REVIEWS – Pneumatic Detach: [ko·mor·bid]
Reflections of Darkness -
[ko-mor-bid] is the first release of PNEUMATIC DETACH aka Justin Brink on Chicago based label Tympanik Audio, but Justin has been involve din the electronic music scene before as his discography clearly shows. The first release dates back to 2001 and is called ‘Experiments in Psychosis’ followed by new releases in almost every of the following years, culminating in a collaboration with the spoken word artist It-Clings, which resulted in the album ‘The all too logical descend into madness’ in 2007, but now let’s have a look at his newest work…
01. [Ko-mor-bid] – 5:36
Small re-appearing dozes of noise and a creepy dark sound layer build up a truly morbid atmosphere right from the beginning before a, at this point, very reluctant rhythmical accentuation kicks in, which gains more and more complexity as the song progresses. New sequences emerge; the beats are getting more frisky, change their pace and rhythm until everything culminates in an inferno of beats and noise that will blow you away.
02. Circling the Drain – 4:05
…keeps the listener’s on their toes and starts right away with a mixture of playful beats and very organic sounding drum elements, complemented by noisy and haunting sequences, which will send shivers down your spine. But that is still quite harmless, compared to what is following after the beat suddenly stops for a few seconds. When it comes back again, the level of complexity has significantly increased. Clusters of beats in constantly changing variations appear and raise the pressure with every passing second. Now and then a creepy sound, like a ghostly scream, comes out of the background and creates a feeling of discontent in me.
03. How you Forget – 3:29
Ladies and Gentleman, I can say without exaggeration that this track is nothing short than a sonic jackhammer, that hits you absolutely off-guard to rush you off the feet. This unbelievable speed and untamed harshness of the beats resembles the one of a raging bull. As if that weren’t already enough, there are lashing sequencer lines and cols, slicing industrial noises, melting with the beats to an inferno.
04. Down in the Earth – 3:30
The noise part on the last track was very distinctive. In ‘Down in the Earth’ the ambient takes over its place, but it’s more balanced with the corresponding beats. With comparatively few means, a real intense and dense atmosphere is created. Again, the rhythmic section is a good example of how you can shape a rhythm section in a diverse way aside from the usual 4/4 structures.
05. Slow Chatter – 4:22
The track follows a slightly technoid approach with a rather straight beat and one could label it as a genuine dance floor filler if there weren’t all those small twists and catches in the rhythm, which could be a hurdle, but make this track all the more interesting for sound fetishists like me, who then can delve deep into the detailed work and get pleased by it.
06. High Order Harmonic – 3:18
Order arises out of chaos and even if you don’t see a system, a order inside this seemingly chaotic pile of beats and sequences, there is one and it will get clearer and clearer with every new chance you’re giving this track, that every single turn inside the arrangement, every variation of the rhythm has been crafted with extreme precision and put in place, so that everything fits together to create a compact, multi-faceted arrangement.
07. Grinderscraper – 2:37
Somehow I have the impression that the title of this track wasn’t chosen by coincidence as you’re literally gets grinded inside the entrails of this track made of hellish beat fireworks, hardly giving you any chance to escape their unrelenting power and fierce violence. All that’s left of you after this ride has ended can easily be scraped off a wall, so do you think you’re hard enough for this?
08. Dischordant (Live Mix) – 4:52
I used the term ‘technoid’ for a previous track on the album. This all the more applies on ‘Dischordant’ as is its rhythmic structure remains pretty straight the whole time and I would call it danceable as well. Of course it’s not like such an ordinary dance track you would probably find on most parties. Disturbing sequences, layered upon each other, are running through it, seemingly getting more and more menacing, the longer you listen and they won’t let you go until the song is finished.
09. The Turning – 4:25
Initially everything’s dark around you but only until the first beats are crawling out of the blackness, hesitant and in small blocks at the beginning, then more numerous to unite to a cohesive rhythm yet they never stay at the same place for too long, they re-group to form other patterns, simply shift their speed or compress to hit your ears with full force, bound by a coat of dark ambience, fused with disharmonic noise attacks.
10. A helpful bit of advice (feat. It-Clings) – 3:05
Justin has worked together with It-Clings before, in fact they made a complete album and so it was not surprising to see the two collaborating again on a track, where the master of what I like to call ‘literal warfare’ lays his words onto a complex network of ambiance and beats, which are almost slapping in your face in the same way they do, with their uncompromising harshness and their contempt, dripping out of every letter. At the end, there’s only one thing left to say “…Just listen to those voices”.
