VA: Replicants
Inner Surface Music

Every now and then, I develop a hankering for industrial techno of the coldest kind; after days of listening to refined jazz and classical recordings, exposing myself to an hour of brutalist machine music feels like a cache emptying or body cleanse for the mind. If you're at all like me, then, you might want to sample Inner Surface Music's Replicants as a convenient cure-all; an eight-track compilation, the label's tenth release features no shortage of blistering assaults by Sleeparchive, Perc, Ontal, Sturqen, and others.

While the eight cuts form a uniform whole, there are individuating differences between them. Tempos vary from one track to the next, with some roaring at light-speed and others pounding at a slower gait, and stylistically there are contrasts, too. Roger Semsroth sets the tone with his Sleeparchive salvo “Plates,” a rabid exercise in 4/4 ferocity teeming with echoing claps, frothy cymbals, and relentless kick drums. Perc's (Ali Wells) romping “Hiding From Carl” gallops with the lazer-focused intensity of a headless horseman, after which Gaja (Alessandro Gaia) and Takaaki Itoh airlift us, respectively, to Tresor Central via “Noys Lambent” and “Present,” two classic examples of wiry, precision-tooled techno perfectly tailored for the cyborg age. “All Flesh” by O/H (Richard Oddie and Dave Foster) oozes a bit of a grungy punk vibe in the mangled vocal elements that surface alongside its acid-soaked throb, and “Cota” by Sturqen (David Arantes and César Rodrigues) hardly goes gently into that good night when it caps the album with a cyberpunk assault of squealing clangour.

The collection's most punishing production might well be Honzo's (Davide Carbone) “Dissociated Identities” thanks to its scabrous combination of pounding drums and distorted guitar shredding, though Ontal's (Boris Noiz and Darko Kolar) thunderous “Spasm” is no slouch in the delirium-inducing department either. This Inner Surface collection is unapologetically hard, yet listeners with a jones for Tresor and Ostgut Ton should find much to like about Replicants, too.

December 2015