Conformist – Lifestyle Bible

conformist5_RingMasterReview

It has been three years since British electronic weaving producer Conformist released his debut album Paid to Fake It to swiftly draw attention and acclaim. It was a weird and often psychotic tapestry of sound and samples which simply ignited the imagination as enjoyably as it did ears. Now the Cardiff born conjuror is back with its successor, the equally as dramatic and compelling Lifestyle Bible. It is more of the same creative adventure but with a new honing of inventiveness amid greater suggestive collages of sound.

Conformist is the project of Michael Simmons, who as mentioned stirred up attention with the 2013 release of Paid to Fake It. Written between 2014 and 2016, the Jerome Schmitt (Alt-J, Diplo, Mr Scruff) mastered Lifestyle Bible is an unrelenting flickering of sound and incisive sampling, a non-stop parade of textures and aural suggestiveness but with a tightness to its weaves and greater rounded character to its songs which insists Conformist is a proposition if not necessarily ahead of the game is certainly weaving its own creative field.

The previous album drew comparisons to the likes of Steinski, The Dust Brothers, Avalanches, and Aphex Twin. They are references again easy to offer up for Lifestyle Bible but as suggested Simmons is honing a unique proposal with every new track. As opener Trust Exercises entangles ears, swiftly a new air of adventure to the album escapes its creator, the track virtually creating its weave before ears as strands of electronic intrigue and twisting samples interlock and unite as it emerges. Repetition and sonic psychosis only add to the brewing landscape of persuasion, all elements tempting rather than forcibly taking attention but successful all the same.

artwork_RingMasterReviewThe following industrially stalked electro punk romp of Rock n Roll Dead Man slips straight out of the final lure of its predecessor, quickly parading commanding beats as hooks and strands of sound wind around the imagination. Again it is a perpetual stabbing of sounds bound in melodic mischief; like a disorientated rocker lurching from hook to hook with endearing prowess before stepping aside for new single Komputer Jenerated and its funk ‘n’ roll swing of electronics. There is a whiff of Yello to the devilry soon baiting and enslaving the senses, its sudden stop and go moments and off kilter twists all adding fuel to one fiery captivating ride.

Next up Harm Hides at Home is a slower bloomer though straight away it has ears fully engaged but it is with every passing minute and listen that layer by layer it reveals its compelling depths whilst coming over with fresh character each and every time whilst swinging from the same constantly seductive vine of melodic enterprise.

The variety within the album continues as the warped presence and psychosis of Life! Death! Prizes! clambers psychotically across the senses and imagination before the excellent A Snake Eating Its Own Tail saunters through ever magnetic creative circles, each rotation a writhing web of electronic provocation with a flavoursome touch of Pop Will Eat Itself to it.

The album is completed by the screwy exploits of firstly Art Colony, a pixilated jungle of beats and electronics which again inescapably conjures new adventures within thoughts with every listen, and lastly the enveloping melodic and sinister drama of the Nothing Important Happened Today. Intimate in its haunting proposal courted by ominous noir lit shadows, the track is almost a baiting of the emotions; a daring of thinking all is well as dangers lurk in an encroaching sombre dark.

It is a fine and compelling end to another great proposition from Conformist. Lifestyle Bible is an album which will trap and excite all who like their imaginations to be twisted and turned inside out by their electronic music, as well as their eager ears.

Lifestyle Bible is released October 14th through Consumer Consumer Records @ http://www.conformistmusic.co.uk/shop/4587936298/lifestyle-bible—cd-album/10915384

http://www.conformistmusic.co.uk   https://www.facebook.com/conformistmusic   https://twitter.com/conformistmusic

Pete RingMaster 07/10/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Spaztic Robot – Skip Rope Rhymes

album_art_RingMasterReview

On an empty sunny day in 1990, when I was nine years old, I saw two dead dogs. Each at opposite ends of the same street. One was big and brown, the other small and grey. Both greeted me with the exact same pitiful manner. Their sunburnt tongues bathing on the gravel gave the illusion of salmon rising from black tar rivers. As the odour began to rise with the dusty heat, I felt like I’d snorted fizzy pop. I chucked up. Through teary eyes I scanned the motionless street in which I stood. Nothing. Nothing but ugly new houses. Ugly new houses with identical square gardens laid out in front of them.

I wasn’t to know it at the time, but Spaztic Robot was born at that very moment. With no evidence offering itself to the mystery of the dead dogs, my nine year old self began to piece together his own chain of events…a different one lending itself to each house on the street. I was convinced that behind the bricks and mortar of one of these seemingly inconspicuous houses lay a dirty little secret.

