ARTIST: Skin Contact
ALBUM: Pleasure, Pain and Distraction
REVIEWER: Matthew J.
The first full-length from Skin Contact, this release is hard to categorize, drawing on elements of everything from noise and industrial to ambient and techno. Project mastermind Kevin Breidenbach's influences definitely seem to tend toward the dark side, but this material is, for the most part, fairly accessible. "Thrown" is a pretty good example of this; it's got the beats and structure of a power noise track, but it dials way back on the distortion. Run it through some feedback and static and you'd mistake it for something from W.A.S.T.E. or Terrorfakt, but as it is it's somewhere between true power noise and minimalist techno. Similarly, "Under Control" is at first listen a basic midtempo techno offering, but listen a little closer and the effects on the percussion patches sound more and more industrialized, more late '80s EBM than '90s dance music. The second half of the album moves into darker, weirder territory with "Scant," an unsettling ambient composition of strange moans and swampy burbling, and "Relent Less" pairs a disconcertingly funky drum break with horror film creaks and noisy buzzing. "Catalyst/Reagent" is moody and tense, with an understated science fiction soundtrack feel, and "Snakebit" closes things out with the album's most deliberately primitive offering, a collage of low-fi analog effects and abstract tones. It's never quite apparent if Breidenbach is doing a deliberately soft take on rhythmic noise or an especially evil version of electronica, but either way this is a solid release that seems aimed at the type of people who have Orbital and Future Sound of London albums sitting alongside Coil and Skinny Puppy on their CD shelves.
Check out Kevin Breidenbach's musical work at www.skincontact.com.
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