Thursday, March 12, 2009

Grauwelt's Industrial Mayhem

I'm the first to admit I'm in touch with my inner goth. So when Grauwelt showed up in my inbox was I was pretty chuffed at the chance to hear something that smelled of clove and was covered in nothing but black. I got that...but I got more...

Obsolete: this is the title that designer and electronic artist Robert Krums has chosen for his latest project under the alias Grauwelt. He chose this title because after completing the album, he realized that the genre it belonged to no longer existed. Krums, who also records hip-hop under the name Earmint, came of age at a time when his native Chicago was churning out exciting industrial and electronic music at an alarming rate. As a teenager, Krums saturated himself with the music of Wax Trax recording artists like KMFDM and Ministry, as well as earlier electronic groups like Cabaret Voltaire and Depeche Mode. While he later found himself gravitating toward the emerging culture of hip-hop, these early influences have never left him. “This is the album I would have made back then if I could have,” he asserts.

To create Obsolete:, Krums was wary of using any modern techniques, as he wanted to maintain what he calls the “rawness and harshness” of a purely analog sound. In the end, he used a decade old computer program to sequence his compositions, but relied on strictly analog methods for his instrumentation, utilizing vintage drum machines and synthesizers layered over stacks of mutilated samples.

The result is a brilliant blast from the past that sounds like the best record Front 242 or Ministry never released. It's dark and brooding beats take the songs through fog, smoke, and enough fishnet and Doc Marten's to last a lifetime. It's so good that if Wax Trax were still around this would easily fit on the label and would be huge.

Download: Warfare
Download: Brutality

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