Skip Rope Rhymes was created in the same vein. It’s a gathering of characters and stories. Characters and stories that could all easily exist, in one street, behind the closed doors of ugly new houses with identical square gardens laid out in front of them.”

This biography placed introduction to Spaztic Robot pretty such sums up the air and dark intensity which floods a myriad of sounds and imagination making up Skip Rope Rhymes, the band’s debut album. In a broad array of characters, songs offer shadowed adventures all equipped with intimate secrecy, like behind closed doors insights as dramatic and often cinematic as they are seriously captivating.

Spaztic Robot is the solo project of Robbie Sparks, vocalist/guitarist/songwriter of Stourbridge punksters Rebel City Radio. With the band taking a break from gigging and writing over the past year or so, Sparks has used the time to dive into the writing and creating of this his debut album. Recently released, Skip Rope Rhymes has taken little time in drawing eager praise. Its potent diversity means some tracks more forcibly connected with personal tastes than others but from start to finish it is one compelling exploration easy to hear why it has lured strong attention.

The album opens up with Robot Rape, metallic sounds immediately surrounding the senses as whispers in the dark outskirts of the piece share their paranoia. Samples and infectious rhythms soon join the enticement, varied vocal eruptions and a pulsating throb in tow as Sparks begin infesting the imagination in word, tone, and sound. It is an enthralling start which leads into the magnificent theatre of Walk The Long Way Home. Again bold ideas collude with a whiff of insanity as they lead the listener into a sinister noir lit drama of intent and emotion. Nagging and virulent in its catchiness, the track is like a bedlam bound Brian Brain (aka Martin Atkins of PIL, Nine Inch Nails, and Killing Joke fame), a contagious infestation of ears and psyche from repetitious invention and nagging imagination. It is off kilter, bordering deranged, and inescapably irresistible as waves of intensity and psychosis engulf the listener.

The Ants! follows sharing everyday observation in alignment with broader dangers. It sweeps over the senses with again heavily pulsing rhythms and electronic shadows suggestively courting thoughts as much as the intimacy of the vocal and guitar melody. Its low key but involving presence makes way for the pop toned exploits of Confetti Crowns, a song which was one of those not quite igniting ears and imagination as much as those encounters around it. Musically and in songwriting, the song does little wrong yet feels like it is there to provide an accessible doorway and infectious invitation into the real and challenging heart of the album where for us the major excitements lie. Nevertheless, the song does please before the Aphex Twin meets The Cure like Ugly Flower and the scuzzy neurosis of Fingered At The Disco steal their share of attention. The first is a shadow thick serenade of sorts whilst its successor again has a tinge of Brian Brain alongside essences hinting at the likes of Fad Gadget, Pere Ubu, and Wire. It is a glorious and disturbing slice of rhythmic dementia and sonic aberration matched in creativity and emotion by Spark’s schizophrenic vocal delivery.

The melancholy soaked embrace Birth (Goodbye Roggar) offers a collage of flavours and samples next, reminding a touch of Cardiff producer Conformist as it flows like melodic mist through ears with whirls of creative and emotional disturbance interrupting its tempestuous calm while This Is God! induces smiles and glances over the shoulder as the introspective story of death bound life comes with the nag of throbbing rhythms, repetition fuelled melodic temptation, and the stable reflection of its provocateur. Another pinnacle of the release, the track bewitches before Sparks infests the classic (Don’t Fear) The Reaper with his own haunting and acoustic imagination to fine effect.

Skip Rope Rhymes concludes with firstly the creative delirium of At Daggers Drawn, a song which absorbs ears in its society bred dementia and finally the invasive yet solemnly beauteous darkness Extinction Song. Both tracks ignite ears and imagination while challenging each, a quality which infests and shapes the whole of Skip Rope Rhymes in varying ways.

Only listening to Skip Rope Rhymes does it true justice though words like ours, as with Confetti Crowns, hopefully become an enticement to want to leap into the dark and thrilling realms of Spaztic Robot; the rewards are swiftly evident for those that do.

Skip Rope Rhymes is out now across most online stores.

http://www.spazticrobot.com/   https://www.facebook.com/spazticrobot   https://twitter.com/robbiesparks

Pete RingMaster 08/09/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Tactical Module: World Through My Sight

cover

    Tactical Module is a band which holds no fears in challenging and imposing its confrontation upon the listener musically and the world lyrically, but rewards its sonic intrusion with an aggressive symphony of electro enterprise, punk attitude, and industrial intensity. New album World Through My Sight is a brawl of ideas and sounds which with magnetic and compelling abrasion leaves no doubt that there is a formidable force dawning within UK dark electro/ rock.

