REVIEW: Mazut – Sarajevo (2021)

Released in 2021 on the Polish label Positive Regression, Warsaw-based duo Mazut’s Sarajevo is a driving industrialized Techno EP free of the Industrial genre’s tackier connotations.

Reminiscent of the early works of Front 242, Sarajevo’s Industrial framework is a maximalist fantasy built from a plethora of minimalist motifs. The 4 song EP has a clicky analog tonality- plenty of warmth, with cold electronic drafts. Go-Go percussion is pressed into the ‘4 on the floor’ mold of Techno creating driving rigidity with dance persuasion.

Mazut articulate the intrinsic beauty of mechanical function. Countless motifs interlock and counteract in dense, lengthy tracks. In this way, Sarajevo comes across as a spiritual companion to Post-Modern artist Chris Burden’s sculpture Metropolis II, in which hundreds of 1:64-scale toy cars fly around an abstract model city in traffic purgatory.

Art, as artifice, will always have shortcomings if it attempts to react and express in a literal manner (this could be said for derivative works too). It’s important to let our environment speak through us, dictated not by our literal perception of our environment but by the environment’s emotional presence within ourselves. What makes a record like Mazut’s Sarajevo or Ouxh’s Machines in Care worthwhile is their ability to channel the expression of this presence through the appropriate thematic textures and musicality. This is only one tool in the kit of craft, but what does it say about the work itself?

The cohabitation of machine and human is perhaps the definitive trait of our current age. Humanity’s identity crisis between animal and mechanical has been pondered endlessly in sci-fi and horror works, and this doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. In the case of Sarajevo, somewhere between technological and organic, Mazut presents the human identity as it sounds.

Should you choose to watch the Metropolis II documentary, consider re-watching it with the original audio muted while playing this album. It’s incredibly fitting!

For fans of: Front 242, KLF, Filmmaker

Like Mazut? Give these a listen: Ouxh, Schwefelgelb, VOM

REVIEW: VTSS – Identity Process (2019)

If relentless pounding Techno is your jam, you better get out the toast for this record. Not to be confused with the goofball festival that is cyber goth, Identity Process sounds Industrial in quite a literal way.

Bring The Noize opens the album with its rough and relentless mechanical tonality and textures. It’s beautifully hypnotic in a way that’s similar to a high functioning fully-automated assembly line. The whole album is like this, though finds its softer side (albeit still pounding) by closing track Devil-may-care.

Warsaw-born, London-based DJ and producer Martyna Maja started putting out music under the moniker VTSS since 2018, releasing their debut EP Self Will on the German label Intrepid Skin that same year. Identity Process is an exciting listen both as a stand alone record and as a release only 1 year into Maja’s trajectory as a producer. I look forward to hearing the many avenues which VTSS may go down in the coming years, and their interpretations and distinctions as an artist in an Electronic medium.

VTSS’s forthcoming 12” EP Projections is slated for an early 2022 release and is now open for pre-orders on Bandcamp. You can go stream 1 track from the album, Trust Me, right here.

For fans of: Regis, Front 242, Schwefelgelb

Like VTSS? Give these a listen: Ouxh, Tommy Holohan, Choking Chain

REVIEW: Ghösh – Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em / Beelzebub (2020)

Is this America’s answer to the UK’s notorious Grime school? If so, I’m along for the ride.

Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em is weird, truly. Ghösh brings the “Rap Rock and the Jungle” in a sort of inverse Pop Will Eat Itself fashion. Sonic aesthetics that seem strange and out of place at first meld together better and better with each listen.

The single’s samples blur your surroundings as they spin by. Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em is an Atlantic hurricane of grime and grit, ecstaticized by its EDM elements and delivering Rock and Industrial aggression. You can feel the electricity in the air.

B-side Beelzebub is perhaps the most American song I’ve ever heard (in a good way). It may be difficult to see anything that’s not more overtly political (such as leading track Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em) as encapsulating the current American cultural milieu, but someone may need to show their grandkids this song in about 50 years and lay it out for them. Right now, it’s the Nu School’s world, and we’re just living in it.

For fans of: Machine Girl, M-Beat, The Crystal Method

Like Ghösh? Give these a listen: Wiley aka Eskiboy, Pop Will Eat Itself, this Techno remix of WAP…

The Best Hip Hop Collab That Hasn’t Happened (Yet)

Forget the Judgement Night soundtrack (I wish I could), what the world needs is collaboration between UK hip-hop greats Strange U and American industrial dub maker skintape (stylized in all lowercase).

Strange U

Strange U is Kashmere (MC) and Doctor Zygote (producer). First coming on the scene with EP #2040 in 2014, Strange U’s ability to take humorous imagery (The Cake is A Lie, Falcon Punch) and incorporate it seamlessly into the dark world they create is incredibly rewarding. Doctor Zygote’s minimal sci-fi beats pull from a wide variety of source material ranging from Dragon Ball Z to Throbbing Gristle. Strange U’s world is completely their own, but you know who would make a great addition?


