Collide is one of those artists I turn to for background music — which isn’t to say that the duo’s music is without its edges, just that usually it’s the kind of cruisy, atmospheric electronica that makes the rest of the world fade away.
Not so with their new album, Color of Nothing.
Statik and kaRIN have come out fighting, with guitars leading the attack.
Opener “Wake Up” announces this urgency, the swell and subside of electronica topped by explosions of buzzing guitar as the song unfurls. The energy runs through the entire album, taking on a dance-floor groove in “Soul Crush,” an infectious swagger in “Side to Side”, a slow burn in love song “Fix”.
It’s still distinctively a Collide album, with Statik commander-in-chief in the studio and kaRIN’s bringing the evocative vocals (indeed, here there’s more of a consistent collision of those smooth vocals with spiky instrumentation than before). She touches on themes ranging from the global (“Blurring the Edges,” “Pale Blue”) to the intensely personal (“Intruder,” “Freaks Me Out”); from comfort, to resignation, to defiance.
A fitting soundtrack for 2017.
Speaking of soundtracks, fresh on the download is Berlin: Crater Vol.2, from Android Lust. Oh my!
Funded through Kickstarter, the album was developed in part from Shikhee’s found-sound adventures in Berlin. On early listens, I’m not sure I’m getting much impression of that particular place, nor a sense of an unfolding narrative such as drove the (predominately) soundscapes of the water-themed Crater Vol.1, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the outing – one of sonic postcards, perhaps, possibly as much in time as space.
Which is not to say this album isn’t transportative – far from it. There’s an air of the urban – a subway feel on the analogue styling of “Daughters of Dawn” (think Glass Candy), a rain-washed city scape perhaps seen from the cab or bus window in the fetching “Heart Tunnel”, and the familiar touch of AL-style industrial (“In Memory”, “Insects”). And is that a ghostly callout to AL’s “Stained” on “Plaza Steps”? Elsewhere, muted conversation and bird chirps, the beeping of an alarm clock and patter of rain, offer a feeling of melancholy enlivened by digital rays of sunshine.
As always, the Android Lust journey rewards multiple, close listens, the layers revealing – suggesting – more the deeper one submerges. Down here in the depths of winter, it’s the perfect weather for it.
And while I’m getting excited about new music, on the near horizon is a new EP from Nine Inch Nails, Add Violence, in which it appears we’re getting songs of resistance and defiance. First taster “Less Than” shows some retro-style frustration, while second release “This Isn’t the Place” feels like a bridge at song No.3 on the five-song EP. Bring it on!