Tracks: May 28th, 2018

The run of exciting show announcements we’ve been detailing on the podcast just keeps on going, with the unveiling of a reprise of Clan of Xymox’s North American tour. Ten more dates are on the docket in the fall, focusing on the west coast and including Vancouver! Regardless of the ups and downs of the band’s latter era work, their early catalog remains an unimpeachable force in the ongoing history of darkwave, as we recently discussed in our commentary for Medusa. Despite our grizzled fossilgoth statuses, neither of us have ever caught Xymox live, and them passing through our city during what we’ve dubbed the Year of Darkwave is most fortuitous. On with this week’s Tracks!

Schwefelgelb
Schwefelgelb: Cumulously disruptive.

Caustic Grip, “Burn feat. Veronica Sawyer”
Tip of the hat to Michael from Chrome Corpse for the hot lead on new Australian electro-industrial act Caustic Grip, who just compiled several previously released tracks into a single release via Bandcamp. The project’s name certainly displays one of their major influences, but we’re getting some pretty serious 90s dark electro in the mix on these songs as well. We’re especially enjoying some of the choices in percussion sounds used on “Burn”, adding some interesting flavour to a track that built around space and mood.

Collide, “Winter Kills”
Did you ever check out our commentary on Collide’s classic 90s darkwave/triphop release Chasing the Ghost? One of the things we talked about on it was how perfectly kaRin and Statik can do torchy when they feel like it, and boy howdy did they feel like it when they decided to cover Yaz’s “Winter Kills” for new remix/b-sides/covers release Mind & Matter, the companion to last year’s Color of Nothing. Production and performance are on point as they always are with Collide, serving you a blast of frosty torchsong realness just in time for summer.

Daniel B. Prothese, “Hoheren ebene”
The new solo record from Daniel B shows just how far afield the interests of 242’s members lie. It’d be difficult to find something more removed from what’s come to be recognized as 242’s home turf than the bright and melodic fields of pastoral synths which make up this, the opening track on his new HollEKtroKraut​​/​​HellEctroKraut LP. While the “Kraut” in the title is certainly earned, with loving homages to Schulze and Neu! abounding, we’re not so sure about the “Holle” part; pieces like this one sound utterly heavenly.

Altstadt Echo, “Exhumed I.III”
Some dark and chilly techno from right out of Detroit courtesy of producer Altstadt Echo. With an equal amount of the funerary dust connoted by this EP’s graveside art and a light swing to the beats, the Exhumed Tapes release is present without ever becoming oppressive. Should appeal to fans of Lorn and mid-period Haujobb alike.

Schwefelgelb, “Fokus (SARIN Remix)”
Two of the shining lights of the current club-based EBM movement come together for a dancefloor slayer. The definitive element of Schwefelgelb’s recent productions has been the bounce they put into their rubbery bassline, which makes for a hell of a starting point for SARIN’s aggressive take on technofied EBM. Released on a 12″ by Khemia Records (the other side of the release is a track by Blind Delon remixed by HIV+), it’s another testament to two modern body acts that are on top of the proverbial game right now.

Donna Haringwey, “Lester’s Goodbye”
More great lo-fi electronics from Germany’s Smashing Tapes. British producer Toni Quiroga offers grimy, echoing, and mean tunes which draw upon minimal wave, EBM, and power electronics. We’re not entirely sure of the connection between a scraping blast of violence like this and the brilliant theorist from whom the project takes its name, but she can certainly add this to her CV in terms of cyberpunk cred alongside the Ghost In The Shell 2 shout-out. “Staying With The Trouble”, indeed.

Friends of ID:UD Year End Round Up

As has become a welcome tradition here at the ID:UD HQ, we’re starting our Year End coverage by slacking off. Well, not really. We’re hard at work putting the finishing touches on our write-ups of our favourite releases of 2017, but to get the ball rolling we’ve asked a plethora of the site’s friends to say a few words about releases which left a mark on them this year. Not necessarily their favourite record of the year, and certainly not limited by the range of music we regularly cover here, but simply music that they couldn’t leave aside over the course of 2017. The DJs, promoters, musicians, and writers we’ve asked to contribute have put forward a feast of vintage synths, noise, shoegaze, EBM, pop, and plenty more to get the Year End festivities started, so sample some delicacies and then come back tomorrow for the beginning of our countdown of 2017’s best records!

