Gain Stage: Forking Paths
False Industries

At this juncture the experimental landscape is filled with no shortage of soundscapers, so genre artists must work ever harder to distinguish themselves from the competition. Berlin-based duo Aritape and Pierce Warnecke aka Gain Stage do exactly that with their Forking Paths EP, a short (thirteen minutes) yet memorable three-part excursion that in its own subtle way stretches soundscaping's boundaries. The world conjured by the Warneckes is a grim one indeed, a dystopian, dehumanized zone destroyed by some unknown calamity—its music doom-laden and bereft of hope.

Each part is different from the others: the first is earmarked by surging noise textures repeatedly collapsing into black holes followed by silence, while the second, a noise drone of fluttering, hazy textures, comes closest to being standard issue soundscaping. It's the third part, however, that is the most arresting: in an unexpected move, swarms of treated drums give the material a doom metal-like oomph, while electronics scatter shards of light across a blasted terrain of shrapnel and piercing synth tones. Most importantly, that closing section points a possible way forward for Gain Stage to separate itself from like-minded others in the genre pool.

August-September 2013