United States, Minneapolis based, Zwaremachine have been injecting their gripping experimental edge into their forthcoming album ‘Be A Light’ set for release beginning of May 2018 on Phage Tapes, a DIY label interested in Harsh Noise, Industrial and Techno. The label is set to release an intriguing array of sounds throughout spring which we highly recommend you draw your focus and attention to. Trio, Mach Fox (vocals, programming, visuals); Adam01 (synthesizer) & Ryan Ruckus (electronic percussion) make up the Zwaremachine and have skilfully amalgamated their early influences within electronic body music (EBM) and Industrial soundscapes which has provided a strong air of nostalgia strewn amongst a tenacious dynamic within their experimental darkwave/cyberpunk approach. This is most certainly an album that assimilates electronic subgenre styles, ultimately celebrating them, while atmospherically integrating the powerful forces of darkness and light within the compositions sonic expression. A hypnotic fusion of futuristic soundscapes permeates throughout the tracks as the spirit of both past and present dance purposefully to embroil and stimulate the listener. Most certainly a deeply infectious body of work that embeds itself under the skin and commands your pulsating framework into an energetic outburst.
The opener ‘Pulse’ gyrates its abrasive minimal electronics in a throbbing manner, rousing an intense, mind probe which strikes its chord within demonised robotic vocals that snarls the words “Start at the beginning, feel the pulse in your brain, taste everything”, as a dark sinister sample bursts through sporadically channelling the words “The child wants to play hide and go kill”, casting in stone from the outset the all-pervading dark, subhuman tone of the album. Darkness with flecks of light seep through as the following track demonstrates the first example of this titled, ‘Our Revenge’ which throws down an infectiously electrifying body movement, as warm fuzzy synthesizer parts build in a rhythmically melodic manner, punching through sharp angular drum beats and a menacing vocal that carves a deep penetrating edginess into this buoyantly resilient mover & shaker. ‘Be A light’ follows, exuding a sprightly, robust synthesizer, adjoined by a resolute hard driven beat and commanding vocal. This track is incredibly energetic in both its electronics and motivational in its vocal projection, hosting the earworm that bores its way straight into the core of your cerebrum.
‘IEYEI’ owns one of the most irresistible synthesizer hooks that ignites fuel directly onto my internal fires, this track sits as my personal favourite as from initial absorption I am embroiled, turned on and set loose both electronically and vocally, making it one hell of a sexy track to absorb with its deep grooves inviting me to instigate the moves. This is essentially a beasting dance track that intertwines a plethora of jagged edges around softer animated synth tones, creating a wonderful rough and smooth dynamic that throws and pummels me about like a jaguar cat toying with its next meal. The next track on the album ‘Another Way’ owns a more concentrated atmosphere as the electronic beats and synth textures come across in a dense, concise manner. I think this is because the hard-driven beats are prominently leading the way around robust and bubbling; almost acid sounding synth tones, alongside an abrasive cyber rodeo vocal that rides high in its gripping narrative of moral decay and disillusionment in a chaotic cyber world of murder for Cryptocurrency and cybercrimes.
There exists an awesome amount of drive and focus to this vigorous track that’s both a joy to contemplate over or to bust shapes too. ‘DRKNRG’ comes at me with structural synth-punk melodic tones, shaped strategically around vocal samples which projects about the phenomena of dark energy found within the universe, the invisible force that is thought to have helped shape the structure of the universe, however, in this instance it’s the instrumental structural glue which solidifies my admiration for Zwaremachine’s minimal, yet impactive, superbly crafted soundscapes. The final track on the album ‘Person to Person’ drives an infectious energy straight to the core in a unifying manner, as the mechanical vocal tones project the lyrics, “person to person” alongside an insanely catchy synth hook that embeds itself into memory, as an underlying fuzzy tone adjoins a military concise beat that simultaneously sharpens the senses alongside making me want to lose them in an energetic outburst. These tracks in their entirety embed themselves into the headspace, providing a plethora of infectious synth hooks, gripping tones and rhythmical, percussive beats, providing all the grit, energy and provocativeness you could wish for from a cyber/industrial electronic outfit.
Be a light is their debut album under Phage Tapes, a work made of seven tracks engulfed by their vision and modus operandi. It starts with Pulse and its distorted vocals accompanied by abrasive samples and obsessive, grooving patterns. A slow march which paints cyberpunk scenarios and menacing atmospheres, an updated version of the Belgian school. Our revenge uses a funkier approach, with Front 242 inspired synth-lines and enthralling drum machines, while the vocal delivery reminds us of 90’s Out Out. The palette is very broad, giving space not only to darkness, as shown here.
The title track is a love letter to Dive and its minimal, rhythmic approach, even with vocals very akin to those of Dirk Ivens and dramatic keys, while Ieyei plays with 80’s sounds and an engaging electro-industrial songwriting. Another way is a trippy cyber-juggernaut with addictive refrains and grooving moments, and Drknrg an other old-school pastiche with minimal electronics, a throwback to past decades and synth-driven pieces.
The album ends with Person to person and its tapestry of marching drums and futuristic blips, upon which malevolent vocals display their obsessive chants. A track once again inspired by The Klinik and the more minimal and abrasive side of Belgian take on electro-industrial and minimal EBM.