Diary of Dreams - Hell In Eden
Valtteri Hyvärinen of Desert Monolith on Diary of Dreams, Hell in Eden
After the forgettable Grau im Licht I was expecting just another DoD album – competent but more of the same. “hell in Eden”, however, easily ranks amongst the veteran band’s finest offerings. It adds an orchestral touch to the DoD formula and is just a monstrously epic-sounding, bleak album with tons of memorable moments.

Slowdive - self-titled
Eric Oehler of Null Device on Slowdive, self-titled
Of the original generation of shoegazer acts, Slowdive was the shoegaziest. Their 2017 comeback is everything I wanted – lush washes of sound, chiming lead lines, languid vocals, and subdued drums and bass. It’s alternately summer’s-day upbeat and gray-November cold. It’s also what finally convinced me to buy a guitar.

Zola Jesus - Okovi
Gillywoo, formerly of Mutate, guesting at Bunker 13 on Zola Jesus, Okovi
I’ve chosen Zola Jesus’s 5th studio album, Okovi. It’s a deeply powerful and personal piece work, full of bleak layered soundscapes and Jesus’s trademark soaring vocals. The subject matter of some of the songs (suicide, serial killers and depression) can make difficult listening in parts, but it’s an ultimately beautiful, empowering and cathartic experience.”

Emptiness - Not For Music
Michael Kurt of Talking To Ghosts and The Blood of Others on Emptiness, Not For Music
There is a grossness to Emptiness. Tracks like “Your Skin Won’t Hide You” blend so many different styles of music, but each one stands on its own atmospherically in the creepy, meandering way the album comes together. It’s looming and distant, powerful and unique. It’s unsettling. “Digging the Sky” is a good example of this.

Android Lust - Berlin // Crater V2
Rodney Anonymous of The Dead Milkmen on Android Lust, Berlin // Crater V2
This year, I’m using a simple criterion to determine which 2017 album I’ll be highlighting: What do I play most often when friends (imaginary or otherwise) drop by? More often than not, it’s Android Lust’s Berlin // Crater V2.

The only term I’ve been able to find to truly describe this album is “Complicated Simplicity”. It’s lush without being cluttered. Well-crafted without being slick. Engaging without being overly-challenging. Shikhee has learned to master her craft without sounding like she’s working from a template. A truly extraordinary accomplishment wherein you can actually hear the work that went into each song.

PS. Fuck Trump.

Diamanda Galas - At Saint Thomas the Apostle Harem
Julian McAllister of Nexus Rasp on Diamanda Galás, All The Way & At Saint Thomas The Apostle Harlem
Diamanda Galás’s work has long been intended as a source of power and catharsis, not terror, for those who need it the most. And in 2017, we needed it the most. Here, with two new albums of self-described “death songs,” she embodies anger & loss with precision and honesty.


Shannon Hemmet of Actors on Null + Void, Cryosleep
I’ve been listening to Cryosleep by Null + Void (Solo project of producer Kurt Uenala) steadily while making artwork this fall. The cinematic instrumental, “Lost and Blind” is a dreamy synth gem, and the track “Where I Wait” featuring Dave Gahan, is a standout, recalling Depeche Mode’s Playing the Angel era. As a synth player myself, I’ve been so inspired by the sonic palette on this record.

The Belbury Circle - Outward Journeys
Michael Arthur Holloway of Dead When I Found Her on The Belbury Circle, Outward Journeys
I’ve spent the better part of this year exploring the catalog of Ghost Box records, a label featuring decidedly British-sounding retro-electronic artists. The Belbury Circle is a spin-off project of two Ghost Box artists—Belbury Poly and The Advisory Circle. ‘Outward Journeys’ is an unabashedly nostalgic affair, and that’s what I love about it. It’s mostly instrumental, analog-synth music designed to transport you back to the late 70s / early 80s, when synthesizer music was a way of exploring the undiscovered possibilities of the future. You know, back when visions of the World of Tomorrow still felt both mysterious and optimistic. John Foxx features on two tracks as well.

