Zeuge aus Licht
A six year layoff between records is hardly unheard of for plenty of bands these days, and in the case of German trio Die Selektion would actually match up with the gestation period of previous LP Deine Stimme Ist Der Ursprung Jeglicher Gewalt. But in the time between the self-professed “arena EBM” and “prosecco wave” act’s second and third record, a whole lot has changed in the broader darkwave ecosystem, giving Zeuge aus Licht enough space to lumber and bellow in its own impassioned way.
Zeuge aus Licht holds to the sound which made Deine Stimme feel like a quantum leap forward from their earlier, rougher work. In that regard, it might not be as immediately striking as its predecessor, at least to those familiar with Die Selektion’s aesthetic. But the still-unique combination of darkwave, EBM, and Neue Deutsche Welle, not to mention the spleen and high drama which Die Selektion stick with here puts them in sharp contrast to the more shadowy and groove-driven darkwave which continues to dominate clubs on both sides of the Atlantic. Perhaps more importantly, though, Zeuge aus Licht finds the band zeroing in on an even stronger set of tunes while using that same toolkit.
There are still plenty of the stripped down and immediate tunes which first endeared Die Selektion to me: “Der Katalog” speaks to an updating of classic EBM (of which plenty can be found in early Die Selektion) which has nothing to do with recent techno or italo hybrids. But carrying on from where “Der Himmel Explodiert” left off on Deine Stimme, there’s a real sense of froth and strife to tunes like “Drei Gesichter”, with its hard-earned plaintive choruses struggling to rise above its weighty synth programming with grunts and horn fanfare, or the title track’s pinballing betwixt concrete bass gurgles and tightly punched-in harmonies.
In an era in which “slinky” and “seductive” darkwave with low, hypnotic beats is the order of the day, the hyper-caffeinated sturm und drang of Zeuge aus Licht is refreshingly direct. Even if you’re kept at a distance from its specific themes via the language gap, the yelping, whooping energy of Luca Gillian’s vocals is undeniable. Die Selektion have carved out their own space in darkwave history with blood, spit, and bile, and they’ll be damned if they’re going to cede it. Recommended.