11. Moment already Gone – 3:45
This track has the atmosphere of a horror movie. Spooky choirs pervade the night and one always thinks to hear voices, voices from the great beyond, calling out to you “Moment already gone”. The beats with a distortion effect applied on them are pushing you forward, just as if you’re running through a creepy forest at night, trying to flee from a dark creature, which is following you.
12. Slow Chatter [Melt] – 3:26
It’s hard to believe that this is actually the same song like before, maybe it’s the evil. The technoid elements have disappeared completely and the complexity gets the full room it needs to unfold and takes you on a rollercoaster ride of stabbing, demanding beats and deep drones, interacting with a full doze of alternating noises and a bass that will make the earth quake
13. Stoneface – 6:16
Again, a truly creepy piece of music, but don’t get me wrong I really like such an atmosphere, sending shivers down your spine. You have to be able to create such a mood at first and I think that is one thing that makes this track so special for me. A ghostly whistling, coming from afar, accompanied by an elaborate array of beats and mechanical industrial noises, which seem to actually carve a face out of a stone in the dark and sometimes it seems to me that I can really hear small stones falling down. Vivid imagination huh? but I like songs that are able to create images in the listener’s minds and these are mine.
14. Automatic Nation (PD vs Alessandro Pacciani) – 3:26
To finish off the album, we get a genuine industrial between Justin and a certain Alessandro Pacciani, who is as far as I can tell dominating the track with his metallic cold industrial soundscapes, driven by bit-crushed beats and steely sounds, giving you the feeling of being in a factory, always broken by small outbursts of rage made by Justin, who is letting a rain of beats pour down on you. However, the end of the track came a bit surprising for me but I don’t want to spoil you all fun.
That was indeed a tough ride. Not in the way that this album would be bad but it demands everything from the listener; and that over the whole course and leaves you totally exhausted, but begging for more. I never heard someone playing with beats like that. Always uncompromising yet it never gets too much for me, because you can hear that there’s someone, who loves to experiment and this is unfortunately not a given thing these days. I also love the strong, dark ambience in some of the tracks like ‘Moment already gone’ or ‘Stoneface’ that is able to create images. A really strong release and a perfect label debut on Tympanik Audio. A definitive Buy!!!
Chain DLK – Pneumatic Deatch’s latest release “Ko-Mor-Bid” offers a relentless onslaught of fast paced industrial rhythms and machine like synth leads that is sure to blow away everything else of the dance floor. When listening to this album I am reminded of the stories of a young Richard D. James creating 200 bpm plus tracks to tire out dancers at raves, as “Ko-Mor-Bid” is the industrial/EBM successor to this tradition of messing with dancers as some of the cuts on this album are impossibly fast and distorted. What’s great about this album is that the rhythm tracks are not repetitive like so many albums of this type, as the drum tracks for most of the songs dispense with the standard 4/4 techno groove and utilize a variety of timings and changes that keep things interesting throughout. Moreover, all of the tracks on the album flow seamlessly into one another which give the album a tight delivery. Some of these fast paced tracks include “How You Forget” “Grinderscraper” and the album’s closer “Automatic Nation,” which makes Ministry’s “Twitch (Version III) sound like the Carpenters. Overall, Pneumatic Detach’s latest offering is a high powered fast paced attack that is great for working out, venting some anger, or tearing up the dance floor at your local club’s industrial night. 4/5 Review by: Michael Grillo
Gothronic – Pneumatic Detach’s newest offering [Ko-mor-bid] is again an relentless crossfire of beats comparable to a platoon which are allowed to go bezerk with their machine guns. Pneumatic Detach is among the best projects on the intersection of industrial and idm flavoured noise. On [Ko-mor-bid] Pneumatic Detach goes even further with their sonic violence compared to previous releases. Fast paced rhythms and broken beats remind more than once of the pioneering work of Aphex Twin like we know from the Classics release. The difference however is that [Ko-mor-bid] nis released in 2008 and sounds like that too. The haunting synthesizer spheres in the background create a sinister contrast to the rage and rhythm which is mixed to the front. The rhythms are never 4/4, which keeps it all interesting, but sometimes they are very irregular and complicated, which makes the material not equally suitable for everyone on the industrial dance floor. The live track ‘Dischordant’ has been upgraded with guitars and is a tune that will even make Fear Factory look like they’re sissies. ‘A Helpful Bit of Advice’ features It-Clings one time around and it makes one think of the previous split releases of both projects on Bugs Crawling Out of People. Highlights are the tracks ‘How You Forget’ and ‘Grinderscraper’. Regarding compact focused aggression and energy this new Pneumatic Detach album only finds it’s equal with the best works of Winterkaelte, Converter and Mono No Aware. Yes, it is that good. Tympanik Audio can again add a very accomplished release to their fast growing label discography. 8/10 – Reviewed by TekNoir