Street Sects - Rat Jacket
Kathleen Chaussé of The Outsider Collective on Street Sects, Rat Jacket
Rat Jacket sounds like a narrative of someone’s deteriorating mental state as they slip further between the cracks, and any hope that was in the first 3 songs of this EP was brutally crushed by its final track “In Prison, At Least I Had You.” Making a trip out to see their horror-driven performance was one of the most intense & visceral shows I’ve experienced this year.

Schwefelgelb - Den Umgekehrten Atem
Sarah Elizabeth Graves of HAEX on Schwefelgelb, Den Umgekehrten Atem
This EP by the Berlin Techno Body duo is unwavering in danceability, headspace and sex appeal. It basically lives on my record player and is flexed before hitting up most events. Heavy, droning, deep and pulsating. A good album to be tied up and beaten to.

Mr.Kitty - A.I.
Adam Jones of HAEX on Mr.Kitty, A.I.
This was one of the few albums that I’ve ever listen to for the first time, then immediately had to listen to it again. Forrest borrows sounds from the past and the future to wrap beautiful melodies around cerebral and heartfelt lyrics. I personally can’t wait for the next release.


Ash of HAEX on Boys Noize, Mayday Remixes Pt. 1 + 2
The Boys Noize Mayday Remix album would be my pick. It’s one of those remix albums that’s almost as exciting as hearing the album for the first time. You had no idea what you were getting yourself into, but it resulted in a nostalgic electro house dance party extravaganza.

Castle If - Plant Material
Jill Grant of Take It For Granted on Castle If, Plant Material
Toronto analogue synthesizer genius, Castle If recorded an ode to her beloved houseplants and it’s absolutely brilliant. Plant Material’s rich instrumental soundscapes are a pleasing intersection of her previous disparate pop and drone based styles. The warm and dreamy melodies are a bit otherworldly with a touch of lounge.

Samantha Urbani - Policies of Power
Wesley Mueller of Talking To Ghosts and The Blood of Others on Samantha Urbani, Policies of Power
What a total dogshit year. I mean, not for me, personally, but, broadly, in a social and political sense, it was just a real stinker of a year. This is why, I think, Samantha Urbani’s Policies of Power EP really stuck out to me when I heard it. The EP is a sort of throwback pop piece, reminiscent of Paula Abdul, and is a really pleasant collection of tracks. Pleasant things are in short supply right now, and the the danceable, upbeat tunes Urbani’s pulled together here offer a brief, 22 minute respite.


Carrie Deal of the Parallel Lives podcast on Liebknecht’s Produkt and Rhys Fulber’s Realism.
At least 2017 gave us a rare treat: a pair of tight, powerful twin EPs by undisputed masters of Our Thing. These releases are so in sync with each other, they’re like the A and B side of the same record (for my money, Produkt is the A-side, but you do you). They’re complimentary expressions of Our Thing:Produkt is harsh, industrial, and experimental. It sounds German as fuck, which… seems right. Realism is trancey, rhythmic, and smooth; a real “any mood” record. Both are compact, four-track albums clocking in under 30 minutes.Both are classic, instrumental-with-samples releases ready to tear up the fuckin floor with outta this world, beat-driven tracks.And both fit naturally in yr mix between yr Clans of Xymoxes and yr Sisters of Mercies, or even yr VNVs Nations, if that’s the wave yer feeling.
Damn.

Tracks: September 5th, 2017

Some weeks we really have to dig to find worthwhile music for Tracks, and some weeks (like this one not so coincidentally) there’s an absolute embarrassment of musical riches to partake in. The deluge of late 2017 releases is just over the horizon, and we’re bracing ourselves for the onslaught, and hoping to keep our heads above water. Of course we’re keen to revisit some of 2017’s other releases as we move gradually towards considering our EoY contenders, although it’ll be at least three months before any of that gets set in stone. Day in, day out, the ID:UD wheel keeps on turnin’. Turnin’ to Tracks as it so happens!