Often overlooked from other regional scenes, North Carolina’s skintape pulls from industrial metal pioneers Godflesh as well as beat projects like The Bug and Scorn. skintape also took a lead role in creating Cenobites, an instrumental industrial hip-hop album created with electronic musician Badrich in which all sounds on the album are derived from the Hellraiser horror movie franchise.

Strange U and skintape’s fondness for industrial source material, dystopian sci-fi sound design, and their shared disregard for rap game antics would create a killer album. It’s the hip hop collaboration we need.

On second thought, the Sonic Youth / Cypress Hill team-up on Judgement Night wasn’t too bad.

First linked up top, we recommend Darren Paltrowitz’s article for Please Kill Me, JUDGMENT NIGHT: THE SOUNDTRACK THAT BLEW UP POP MUSIC

REVIEW: Barbed – Barbed / ‘Symbols’ (1994)

A tale as old as time. Two women talk about coleslaw. One voice confirms they need more mayonnaise, and with a “roger roger” all things suddenly burst into a pounding industrial assembly line groove called LFK. This is plunderphonics. More specifically, this is Barbed’s 1994 self-titled debut album, known to fans and the internet alike as ‘Symbols’.

Barbed was recorded meticulously between 1988 and 1993 by bandmates Alex Burrow and Alex McKechnie. Released in 1994 on the experimental music label These Records out of London, ‘Symbols’ gathered some favorable press before fading into obscurity.

User “alexbarbed” of the (terribly named) Muffwigglers forum website, writing as an unspecified member of the band, opened up about the creative process.

“If what we made sounded anything like something we’d heard before, we threw it out. That meant that (with the exception of King of Rock, which we sort of compromised on) there were actually no ‘samples’ on that record. There were tiny fragments of sound that we used as instruments, but no chunks of other people’s work. And there were no concessions to any genre or audience. Looking back though, I guess we wanted to be like an electronic instrumental version of Captain Beefheart.”

While it may now sit comfortably within the often humorous plunderphonics genre, Barbed achieved something many peers didn’t. While the basis of nearly all other forms of music, beat oriented tracks like King of Rock, LFK, and How About Some Butterflies subvert the sound collage propensity for purposefully difficult listening, while allowing for the listener to just have fun. Yet another groundbreaking development from the experimental music scene.

While former member Alex McKechnie’s solo work is available on Bandcamp, the collective effort of McKechnie and Burrow remain elusive. You can stream the full album here or buy the CD from sellers on Discogs.

The album in its entirety was uploaded to Youtube on March 26th, 2016 by user Howard Jacques.

For fans of: John Oswald, Meat Beat Manifesto, The Residents

Like Barbed? Give these a listen: Crash Course In Science, Men’s Recovery Project, Snakefinger

REVIEW: Frustration – So Cold Streams (2019)

This post originally appeared on the 10th Dentist blog on Tuesday, June 30th, 2020.

Parisian punks living in a post-Devo world.

So Cold Streams, the 5th full length studio release by French post-punk band Frustration loses distinctiveness in an ever growing faux-goth world. Where influences of Wire, Devo, and Warsaw were more prominent, the band’s rigid originality gives to the standardized faux-nostalgia/goth worship era of post-punk.

     The album opens with Insane, an aggravated synth-disco track more reminiscent of LCD-Soundsystem than that of Frustration’s earlier rigidity. So Cold Streams brings with it an immediately noticeable built up and polished sound, a glaring departure from their previous dry and stripped production work. In turn, Frustration’s previously angular, minimalist approach to melody has been substituted for a more ethereal, layered melodic approach that has become the rampant go-to for newly found goth worship bands.

     This effort doesn’t fall completely flat though. Tracks such as ‘Brume’ and ‘La Grand Soir’ find Frustration’s vocalist and front man Fabrice Gilbert singing in the band’s native French; a rarity in their discography and a nice break for those looking to find non-anglophonic music. And notably, ‘Slave Market’ features a spoken bridge by Jason Williamson of Sleaford Mods. So Cold Streams ends with its strongest track, La Grand Soir, a dynamic 5 minute piece shifting solely between verse and chorus, slowly building in grandiosity before disintegrating back into a void of silence.

     Maybe with the recent increase of Joy Division fetishization (a band who Frustration have been compared to way too often) punk bands have lost faith in their influences for a sound that’s retrofit hip. Overall the 5th installment in the Frustration saga has been a welcomed break in western punk uniformity, even if it nears ever so slightly to it.

For fans of: Joy Division, Malaria!, Killing Joke
Like Frustration? Give these a listen: Dame, Crack Cloud, L.O.T.I.O.N. Multinational Corporation

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