Electronic

All posts tagged Electronic

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Incentive. Photo courtesy of the official Facebook page.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

Magnificent talent lurks from every crack and corner of Northeast Ohio. Many can be seen slugging it out for dominance in local clubs and bars. Yet some fly under the radar, spreading like a disease around you before finally creeping out at the last possible second, and altering your idea entirely of what the scene is, can and should be.

Such is the case for Incentive. Hiding along the shadows of the Canton, Ohio music scene, Incentive is a self-produced, self-released one-man post-industrial act. The music is comprised of distorted and contorted electronic noise, with hints of melody laid throughout. Similar to the likes of Coil and Cabaret Voltaire, Incentive utilizes the blatant noise and atmospherics of classic industrial, with hints of Post-Punk, Goth, IDM, Noise, and Witch house for a classic yet contemporary electro-industrial sound.

The man behind Incentive, James Osborne, said his musical influences’ roots lie across all plains of the electronic spectrum.

“In high school I listened to quite a bit of Japanese Noise, the old stuff from the Boredoms before they turned into more of a Kraut Rock-type group. I was also into industrial music a lot too, stuff like KMFDM and some of the works from Killing Joke,” said Osborne.

However, he said his perspective of the industrial genre is based more in imagery and ideas than a one particular sound.

“I think the best way to describe industrial music is not necessarily trying to categorize it by its sound, but by its mindset as well. When you look at a lot of early-80’s industrial videos and such, they all have very similar imagery. That sort of weird post-dystopian imagery and wastelands. I think it’s about trying to show the reality of industrialization, and now this post-industrialization that we’re living in,” said Osborne.

Incentive began making noise in 2003, experimenting with limitless boundaries of the process of creating machine-based music, with an indication of a broken human soul subtly strung throughout. By 2009, Incentive had compiled enough material for a debut release, No Justice, No Peace. Since then, he has released an album’s worth of music consecutively each year. Three of the more recent albums, Cyberpunk Age, Ascension of Isaiah and Prospect St., are available for purchase at Incentive’s official Bandcamp page.

Currently, Incentive is hard at work on yet another album, which is nearing completion.

“The album I’m working on right now, I’ve been working on since August. And I’d say it’s about 75 percent complete right now,” said Osborne.

Music is not the only trade Osborne has mastered. He has also launched the successful independent record label, Dystopiaq Records. Along with Incentive’s entire discography, Dystopiaq, which operates under and Creative Commons License, has released records from various experimental electronic bedroom artists, as well as a number of compilations featuring bedroom artists from around the globe. The label, which was founded in 2009, was designed to release and promote “products that put wrinkles in your brain.”

The label’s official Facebook indicates:

“Dystopiaq releases consistently unique and interesting cuts from the around the world. We primarily focus on a wide range of electronic music, but we have no issues with other styles.”

Osborne said Dystopiaq will continue to seek out and release distinctive talent, from whatever corner of the world it may lie.

By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

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Artist: Gary Numan

Album: Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind)

Release Date: 10/15/13

Rating: 4.8/5

For some, Gary Numan was a mere one-hit wonder amongst a vast crop of early 80’s synth-pop nostalgia. His lone pop hit, “Cars,” has become a staple of 80’s compilations albums, and rightfully so! He kicked the door open for a whole slew of new wave and synth-pop acts in the early days of MTV. However, not as many are aware that he’s been consistently making influential and groundbreaking music for 30 years and counting.

What Numan lacks in chart toppers, he more than makes up for in a strong discography and a prominent presence amongst underground electronic and alternative music. Originally a punk rocker, Numan went solo in the early 80’s and took his love for Kraftwerk and Berlin-era Bowie to the next level, inventing his own brand of electronic, synth-heavy proto-industrial. After the success of “Cars,” Numan continuing making challenging electronic music. His influence has spread far a wide, being covered by the likes of Hole, Smashing Pumpkins and Foo Fighters, as well as acts like Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson and Fear Factory citing Numan as a key influence.

Over the years, Numan’s music had grown darker and moodier. By the 90’s he was keeping in touch with the industrial scene, as well as making a splash among the Goth and darkwave scenes. In recent years, Numan’s music has grown increasing aggressive, adapting heavily distorted guitars to compliment the equally distorted pulsing synths.

This sound is most notable on his latest release, Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind). It kicks off with the heavy riffing “I Am Dust” featuring Nine Inch Nails axeman Robin Finck. The industrial rock powerhouse continues on “Here in the Black” and “Everything Comes Down to This,” creating a wall of noise, laden with driving beats, throbbing synths and mean riffs. The title track “Splinter” stops for a more atmospheric and brooding vibe, while the piano-driven “Lost” provides a dark and moody, heavy NIN-like build. Unsurprisingly, this track also features Finck on guitar.

More head bumping and booty shaking noise takes control from there with the KMFDM-like “Love Hurt Bleed” where Numan growls “everything bleeds” repeatedly. Dance club banger Goth anthems “A Shadow Falls on Me” and “We’re the Unforgiven” continue the assault, finally climaxing with the melancholy closing track, “My Last Day.”

Splinter is, in many ways, the album industrial fans have been waiting for. It’s dark, moody and heavy, but not in the bland and redundant detuned, double-bass metal attack that dominates most so-called industrial. It harks back to golden age of industrial, from 1988-95, before the genre splint into either more metal or techno directions.

Most of the tracks on Splinter are key listens, with hardly a falter throughout the album. Certainly the tracks “I Am Dust,” “Everything Comes Down to This” and “A Shadow Falls on Me” will catch the listener by storm. But it would be foolish to count out the more atmospheric tracks like “Lost,” “Splinter” and “My Last Day,” where although the aggression is more subtle, it’s a slower yet ultimately harder punch.

If Numan continues to make music this hard-hitting and this good, hits or not, he’ll continue to remain relevant for another 30 years.