CD Title: Slivers of Time
Label: Encoder Records
Reviewer: Karen Roche
Website: www.myspace.com/encoder www.industrialstrengthmusic.com
Okay, so I admit that when I first received this CD to review, I had never heard of Encoder and didn't know what to expect. A cursory glance at their websites gave me some idea of what to expect prior, but it certainly didn't do full justice to what I got! Encoder is the amalgamation of the (not inconsiderable) talents of DJ Cable (veteran of the industrial, goth and electric scenes, Pat Berdyz (aka Bruno from UV) and classically trained vocalist Sara Eugene (formerly of 20goto10) who joined Encoder in 2007, two years after their initial formation in 2005. Their list of influences is somewhat diverse and reflects the individuals' unique perspectives and musical tastes which come together beautifully in “Sliver of Dreams”.
Originally self-released in late 2008, “Slivers of Time” follows on from Encoder's earlier album release in 2006 through DSPB records : “Supernatural”. Although “softer” than my usual musical tastes I was immediately struck by the stunning vocals which give the whole album a gothic overtone without detracting from its dance floor feel. The album starts with the beautifully atmospheric “Forgiveness” with its haunting vocals, infectious beat and fantastic synth work which transport you off to another place and quickly moves on towards the amazing “Heat” which is a true stomper and had me strutting my stuff around my living room!! (if you're a fan of VNV Nation, you'll love this track).The album moves seamlessly onwards and upwards, each track expertly mixed and each unique without losing the overall tone of the album.
Of the two mixes of “When it Rains” the second one was definitely my favourite being a little more on the gothic side, but both were admirable tracks and an interesting move in direction vocally My favourite track of the album had to be “Sweet Dreams” which, for me, blew the socks off Marilyn Manson's remix of the classic Eurythmics track. I'm unsure if it was the mixing, the vocals or just the memories of the inimitable Annie Lennox that it evoked that made this such a winner for me, my only criticism is that I would have preferred to hear all the original lyrics used and not just the refrain (hey but you can't please all the people all of the time!!).
There were no real clangers on this album for me although “My Enigma” felt a little displaced. Encoder's influences are definitely noticeable throughout and yet they still sound fresh and innovative which is definitely no mean feat. For those who like their atmospheric instrumentals to lie back and chill to, Encoder have catered beautifully with two unique instrumental tracks,“Epiphany” - a track to just dream along to – being the outstanding winner for me if only for the images of Asia it inspired within me!
Overall, “Slivers of Time" is a consummate album which transects the genres of goth, industrial and electronic with style and aplomb. It's definitely going to be a keeper on my iPod for the foreseeable future.
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