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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Philipp Münch & Loss - "Transcontinental Desperation"

Artist: Philipp Münch & Loss
Album: Transcontinental Desperation
Year: 2014
Label: Ant Zen
Genre: Industrial
Website:  www.ant-zen.com

Collaboration from the highly prolific Philipp Munch and the much less active Loss. As a fan of their solo works, I was curious to see what they would create together and how they would hybridize their styles. Looks like they've delivered an album of pure industrial, just the way it should be: dark, atmospheric, experimental, etc.

The album opens with "Winter Dream" which provides a suitable glimpse into what this record has to offer. It opens with a classic 90s synth melody over a subdued beat and some crunchy sfx before kicking into with a heavy 80s-ish beat and effected-to-shit vocals similar to the recent Loss solo album. While I like the music a lot, these vocals are terrible and completely unintelligible. If they had just used distorted vocals they would have sounded great and fitting. The second track "Uncomfortably Relentless" reminds me of TDP era Skinny Puppy or a more coherent Chrysalide. It's got a lot of weird & bizarre sounds, but also steady percussion and some catchy synth parts. The vocals are still quite effected, but less garbled and fit more appropriately. Most of the record continues on in this manner. They successfully juxtapose many elements in an oddly cohesive manner (definitely reminiscent of Synapscape in places, unsurprisingly). Most of the tracks include some of the usual electro-industrial flair: heavy and distorted beats, futuristic melodies, heavily modulated synth fragments, etc. but they also include a lot of unexpected / unsettling sounds and non-linear structures. For example, songs like "Whatever Happened In The Dark" carry an oddly upbeat and "happy" vibe, not unlike Ohgr material, while others like "The Spirit Of Consumption" are mired in the dark & heavy, and are littered with classic 80s sounds and experimentation. One of my favorite tracks is "Daybreak" at the end of the record. It's got a great dark, groovy feel like aged machinery dancing as it churns out new parts on the assembly line, and halfway through the song breaks into an amazingly visionary futuristic melody and pad combo with subtle, sporadic vocals. Overall, Transcontinental Desperation is definitely not safe or predictable listening.

For all the people out there complaining about the lack of new "industrial" records, check this out immediately. I'm always glad to hear new music written in this vein. For fans of SP, FLA, Chrysalide, etc.

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