Norillag - The Union Of Death
The Union Of Death

One-woman Vancouver act Norillag places itself firmly within the metallic percussion school of industrial, regularly name-checking Test Dept and even going so far as to cover SPK on a previous release. The project commits to this tradition thematically as well as musically (its name being a reference to a Stalinist gulag and lyrics depicting stygian labour conditions), but first proper LP The Union Of Death weaves in enough additional instrumentation and influence to put a new spin on the clatter. In addition to obvious metal and punk influences (arriving with the instant cred of being recorded in the infamous Alf House), a good amount of sax tempers the sampled field recordings and junk percussion, keeping Norillag’s textures from ever fading into the murk. The strings which augment the sax and percussion on “Norilstroy’s Delirium” ends up sounding fairly close to Vampire Rodents, and when sax swoops and lilting, gothic piano take hold of “Eschatos (Part Two – Might Of Loss)”, one gets the sense of falling into the depths of a forgotten highland bog rather than the bowels of a factory boiler room.

Dream Hack
White Heat/Acid City
Surface Reality

Sam Evans’ EBM and industrial sound system Randolph & Mortimer has made more than a few nods to the broader world of techno and 90s underground rave culture, so its not a total surprise that his new Dream Hack project draws deeply from the well. The tracks on White Heat/Acid City bring Underworld to mind first and foremost, but that’s not the whole story on the three lengthy cuts (or the club edits that come with a purchase of the release). “Pleasure Maze”‘s 15 minutes spins up a choppy analogue loop and vocodered vocal in its opening minutes, adding layers of percussion, bright synthlines that build to a climax before slowly being stripped down to an enveloping bath of pads. “Liquid Dreams” follows a similar formula but its tempo and rhythm programming go much funkier, placing the beat against its robotic vocal refrain and pushing upwards until the clouds of delayed choral stabs part and allow passage. The titanic “White Heat/Acid City” is the real showpiece of the EP, as it seamlessly shifts from a far off piano that trails reverb behind it like a ghost, through a forest of breakbeats and cinematic strings before coming to a stop amongst bubbling chimes of its extended outro. It’s stellar feel good dance music of the type that is simultaneously clever and effortlessly joyous, so that even its ambient moments are infused with rhythm and momentum.