Ash Code, “Perspektive”

Ash Code - Perspektive

Ash Code
Perspektive
Swiss Dark Nights

For a band so heavy on atmospherics (and whose name hints at being smudged and indistinct), Ash Code come across as clear as day on their third LP, Perspektive. Partially that’s a function of their often blunt and repeated lyrical declarations (“Give me my life back”, “There’s no mercy anymore”). But it’s also due to a canny sense for arrangement and production which delivers driving, full-impact post-punk instrumentation just as well as it does coldwave drama. The end result is as good a marker as any of how different sub-genres of dark music are intersecting in 2018.

Make no mistake, Perspektive is a dark and gloomy record, but the Italian trio behind it are able to bring to bear an unblinking and strident style of songwriting, buoyed by a knack for putting each piece’s weightiest passage front and center. Check the opening of “Disease”, with magisterial yet mournful synths set atop a foundation of alternately mechanical and echoing percussion. It’s the sort of synth tour de force one might expect from Ultravox at the height of their powers, yet Alessandro Belluccio’s tortured vocals quickly brush off external comparisons. The slinkier “Betrayed” isn’t nearly as portentous, but it pings a light synthpop melody off a trad post-punk bassline right off the bat to set up the structure Ash Code build upon for its remainder.

Despite the clarion punch of so many of Perspektive‘s highlights, it’s also a record full of the odd restraint and labyrinthine compositions which makes classic 80s coldwave so beguiling and inscrutable. The skittering beat of the title track draws in the listener but never settles into dancefloor simplicity, making the chiming refrains of Claudia Nottebella’s vocals all the more mocking and haunting. It’s catchy, it’s insistent, it’s a complete earworm, but it retains the sense of mystery that is central to music of this ilk.

Coldwave hasn’t sounded this rich and full-bodied since Die Selektion recently upped the ante (it’s perhaps no accident that Die Selektion’s Luca Gillian appears on the title track to offer backing vocals), and like that record Perspektive has the core songwriting and gothic drama to justify its ambitious production style. Highly recommended.

Buy it.

Tracks: April 30th, 2018

Between this week’s Mechanismus Festival, Verboden, Cold Waves, Terminus, and all of the other festival biz we try to talk about on the podcast, it’s easy to forget about other touring concerns. Hell, fresh off our trip to see Front 242 we have upcoming shows from Poptone, Alice Glass & Zola Jesus, The Body & Lingua Ignota, Fever Ray, and the Canadian double-whammy of Rational Youth & Psyche passing our way in the next couple of months. As much as festivals have proven to be a great strategy for some of the scene bands we cover, the day in, day out grind of regular touring continues unabated for plenty of acts across the dark spectrum. What summer tours are you excited to see coming through your neck of the woods? Get at us in the comments after checking out this week’s Tracks.

Ash Code
Ash Code: coiffed for success.

Caustic, “Stoma (HAEX Mix)”
Never one to let a project lay fallow, Matt Fanale has just released the first volume of remixes from his politically charged 2018 album as Caustic American Carrion. Dead Meat Vol. 1 features mixes from GoFight, 7th Victim, Coldkill, Seeming, Chrome Corpse, The Rain Within and more, not to mention this bit of sexy slow grind industrial from Los Angeles’ raining witchdustrial champs HAEX. Apparently a volume 2 is on the horizon, so probs best to get with this one now and get ahead of the ol’ Caustic curve.

Ash Code, “Perspektive”
We enjoyed “Icy Cold”, last year’s single from Italy’s coldwave act Ash Code, and the coldwave trio are following up on the (understandably) chilly impact of that single with their third LP, Perspektive, in a couple of weeks. The title track has all of the dour drive of “Icy Cold”, but the oddball time signatures and drum programming keep the listener from ever getting too comfortable, even as it turns towards the anthemic in its second half.

Pure Ground & Luminance, “Last Stand”
Having just completed a tour together, Los Angeles minimal body act Pure Ground and Brussels-born synthesists Luminance have put out a split 12″. We mostly know the latter act from their other collabs with Psyche and ex-Agent Side Grinder vocalist Kristoffer Grip, but the former band are ID:UD faves and it’s always exciting to get something from them. And hey, on top of two collabs, you also get three originals from each band, making this a pretty solid get any way you wanna slice it.

