Artist: Ego Likeness
CD Title: East EP
Reviewer: DJ Kantrip
East is the final chapter in the Compass EPs, by Ego Likeness, which started back in 2007 with South. Coming in at 10 tracks, it is the longest EP of the series with 2 original tracks, a cover of the Police song "Tea in the Sahara", and remixes from The Dark Clan, ThouShaltNot, Terrorfakt, and many more.
Opening up the EP is "-geist" which sounds like the material from, the soon to be re-released, Dragonfly album. A low ominous hum plays underneath haunting keys during the verses. The chorus rises up like some vengeful ghost with snarling guitars, and thundering drums. If there was ever an Ego Likeness song that would be perfect for one of those paranormal style horror movies, this song would be it. Calm and collected one minute and then rising up throwing around vases and trashing the kitchen in futile attempts to express an undying anger.
Following up "-geist" is "Persona Non Grata". Keeping up with the tormented spirit theme, "Persona.." sees our poor ghostly friend abandon her anger, pleading with the listener to acknowledged her presence and pain. In a paranormal film, this would be where our angry protagonist manifests visually to the shocked audience and her tragic story unfolds in front of our sympathetic eyes. This track is less erratic and jagged than "-geist". The synths and guitars flow smoothly over the drums. Clocking in at 120bpm "Persona..." would fit in great with either an upbeat Darkwave/Goth DJ set as well as the cool-down track in a rock-heavy industrial DJ set.
"Tea in the Sahara" gives listeners a nice reprieve from the spectral anger. Steven Archer and Donna Lynch bring out a bitter sadness that the original version by the Police failed to embrace, at least in my opinion. Donna Lynch's vocals filter through a radio or telephone sounding filter while the guitars and synthesizers roll in and out like storm clouds. The mental visual I got while listening to this song was of an abandoned radio sitting out on a porch overlooking a beach as storms rolled in. A perfect track to separate the original songs from the remixes.
The remixes presented on East have a lush diversity to their sound. Something the other EPs did not have. Previous releases had typically hard/fast grindy industrial remixes, followed by ones that were rather cool and atmospheric adding an extra layer of creepy and supernatural to the original material. And while the remixes were good and club worthy, it didn't really give the impression that the re-mixers were trying to take the songs and flesh out new visions or sounds in them.
East, however, gives the listener many different visions of some fan favorite tracks. There are the obligatory Industrial dance remixes on the EP, mostly of "Inferno", and "The Devils in the Chemicals" (mixed by Angelspit, Komor Kommando, Bella Morte, and Terrorfakt), but the stand-out remixes are the ones less likely to be heard on your 11pm Goth club dancefloor. The Dark Clan turns “I'm Not Mary Ann” into a chill-out electro piece that is both good dancefloor fodder and also good driving music. ThouShaltNot gives "Severine" a 80's treatment, which at first doesn't feel like a good fit, but after about two or three listens, I found myself clapping along with the drumbeat (in that way that you do with 80's new wave pop). The RB remix of the same track by Rick Burnett adds a twangy acoustic guitar with distorted synths that lends a very dusty and travel-worn feeling to the song. Suddenly the miles traveled with dear Severine feel a lot longer and heavier on the listener's shoulders. This remix in particular would fit in great in a DJ set, with some Tom Waits, 12 Rounds, Nick Cave, or even some of the creepy slower PIG tracks.
Its been a long journey along the cardinal directions with Ego Likeness. Starting with 2007's South, each EP has brought the listener along in Steven and Donna's musical evolution. Each direction giving new insight on how to express those hard to word emotions that gnaw at us every day. The craving of ultimate surrender. The need to control that which we can't. The urge to break free from stagnation. And finally the anger of being ignored and taken for granted. Of course these are my interpretations. If you have been able to collect all the Compass EPs so far, I invite you to listen to them all in order and see what you take away from these CDs. If you have missed one or two of them, I wouldn't fear. The band has previously indicated that once the EPs were all released that a collected version would follow, so keep an eye and ear out for news on that.
In closing East is a great CD. The small narrative that the original tracks build is brilliant, and I am curious as to just how many more songs the band had that would fit within that story. The remixes are colorful and have a much needed diversity to them all. However it is a limited edition so if you haven't picked this album up yet, go order it now before (like it's spectral protagonist), its gone for good.
Buy the Album Here: http://www.egolikeness.com/east/
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