Harsh R
New York Haunted

You could read Harsh R’s new EP on the Netherlands’ New York Haunted as a return to more industrial climes after the dark country excursion of Dark Tymes earlier this year, although it a closer examination reveals some distinct changes in the approach Avi Roig has taken to his highly-charged industrialized project. While still focused on peel-the-paint-off-the-walls intensity, Indulgence is easily the most melodic Harsh R has sounded, well, ever. Opener “Set Adrift” opens with familiar distorted kicks and Roig’s growling delivery, before a mournful sweeping pad crashes into the mix, the track’s intensity coming less from anger than from Roig’s struggle to keep his head above the waves. “Puritan”‘s got that same nasty, plodding percussion to it, but the keening buzz of its synths are arranged to mounrful counterpoint Roig’s accusatory “What’s your pleasure/I’m against it” snarl, altering the mood of the track from bitter and accusatory to melancholy. Closer “I Will Disappoint You” is the easiest link on the EP to Harsh R’s broader influences, the flute-like leads and fragile synth washes suggesting a classic dark country number, even before the self-flagellating lyrics have time to be fully absorbed. On the bludgeon has become the blade, and its cuts run deep and dark. Recommended.

Aleister Blake - Cyber Fame, Real Pain
Aleister Blake
Cyber Fame, Real Pain
Clan Destine

We’ll admit to getting a perverse kick out of investigating and conjecturing about the provenance of new TBM releases. The question of whether a producer is a long-time techno maven who’s only recently decided to add some EBM flavour to their work or a dyed-in-the-wool rivet who’s just updated their sound might not matter with regards to the actual listening experience, but lends some personality to an often austere and impersonal subgenre. Very much an example of the latter, the new Aleister Blake side-project of Timothee Gainet (IV Horsemen, Poison Point) digs deep into a murky swamp of classic dark electro that speaks to an interest in the moods and textures of the genre far removed from club floors, past or present. Crawling programming and gutteral¬†vocals slither over “A Fang For A Fang”¬†in a fashion recalling Statiqbloom’s chiller moments, while the half time jungle of “Ad Wreckage” ends up sounding a lot like early :wumpscut:. Clocking in at twenty-plus minutes, the Cyber Fame, Real Pain EP is long enough for Gainet to field test the sounds that mark the project (the metallic iciness of the title track’s programming or the woozy hypnosis of the pads on “Brain’s Arcane”) without its abrasiveness wearing off. Fun, creepy-crawly stuff which speaks to a solid ear for sounds of this ilk.