Founded in the summer of 2010, Tactical Module is the solo project of Poole college student Michael Davis, the venture seeded by his need to find a vehicle and freedom for his creative imagination. Fusing industrial metal, EBM, digital hardcore and harsh electro, Davis has built a steadily growing reputation with his uncompromising and startling sounds. Using influences such as Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, KMFDM, Godflesh, Gary Numan, Skinny Puppy, Killing Joke, and Depeche Mode to name a few, to sculpt his invention Davis has released numerous EPs and remixes as well as being involved with some impressive collaborations each marking his territory of provocative sounds. It was with the 2012 release of the Dead Zone EP though, which featured the intimidating vocals of Osmar Diaz from Mexican industrial act Acrophilic Project that a new fire of attention turned his way and strong anticipation brewed for this release. The latter part of the year also saw Davis sign with US dark electro/industrial label Engraved Ritual and release the track Where Angels Rise from his impending album, a song which lit up the ears and appetite of new and old fans alike.

The brief awakening of sound in opener The Lining of Sights is really an intro to the feast of sound and intent ahead but in its brief presence is the irresistible first step into album and its startling title track. An immediate resonating probe upon the senses, the track opens up its stance with great punk rap vocals from Davis heading a controlled charge of intimidating rhythms and intensive sonic rubs. Melodic warmth is grown and employed in the following infectious chorus and the ever present caressing ambience, though even that has a threat which is not to be ignored. At times the track reminds of a mesh of Killing Joke around the time of their Turn To Red EP and also Conformist with a certain punk simplicity at its heart.

The strong opening is continued through Where Angels Rise, the song a blistered acidic kiss upon the senses with scarring vocals and treacherous whispers as well as an equally caustic caress to the predatory pulse and hunger of the stark melodic breath. The song is pop at its darkest and most malicious, a seductive scourge with the darkest siren shadows matched in blackness by Dead Zone featuring the insidious rabid tones of Acrophilic Project. The track is a nasty devour of the emotions, its bestial ravage coated in bewitching sonics and melodic lime which mesmerises whilst corroding the senses.

After the stunning instrumental Skyline, its soundscape an irresistible merger of flaming melodics and ravenous guitar conjured energy combined to forge an encounter which seduces and gnaws away at the listener with impressive craft and invention, the album gradually evolves into a harsher and darker proposition. As Erase the Defect soon shows, the warmth which penetrated the earlier intrusive confrontations begins its slow dissipation song by song, this track an excellent defiance with unreserved aggression. Melodically the tracks still offer a balance and melodic whisper but it is a colder and less giving embrace which changes and enhances the album further.

Fragility is a low point on the release due to the clean vocals Davis brings to its compelling sounds and striking stature. Initially the song with its Spizz Energi reminding sonic tease and soon joining predatory bass sounds, hits the passions with unerring accuracy but once Davis sings it is all lost. As the song goes on to show he can growl, snarl and rap with impressive style and strength but sing sadly not, the song title ironically apt unless that is inspiring the display, and for personal tastes it ruins a deeply promising track. It is a passing issue though as further songs like the incendiary and evocative Cypher and the invidious Zeroed whip the fervour back to its earlier heights.

The album also includes remixes of album tracks from the likes of Project Rotten and Nahtaivel, with the two by Cease2Xist and Enfermo 666 especially dramatically impressive. World Through My Sight is an excellent album which arguably is not one of the more immediately engaging releases but certainly one of the most rewarding within its genre.

https://www.facebook.com/TacticalModule

8/10

RingMaster 06/03/2013

 

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Digital Deformation: Self Titled EP

As great and impressive as previous album No Signal was, Digital Deformation has left it in the dust of evolution with its new self-titled EP. The new release sees Matt Powell, the creator and sole member of Digital Deformation, returning with a mightier presence, more intense invention, and simply greater titanic sounds. It is a furious onslaught of thunderous industrial energy, skilfully crafted ebm, and electronic passion, all thrust into songs which ignite the passions and moves the body into action like an insatiable puppeteer.

Since forming the project at the beginning of 2010, Powell has continually grabbed attention and greatly positive reactions. His early releases System Failure and Powertrips were harsh and gritty, their striking and confronting presences sparking good acclaim which No Signal built upon and elevated with ease. The clear control and craft which evolved across those releases has found another depth and sphere of creativity with the new EP, as well as deeper rampant energy to the still merciless antagonistic intensity.

