Replicas is the handle we use to write about reissues, offering some thoughts on the original release, and whether or not there’s enough goodies to warrant a repurchase if you own a previous version of the album. This time out we have a listen to the recent re-release of an album by one of our favourite current industrial artists.
What is it? I had to go and check discogs to confirm that yes, iVardensphere’s Scatterface was originally released in 2009. That seemed entirely too recent to me for a variety of reasons, chiefly that Scott Fox’s project has evolved so much in the four years since I first became acquainted with its monstrous modular synth sound. Those familiar with 2011’s excellent Apok may not necessarily know what they’re in for when putting it on for the first time; while there are hints of the sprawling orchestration and atmosphere that currently define much of the iVs sound, this record keeps the annihilating rhythms at the forefront, making for an aggressive, speaker punishing listen.
Part of what made Scatterface such a unique quantity at the time of its release still holds a lot of auditory novelty today, namely the analogue sounds that make up the body of each song. Numbers like concert staple “Sentient Wave Form” share the four on the floor beats and sampled vocal-hook approach favoured by so many techno-industrial artists, but the harmonic laden basses and leads that Fox uses are unimistakably his, the antithesis of the sterile “in the box” sound that often plagues club-oriented instrumental music. There isn’t a tremendous variety in the style of the songs herein, between high-speed bangers like “Virus” (which appears on this reissue in an alternate mix) and the filter workout “Jigsaw” and slower rhythmic workouts like “Bonedance” and “Tesseract” the album certainly feels filled out. With the benefit of hindsight it does feel as though Fox is still defining the personality of the project somewhat, experimenting with power noise touches on “Nuke the Site from Orbit” and hinting at the some of the directions he would soon be pursuing on the clangorous “Box of Monsters”.
What’s on this reissue? With the original release being somewhat limited, Scatterface v3 is really more about introducing the Metropolis audience to the band’s earlier catalogue than it is presenting an expanded take on the LP. Still, “Sentient Wave Form”, “Callibrating the God Machine” and “Bonedance” are presented in tweaked “v3” forms, and the two excellent remixes of “Bonedance” by ∆AIMON and Blush Response are nice additions. It should be noted that the remixes (by Komor Kommando and Iszoloscope amongst others) that were appended to the 2010 release of the album are not present here, although they do appear on Metro’s re-release of remix album Cycle of the Sun if you’re curious to hear them.
Who should buy it? Those unfamiliar with the first iVs record should absolutely make the effort to check it out, as Scatterface remains fairly singular in it’s approach to high-tempo dancefloor crushers. It may not necessarily hold much appeal for those who already own the record in a previous version (they can always download the remixes or alternate versions as individual tracks from Amazon or iTunes), but I certainly enjoyed revisiting it in anticipation of the forthcoming The Methuselah Tree, which drops in November.