Te/DIS – Comatic Drift

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Te/DIS – Comatic Drift LP Galakthorrö 2014

Following the debut 7”ep ‘Black Swan’ from 2013 (also released on Galakthorrö) Te/DIS – aka Tempted Dissident – have quickly followed up with their debut full length album to further hone their chosen 80’s tinged post-punk/ cold wave/ angst-pop amalgam.

While the tone of Te/DIS’s style is one which is influenced by ‘industrial’ music, the actual music is not harsh, nor in any way abrasive. Being very much in a bleak, cold and clinical analogue programmed guise, the straightforward and direct songs are mostly driven by mid based beats which intermingle with icy synths and rhythmic stabs. Likewise the vocals remain as a distinctive and trademark element where, where the clear male vocals are delivered in a commanding monotone style. Given the cold feel of the music is very ‘German’ in style, the vocals (albeit exclusively sung in English) suit the music very well; however I could imagine that these would be a ‘love’ or ‘hate’ element for some listeners. ‘Close Range’ begs a particular mention, with low slung bass driven groove and interweaving synth lines, which differentiates it from the stilted electronic patterns of earlier tracks. ‘Shootout with a Stranger’ is another particular album standout given its slight sonic deviation of doom addled minor tuned synths, throbbing bass and some animated mid paced drum machine/ high hat percussive elements, again completed with the commanding semi-sung vocal presentation.

If any criticism were to be leveled at ‘Comatic Drift’, it would be that there is a general ‘sameness’ to the overarching style and sound of the twelve songs and which is perhaps not as diverse as that demonstrated on the debut 7”ep. But aside from this very minor gripe Te/DIS’s formal debut album fits perfectly within Galakthorrö’s roster.

The Siamese Pearl ‎– Death-Darting Eye

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The Siamese Pearl ‎– Death-Darting Eye MC Spine Scepter 2012

One of the joys of writing about underground music is that quite out of the blue you can made aware of obscure hidden gems.  ‘Death-Darting Eye’ from The Siamese Pearl is one such obscurity and whilst there is limited information on the project, here we have a super limited, deluxe packaged 30 minute cassette. With its dank and occult infused atmosphere, it is immediately evident that The Siamese Pearl channels an 80’s lo-fi analogue industrial sound, which also contains selected rhythmic elements which hint at cold wave / post punk synth tone.  Interesting this release is far more ‘European’ in style, appearance and flavour and by no means typical of what you might typically assume from an underground project hailing from Miami, USA (…of all places).  To provide a sonic marker, some particular parallels for this would be the early ritual/ ambient/ experimental/ industrial based sounds of Coil or Current 93, and to a lesser degree the early works of Archon Satani. In other words The Siamese Pearl comfortably sits alongside some positive company.

On ‘Stretch of the Unkind’ it opens the tape in fine form, being a brooding ritual industrial / dark ambient track, containing a variety of layered loops and drones.  The following track ‘Hermetic Hermit’ then steps things up a notch, being based on a pulsing coldwave synth line, mid range distortion and echo treated, monotone spoken vocals.  A similar programmed synth, is also evident on ‘Night Specter’, but here follows the introductory segment containing abstract dark ambient, tape manipulations and distant horn like wails. ‘Chimera’ then opts for a composition of loosely scattered noise and abstract grinding industrial soundscapes, prior to ‘Oedipus Of The Black Orifice’ rounding out the first side of the tape with a short display of abstract tape loops, again featuring the nihilistic spoken vocals.

‘Attributable Decay’ opens the flip side which again displays a relatively melodic piece, again with coldwave synth characteristics coupled with grinding manipulated loops. Interestingly on this track an additional vocal line is paralleled with the monotone spoken vocals, which are almost rap like in their delivery.  Whilst this second vocal is rather perplexing at first, these are not as jarring as might be expected and in the end works well within the tracks sound. Up next is ‘Turnip Blood’ which presents one of the tape’s heaviest tracks, featuring looped grinding industrial factory clatter and again with the obligatory echo treated spoken vocals.  ‘Axe’ changes things up slightly with a ritual atmosphere being driven by synth drones and militant rhythms (which upon closer inspection are a looped breathing sample), constituting a solid basis for the stoic vocal invocations.  ‘He’s Not Kind To Other Wraiths’ arrives as the final of the nine tracks, and concludes the tape with a lo-fi analogue windswept soundscape of Archon Satani-esque factory ambience. Excellent to say the least.

On the packaging side of things, the snake-skin printed cassette is housed in an oversized, screen printed cardboard box (adorned with with serpent motif no less), and includes a separate lyrics booklet.  From its musical content, through to its packaging and associated occult themed visuals, ‘Death-Darting Eye’ manages to hit all the right ‘esoteric’ markers.