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Ant-Zen

Michael Idehall ‎* Deep Code Sol (cd 2015)

All material has been reviewed before, but this of Idehall is so good that I want to bring it under your attention again now that Ant-Zen put both Beläten tapes on one very nicely packaged cd.

The “Sol” tape has been rereleased before with two extra tracks. These are (unfortunately) not included on this Ant-Zen release. The cd starts with the 2014 tape “Deep Code” and then follows the 2012 tape “Sol”. Idehall also makes ritualistic soundscapes which are too minimalistic for my taste, but the music he recorded for Beläten is about the best music I have heard in quite a while. The sound is somewhere between the “angstpop” sound of other Beläten releases and more ritualistic music. Idehall uses his voice a lot, making an impression like that of the earlier material of Coph Nia; dark, chanting, haunting: brilliant!

Should you have missed the Beläten tapes, the Bandcamp versions or the “Sol” rerelease on cd, make sure to get this beautiful version of Ant-Zen.

Links: Michael Idehall, Ant-Zen

Control * Transgression (cd 2013)

In a couple of weeks I am finally going to see Thorofon live. Thorofon is not the main project of the show I am going to though, Control is. I did not really know Control. The name did not really ring a bell and it is hardly distinctive enough to look for music. When I noticed that Ant-Zen releases material of this American power electronics project, I had found out that it is a pretty brutal noise act. “Transgression” starts with a pretty dark piece of electronics, “noisescapes” so to say. There are more of these ‘resting points’ on the album, which is for the better, because when Thomas Garrison lets go, he makes an extremely brutal heap of noise with extraordinary harsch and distorted vocals. The more ambient tracks are good and moody, the brutal parts are a bit too unstructured for me, but also moody in a way sometimes (but I know better ‘wall of sound’ types of noise).
I wonder what Control is like, bearable or ear-cracking. I will know in a few weeks time.
Links: Control, Ant-Zen

Näo * Näo (cd 2011)

I might have never heard of Näo had they not played at this year’s Summer Darkness festival. Not that I saw them, but when I was checking the schedule to see what I missed, the Soundcloud tracks of this project sounded interesting enough to get myself the whole second album. This album certainly is interesting! It sounds like almost nothing I know, perhaps the closest comparison would be Hadewych. Näo makes ambient music with a lot of IDM influences, strange beat-experimentations and after a while things go over in something that I think is best described as psychedelic rock, sometimes soft and 70’ies, often closer to drone doom metal or something, always instrumental by the way. Carefully built up tracks with tons of ideas and a unique sound. Not my usual kind of music (but what is usual with the ever growing width of my musical taste?) and perhaps not (always) sublime, but certainly very refreshing and interesting. I need to play me that Hadewych album again some time soon too!
Links: Näo, Ant-Zen

Thorofon * Targets (12″ 2012)

The new Thorofon is certainly a new step is the development of their sound, but unfortunately I do not like it as before. Still “Targets” is an interesting album, with extremities to both sides. There are almost synthpop tracks, but also brutal noisy industrial. Most tracks are nice, but not as good as most tracks on the last cd. One side has four tracks, side B two. Two of the A side tracks are light, the others darker. The B-side tracks are more varried, but not very extreme. The lp comes in a poster and with a card to download the tracks for the poor bastards who no longer have a record player. Better than much that comes out, but no rising curve in the projects discography.
Links: Thorofon, Ant-Zen

Thorofon * Exkarnation (cd 2011)

In 2005 the Thorofon / The Musick Wreckers split 7″ announced the transition of Thorofon to a new project. It looks like Thorofon got more active than they ever were since the project was abandonned! Last week I was listening to Last.fm when I heard a great track. It appeared to be of Thorofon (I was not even listening industrial music, but minimal/wave) and from an album that I never heard of. A recent album! I immediately ordered my copy from Tesco who sent it in notime. “Exkarnation” is indeed a new album, in fact, it has been performed live at the latest Maschinenfest too. Continuing the path of this project, this great album starts with a sound that is almost electropunk (after an introductionary track). Lateron the more ‘industrial disco’ sound prevails and slowly things get more industrial but still in the recent Thorofon style. “Exkarnation” is brilliant until a chaotic closing track that I do not like much. Keep it coming boys and girl, also of The Musick Wreckers please. I love the new face of industrial music.
Links: Thorofon, Ant-Zen

Imminent * Cask Strength (cd 2009)

Cask StrengthI have gravely neglected the current that I call “rhythmical industrial”, but which since years has been called “rhythmic noise”. I never liked the latter term, since however the style is rather extreme, I seldom found it really noisy. Then again, Winterkälte’s last album (“Disturbance” 2004) is quite noisy and this album of Imminent is too at times. Around 1998/9 I shortly listened to this music. Winterkälte’s “Drum & Noise” (1999), Imminent Starvation’s “Nord” (1999) are great albums, but the “Industrial Frequencies” compilation series and other projects in the style were too tame for me. Another problem that I often had with the style, is that the music is often a dustbin of ideas with tracks stuffed with different rhythms, breaks, sounds, samples and ideas completely losing the idea of ‘danceablity’. My interests shifted to other musical currents and for about 10 years I probably did not even hear a single “rhythmical industrial” release. Then at last years Wave Gotik Treffen I saw Winterkälte which was great. Then I noticed that Imment has a new album so I figured I might want to find out what it is that “rhythmic noise” is nowadays. “Cask Strength” opens with two IDM/breakcore tracks, but then goes on full throttle with extremely loud dance music. A lot of breakbeats (while I love the regular blasts of the “Lost Highway” track) and also more tranquil tracks, mostly very nicely done and a good listen. Danceable? I do not know, sometimes I guess. Apparently with Winterkälte out of the way, Imminent is the best project in this style. Ironically too by the way, since both Winterkälte and Imminent are the projects that have made this music since 1993/4 while all the later bands are less skilled to make this kind of music. Too bad in a way, since I have the same with other styles (harsch EBM, old Wumpscut style for example, noone ever topped the earlier releases, especially not Ratzinger himself), but at least Imminent has made a new release! However much I like this music when it is well done, just as with extreme tekno or power electronics, I will not play a release such as this too often, since I usually feel like listening to a little more easy music. In any case, should you -like me- have missed the last 10 years of “rhythmical industrial”, this new album will not sound shockingly new, but Moreau is still a guy to make this sound good.
Links: Imminent, Ant-Zen

Geneviéve Pasquier * Le Cabaret Moi (cd 2009)

Le Cabaret MoiThe female half of Thorofon / The Musick Wreckers is back. It is only recently that I got to know Geneviéve Pasquier (about a year ago) and I have to admit that I pulled her three earlier releases off the internet. I like some of the songs on these albums. Pasquier has a nice mix between oldstyle industrial and electropop, but the result is less predictable than this description suggests. On “Le Cabaret Moi” Pasquier has a little bit more of a ‘cabaretesk’ sound, the lyrics are now mostly in French and Pasquier incorporated a few new sounds. Still the new album is recognisable in song structure and style. Poppy songs with strange distorted industrial sounds or simply rhythmical industrial with Pasquier’s singing, most of the time nicely catchy. Yep, an original style and I happen to like this relatively more accessible current in the extreme electronics scene and this album is a very nice one in this direction.
Links: Geneviéve Pasquier, Ant-Zen