic, although there is nothing to hold your focus. Play it in the background while you are having sex!
Consortium finishes off the second disc with Await. Immediately following Consortium is the hidden 30th track to the compilation, which is rumored to be another Consortium track.
My opinion: If you like electronic and industrial music, buy this compilation. Resurgence features some of the best electronic and industrial talent coming out of the Northwest.
I will be the first one to admit that the following review of Doppler Effect Records' sophomore anthology release, Resurgence, is going to be very subjective and biased as I was very involved in the production and promotion of this 2-CD collection, working in the capacity of the project co-producer, as well as knowing (either personally or via email) most of the homeys who participated in Resurgence, but I feel that this strong release should merit a review, or possibly an insight if possible. I'm definitely not going to transform this review into a "d00d! buy our product, man!" sales-pitch infested mentality of publications like "Roland User Group" or "Korg Proview" corporate magazines. With the disclaimers aside, here are my impressions of Doppler Effect Records' Resurgence album.
Resurgence is a 2 CD collection. There are 30 tracks overall, by 29 listed artists (following the tradition of Doppler Effect compilations, there is a bonus track at the very end of the second disc). The artists are separated onto 2 discs in no particular thematic hegemony, other than to maintain a continuity and flow of the album.
Disc 1:Seattle's industrial veterans SMP leads off Resurgence with Born of Science, a track laced with steady and simplistic yet highly hypnotic drums. The synth melodies and ostinatos interact well with Jason Bazinet's energetic harsh vocals. The track is very minimal compared to SMP's earlier material in density, but this is to the advantage of the song--Born of Science shows a subtle yet powerful side of SMP. Very intelligently done.
static. follows up with Flux (Happy Piano Mix). This up-and-coming project of Justin Chia provokes sonic imagery of Broken-era Nine Inch Nails infused with thoughtful vocal treatments. The heavy density found in most of the track is balanced by the sharply contrasting phrase endings. Although I found this technique to be very Reznor-esque, it works very well in the overall flow of the song. The sampled drum textures are a plus.
One of Portland's electro-industrial heavyweights, AREA88, contribute Flesh, Nails + Razorblades. Apparent are the heavy layers of noise and beats, combined with highly proficient production. Adding notable elements to the mix, such as seductive analog bass synth motifs and effective breakbeats. it looks like AREA88 has another winner aimed at the industrial dance floors. The only irritations here are the highly repetitive bass lines that go on for an entire song, as well as some of the processed vocals, which is highly reminiscent of Godflesh and Eric Powell of 16 Volt. But to their credit, the duo of case and Cheyne Cryonax adds a varied palette of vocal treatments throughout the song.
sexwithsarah bats clean-up with a very rocking and dark Angel of Indulgence. This Seattle outfit, which recently released their debut CD through Catastrophe Records, fuses together elements of modern rock with timely electronics. Combined with a very polished production and sinseven's highly provocative vocal stylings which fall somewhere between Raymond Watts and Aldo Nova (in reference to the vocal timbre; not to the alleged cheesiness of Mr. Nova).
Noxious Emotion's Indefinite + Unspecified shows the group breaking away from their trademark dark electro sound, and highlights the band's ability to combine melodic elements found in vintage 80s synthpop with their distinct, dark sound. The only minor suggestion I have here is to lay off on the highly distorted vocals a bit--but then again, the growling of Mike Wimer and Shane Benson are key ingredients of the trademark Noxious Emotion sound. I can foresee this track becoming a crowd favourite on dance floors, as well as resulting in numerous radio airplay.
UXB is a project featuring two members of the former Portland rock band Nobody (who appeared on Doppler Effect's Undercurrent compilation). From UXB's contributions to Resurgence, it is apparent that vocalist Christopholis DeLaare and keyboard wizard Devin Williams were the creative forces of their former band. The Wreckage is a sonic foundry of demented but highly alluring vocal timbres which brings back obscure Marc Almond, Vicious Pink, and other European acts who have added creative twists to the vocal treatments--there are depth and variety here. The electronic soundscapes in The Wreckage include subtle, smooth samples throughout the song (including a haunting baby wail near the middle of the track), wet and alluring analog bass textures, busy and involved electronic percussion, and assortment of synthesized blips, growls, and flatulence. This is a track which definitely requires multiple listens in order to appreciate the depth and the fine nuances of the track.
