“Hello darkness my old friend” seems an apt introduction to This Futile Engine, the new release from Colin C., a pioneer of electronic music since the early 2000s. It’s been a while since I heard an album that manages to tap into the primal feelings we get when looking at dark woods, the entrance to an ancient cave or an unlit basement and Colin C likes to call his work ‘Electronic Death Music’, a play on it being the antithesis of EDM.
Everything is made up of electricity at the atomic level and there are certain artists who don’t just turn the synthesiser on and hit the presets, but know how to harness the electrons swarming around a nucleus like Prospero commanding the elements. Colin C makes the square, sawtooth and sine waves bend to his will to make music that calls to you like an ancient voice resounding deep below the Earth’s crust. It’s as if lava and dark matter had joined forces to resonate with your cells.
“the album was a lot of fun to make with my friends. I’m always enjoying collaborating on Slighter albums and, this time, it felt best to leave the majority of the vocal work to some great voices from Craig to Steven and Tara, Yvette, and Anastasia. It has been an experimental but cohesive experience, the classic cinematic vibes I’m known for hitting with faster Techno and killer bass lines across a 10-track narrative.” – Colin C.
This Futile Engine is 50 shades of black as the album shifts from the murky, urgent spasms of ‘Nostalgia Hysteria’ and ‘Forcefield Operative’ to the concrete ambience of ‘Memory Corruptor’ and ‘Planet Failure’. There’s the wraith-dance of ‘Introspection Illusion’ or ‘Dark Divine’, the electronic jackhammer of ‘Have No Fear’, the dark-disco of ‘Ūnitās’, and the widescreen noir of ‘Narcodrone’. On the deluxe version you also get a mix of ‘Cold Dark Water’ and dub versions of ‘Pulling Me Under’ and ‘Have No Fear’.
“I think I have a pretty unique way of working outside of genres, but my work still gives off this sort of expansive cinematic vibe, which also retaining a darker mood that gets me associated with various dark sub-culture genres. The themes I often explore has me adopting an ‘Electronic Death Music’ umbrella for the music I make – a play on words, with the music I make being the antithesis of popular EDM.” – Colin C.
The music is constantly rotating in ever changing patterns, like fractal geometry, and the album creates a delicious prickle of controlled peril that spreads over you. It’s a sound system booming and echoing in an aircraft hangar or music for an abandoned shopping mall rave or a film noir sound installation, and it brought back fond memories of the aggressive electronics and counter-culture angst of Cabaret Voltaire and Mark Stewart & The Mafia.
Slighter has given Joyzine readers a first chance to shine a light in the dark and listen to the album in full ahead of its official release through the Brutal Resonance label on Friday 21st July, so sit back, put headphones on, close your eyes, and prepare to be drawn into the dark mechanism of This Futile Engine.
Review by Paul F Cook