Reptilians Are Watching Us
While perhaps never as lauded as some of the top acts to fly the rhythmic noise banner, Spain’s Proyecto Mirage have been there since the genre’s heyday, with a slew of releases on both Hands Productions and Ant-Zen in the years since their 1999 debut LP. While the duo of Alicia H. Willen and Francisco Planellas entertained some stylistic diversions at that time, the core of their music has always remained the same: distorted beats with some electro and techno flair, with occasional shouted vocals from Willen. New LP Reptilians Are Watching doesn’t stray from that path and is probably stronger for sticking to their distinct take on powernoise.
If you needed a primer on what Proyecto Mirage are about at their best, you needn’t look much further than the opening two tracks here, “The Envoy” and “You, Reptile”. Both feature crunchy drum hits and rapidly cycling basslines with Willen delivering sneered vocals. The latter track is an especially fun look at the many things that have influenced the duo’s sound, with hints of italo disco bounce in the bass programming and some stabs of synth that emulate a sustained guitar chord, a fitting match for the song’s punky structure. You can find other influences across the whole of the record, like the touches of euphoric acid on “Shine” and the skronky electro of “Walk in the Light”.
It’s interesting to examine the record in the context of modern techno-industrial productions, many of which embrace a similar set of influences to Proyecto Mirage but without the same decades of history exploring them. The speedy “Evil Eyes (Reptile Disco)”‘s chattering percussion and gritty synths mixed into a set of Berghain ready techno although the rawness of the production does differentiate it from a lot of contemporary productions aimed at the dancefloor. It’s an especially interesting contrast on a number like “Prediger” with its degraded sequences and broken German delivery, like an old new beat track that’s been sped up and fed through a thresher.
Still, those familiar with Proyecto Mirage won’t likely mistake them for anyone else on Reptilians Are Watching Us. While it’s an LP with a lot of stylistic footholds for new listeners, Willen and Planellas maintain the raw rhythmic noise course they’ve been forging since the turn of the millennium, albeit with an accumulation of experience to inform them.