Pleasure From Pain
David Christian trying his hand at EBM shouldn’t be too much of a shock. After all, the US producer has been making rhythmic noise and giallo-influenced synthwave under his respective Cervello Elettronico and Crimes AM aliases for years now, each project bearing some of body music’s marks. Interestingly, Body Divide shows Christian tapping into clanging minimalism and monotone vocals that puts us in mind of recent works by Qual. “No Turning Back” is a solid opener for the approach, establishing its bassline and array of percussion sounds both analogue and digital, then layering in grating drones and rusty synth leads. Each track thereafer varies the approach; “Cruelty by Design” amping up the tempo of the bassline and adding chattery cymbals, and “How to Suffer” gearing down slightly for a more classic muscle-and-hate EBM delivery. The EPs closing title track is perhaps the most interesting, holding back somewhat with a half-time groove and before dialing in some Dive-esque saturated drums. It’s well-executed material from a producer who has displayed knowledge and influence from the genre for years in other excursions before trying his hand at a more pure expression of it.
The slow transition of Brittany West and Sam Lloyd’s work together away from the hazy post-punk gloom of Koban to the upbeat body party of Sigsaly has produced a range of moods and styles. New EP Lasting Effects reflects the slightly reformatted and decisively dance oriented direction we’ve seen Sigsaly cleave to in recent live sets. Despite sister act Minimal Violence’s pursuit of Berlin dreams, the grime of Koban, and the vengeful fury of correlated act Lié, there’s nothing ostensibly dark, industrial, or violent about this incarnation of Sigsaly. Swiftly pulsing basslines ride atop stripped down drum programming while West intones breathily. Lasting Effects is techno-body music by any standard, but its relentless uptempo bounce and energy are a far cry from the oppressive mood that often accompanies that notion these days. There’s definitely something of “Tragedy For You” in the staccato sequencing of “Holiday” (and Heaven’s Gate samples aren’t exactly cheery), but the roots techno feel of most of the six tracks is working to draw everyone towards a unifying dancefloor experience rather than pursue icy isolation.