All in all, Zwaremachine deliver an interesting debut full of neo old-school galore. Instead of focusing on post-punk inspired moments and noisy, industrial experiments like some of their peers, they follow a personal approach based on the use of synth sounds and minimalistic rhythmic patterns. Sometimes dark and menacing, sometimes funkier and full of groove, they offer a wide sound embracing many aspects of minimal electronics and old-school EBM. A welcome addiction to the resurgence of old-school motifs in modern elctro-industrial/EBM bands.
Label: Phage Tapes
Moving along with a steady march, the pulsing mechanical sounds of Zwaremachine latest release “Be A Light”, will be a familiar one to anyone who kept up with the modern old-school EBM revival movement. Keeping things stripped back and simple, most of the tracks have a focus on thick as hell basslines, crisp and pounding drum machine supplemented percussion, and some mildly distorted border-line spoken word lyricism. Despite their condensed and on-point formula, that may be a bit to tried and true for some, this release packs a solid punch all the way throughout. I found the music oddly meditative in it’s presentation, despite it’s aggressive tone, with all of their rolling arpeggios making such perfect loops you rarely question their repetition.
The synth sounds themselves are one of the most standout elements of the music (as they should be), glowing with analog warmth and have a depth and fatness to them that makes them memorable. Thick and juicy, every bassline booms through the speakers carrying the tracks forward with a hypnotic intensity. And to keep things spiced up, there is a bit of an electro-industrial vibe to many of the songs, with some interesting synth lines and samples being sparsely integrated into them to show you there’s flavor to add to the meat the band so readily provides. Overall, this release won’t win over anyone who’s not already infused into the hard electronic dance market, but to anyone who’s got some rivethead tendencies this is a highly enjoyable album and will totally fill your itch for some fresh quality EBM.
Haha! Well, I happened to get into contact with one member of this terrific trio and they happened to send me the full thing, so with that in mind here is the whole experience FROM THE BEGINNING, in the form of words. Also, one might be able to call this the flip side of the flip side. Past me really had it together.
Pulse drags along, as if carrying up a corpse up a mountainside, or maybe some like shiny modern day metal pyramid with like all sorts of dark tones and FEEL THE PULSE IN YOUR BRAIN. I tried to tune my physical perceptors to feel the blood rushing through my head, but that didn’t work out so well, plus can be a bit unnerving so maybe it was for the best. Some light sample work comes in (man, like I get why people moved away from samples being used in tracks, at least as heavily as bygone eras but it is really fun to hear them in tracks!) as we continue our inevitable ascent. Yummy.
The ones that wronged us are about to get it, not nice style. Our revenge establishes the groove. The kind you bounce your head to absentmindedly while waiting at the red light. Involuntary dance because it’s just that moving. Rolling toms and higher note synths tie in the in-betweens Oh, they’re saying this isn’t our revenge. I guess it’s time to roll back the devious schemes into something else for the time being. Excellent instrument choices, it’s just so good. It hits you in all the right spots.
Similar synth with a slightly more sinister tone comes in, and suddenly our drums appear as we come back around to Be A Light. The pad over the same bass and crisper voices pick the pace up a bit more. Definitely being drawn in. I’m imagining wiggling around as one of the spines clad in translucent flesh, finding the next piece of machinery to possess. Uh oh, the over before you know it phenomenon has occurred yet again. So sad really, but alas the show must go on.
With renewed vigor, IEYEI sidles into aural view. It’s coming to get you. Those quick bursts of lets, be it four or three and such drive home the feeling of being hunted/pursued/etc. Those keys nigh spliced in adding accents that one didn’t think you would need but so want right now. Outro got rather percussive. A nice way to bring us out.
I thought Person to Person (I realize now that all the titles are capitalized but it’s too late to go back now, leave them all behind they’re just dead weight, baggage if you will) was aggressive, but Another Way comes in with a whole different wavelength of violence. Like ear splitting grin because the mind just snapped and lookout whomever it is that next crosses your path because they’re going to get it. For whatever reason, I can feel the heat of the club in this one, that level of it’s too warm to be comfortable but that’s exactly what makes it comfortable and what you need more of.
DRKNRG. Repeating. Pound it into my skull. Feeling it so much I can’t even see. Samples featured much more heavily going rapidfire in not quite the background as the synths aim to make a straightforward statement of rhythmic movement, crepuscular imagery, and overall badassery. On a tangent, I always think it funny when astrophysicists and what not talk about dark matter and dark energy. At least in it’s closer to mainstream infancy, it seemed it was thrown out there because we had no idea what the hell it actually was. Personally, I can’t wait for when we have better understandings of that part of the working universe because that kind of stuff interests me from time to time. Anywho…I feel they need to look no further than this track for dark energy in spades.
We dive into inter personal interactions as Person to Person returns to our ears. I wish I could be person to person, dancin along to the delectable tunes of Zwaremachine. Assuming I could dance of course. I can’t so I’d do some flailing and hope that they wouldn’t really notice and just have a good time of it all. No central authority. That’s excellent. Who needs it? I kind of got away from the music again, but like all the releases I really enjoy, it’s something to feel yourself!