Subjected - Zero
Thu 20 Jun 13
It is not uncommon to see artists try to mask themselves in anonymity these days, in fact it is almost to be expected. Therefore it comes as no surprise to see a collective such as those associated with Vault Series to hide behind the ever-growing cloak of mystery. However with a mission statement that reads, “raw, powerful, punishing dance music delivered in covert—not for covert’s sake, unpolluted by tacked-on concepts or even track titles”, it becomes clear that the mystery is being used to push the focus on the music as much as possible. And upon listening to Zero, the latest full-length by label-boss Subjected, one can understand why.
The album begins in a fairly predictable (yet effective) fashion with “M” – a droning ambient piece that gives the sense of an oncoming storm with its thunderous growls and piercing tones. From this point on we are served up a big heaping dish of straightforward, “no no-nonsense” techno with tracks like “Concept”, “Tool”, and “Boom Boom” - all of which evoke truly dark, deprived landscapes without getting boring and sounding uninspired or overly utilitarian. The track “VX800” screeches and screams, providing plenty of punishing low-end while a melancholy melody floats above gazing down at the mess below. Other tracks such as “SD1” and “Rancor” evoke states of pure desolation and insanity, using harsh rhythms and extreme dissonance to force the listener into the deepest shadows of their mind. The album ends with “The Throne” which is one of the only slower tracks on the record. Saw-like percussion and booming kicks resonate about while synths soak the mix in a deep sadness, providing a fitting conclusion to such a perilous walk through techno.
While Zero may sound like many other techno records that have been released in the past decade there is something to be said for genuine pain that can be heard reverberating throughout these tracks. This music was not made to be flashy or even trendy, but rather out of a passion for techno with a sincere regard for its power to explore the innermost parts of the human psyche.
Review for CGNY by Nathan Levenson
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