Released through Static Distortion Records, Powell ensures capitulation to his magnetic malice from the first two tracks alone, both mighty oppressive intrusive assaults which ignite the imagination and enslave the heart. Homecoming begins first, its flesh tingling initial rub and sonic drilling soon in league with roving rhythms and muscular beats wrapped in potent melodic persuasion and electro hooks which snare the senses without resistance. Female spoken vocals splinter the track at times to temper the gruff spite of Powell but also to add an extra chill to the metallic charge. By midway the track is a prowling antagonist, searing the ear and beyond whilst chewing on the debris with an intensity as rampaging as the golden sonic taunts are seductive.

Forget Me takes no time in adding its abrasive splendour to the wounds inspired by its predecessor, its acidic squalls of corrosive energy and coarse sonic brew simply hypnotic. The track then steps back its erosion to free tight explosions of pulsating melodic spots, the electro flirting a mix of Kraftwerk and Rammstein, before merging it all into a bruising maelstrom of splendour which needs and gets a repeating. It is like a recipe, a layering of textures and flavours which bewitch individually and fuse for a heightened delicious satisfaction. Stomping with vehemence flying from every word and bone resonating beats, it is a glorious storm of fiery harmonics and intent violence.

Strong finds a fiercer furnace to its dance. It is less forceful but crawls within the ear to tease and test the senses with sirenesque female harmonies, vibrant melodic swagger, and a rabid snarl to leave its surface warm yet challenging. It is another diverse aspect to the varied and intriguing release which the following Occupy repeats in its own distinct manner. It plays like a hungry mix of electro hardcore and industrial, its hybrid gait thrilling the ear like a riot of Axis Mundi, Ghost In The Static, and Conformist.

The release is closed by firstly User Defined and then a remix of the same track by Axial Point. The original is an ever shifting tempest of ideas and energies driven by ear slapping invention and compulsive sounds. Featuring Lewis Collins of Ghost In The Static on lead guitar, the track unveils a soundscape which provokes imagery and emotion which varies from listen to listen but always leaves a residue of provocation to contemplate and be invigorated by. The remix offers a less intense take of the track, its more relaxed and drifting whispers opening up a meditative and tranquil grace to its heart. It is a strong and pleasing version but pales right up close to the inventive original.

Digital Deformation has returned with a mighty and irresistibly compelling release which leaves the imagination and passions fully quenched. Nothing else need be said.

https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDeformation

RingMaster 06/11/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

Dogtanion – Japan

Eclectic and unpredictable, Japan the debut album from Dogtanion is a release which permanently intrigues and even with a landscape which is an undulating makes for one striking and ultimately enjoyable journey. It is a release which teases and plays with emotions and sensibilities whilst giving a mischievous glint to its air throughout. It is sharp and at times wicked especially lyrically but has a constant grace and mesmerism to leave one more than satisfied across its relatively brief presence.

     Dogtanion is the musical alter-ego of Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau, a London-based musician and film-maker. Following up the well received single Islam; the album builds upon that first introduction with a gentle stroll full of irresistible twists and feisty asides to offer the unexpected and well crafted invention. A vibrant merge of electronica, acoustic and folk with essences of garage and lo-fi minimalism, the album keeps one captivated from start to finish. Arguably the first half of the album does leave the latter part in the shade somewhat but you can be quite sure it will be the reverse for just as many people and it is doubtful there will be any unable to find plenty of rewards in the release as a whole.

The album opens with Beast And The Boots a song which squeezes and slides along the imagination as firmly and skilfully as the artist manipulates his guitar, each note speaking passion with their sound and squealing caresses. The vocals are just as emotive as the music and all combined makes for a pleasing low key beginning to the release. By its end the piece has the ear and thoughts open for what is to come with brewing anticipation and eagerness.

The aforementioned single Islam comes next and immediately shows why it was so well received upon its release. Wonderfully acerbic in word and full of tantalising sounds and ideas within the warmth of sound, the song is a real treat. Imagine Arctic Monkeys writing words for a musical fusion of Seth Lakeman, Conformist and RKC and you get an idea of its charm and many aspects. Along with the following Fringepot the songs ignite the atmosphere with little blisters of musical light brought with mini intensive bursts of energy. The latter of the two is a meatier feast for the ear but both leave one with an immense smile inside and out for their unique and infectious hearts.