Blackcell, “Remote Viewers”
Colorado’s Blackcell have been around for a donkey’s age and their stripped-down, analogue sound has a history far longer than we could chart here. However, we like the theory behind their recent trio of “Phase 6” releases: brief cassettes featuring live tracks hitherto unrecorded. They’re pitching the series’ art as being “inspired by the original Industrial Records cassettes from the late 70s”, and if that wasn’t enough of a tip off as to their influences, surely the title of this minimal and tense track is.

Nevada Hardware, “DMCF”
Info about newcomers Nevada Hardware is scarce right now, but the sounds referenced on their debut EP No FutureM are as good a calling card as any. Classic cyber-rave samples and passages meet modern club programming, plus a large amount of vintage Wax Trax sneering befitting the project’s home in Chicago. Retro futurism’s nothing new in the post-industrial world, but we dig how of the grebo-cum-rivethead style of the past Nevada Hardware are able to mine.

The Gothsicles, “Merry Christmas Mechanismus”
Did you peep our interview with DJ Savak about the upcoming Mechanismus Festival in Seattle on We Have a Technical this week? Go listen to that for some context. Anyways, as you might be aware, The Gothsicles have a habit of releasing songs to commemorate festival appearances, hence “Merry Christmas Mechanismus”, an ode to the fest, the bands playing, Seattle itself, and of course the dope vegan food at The Highline. If ya’ll want more fest info you can find it here, the ‘Sicles play Night 1, if you’re gonna be there please send us any photos of Brian playing Street Fighter II and high-fiving Grendel. We’d like to see those.

Tracks: June 19th, 2017

We’re rapidly approaching the six year anniversary of I Die: You Die and as usual we have absolutely nothing planned to mark the occasion. Oh sure, it’d be nice to have a star-studded celebration with performances by our favourite acts and maybe some tasty vegan cake or something. Then again, part of what has kept us doing I Die: You Die has always been the simple of pleasure of writing and talking about music, and maybe the best way to celebrate that is to just do what we always do, week in and week out. Not to get all dignity of labour or anything, we’re just happy you come to check out what we do: we’re flattered by it and always will be. Speaking of which, here’s some new music for your trouble.

Mahr
Mahr

Pig, “Prey & Obey (Leaether Strip remix)”
Last year’s The Diamond Sinner was if nothing else a reminder of the force of Raymond Watts’ personality; people who like Pig tend to really like Pig. New EP Prey & Obey arrives just in time for Watts and crew (which includes a few names you might recognize, like say, En Esch and Günter Schulz amongst others) to road test on their Summer tour, which finds them spreading their filthy gospel across North America through mid-August. Enjoy this Leaether Strip remix of the title track, a tasty electro remake of a song co-written by Sisters of Mercy guitarist Ben Christo.

Mahr, “Hollow”
Atmospherically minded producer Mahr is back, returning to the textured drones and soundscapes of her debut after her more beat focused second release, but there’s a twist. If this album aren’t didn’t tip you off, The Wretched borrows from the weird sub-strains of black metal which end up in wholly ambient territory. It’s a nice theme for the Madison artist, who has the sound design chops to pull off this subtle shift in course.

rendered, “BENDOVER”
Daniel Myer and Clément Perez’ collaborative project Rendered is relatively new, but between their recent drop for aufnahme + wiedergarbe and this BENDOVER release from Fleisch they aren’t wasting any time establishing themselves. As you might expect given their backgrounds, this is on that techno-EBM tip, albeit from two artists whose work spans so far beyond those genres that reducing it to that doesn’t give you the whole acid-soaked, elastic-sequenced picture. Include a remix by Codex Empire, and you have a pretty irresistable package for heavy beat fans.

Codex Empire, “Powder Treason”
Speaking of Codex Empire, his release on aufnahme + wiedergabe collates the Vienna producer’s three EPs for the label for the benefit of those who might’ve slept on a+w’s (traditionally rather limited) 12″ pressings. There’s also a new cut appended, which adds a little bit of classic 90s rave a la Fostercare into the techno/industrial mix.

Ash Code, “Icy Cold”
Deep dark synthpop by way of post-punk from dour Italians Ash Code. We slept on their LP from last year Posthuman but the sound of this has us thinking we should go back and check it out. We’re especially feeling some of the darkwave touches on this one, reminiscent of some of the Frozen Autumn’s more aggressive moments.

Alex Reed, “Literally Industrial (Club Mix)”
Okay, yes, we’re waiting for the sophomore Seeming record with bated breath. But in the meantime, enjoy this bagatelle from Alex Reed inspired by last week’s podcast. Now we just need someone to actually follow the directions and reconstruct the track to make things even more meta…