One of the gems of Resurgence is the presence of Thine Eyes, a Portland unit whose accolades are well known amongst the veteran rec.music.industrial fans. For those who are expecting the Gothic influences found in their earlier works, as well as on Undercurrent's Devil's Mountain, Thine Eyes manage to either impress or piss you off with their very strange adaptation of drum'n'bass, a listening journey known as Short But Crushable. Simultaneously high-tech and low-fi in their treatment of sonic elements, this track features the unflappable scat vocals of Laird Sheldahl and Tanner Volz, as well as vocal samples that leaves you both smiling and in awe. Some of the high range elements were grating to my ears, but that's because Thine Eyes likes to screw around with conventions. Definitely a music for the mind, not for the feet, although its highly upbeat rhythm may tempt you otherwise.
OMNIbOX is a duo from southwest Washington (state) who is making their presence felt in the live scene locally. Hold (Radio Edit) provides a steady electronic dance beat. with fuzzy geetars and pleasant, lightly-distorted vocals to augment the picture. There is a rousing Mike Patton-esque vocal element found in the vocalist's timbre. The only thing I'd like to hear are the electronics being more prominent in the mix. Quite radio friendly and solid, I'm looking to hear more from these guys.
Tension Factor is the 'supergroup' formed by the collaboration of Portland electronic noise artists Fell.Head and Cult of One, whose own projects appear later in the compilation. Cog immediately sets the listener into a sonic landscape of desolate, ominous darkness with the ghostly ambience and droning drums. The stark textures slowly build up to a very captivating mesh of mechanical and ambient noise via logical and Debussy-esque progression. This track is one of the several well-done ambient-noise pieces on Resurgence, and I suspect there is more to come from this talented duo. The only complaint is that this song was damn too short, but then again, Resurgence artists were given a maximum time limit of 5 minutes (Cog clocks in at 5:16).
The Portland-based Bäuk Blinden could easily pass as a European electronic act. The appealing minor-key interlude called Ebonic Plague shows elements of Leaether Strip and In The Nursery, and this thoughtful instrumental is reminiscent of a soundtrack theme. Despite the sonic elements that are marred by production (this track was originally recorded on a four-track cassette), namely the tentative drum attacks which scream to be punchier and less muddier and the geetars that scream to be in the forefront, there is a lot of potential for Bäuk Blinden.
Just when you thought that you've heard all the cross-genre infusions of Industrial music, Seattle's NuMantra throws another ethnic wrench in the sonic soup. Hypnogogic is a delightful cuisine of Indian sitars and hypnotic tribal rhythms served with a main dish of Industrial samples. The rousing, ringing sitars of Chris Douglas, as well as the resultant reverberation, is the main element that captivates the listeners. I'm still in awe over how the engineers who recorded these guys managed to accommodate the diverse instrumentations onto a well-produced and solid track without muddying up the sound. A fine concept, and even a finer execution.
1998 has been a very kind year for Eugene/Seattle duo Triple Point. Having appeared on Re-Constriction's TV Terror compilation with their cover of Dynasty theme, they plan on releasing their first-ever full-length later this year. On Resurgence, Dan Hinds and Victor Mejia rework one of their earlier tracks, No Ordinary Psychosis into a more refined, polished moody track which combine elements of ambient, rock, and even classical. Dark, brooding intro gives way to a somber lyrical catharsis, which is then highlighted by an unexpected yet graceful piano interlude. Far from the cliched Industrial four-on-the-floor excrementia, Triple Point prides themselves on not restricting their sound to one particular genre, and even at the risk of not being easily identifiable, their works do beg to be heard by others.
