Trauma Phase - II
Trauma Phase

With their early releases, Poland’s Trauma Phase did a wonderful job of bringing some classic dark electo moods and sounds into the present industrial-techno milieu which were often ignored by those looking to mine the earliest and roughest of EBM and industrial sounds for current club play. With this, the second in a series of EPs which have showcased a faster and more polished style of work, Trauma Phase is casting a wider net, picking up on the legacies of futurepop and even aggrotech, and finding fresh ways of presenting those now 20+ year old styles. Opener “Memory” connects the current brand of speedy EBM-techno favoured by the likes of Soft Crash and the X-IMG clique with the sort of galloping triplets we associate with the likes of Grendel’s Timewave Zero. The chilled out rave touches Trauma Phase puts on the body-jacking EBM of “Tailspin” give the sweaty track a sense of continental cool, while “Means” is effectively a Soft Moon-styled rhythmic post-punk track transposed over to EBM-cum Dutch hardcore instrumentation. II might not be the realization of the full-bore revival of millennial industrial sounds within the current techno aegis (which we and several others have been catching whiffs of here and there), but it’s definitely proof that there’s far more to be done with the techno-industrial crossover than many of its more austere practitioners might admit.

Discoteca Oscura
Ritmo Fatale

Coming from Ritmo Fatale, a global leader in the resurgence of italo-flavoured electro comes a 3-track EP from Parisian DJ and producer Karassimeon. Like the scant compilation tracks and DJ-edits we’ve heard from them previously, the tunes on Discoteca Oscura play up the disco half of italo-disco, while also touching on giallo and EBM sounds. It’s a collection of rich aesthetics to mine, although the danger is of course that stylistic trappings will become overpowering, a trap that Karassimeon bypasses through some solid arrangement touches. Opener “Cabaret Mortel” has a boatload of string stings, high pitched disco vocal samples and gated toms, but is achored by a 16th note bassline that keeps it moving forward through some dynamic shifts and percussion change-ups. Standout “Messa Nera” doubles down on that approach with a blood-drenched organ lead and a big chirpy synth-lead whose arrival is accompanied by horror movie screams, but the doubling between the melodic and shuffling rhythm programming lends the track an undeniably funky energy, and that’s before the Chic-esque muted synth-guitar sounds make their appearance. “Rendez-Vous” comes closest to toeing the line of tastefulness with its filtered and digitally tape-saturated intro, although its the closest of the three tracks to a straight horror soundtrack pastiche, and thus gets a little more leeway for working some schlockier production touches into it’s stew of twinkling synthlines and sampled orchestration. It’s just a tremendously fun EP to have on, one that nails the intersection at the hart of modern italo-body sounds.