Ides Of Gemini
Ides Of Gemini are staying off social media to avoid spoilers for "The Castle Of Ortanto"

SØLVE, “The Falling Tower”
As has become tradition Brant Showers (of ∆AIMON fame) has released a new track from his SØLVE project to mark his own birthday, September 2nd. The percussion based ritual electronics you expect from the project are here in full form, but we’re also noting the slightly expanded lyrical palette of the track, in contrast to the minimal repetition that has generally been the project’s MO. Although Brant has said that he wants people to download the track and save their cash, he’s also generously donating any proceeds people send his way on Bandcamp to Suicide Prevention charity Hope for the Day. Happy Birthday B!

Human Performance Lab, “Black Widow”
Despite the relocation to Berlin, Emad Dabiri of SΛRIN has managed to keep all of his various ducks in a row, and is prepping a new Human Perfomance Lab 12″ for release on aufnahme + wiedergabe. The collaborative project with his partner Matthew Cangiano of Toronto’s Vierance has always leaned slightly more bouncy and less strict than Dabiri’s other work for a+w or his own home-brewed Deth Records tapes, but plenty of the harsh neo-rave realness we’ve all come to love and expect from his brand is on display here.

Randolph & Mortimer, “Citizens (Schwefelgelb remix)”
If you read the site regularly, you’ll probably have read our recent enthusiastic reviews of EP releases by new school body music acts Randolph & Mortimer and Schwefelgelb. This instance of the former remixing the latter certainly lives up to the promise inherent in the team-up, with the distinctive sample-work of R&M married to one of those punchy basslines that the Schwef fellas do so well. You can snag this on that Some Have to Dance… Some Have to Kill compilation from Mecanica records, which also features tracks from L-Sedition and Millimetric.

Ides of Gemini, “Heroine’s Descent”
Looking for some full-bore goth rock, with a big helping of Siouxsie splashed across the salted prow of our patron saint Rozz Williams? LA’s Ides Of Gemini (including Scott Batiste of ID:UD ride or die faves Heart of Snow) are taking us all to church on third LP Women, and this cut should have enough brazen razzmatazz to make us all think about recounting, if not repenting, our recent sins.

Mala Herba, “rusalki”
A tip of the ID:UD cap to ol’ Claus Larsen of Leaether Strip for hipping us to one-woman darkwave act Mala Herba recently. Although the Austrian project only has two songs available at the moment (both of which will eventually seen light as part of a cassette release), we’re incredibly taken with the powerful vocals and their contrast with the gritty electronics. “rusalki” is as strong an intro to a band as we can recall in recent memory, and we’ll certainly be keeping close tabs on them based on it. Very promising stuff.

Drab Majesty, “Oak Wood”
Lastly, a touching tribute from Drab Majesty to the memory of Them Are Us Too’s Cash Askew. The Dais fam has been resolute in their love for their fallen sister, and the plain spoken lyrics of the A-side of this 7″ are a testament to Cash’s legacy and the continuing pain of her absence. “Where was the rain / We won’t forget.” Cash Askew Forever.

Schwefelgelb, “Den Umgekehrten Atem”

Schwefelgelb
Den Umgekehrten Atem
Fleisch

I am constantly needing to be reminded that Schwefelgelb have been around for more than ten years. Admittedly this is because their earlier material (that in fact makes up the bulk of the band’s releases) is fairly different from the sound that have made them a name to follow in modern industrial circles, the punky electro and synthpop of their 2007-2013 period having been superseded by relentlessly arpeggiating basslines and thudding EBM drums. Sid and Eddy are part of a handful of millennial electronic artists who went beyond merely referencing body music and developed a full-bore hybrid sound that slots perfectly into the current wave of artists exploring the shared landscape of techno and EBM.