Distant Memories is a very haunting and captivating track by Portlander who goes by the moniker of Fell.Head, which brings sonic reminiscence of Come Visit the Big Bigot-era Severed Heads. The hypnotic, jerky electronic drums combined with bubbly analog textures create a pleasing call-and-response motif which permeates most of the track. Ominous pads demonstrate Fell.Head's ability to create strategic depth and evoke an enchanted mood. I can close my eyes and imagine a very dark, film noire type of imagery to this track. Very well done.
Gasket closes out the end of disc 1 with Home. The mysterious piano motifs over a layer of gurgly and distant low-end pads create a steady base for Garrett Berlin's whispery, yet highly animated vocals. It is a pleasure to listen to a vocalist who demonstrates his palette of inflections without having to be loud. Home is a brooding piece which provides a good finality to the disc.
Disc 2:Batting leadoff for the second disc of Resurgence (which, incidentally, should NOT be construed as a junior varsity or minor league disc of artists who were not included on Disc 1 is Pet of the Future and their upbeat Salamander. The track is an enchanting struggle between dark and light--Salamander flickers between the peaceful, serene major chord resolutions and the more ominous, uncertain minor chord movements. But the song is no chameleon: the elements are fused very smoothly and very flawlessly. The high level of production by Pet of the Future's sole member, Greebo, is quite commendable, considering that the track was done simply with a Kurzweil K2000. The rich synth textures on top of grinding, industrial rhythms evolve and flow with logic and aesthetic rationality. Many kudos to Greebo--this may wind up as one of my pet favourites, no puns intended.
Speaking of excellent production, Seattle's fockewolf's A Doctrine Against Flesh is a rousing abridged version of the track which appears on their well-executed demo CD. The duo of R. Wilhelm and vocalist Severina evoke textures of Dusk and Desire-era Moev, with a fresh, modern feel to it. Severina's icy, captivating vocals provide a nice complement to Wilhelm's steady and progressive electronic rhythms and sampled textures. fockewolf is going to be a band to watch in the immediate future--as in NOW.
UGLYSYN brings a blend of schizophrenic, demented European house influences with their PentaCrowley (Short Attention Span Remix). More of a medley of several interesting progressions and electronic sketches, the individual elements themselves are worth many listens--especially the rhythmic developments and choice of timbres--but as a whole, the piece does come across to me as a bit disjointed. I would like to hear the whole, unabridged edition of this someday.
Sleeping Beauty by Nefarium is a pop song with hints of Gothic and Electronic elements in them. The backing vocals of PJ Vanek works well as a counterpoint to Chris Robin's Peter Murphy-esque vocals. This track reminds me of the aforementioned Murphy with a bit of Edward Ka-Spel mixed in. Although the vocal mixing could use some polishing up, this is a very dramatic piece which brings a nice, mellow diversity to the compilation.
SpineFolder continues the mellow, introspective vibe with their Illartia (PDX Edit). The project of a very talented composer Tim Ebling, this track delicately balances the need to have a steady beat with subtle array of timely samples and a minimal-yet-crucial synthesizer motifs. The result is a very captivating and three-dimensional instrumental which evoke images of an avant-garde soundtrack for a future generation. The buildup from a sparsely-populated timbral sketch to a highly dramatic finale is an inviting journey. I just wish that the entire version, instead of the edited version, appeared on Resurgence--the edited version is anticlimactic. Very thoughtful and well-produced. SpineFolder is a project that should command the attention and the respect from fans of intelligent electronic music.
Attenuated Euphoria is my project, and the song that appears on Resurgence is titled Nightmares. I'm going to leave the review of this track to other critics. Bonus points if anyone can identify the song by A Flock of Seagulls that I reconstructed the 808 drum pattern from, right after the vocoder intro. Additional bonus points if they can identify an obscure Duran Duran B-side that inspired the instrumental section of Nightmares after the second chorus.
