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Ilbience: Formication, I Broke My Robot, Soiled, tKatKa

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FORMICATION: Agnosia (CD on Darkwinter)

This release from 2007 offers 32 minutes of industrial ilbience.

Abrasive electronics are harnessed to generate five tracks straight out of the pitch black twilight of a nuclear winter.

Abstract cybernetic rhythms assail the senses in the first track, while shrill pitches wail and eerie sounds lurch about in the hazy distance.

The second piece is brief and allows contentious beats to duel for domination. Some tonalities try to act as referee between these tempos but they are utterly outweighed by the conflict.

The next piece utilizes bell-like keyboards to achieve a choppy melody that ends up chasing its own tail in a dreamy loop. Ultimately, this cyclic riff sinks into a pool of minimal chitterings.

The music reverts to pure ilbience with the next piece, as glitchy sounds swarm amid sparkling bleeps and machines issuing bestial growlings. In the distance, a harmony strives to be heard, but is repeatedly beaten down by the harsher burblings of monsters best not viewed too closely.

The final track clocks in at 12 minutes and offers the most structured arrangement. Elements from previous tracks (shrill pitches, glitchy beats, wavery tones) conspire to produce an almost melodic sequence that delivers the listener from apocalypse through a dreamy realm of perilous substance. Passage from the darkness is littered with spooky mutterings and celestial tonalities. Deliverance is actually quite dubious, for the tune's taint could remain buried deep in the audience's battered psyche.

These compositions are stridently sparse, yet dense with haunting elements scurrying about an environment punctuated by gritty e-perc. The mood is dark and hostile, even when the tunes adopt restraint in their assault. A decidedly artsy compression of ilbience and ambience.

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I BROKE MY ROBOT: Tomorrow Does Not Exist (CD on Broken Fader Cartel)

This release from 2007 offers 49 minutes of snappy ilbience.

I Broke My Robot is Robbie Hartless.

Extreme BPMs dominate this music. The percussion is artificial, harsh, high-velocity, and indefatigable. Fast breaks abound as the tempos lurch between different time signatures. Quite often, the rhythms are cocooned in fuzzy glows that bestow an electrified energy to the impacts.

A bevy of electronics accompany the percussion. Strange electronics, crafted with the precise intent of sounding more alien than usual, enhance the otherworldly edge exuded by this tuneage. As far as range goes, the sounds burst from high and low. Sharp glitches pierce the psyche with near painful penetration. Deep bass tones growl with bestial ferocity.

Amid this miasma of rapid-fire elements lies a dreamy undercurrent generated by eerie keyboards. These sedative threads provide an interesting balance for the music's frenetic character.

Of course tomorrow doesn't exist, not while music like this forces the listener to focus on immediacy in order to keep up. A half-second breath can leave one helplessly stranded in the moment while the tune races away at breakneck pace.

For all their savagery and hyperactivity, these compositions possess a high degree of harmony. The melodies are frantic, yet engaging. Their rapid delivery only increases their appeal, as tunes belt out with enough force to shatter concrete and leave lasting impressions on the audience.

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SOILED: Shambolic Psychotic (CD on Elm Lodge Records)

This release from 2007 offers 41 minutes of ilbient techno music.

Soiled is Marcus H.

Here, the beats and the music coexist in a precarious equilibrium of alluring union. The electronics flourish with dynamic fever, defining scratchy riffs embellished by twitchy pulsations and gurgling effects.

There is actually some traditional piano, although the notes swiftly become mired in whirring rotary blades. Some guitar is discernible too, but only barely, treated as it and thrust into the thick mix side-by-side with a plethora of auxiliary electronics.

The percussion is potent and complex, seeking unexpected tempos and beating the blazes out of them.

One often gets the feeling that each sound is severely processed and mutated even after it has been generated, producing a mechanical array of noises of extraterrestrial heritage.

The compositions are charismatic in their attention to structure as well as to the unearthly derivation of the sounds. A grand balance is achieved in which melody is as vital and crucial as the noises used to create the music. While exhibiting a strong dance factor, the tunes abound with breaks and shifts, changing the velocity and direction of the piece. The fervor becomes less predictable as it progresses, always offering surprising twists and turns.

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TKATKA: tKatKa (CD on 100m Records)

This release from 2006 offers 44 minutes of ilbient techno music.

Savage e-perc explodes in this music, defining snappy rhythms that blend into incredible intricacy. The separate tempos possess unique qualities; unified the mesh becomes a tasty pincushion of enthralling scope.

Equally complex are the melodies buried beneath the rhythm storm. The electronics produce surging tones and churning definition. Keyboards contribute sparkling chords that are looped so that they run without pause underneath the more forceful passages.

It becomes difficult to segregate effects from foundational sounds. An aspect might start out as a background buzz, only to swell into a commanding stream that swamps the already-dense mix.

There's even some guitar herein, albeit severely treated to conceal the instrument of origin. These riffs vibrate with puissance, resounding as if shrouded in cloaks of spiny needles.

These compositions display a playful sentiment. While the velocity can be exhausting, at the nucleus of each track lies a solid core of melody that bewitches with earnest determination. In some instances, the band shifts their focus from the beats to the harmonies, exploring the melodic properties of the tunes.

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