Music is a living thing. It is always in motion, dancing an everlasting ballad of action and reaction, a tango with several partners from all cultures. And then there is Perturbator. The Apache, one of the most violent and sinister dances, in a dark, humid room with a concrete floor and subwoofers that could make your brain melt.
This French band may be best known as one of the two biggest synthwave band, the other being fellow Frenchies Carpenter Brut, but on their latest album “New Model” they go far, far beyond what synthwave once was.
Sure, it is still based on phat analog synths but it no longer bathes in ironic old B-movie pastiche. No, Perturbator steps from 80’s into 2017 where trap is the all new rage and they incorporate it in the opening tracks “Birth of the New Model”, “Tactical Precision Disarray” (which has one of the sickest drops I’ve ever heard) and “Vantablack”. Not that the band follows a simple formula like “just replace the EBM beats with hi-hats and half time kicks”. On the contrary, once you more or less get what the band is doing, they have already moved on and building up to something different. That makes the tracks not only varied but also exciting, fresh and, depending on whether or not safewords play a large part in your bedroom, sexy.
It is not until the fourth track “Tainted Empire” that we more or less go back to more traditional synthwave. More or less. The harsh EBM sounds are back but the piece still flirts with dubstep and trap.
“Corrupted By Design” is a bit of a breather. Relatively speaking of course, the beats remain every
bit as punchy as in the beginning of the album but the band is taking it easier with basslines and effects. Closing track “God Complex” is a track worthy of its title. Clocking in at almost 10 minutes, this is an epic wave saga that could tell a story of a dehumanised society where men and machine are so intertwined that it becomes a challenge to distinguish one from the other, one fuels the other becoming more than the sum of the parts (wait, did I just summarise “Ghost in the Shell”?).
In the 34 minutes that it takes to sit through “New Model”, Perturbator not only deliver an intricate dark piece of art but also demonstrate that a) it is possible to thrive on more than just nostalgia without radically changing artistic course and b) ironically enough teach the rest of the competition a lesson in appropriating new elements in hard style music without having to worry about “selling out” and no longer being “trve kvlt”.
- Ivo VirusWithShoes -
Think you can dance the Apache on a mix of EBM, trap and synthwave? Find out here at: https://perturbator.bandcamp.com/album/new-model