It’s the last week of regularly scheduled coverage here at the site before our Year End coverage kicks off. We always do our best to cover as many releases we believe to be relevant to our specific take on dark music before taking a retrospective look; we know that some stuff will always slip through the cracks and we’ll spend some of January catching up, but until then here’s the last Tracks post of 2023!
Cyberaktif, “A Single Trace”
Skinny Puppy is officially over, but Cevin Key is staying busy with the official announcement of the long promised new Cyberaktif project. For those keeping score, its been 32 years since Key, his Puppy bandmate Dwayne Goettel and Bill Leeb of Front Line Assembly released their classic industrial side project supergroup LP Tenebrae Vision so “A Single Trace” has been a long time in the making. With FLA’s Rhys Fulber in new incarnation of the band, its a cut that has modern Front Line production, Key’s squelchy organic modular synth textures and a quite nice chorus from Leeb. Keen to hear what the album eNdgame will bring when it drops in February 2024.
Black Nail Cabaret, “Autogenic”
It’s been a few years since we had a new LP of original material from Black Nail Cabaret, the cabaret darkwave act we’ve grown quite fond of since we started tracking them. “Autogenic” is our first taste of new album Chrysanthemum, and it leans further into club ready sounds than ever before, tastefully though; its unmistakably Black Nail Cabaret not just via Emese Arvai-Illes’ distinctive voice, but via the smoky textures that are the band’s trademark.
Ortrotasce, “Seeing Red”
A third solid single in as many months from Ortrotasce? We’re certainly not going to complain, especially when they’re showing off the range of styles Nic Hamersly is capable of working within. The nimble coldwave vein running right through this track is pure and clear, while its EBM elements are of a totally different (though no less infectious) order than recent body music banger “Ignite Me”.
Kenny Campbell, “The Absence of Pain”
Wie Ein Gott, the Belin label run by XTR HUMAN’s Johannes Stabel is celebrating their first anniversary with a new compilation, speaking largely to the label’s modern techno-body remit. Admittedly, that’s a sound we’ve been less keen on in recent years, which is what makes this comp fun, the cuts on it – from the likes of Blac Kolor, Zaatar, Black Light Odyssey amongst others – feel proper EBM with some crossover appeal as opposed to warmed over techno with a few mettalic drum hits.
Weever, “Eclat de Noirceur”
Industrial techno which thematically aims at 13th century warfare is a pretty specific remit; not since Heimataerde have we bumped into an act with so particular of a medieval concept. Weever are unlikely to be musically mistaken for the latter though, with tracks like this one from the Mémoires de Guerre tape weaving synthesized horns, hurdy-gurdys, and the like in with scraping techno plateaus.
Serpents, “In Your Mind”
A mammoth 3CD retrospective of German dark EBM act Serpents is on deck from Electro Aggression Records. Featuring re-recorded tracks and plenty of archival material, the reissue of their 1992 L’Age D’Or cassette (pour one out for the always niche Negative Choice tape labe) also includes this new track which has just as much menacing shuffle as any of their vintage work.