S.T.A.B. Electronics – Instruments for Operating on Mutant Women LP Urashima 2014
Here is third vinyl only LP from the formidable S.T.A.B. Electronics – a project which has been steadily elevating their profile with each new release. So in comparison to earlier albums, where ‘Instruments for Operating on Mutant Women’ particularly excels is that it somehow manages to hone the aggressive sound of the last LP ‘The Non Alliant II’ into even more focused form. As with other S.T.A.B. Electronics releases their approach is marked with generally minimalist song structures, based on few layers of looped analogue rhythms and processed droning noise, where the unhinged vocals are again an absolute standout. Likewise the range of sonic treatments applied to the vocals (flanged, distorted, delayed etc.), ensures the aggressive vocal approach is far from being one dimensional.
Although having a solid analogue quality, the recording is at the same time crisp and loud to really drive home the honed aggression. As such rough and overblown atonal synth layers are arranged in loose rhythmic patterns and further processed to the point of a fracturing noise deluge. Although the seething flanged vocals take a prominent and forthright position in the mix, these are also offset with well sourced dialogue samples to flesh out some of the thematic content. The UK derived dialogue sample on the track ‘Aggressors’ (not sure where this is sampled from) is such an example which works perfectly with the blend of mid paced squelching/ pulsing/ burrowing layers, as the unhinged vocals ramp up the mood to greater aggressive heights. Alternately the mid to higher end chaotic squall of ‘A Little Transgression’ brings to mind later era hyper rhythmic Whitehouse such as that found on ‘Racket’, although the vocals here retain the strong and identifiable stamp of S.T.A.B. Electronics. Whilst ‘Ex Fat (For S.G.O.)’ encompasses a relatively passive, throbbing bass track, the subdued tone only services to amplify the seething anger of the vocal barrage. For the track ‘Defaced (Burnt with Acid)’ it contains snippets of an interview relating to the track’s theme (sampled from ‘current affairs’ type interview). This dialogue is then countered by the first person lyrics (written from the perspective of the attacker) which are spat with insidious aggression over a queasy and stilted loop: being an example of conceptually strong and expertly executed piece from S.T.A.B. Electronics. For the final track ‘Nothing More I Can Give (Marco’s Lament)’, this is obviously a specific tribute to Marco Corbelli, and in honour of his memory seeks an Atrax Morgue style route of looped power electronics minimalism, complete a lamenting synth line partially buried in the mix.
Noting this has been released on the cult label Urashima label, this contextually makes sense given Urashima are reissuing much of Atrax Morgue’s back catalogue on vinyl, as well as the fact that S.T.A.B. Electronics originally started as a tribute to the untimely passing of Marco Corbelli of Atrax Morgue. However with a limitation of a mere 99 copies (the same with most of Urashima’s releases) this seems far too few for an album of this calibre. An obviously recommend release and really deserving of a larger print run.