Devin Williams is one of the most talented keyboardist and programmer from the
Portland scene, as his contributions to Nobody and
UXB will attest. Volition is his solo
project, and The Mirror is a highly-polished track reminiscent of early
Clan of Xymox amalgamated with early 808
State. The vocals are Xymox-esque, as are the melodic string pads.
Although the hi-hats in the song may get repetitious after awhile, the contrast
of mechanic electronics and more organic pads and vocals do make for a even
Mesmer is a Portland band featuring members of former regional cult bands Factor Red and Suspiria. Having said that, Mesmer is nothing like those aforementioned bands in that their sound is more organic and atmospheric instead of electronics-intensive. Syncretism is a hypnotic, mesmerizing (no puns intended) track based on a computer-generated speech loop. The Gothic guitars and breathy pads form a solid sonic foundation on which vocalist Der.eck Ecklund top with emotive and soft vocals. There is a huge amount of Gothic element to this track, and it is done very well. The interaction of the vocals and speech loops near the end of the piece is a pure pleasure to digest. Highly recommended.
Up next is Portland's digital prodigy (as in phenom, not that Electronica band), Lucian X, and his project lxl. It's very hard to imagine that someone with only a Pentium PC and self-generated software can produce something so rich and human. Prophecy is a pleasing dance tune which melds together punchy Industrial drums and layers of melodic synthetic textures, with a wealthy plethora of ambient noises thrown in the background to add a unique texture. More ingrained in the European Industrial style than the Stateside aggro-tech, Prophecy is a five-minute evolution of textural and thematic buildup which concludes in a very European and remarkable piano motif.
Pen-15 follow up with SinSomnia, a track which has old-school EBM written all over it. Full of steady sixteenth-note bass synth patterns and percolating synth lines, it is a good dancefloor material. The vocals of Dirk Marshall is reminiscent of late Eighties electro bands. I would like to see some variations in this song, especially in the drum department. Also, I couldn't help but notice the chord structure similarity between this song and Madonna's Into The Groove--maybe it's just me (that's what I get for being an Old Fart who has a plethora of Eighties' vinyl in his closet).
Straight outta Springfield, Oregon is viktim, who graces Resurgence with The Average Man (Anti-Soporific Mix). The timbral textures are highly similar to The Last Night in Sodom-era Soft Cell, with bell-like synths and stark drum background. The track, however, does seem to be in need of production--the grating motif found throughout the piece does get annoying, as is the extremely rough recording of vocalist Kory Edwards. However, if this shortcoming was intentionally done, attempting to tie in the theme of the average man, then they have succeeded on a meta-aesthetic level.
Tinty Music is the project of Seattle-based Kevin J. O'Conner, and it is highly evident that his experiments with tape loops, synth noises, and ambience have successfully paid off on Opacity Grid. This texturally-appealing menagerie of different sonic animals, such as breathy motifs, filtered white noise, and distant bell-like pads evolve in timbral character throughout the song. The changes happen gradually, but the journey is worth listening over and over.
Portland's Cult of One is the project of Colonel Panic. Yet another Resurgence entry into the ambient noisescape realm, Synopsis is a serene imagery of birds and light industrial noise recorded in a tunnel-like chamber. The individual elements shift and flow, additional elements such as faint voices and thunder are introduced throughout the piece, and Synopsis uses stereo placements very creatively and wisely.
The last credited track belongs to Consortium, consisting of vocalist and programmer Peter Marks. This minor-key, ghostly lament, with its minimal strings, bass synths, drums, and vocals, seem very European in its texture. The vocals, however, could be mixed somewhat softer, as well as possibly less distorted. Otherwise, the composition is quite solid, and once these guys learn the subtle nuance of mixing, Consortium could be a band to watch.
There is a bonus track at the end of this disc. It seems as though it is a postscript of the aforementioned Consortium track. This track evokes images of a post-apocalyptic horror film soundtrack. It is a good, solid ending to this very diverse and well-compiled Resurgence collection.