Singular Cleansweep Operations – Final Service CD Teito Sound Company 2012
Rather than being a new underground project, Singular Cleansweep Operations are an obscure solo act which has direct linage to the equally mysterious German power electronics duo Operation Cleansweep. Yet apart from this limited information there appears is scant other details available – which is at least reflective of the parent projects modus operandi.
From the liner notes it nominates that the material on ‘Final Service’ is derived from 1996 to 2010, yet it is unclear as to whether this means Operation Cleansweep is now a redundant project and this is the continuation of a solo member; or whether the album represents the final gasp and last remaining unreleased archival material (which is partially suggested by the title). Despite such questions, based on the underground status of Operation Cleansweep this offshoot release has at least raised some intrigue.
From cursory listens it quickly becomes apparent that whilst sitting within a general power electronics framework, the mood and tone is slightly more subdued than Operation Cleansweep. This in some ways this could be a potential pitfall, as having a direct link to the main project through its moniker, may give a false impression of what to expect. Yet as none of the material here constitutes second rate or throwaway material, it is really a matter of how the listener chooses to approach the album. Likewise to provide some context and to guide expectation, a good comparison would be the slightly more subdued and stalking approach Ex.Order take with their power electronics sound.
Across its 12 tracks (ranging in length from 3 to 6 minutes), each feature differing combinations of thick throbbing syths, well placed dialogue samples, slow pounding beats and hazy layers of sweeping noise. On a number of the tracks the oppressive atmospheres are amplified by morbid vocalisations, which are deadpan delivered and slightly distortion treated. Alternately some of the tracks articulate a cold military warfare type ambience based on abstract mechanised beats, radar blips and scattered radio chatter, whilst others utilise elements such as looped atonal piano notes, and disharmonic rhythmic elements. Mid album track ‘Verbrenne, Mensch!’ pushes ever so slightly towards a full power electronics attack, with its ominous, oscillating textures and heavily flanged vocals – simple, straight forward and damn effective. Likewise ‘Revolutionary Suicide Council’ is built on a potentially overused Jim Jones’ last stand suicide sample, but works effectively here coupled with a prominent crackling / throbbing synth layer.
Rather than being overtly aggressive and brute force in sound, Singular Cleansweep Operations opt for queasy, uneasy and tonally threatening atmospheres. Whilst certainly not a classic of the genre, ‘Final Service’ contains material of more than just elemental quality, meaning it is a solidly decent album overall.