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Monday, April 30, 2012

ESA - "Themes of Carnal Empowerment Pt. 1: Lust"

Artist: ESA
Album: Themes of Carnal Empowerment Pt. 1: Lust
Year: 2012
Label: Tympanik
Genre: Rhythmic Noise
Website:  www.tympanikaudio.com




The new album from power/rhythmic noise artist ESA. Apparently there will be at least one more album following the carnal empowerment theme. This is a more straight forward rhythmic noise album than his previous effort The Sea & The Silence; the songs are more straight forward 4/4 club style with a focus on heavy beats, basslines, and crunchy noise. Unlike the previous record there are no hints of tribal or metal.

Good stuff:
+ The production, which I found to be one of the few flaws of the past release, is much better this time around. The levels are very even, the kick punches through, and the high end noisy percussion sits perfectly balanced with the heavy low end. The record was mastered by Yann of Iszoloscope and it is certainly evident in the sound: everything is quite reminiscent of the latest Iszoloscope album, except sadly without the atmosphere. "Carved Scares of Carnality" sounds like a missing track from The Edge of Certainty.
+ A lot of these tracks would likely sound really good in a club or a live setting. They have a lot of energy and hit hard. Even though they're all pretty straight forward boom boom boom, ESA has a penchant for throwing in lots of change ups and fills to keep the listener interested. Even though the same elements appear in every track, ESA does a good job of using different sounds so that each track sounds different and maintains it's own identity. The wells of power noise are damn near dry these days, and it's very pleasing to hear a new power noise record that is worthwhile.
+ There are some spoken female vocals here and there on the record which inhabit the middle ground between sultry and aggressive. These aren't really my thing, but they fit well with the theme. They will please fans of ProBurn and SINA.

Bad stuff:
- Too repetitive. The biggest flaw of this album is, as I mentioned above, the lack of variety. The songs are too similar - 5 minutes of a hard kick, a bassline, a bit of distorted percussion, maybe some vocals, and little else. They neither build nor ebb, they simply churn and churn in the same space. There is almost no atmosphere at all (no pads, drones, sfx, etc), and the result is that you have a bunch of tracks that would be neat in a club and probably easy and fun to play/hear live, but it gets tedious during home listening.

In some ways better than his last effort, though in some ways lacking. There is a serious drought of good, club-y power noise, and this certainly fits the bill. Definitely worth checking out for some tracks, though as a whole it's overly same-y. None of the songs are bad, but there aren't any standouts either. If I listen to any 2-3 in a row they are enjoyable, however beyond that I start to lose interest and want to turn to something else. Hopefully next time around he combines the strong, driving sound of this album with the atmosphere of The Sea & The Silence.

Overall Rating: 7/10

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