Best song on the album comes in the heated summer of Heavy Talk. A calypso lit fiesta of summer warmth and light headed enterprise the song is sheer excellence which refuses to let the ear and senses take a breath until its departure. Go back in time and think of something like Tom Hark from The Piranhas and you get a real flavour of not only the sound of the song but its energy and contagiousness. It is the biggest highlight of Japan and another fine example of the diversity within its shining walls.

It is from this point the album takes a turn and explores the melodic and impassioned beauty within the songwriting and shimmering sounds of Dogtanion. Bastard Song has a frame of boisterous beats to stir the ambience of the sounds and lyrical breath of the song to make a seamless switch from the upbeat first part of the album into the following heartfelt elegance. Songs like Never Change and Something Beautiful lay down their emotions in a haze of lush acoustic charm and whispered energies to great effect. Seemingly similar in intent the tracks carry their own individual presences to keep things new and though as mentioned for us the album does not retain the impossible to resist carriage from its earlier place in the ear it is never less than compulsive listening.

     Japan is an album with two faces, an A and B side which are distinctly different but obvious companions. It makes for an album from Dogtanion which works in different places for each individual and to varying success but it does work and all should find plenty to smile with inside its striking creativity.

RingMaster 05/08/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Conformist – Paid To Fake It

Paid To Fake It from UK electronic conjuror Conformist is one of those treats which is near on impossible to describe, a tall order to give a representation of to others in words, and ridiculously easy to be infected by. The album is a wonderfully schizophrenic patchwork of sounds and a raging maelstrom of energies and textures which leaves one on the edge of sanity and deeply enveloped in a consumption of for want of a better word, brilliance.

The Cardiff based Michael Simmons, the man behind Conformist, first lit our fires with his single Savages Go Modern!, the track which also opens up the album which is released August 6th. The track drew great attention and acclaim as well as strong radio play and coverage which the album is sure to reinforce and explode. Simmons is a master at manipulating and layering sounds and samples into perpetually evolving aural creatures. He uses unexpected and startling noises in unison with samples from the likes of cable TV shows, shopping channels, talk shows, pornos, and the lower end of TV, to create destructive and constructive not to mention provocative mental intrusions. It is more than just cutting and pasting these things together though, his mastery ensures the pieces come alive and breathe with individual intent and attitude to create an overall journey of stark reality and suggested crumbling futures. The great thing is you can interpret things to your own thoughts and visions, so if the intent of Conformist evades recognition at times there is an equally impactful personal premise forming in its absence.

Savages Go Modern! riles up the senses from the off, its apparent disentangled elements fused perfectly into an edgy cluster bomb of magnetic blisters. From punk scuzzed guitar scrapings to post-dubstep baselines the track triggers imagery and thought whilst laying an infectious canvas to unleash the body upon.

It is an outstanding start instantly backed up by the spitting industrial ambience of Big City Buzz Band and the senses distracting punk fuelled Ladybug Ladybug. Both tracks are immense and build on the excellent opening with their own individual distressed soundscapes. Think the likes of Throbbing Gristle, Aphex Twin, Mindless Self Indulgence, and The Art Of Noise and you get a whisper of what triumphant goings on erupt within the walls of Paid To Fake It, but you can also add flavours from anything from Pere Ubu to The Fall or Pop Will Eat Itself to Ministry to the expansive palette the album explores and corrupts beautifully. The release plays like a further mutated soundtrack to an Eraserhead no more so than on the second of this pair, its presence a prowling expulsion to falsehood and safety. It is a glorious sonic mind fuck to willingly submit to and let shatter the world and its balance spiralling.

If you look under the industrial tag and genre there are a lot of bands which really are just abrasive metal/rock bands at most but something like Paid to Fake It for us is a truer entrant to that sphere. It distils and then further corrupts the sounds of life and an estranged world into an apocalyptic like honest distortion which offers irresistible contagion with a festering underlying truth. Tracks like Post Death Sales Spike and its manipulative deceitful world and Mr Grosse and Mr Playfair with its arcade/computer game trickery expose and assault the ‘misadventures’ of modern society to inspiring effect. Of course as mentioned things are individual in interpretation and it is that quality as much as the sounds which make for a powerful involvement.

Further highlights like Schrodinger’s Cat and Panic Buying continue the album as a mesmeric and disturbing treat. By the end one is breathless with a torrent of ideas and thoughts raging inside. Paid To Fake s outstanding and though it will not be for everyone it is essential listening to all who need something more than a good tune. It is experimental and unsettling as well as forthright and wholly satisfying. Conformist is an artist who understands and soundtracks the real world better than any other.

http://www.conformistmusic.co.uk

RingMaster 03/08/2012

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