Although they’ve certainly found a format that works for them, new EP Den Umgekehrten Atem demonstrates that Schwefelgelb aren’t standing still creatively. The compulsively danceable sequences and raw textures that have been the key to their success are still present, but it’s the ways in which they’re expressed that feel like they’ve been given a subtle but effective overhaul. Opener “Im Wasser” has those whip crack snares and cranking bass accompanied by delayed vocals and random blasts of synth noise, but there’s a certain smoothness in the addition of a crystalline lead midway through the track and the sampled congas that add complexity to the rhythm programming. Conversely “Das Ärmellose Hemd” begins with the deeply filtered menace of a classic D.A.F. joint before unfurling a whirling array of tones and drones that add texture between the drum hits.

Despite those new sounds, it’s worth noting that Schwefelgelb avoid the trap of overproduction. “Um Meine Haut” has plenty going on over the course of its five and a half minutes, but the contracting and expanding reverbs and modulating synthlines are mixed in ways that give the track movement without adding unneeded complexity. The choice to leave the grit intact on “Stillhalten”‘s tactically deployed cymbals cuts paths through the syrupy saturation that bathes the rest of the song. It’s not so much “less is more” but about maximizing the elements they do include for impact and impression.

Listening to the new release back to back with their previous effort for Fleisch, 2016’s Wie Die Finger Durch Den Nebel reveals growth but also a canny sense of self-awareness. It’s clear that Schwefelgelb know the kind of new school body music people expect, and haven’t tampered with what has made their recent output so essential. They have found a few interesting ways to expand and refine it though, and that has made their music all the more engaging.

Buy it.

Tracks: January 23rd, 2017

Well, it’s been a hell of a weekend for reasons too far-ranging to get into here. Keeping things within the purview of dark music, though, we had a hell of a show happen this weekend in Vancouver with a combo of Wire Spine, Actors, Adrian H And The Wounds, and Kanga almost perfectly triangulating the breadth of music we like to write about in these pages. We conducted an interview with Kanga which’ll be featured in this week’s podcast, but until then let’s get the week rolling with a half dozen new tracks!

Schwefelgelb
Schwefelgelb: always fashion forward.

Blush Response, “Unclean Spirit”
If you were under the impression that last year’s industrial/techno crossover action would be quieting down in 2017, here’s a hot new one from Blush Response to divest you of the notion. Released on 12″ by Adam X’s Sonic Groove label (you know, who helped bring us Orphx’s genre masterclass Pitch Black Mirror last year), you can hear some of the refinements Joey Blush is making to his formula, stripping away some of the body music signifiers in favour of gritty, beat-driven minimalism. Get with this.

Blind Delon, “The Last Song”
Here’s something clever from the Unknown Pleasures label, whom you might recall as the brainchild of HIV+’s Pedro Peñas y Robles; a host of contemporary French coldwave bands covering vintage tracks of the genre. Here’s Blind Delon, a recent discovery around these parts, doing a zipped up take on Trisomie 21’s stone classic “The Last Song”. There’s plenty of similar fun to be had on the Made In France comp, which will be released mid-February.

Schwefelgelb, “Es Zieht Mich”
Never let it be said that aufnahme + wiedergarbe aren’t doing the lord’s work when it comes to our thing. Hot on the heels of their lava hot 2016, which featured releases from Veil of Light, Sarin, Blush Response, Zex Model (and plenty of others) comes a new one from Berlin techno-bodyists Schwefelgelb. In line with their previous releases, this preview track suggests that Sid and Eddy are still situated in the expanse where EBM, acid, and minimal all meet, breed and separate again. Bracing stuff from label and artist, as expected.

Ithaca Psychogeographic Liberation Front, “The Articles of Secession”
A (presumably) one-off charity single from Ithaca Psychogeographic Liberation Front, which in practice seems to be Seeming featuring Phil Sandifer and Meredith Collins. Far too many quotables to note here, but you should probably have a close listen so as to accept your citizenship in New Ithaca, with all the rights and responsibilities contained therein. Wonderful stuff. Oh, and seriously, fuck pants.

