Institution D.O.L. – Exzess CD Klanggalerie 2016
Prior to the release of this album it was preceded by a short promo video of main member Barbie B Dot sitting at a large professional studio console while listening to the new album, before turning to the camera and yelling “This Is Power Electronics!”. While I am assuming this promo video was intended with a degree of ‘tongue in cheek’ humour, equally did not resonate with me in a positive way as a promotional tool, as is not at all representative of what I have come to appreciate artistically from this type of music. Yet even in making such a criticism, it is exactly this video which highlights the professional means of recording, production and studio mastering which has resulted in an amazing sounding album. Being far from crude or lo-fi, there is a clinical and clean punch to the sound, with a crystalline production and balancing and separation of sonic elements (….perhaps the clean and focused sound of modern day Control is a relevant point of reference). Thus with its mix of clean power electronics with slightly more subdued brooding post-industrial soundscapes, musically speaking this is a very strong, focused and expertly executed album.
‘Where Darkness Is The Brightest Place’ opens the album with multiple buzzing frequencies and looped mechanical machine samples which complete and intertwine. This sonic base sets the scene and provides the backing for a nihilistic interview monologue from Werner Herzog referencing the violence, pain and indifference of the primordial jungle (…incidentally recorded in South America during the filming of ‘Fitzcarraldo’ in the late 1970’s). The track itself exceeds 10 minutes and is split into two parts, with the second part following the conclusion of the Herzog sample and achieving a massive impact with a crushing machine rhythm. Vocals throughout this section amount to gruff yells and are immediately recognizable as those of Marco Deplano of Wertham infamy (…which are further mixed with elongated vocal chants). ‘Burning Paradise’ displays another excellent example of looped filed recording elements and buzzsaw noise which are wielded with loose statico rhythmic form and further coupled with sharp static and low end distortion. The title track ‘Exzess’ is another piece exceeding 10 minutes, choosing a post-industrial soundscape route with a slow and gradually building tensile atmosphere. Mid track the sonics falls away into minimalism before ramping up again with sharper metallic tonal elements to chaotic squall in the final minutes. Along with the album opener, ‘Exodus’ is another contender for the album standout, being a perhaps slightly more subdued soundscape piece featuring mournful minor keyed ‘power-drone’ melodies, coupled with a hard and emotive vocals which are again courtesy of Marco Deplano. The final of 7 tracks is ‘The Last Rearing Up In Fire’ and is a churning and blood boiling mass of distortion and an appropriate way to conclude the album on a high (…and also features the album’s notable phrase / manifesto: “Our Love Can Destroy This Whole Fucking World”).
With the meticulousness of the album’s sonic construction this a joy to listen to, and despite its heavyweight sonic impact it retains a mournful undercurrent and brooding quality across the album, where only on selected moments it break out into overt aggression. Graphically a full colour 6 panel digi-pack rounds out the packaging on this recommend release.