ALBUM: Rational Escapist
REVIEWER: Matthew J.
Beyond the club classics like "Testure" and "Smothered Hope," seminal industrial band Skinny Puppy recorded hours upon hours of material that was far less accessible; much of that has been released over the years in the "Back and Forth" series, but its low-fi, experimental nature was enough to keep it away from all but the most devoted fans of the group. Judging by their second CD, Fugly's Jarod Gerace and Chris Carbone are just such devoted fans. The voice on this album is pure vintage vocoder, drenching the screams of and moans of "Imprompt Napalm" and the disaffected vocals of "Endgame" in layers of hollow reverb and mechanical distortion, while the beats, samples and synthesizers range from primitive electro to modernized experimental techno. Opening track "Human Torture Show" adds the Skinny Puppy vocal approach to tinny synths and complex beats that recall Aphex Twin and Mu-Ziq, for example, while "Rash Action" adds grinding machinery sounds to a retro breakbeat. "Fear Cracker," on the other hand, is a much more chaotic state of affairs, mixing hints of electric guitar and chaotic samples with deliberately primitive production values until the whole mess is overwhelmed by noisy studio effects, and "Confessor" is little more than a few bits of sampled conversation layered over a brief loop of machinery. It's a far cry from the slick, polished pop that has taken over most of the club scene, but if you remember the gritty, early days of industrial dance music, back when being loud and weird was the modus operandi and any actual dancing was almost incidental, you'll no doubt enjoy the musical morass of Fugly's latest work.
Visit Fugly online at www.fuglymusic.tk.
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