Yingthi, “Nutrient”
Another batch of super psyched-out synth weirdness from Minneapolis’ Yinghti has just surfaced. Divine Office carries on with some of the trap and screw influences we heard on Beyond The Threshold, but still has plenty of the dark and dreamy reverie that you’d expect from a project rooted in the idea of a lost alien marooned on Earth. Maybe a little hint of Legendary Pink Dots on this cut?

Noisemaze, “Dirge Loop”
Mike Mayer’s Inexora has quietly become one of the more considered and rewarding electro-industrial acts of recent vintage. Mayer’s beginning to make forays into less structured climes, though, as the first sketches from his Noisemaze project indicate. There are some nicely dusted textures on this track, which unfolds in some interesting ways you might not expect given the title, and manages a balances between pure drone and subtle ambient harmony.

Tracks: April 25th, 2016

What a week it was. We caught the fantastic Body Of Light/High-Functioning Flesh tour coming through town and released our one hundredth podcast with Jerome Reuter of Rome, but of course we’re still reeling from the news of Prince’s death. We won’t bend over backwards to connect the dots between Prince’s innumerable musical discoveries, breakthroughs, and fusions and the sort of music we write about here at ID:UD (though this quick comment from cEvin Key is instructive). Suffice it to say his records are still on repeat round the HQ; Bruce is remembering just how strange the sampled and compressed pop of Parade was while Alex has been reliving Grade 8 by listening to a non-stop loop of “My Name is Prince”. Let’s keep on getting though this thing called life, albeit a little less funkily.

Some nice German fellas.

Schwefelgelb, “Bis Zum Nächsten Tag”
So the new Schwefelgelb EP Wie die Finger durch den Nebel just hit courtesy of Fleisch Records, and it’s hitting the proverbial spot. We actually often forget that the German duo have been around for the better part of a decade now, and that they have so many actual releases. In spite of their following amongst heads in the know, they’re still not as widely known as they should be over in North America. This one might change that, especially given the tight EBM styles Sid and Eddy are rockin’ these days. Strong stuff.

Term Fix, “Furnace”
Promising EBM from one-man Australian outfit which used to be doing droney sounscape fare as Realm Of Thos. This is far more beat-driven stuff with some funkier elements tossed in here and there. No less than five singles and EPs have been put out since last September, each a little more developed than the last, so we could be on the cusp of a solid LP this year.

Mildreda, “Erazor”
Here’s something fun: apparently prior to founding Diskonnekted Jan Dewulf had a 90s dark electro act called Mildreda. Having decided to reactivate the project for some new music in the style, Dewulf has also compiled the tracks from his tape releases and appended them to a brand new album. Stylewise we’re actually hearing a bit of Will’s symphonic influence in the mix as well on both the old and new songs. An unexpected but pretty cool release via Alfa Matrix.

M‡яc▲ll▲, “Uhtcearu (LP Version)”
A new one from the forthcoming LP by one of ID:UD’s personal faves, mysterious post-witch-gone-giallo project M‡яc▲ll▲. We’ve written plenty about the fascinating way the NYC act has gradually shifted their aesthetic through a few different forms now, from the downtempo and hazy to sharp, soundtrack inspired electro and synthwave. We’re especially interested to hear what new destinations this LP might reach.

Keosz, “Be Left To Oneself”
After several years’ worth of breaks releases, Slovakian producer Erik Osvald’s been shifting his Keosz project into a more ambient direction guided by drones and field recordings. Yes, new LP Be Left To Oneself is being released by Cryo Chamber, but it’d be hard (and perhaps unfair) to slot the record squarely into the dark ambient category, as at least the lead track doesn’t seem to call for the prefix. Tip o’ the hat to dark ambient sage and ID:UD contributor Danica Swanson for this one.

