Slogun / Wertham – By Blood : In Blood CD Electronica Radicale Edizioni / Old Europa Café 2015
On ‘By Blood : In Blood’ the Italian stalwart Wertham and American protagonist Slogun have combined their divergent takes on power electronics for this part split / part collaboration album. Thus for the ‘split’ part of this release each project has provided 3 individual tracks, while for the ‘collaboration’ part 2 tracks by Wertham feature John Balistreri on vocals and vise versa for Slogun’s 2 tracks (i.e. Marco Deplano on vocals).
Musically speaking this CD is exactly what is expected for a pairing of Slogun and Wertham. The individual Slogun tracks follow the recent more composed and refined direction of the project, with fierce layered loops providing vague rhythms which are mixed with urban field recordings and clinical static as the base for the trademark wailed/ echoed vocals barrage of John Balistreri. On this front ‘React and Destroy’ is a particularly good example of Slogun’s current sound and modus operandi. Regarding the exclusive Wertham tracks these display a murkier and distant tone (which is essentially a bulldozing analogue sound), which comes across as the sound of some mammoth idling industrial machine, as the heavily accented vocals are semi-buried within the sonic mass. Of particular note is Wertham’s track ‘Bloodlines’, which for the normal ferocity of the project, this piece is fiercer and static fried than typical.
For the collaborative offerings, these then (obviously) blends the two sounds, by the ‘Slogun’ sound featuring Marco’s vocals and the ‘Wertham’ sound featuring John’s distinctive vocals. On the Wertham tracks John’s vocals are less upfront in the mix, but retain the trademark wailed spite and echoed treatment. Likewise for the Slogun collaboration tracks, these are just a touch more subdued and experimental in approach, with Marco murky treated vocals sitting low in the mix.
Although this is pretty much an album as expected from a pairing of these long established projects, it has still resulted in a strong collaboration. Colour digi-pack with 12 page booklet with all lyrics rounds out the visual side of things.