Born Into Death IDM, Electro Pandora's Black Book Pandora's Black Book is the side-project of the Alaskan hard electronic outfit 'Lucidstatic'. I use the term 'hard electronic' as the most specific genre definition I can apply, as I'll otherwise confuse everyone (including myself) by knocking around terms such as glitch, IDM, breakcore and various other niche 'dance' styles. Inverted commas very much intentional. It's almost compulsory for such have projects to have an even-more-experimental offshoot (experimental squared?), and in this case what that amounts to is dark, eerie synth atmospherics and drum loops that vary from the irregular to the downright schizophrenic. And just to confuse things further, this EP is a real bits'n'pieces effort, containing new, remade and remixed tracks. I actually had hopes for this EP when I heard the first track, a remake of 'Born Into Death'. The horror-movie synths and spluttering drum patterns actually mesh relatively effectively, creating an air of uncertainty, counterpointed by the whistling synth lead that provides a slightly martial feel that gives the whole pieces structure. And then things start to slide. The remake of 'Sworn' is a patchy affair, a mish-mash of ideas which eventually resolves itself into an ear-pleasing chord sequence/rhythm combo, but takes five minutes of self-indulgent idea hopping to get there. 'Second Coat' is more upbeat, but makes the same mistake, in that the track structure seems to be more interested in switching concept every 45 seconds than presenting any kind of unified whole. But then we get a temporary return to form with 'Denial', which refreshingly doesn't try to get too clever, mating a succession of midtempo noise loops to pretty synth melodies. 'Viscera' comes close to pulling off the same trick, but like 'Sword' the track's strong, orchestrated climax is arrived at by too haphazard a journey. And from here on in, it's all remixes (experimental cubed?), and only one of them is of a track on the EP. Even that mix, a version of 'Born Into Death' by Human Error, bares scant resemblance to the original, instead dishing up a noise-swamped beat frenzy. Of the remainder, the remix of Whiteout by Mangadrive is a reasonable mix of drilling drum loops, synth stabs and underlying melody, easily the most listenable of the half dozen miscreant mixes. Of the two mixes of 'Dark Passenger', the Mono Penguin remix is an all-over-the-place stew of various hard electronic influences (the same project screws up 'Biomechanix' in much the same manner), whilst Shad0w's mix is thankfully a lower-key dub mix, nicely textured and considerably easier to swallow, but still nothing remarkable. For what are supposed to be two remixes of the same songs, I'm struggling to find a common element they shared. There's a 8-minute plus remix of 'Jaded', but that's exactly how I felt before I was halfway through and I gave up before the end. This release will therefore really only be of interest of the small percentage of listeners who really 'get' (or think they get) these highly experimental styles of electronic music, and even then, it's a long way from the finest example of the style that I've encountered. The ability to twist audio dissonance into wildly diverse structures, yet still give the impression that there is an underlying concept to the end listener is not one frequently seen. And to me, this release doesn't showcase those qualities. 250
Brutal Resonance

Pandora's Black Book - Born Into Death

4.0
"Bad"
N/A
Electroracle
Released 2011 by CRL Studios
Pandora's Black Book is the side-project of the Alaskan hard electronic outfit 'Lucidstatic'. I use the term 'hard electronic' as the most specific genre definition I can apply, as I'll otherwise confuse everyone (including myself) by knocking around terms such as glitch, IDM, breakcore and various other niche 'dance' styles. Inverted commas very much intentional. It's almost compulsory for such have projects to have an even-more-experimental offshoot (experimental squared?), and in this case what that amounts to is dark, eerie synth atmospherics and drum loops that vary from the irregular to the downright schizophrenic. And just to confuse things further, this EP is a real bits'n'pieces effort, containing new, remade and remixed tracks.

I actually had hopes for this EP when I heard the first track, a remake of 'Born Into Death'. The horror-movie synths and spluttering drum patterns actually mesh relatively effectively, creating an air of uncertainty, counterpointed by the whistling synth lead that provides a slightly martial feel that gives the whole pieces structure. And then things start to slide. The remake of 'Sworn' is a patchy affair, a mish-mash of ideas which eventually resolves itself into an ear-pleasing chord sequence/rhythm combo, but takes five minutes of self-indulgent idea hopping to get there.

'Second Coat' is more upbeat, but makes the same mistake, in that the track structure seems to be more interested in switching concept every 45 seconds than presenting any kind of unified whole. But then we get a temporary return to form with 'Denial', which refreshingly doesn't try to get too clever, mating a succession of midtempo noise loops to pretty synth melodies. 'Viscera' comes close to pulling off the same trick, but like 'Sword' the track's strong, orchestrated climax is arrived at by too haphazard a journey.

And from here on in, it's all remixes (experimental cubed?), and only one of them is of a track on the EP. Even that mix, a version of 'Born Into Death' by Human Error, bares scant resemblance to the original, instead dishing up a noise-swamped beat frenzy. Of the remainder, the remix of Whiteout by Mangadrive is a reasonable mix of drilling drum loops, synth stabs and underlying melody, easily the most listenable of the half dozen miscreant mixes.

Of the two mixes of 'Dark Passenger', the Mono Penguin remix is an all-over-the-place stew of various hard electronic influences (the same project screws up 'Biomechanix' in much the same manner), whilst Shad0w's mix is thankfully a lower-key dub mix, nicely textured and considerably easier to swallow, but still nothing remarkable. For what are supposed to be two remixes of the same songs, I'm struggling to find a common element they shared. There's a 8-minute plus remix of 'Jaded', but that's exactly how I felt before I was halfway through and I gave up before the end.

This release will therefore really only be of interest of the small percentage of listeners who really 'get' (or think they get) these highly experimental styles of electronic music, and even then, it's a long way from the finest example of the style that I've encountered. The ability to twist audio dissonance into wildly diverse structures, yet still give the impression that there is an underlying concept to the end listener is not one frequently seen. And to me, this release doesn't showcase those qualities.
May 24 2012

Jonny Hall

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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