Enthralling, unpredictable, and persistently inciting the senses, Wardenclyffe the new album from industrial/electronic project Deadliner is a quite masterful and transfixing evocation of sound and imagination. Consisting of twenty tracks, or episodes within the life of the album’s themed central character, the release is a riveting encounter providing one of the electronic triumphs of the past year and surely of this. Released via Juggernaut Media Group, the album is an adventure fuelled by evocative electro alchemy from an artist who a relative secret in his presence is bold and large in his music.
Deadliner is the project of Chicago musician Steve Christie, a man who is also renowned and prolific in the field of remixes. Formed a few years ago, the band has released a wealth of provocative and inventive releases, each an investigation based on impacting moments or people within human history. Wardenclyffe is inspired by inventor Nikola Tesla, the album title and theme inspired by the laboratory tower in New York where Tesla spent much of his adult life and conducted experiments in wireless transmission. Previous releases have explored and employed varied styles and sounds in their bodies and Wardenclyffe no different with its tracks fusing industrial and electronic persuasions with more than a glancing touch of classically seeded elegance. The result is an album which can bewitch and intimidate in any given moment but mostly it just ignites the imagination and emotions into casting individual narratives aligned to that of the composer.
Available digitally with the deluxe version containing an additional six tracks, Wardenclyffe needs no time to warm up as it immediately immerses senses and thoughts in the irresistible grasp of opener The Eidetic. Gently whipping electro pulses engage first with industrial swipes intermittently also making their intent clear. Behind them a brewing sonic mist builds an electric ambience whilst rhythms place a keen and firm hand on the ears to cage their attention. Into its full height and slow coaxing stroll, the track magnetises thoughts and awakens a hungry appetite with an additional Numan-esque breath to its imposing but respectful presence. It is an immense lure and start to the album rapidly backed up by subsequent tracks.
The highly stimulated electro dance of Transmitter and the gentle emotive breeze of The Radiant instantly reinforce the strong entrance of the album, the first a repetitious and galvanising canter of infectiousness and its successor a warm billowing wind of smouldering sound with climactic outbreaks of rhythmic tension and fiery melodies the further it stretches its venture. Though not as impacting as the first, both build a high plateau for Wardenclyffe which is never fallen below on the rest of the album but often surpassed as with the next up World System. Everything about this song increases in voice; volume, intensity, and energy rampant and rapacious offerings within an increasingly building drama and intimidation. Listening to the track you feel like a small body in a large and voracious sea of sound.
The likes of the vivaciously charged Remote Field, the melodically cast and atmospherically chilled Bremsstrahlung, and the melancholic Stationary Waves with another Numan like essence to its suasion, keep the release inciting the emotions and imagination throughout with their absorbing narratives whilst punctuating their lofty highland further pinnacles are offered by Polarized and Static Coupling. The first of the two is an intriguing and sinister wrap around the thoughts, its body carrying an intimidating causticity at times which is tempered by a floating melodic endeavour and thought colouring enchantment whilst the second breeds an animosity and defiance in its rawer sound and the guest vocals of UCNX, this the only track with a vocal incitement. Both are darker and more challenging than other tracks bringing more diversity to Wardenclyffe and predation on the senses.
Further major highlights show their majesty and temptation with The Decay, its brilliant opening introduction enough to enthuse about alone. With a discord kissed quirky twang to its initial notes the song steals the imagination which is then fed a glorious expanse of melodic and sonic weaves, the track having a taste of John Foxx to its absorbing and emotion galvanising stretch. Soon after the melodic reflection of The Lichtenberg Figure equally sparks rich responses from mind and heart, its melody crafted wash of guitar and synth thoughtfulness quite mesmeric though soon swamped by the muscle flexing presence of Cathode. Massive bulging beats and sinew strapped hooks dominating the fiery encounter to thrilling effect, and as with the previous World System it feels like Christie has turned up volume and intensity to sculpt the most potent drama with impressive effect.
The expressive emotion of the piano sculpted The Believers and the virulent intoxication of The Doldrum leave the album again on the highest level whilst the closing Discharge washes ears and imagination with a stately and emotive finale of craft and melodic beauty. Every song on the album is an unreserved temptation those mentioned and those left for you to discover, never a moment upon the album uninspiring mentally and thrilling musically. Deadliner is a proposition still in the shadows for most but after Wardenclyffe works its way through the world, it is hard to imagine that remaining the case. It is simply a dynamic and superbly textured inventive adventure all electronic fans need to immerse within.
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