Electronic music is practically the family business for Adam Mitchell; his older brother is legendary New York house music DJ and producer Frankie Bones. Adam himself started out doing relatively straightforward techno, but after making a name for himself as DJ Adam X, he branched out into more industrial-influenced territory, releasing both mix CDs and original tracks that blended Detroit house and German EBM. His latest CD incorporates elements of both, with cold, mechanized techno rhythms shot through with distortion and clanging percussive beats. Album opener “2nd Mission” is like America’s answer to CombiChrist’s “This Is My Rifle,” with the U.S.M.C. Rifle Creed replaced with a sampled “Left! Right! Left” marching cadence, while “Scanning You” is eminently danceable rhythmic noise, at once funky and crunchy. “Robot Rebellion in 2071,” despite its campy title, is legitimately ominous, while the thick bass lines of “Phobic” and “Balance of Power” show more of a direct influence from the hard acid house scene. Mitchell delivers vocals on several of these tracks, belting out abbreviated phrases in a sort of rhythmic monotone. Although this doesn’t always work as well as it could – “Media Lies” in particular sounds unintentionally retro – it’s a style that fits well with this album’s dark sterility. “Digital Eyes” exemplifies this aesthetic, with Mitchell’s visions of a future of constant government surveillance delivered over tense analog lines and a sinister throbbing bass hook. A free six-track EP is also included with this disc, and though it takes things in a more conventional techno direction, it’s still plenty dark and minimal. Starting off with Monolith’s pounding remix of “Sensory Overload,” the EP is funky but hard-hitting, with choppy power noise influences on “Photosensitivity” and the eerie laughter of a child layered against the infectious grooves of “Another Long Drive.” New York techno has always been darker and more interesting than the stereotypical and disposable club tracks often associated with the rave scene, and this masterpiece of an album proves that American house music and European EBM aren’t such strange bedfellows. Hypnotic and uncompromising, Adam X’s music is cold and hard-edged; industrial purists can get down with this without worrying what their friends might think.
To visit Adam X online, go to www.djadamx.com.
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