John Foxx and the Maths featuring Gary Numan, “Talk (Are You Listening To Me?)”
We’ll admit to being a bit dismissive of the critical praise which was heaped upon the first few albums released by Ultravox exile and all around synth pioneer John Foxx with his new ensemble The Maths, as those LPs didn’t have the lush beauty Foxx had just wrought with Robin Guthrie. That said, when we heard that he was finally collaborating for the first time with Gary Numan, our eyes shot open. Foxx and Numan’s respective musical histories have circled around each other in countless ways, trading influence and commentary but never working together (the Walker and Bowie of their generation, perhaps) until now. The resulting track points to their shared roots but has a modern sense of disquiet. Let’s hope this isn’t the last time these two giants team up.

Tracks: January 11th, 2016

It’s been a rough day and a half for us at the HQ, as we imagine it’s been for you. We’ve been listening to records, watching movies and music vids, sharing memories and stories, crying, laughing, and reflecting. A loss this big has aftershocks, and putting things down just for a day to grieve isn’t going to stop them from coming, nor will it stop the stream of new music entering the (now dimmer) world. So here’s the Tracks post we had prepped for yesterday. We’ll have a podcast up tomorrow which’ll aim at discussing the impact of Bowie on the music we cover here, and then it’ll be back to usual, in a sense. Nothing has changed. Everything has changed.

Rein
Rein: Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

Blac Kolor, “Skele Ton (Schwefelgelb Remix)”
We’re hotly anticipating the new EP from Blac Kolor, one of the most interesting (and underrated) artists working the techno-industrial crossover sound. Stormfly drops this Friday, and from what we’ve heard it’s an extension of the deep sound design and smart use of space and texture this project has always had a penchant for. Check this hot EBM style mix of the lead off track “Skele Ton” from Schwefelgelb and be on the lookout for more words on the EP when we get to hear it in full.

Rein, “Can’t Handle Me”
SwEBM newcomer Rein (who sat in with fellow Stockholm newbloods The Operating Tracks a couple of months back) just released an eponymous five track EP which gets in and out in a quarter of an hour. Super stripped-down basslines and Crass-style working class rage are the order of the day, but the personal fury on this cut makes us think more of Restricted Area. If we have one complaint it’s that the vocals need to be further up in the mix: there’s personality in spades here, and it should be given free rein. Definitely one to watch.

Steril, “Animal (Front 242 cover)”
We caught hell a few months for suggesting that Front 242’s 05:22:09:12 Off wasn’t very good. The debate over that album’s merits rages on, but hey, if nothing else it gave us “Animal”, a decent song which our old pals from Germany, Steril have given a spin for a recent mammoth compilation of 242 covers. More details on the release can be found here, in the meantime we’ll be doing a careful side by side of this version and the original. Which is better? You decide!

Khobra, “Bladeless”
More provocative techno/EBM crossover from the Deth crew in Toronto. This starts incredibly tight and housey but ends up spacetrucking out to far more astral climes, almost bringing Australia’s conspicuous by their absence FORCES to mind. A super-limited 7″ is out now (“Disclaimer: Lathe cut vinyl can be a little noisy and is mono”) along with the digital.

Neurotech, “Compass”
Slovenian symphonic metal outfit Neurotech committed fully to the trance/industrial sound that sits at the edge of their aesthetic for Evasive, their latest full-length, and the results are impressive. Wulf’s somewhat proggy style dovetails well with the synthwave touches he works in, with the tracks avoiding both repetition and ponderousness. Should appeal to fans of mind.in.a.box and recent Mlada Fronta.

Wolfsheim, “The Sparrows And The Nightingales (Ancient Methods ‘Ode To The Night’ Remix)”
When we first heard from the homeboy Marc Church that Dark Entries were gonna be releasing a new 12″ of Wolfsheim’s synthpop classic “The Sparrows and the Nightingales” with a remix by techno-industrialist Ancient Methods our reaction was a resounding “what?” That was followed very closely by a resounding “Wow!” upon hearing the mix, a clanging and aggressive dub of a seminal club song that is rapidly approaching it’s 25th birthday and is well worth bringing back from overplay exile. If this is the sort of thing Dark Entries is branching out into in 2016 we’ll be pretty pleased.