ALBUM: Psychogenic Fugue: A Damaged Symphony for Depraved Dementia N.2 and Regression Through Precognitive Dissonance
LABEL: Crunch Pod
REVIEWER: Matthew J.
To celebrate 10 years of his dark rhythmic noise project, Manufactura mastermind Karloz M. has released a monster of a double-album here. Part one, subtitled "A Damaged Symphony for Depraved Dementia," features all new material, and in keeping with the musical progression we've seen on his last few releases, Karloz just keeps maturing as an artist. There are plenty of hard-hitting club tracks, but as has become something of a Manufactura signature, the most intense and disturbing moments come from the quiet lulls between the blasts of more overt violence. "The Precession Concludes," for example, sees Karloz droning bleakly over deep analog pads, bittersweet synth lines, and distorted but slow breakbeats, while "Dream Killers Vow to Bathe in Morpheus Blood," despite a title that would do a black metal band proud, is chilling but exotic, pairing a creepy spoken word performance with otherworldly flutes and choirs. Also pointing to his artistic growth is the artist's new forays into singing; in addition to hollow processed vocals and industrialized barks, Manufactura's newest album also sees Karloz doing some real bona fide singing, and it's not bad at all, a brooding baritone that owes more to early gothic rock and post-punk than to industrial. Paired with distorted bass and meditative rhythm programming on "Elysian Fire Enfolds the Lost," the effect is like nothing so much as a resurrected zombie version of Joy Division's Ian Curtis, back from the dead to take on Combichrist in a DJ battle for the fickle hearts and minds of the club scene. And speaking of DJs, Karloz hasn't forgotten that part of his audience, either. While the mood on this release is more dark contemplation than dance floor aggression, sometimes you just want to stomp, and "Rape Upon Rape Upon Rape" is a classic example of Manufactura's roots in hard-hitting power noise, the confrontational title phrase looping grimly over a thunderous kick. For fans of slightly cleaner-sounding material, "The Cusp of Magic Through the Realm of Sin" is an EBM crossover, pairing relatively unprocessed vocals with a bass-heavy high-BPM rhythmic assault. And if that's not enough, as a special celebration of Manufactura's 10th anniversary, there's the bonus CD, subtitled "A Damaged Symphony for Depraved Dementia," featuring brand new mixes by Karloz himself of tracks from his first few albums, most of which are now out of print. The best of the best, at least as far as club hits go, is the reworked "Unbound Mix" of "Killing You," already a power noise classic, but just as impressive is the "Delusion Mix" of "The Madness and the Whores," with the background music lurching from eerie chimes and ambient textures into harshly distorted rhythmic noise as the sampled argument around which the song is crafted explodes from quiet bitterness into molten rage. Also noteworthy is the "Dubbed/Chopped/Screwed Mix" of "Dance of Blood," which turns the rhythmic rumble of the original into something strangely funky, and the "Self/Injected Mix" of "Pain Provider," which offers a moody, whispered take on a track that was originally a brutal dance floor assault. Manufactura continues to get better and better, and this double-CD is just more evidence of that. Marking a milestone in Karloz M.'s career, this is an amazing opportunity for long-time fans to look at both the future and the past of the project, as well as a solid overview of his current work for newcomers to his particular brand of bleak rhythmic noise.
For song samples and other information, visit the Manufactura MySpace page at www.myspace.com/manufactura.
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