October’s eMusic Downloads

Mostly electronica / EBM this month, with a couple of exceptions.

Amusement Parks on Fire’s first album was influenced by the shoegazer sound that I love so well. This album is still shoegazery, but less obviously so. A good listen though – seems like they’re trying to find their own sound.

I don’t know why it took so long for me to grab this. Harmonizer is the last real EBM sounding album from Apoptygma Berzerk – all the subsequent stuff has sounded like electronic emo-pop, which isn’t my thing at all. Even Harmonizer flirts with a warmer sound than the earlier stuff, but it’s the last great Apop album.

I saw Imperative Reaction open for VNV Nation when VNV toured for Matter + Form and was quite impressed, but I’d arrived to the show a bit late and didn’t know who they were. They remind me a lot of mid-period Frontline Assembly, and there’s nothing wrong about that.

It’s Gary Numan. I shouldn’t have to say anything more.

With In And Out Of Control it seems like The Raveonettes have finally found the it in their sound. Previous albums have been teetering on the edge of greatness, but this one jumps in with both feet.

Shimmering guitars, jangling melodies, and gentle swells that build to crescendoes. Fans of Mogwai, Low, and Múm will find much to like here.

Masters of drone Sunn O))) collaborate with the ultra-amazing Boris. This isn’t two bands writing half an album each and playing together, nor is it a split single, it’s two very different bands collaborating right from the songwriting, and it’s fascinating to see how the result isn’t much like either bands’ material. This one’s worth owning just for “The Sinking Belle (Blue Sheep). The fact that the rest of it is damned good is just icing.

Germany’s Rotersand is a new discovery for me. They make EBM, but it’s strongly influenced by rock as well as other electronica and techno.

VNV Nation doesn’t seem to change much from album to album, but this is a case of not messing with a formula that works. One thing that sets VNV apart from so many similar acts that stands out more and more with each album – the idea that we should face each day with hope. That message has never been so strong. Strong beats with pretty melodies and Ronan Harris’ almost-romantic vocals, it’s really good listening.

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