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Friday, January 03, 1997

Chasing the Ghost reviews

BlueBlood Magazine

kaRIN and Statik have treated us to another highly anticipated installment of their beautiful music. We've loved their unique sound for a long time and we're very excited to have the opportunity to enjoy another quality release from Collide. For those of you who are less familiar with their sound, Collide is the perfect balance of precisely engineered electronic synthpop layered as the foundation for the amazingly sexy vocals provided by kaRIN. Together, they show remarkable range while maintaining a trademark style that stands high above their genre contemporaries. At times, brooding and lingering, then sliding smoothly into energetic danceable club favorites, and always powerful. Chasing the Ghost is a bit more subtle in it's presentation than the previous release Beneath the Skin had been. Each CD will have its fans, as their latest release is not just another knock-off of the first. Instead their sound has been allowed to grow a bit more mature, a bit more somber. There are a lot of tracks that I love on the new release, but I particularly like the timeless retro-future "Razor Sharp." It has a really erotic lonely torch-singer feel to it that gives me chills. Plus, as has become expected with new releases these days, there is a cover. This one features a spooky rendition of Grace Slick's psychedelic classic "White Rabbit" that shouldn't be missed. As an added treat William Faith and Monica Richards, of Faith and the Muse, step in for some additional vocal and guitar work on a few cool tracks. Be certain to stop by the Collide website and say hi, there's a lot of fun goodies to take a peek at over there, like MP3's, videos, photo galleries, even some of Statik's odd animal and insect photos. Also, be sure to pick up a copy of Chasing the Ghost while you are there, as this release is sure to fly off the shelves of your local record shops and it would be a shame to lose out on this great album. Chasing the Ghost is also very likely to be a good album to have sex while listening to. I know you all wanted to know that; I just had to share. Forrest Black

Chaotic Critiques March 2002

Much like the Sirens in Homer's The Odyssey, the music of Collide may be characterized as an outward projection that is beautiful and alluring, and an internal matrix which is hazardous and menacing. Rich electronic soundscapes and dark ambient beats create a seductive tapestry of layered sounds that interacts in stunning fashion with kaRIN's distinctive vocals, beguiling whispered harmonies that are too tangible to be spectral, yet too ethereal to be fully material. If the album could be said to have a mere two highpoints - a severe injustice done to the remainder of this rather amazing disc - it would have to be the infectious, spine-chilling third track, "Razor Sharp", with its disarming, swirling vocal melodies and mind-warping soundscape, and a brilliant cover of Jefferson Starship's "White Rabbit", which maintains the psychedelic apprehension of the original while giving it a more modern flair courtesy of the electronic instrumentation. And, like every good cover tune, Collide's take on "White Rabbit" preserves the spirit of the original, and uses that as the all-important scaffolding with which is builds its own unique interpretation. Simply excellent. Tate Bengtson, Editor

CMJ New Music Report Issue: 695

Collide's music is like an H.R. Geiger painting: It's dramatic, messy and dismally monochromatic, but its wicked array of macabre imagery never fails to evoke an immediate emotional reaction. This Los Angeles duo paints a vulgar picture on Chasing The Ghost, its second album of plodding goth-rock and electro-pop lamentations. Lead vocalist kaRIN hisses and coos about "ghosts of time" and being "caught up in icicles." The album's swampy orchestrations -- courtesy of producer Statik -- creep along at a snail's pace for the album's first half (most funeral marches pack more pep than the Portishead-inspired "Razor Sharp"). And kaRIN sounds like she's popping Valium rather than LSD on an unfortunate cover of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit." But the band reaches its stride on "Monochrome" -- Indian melodies and rhythms illuminating the song's tribal energies -- and "Halo," where the pair pulls off the best Curve impersonation this side of Garbage. - M. Tye Comer

ElectroAge

The time spent waiting for Collide to release a follow-up to their impressive debut, Beneath The Skin, has proven to be more than worthwhile; Chasing The Ghost not only improves on their elegant gothic stirrings and industrial grind, but further defines it into truly something to behold. From the opening of Transfer, kaRIN's seductively breathy voice is punctuated by crunchy percussion and distorted guitar effects. This dichotomy of angelic beauty and mechanical Hell proves itself Collide’s distinguishing trait, and Chasing The Ghost explores this territory with staggering results. The dark rumbling and slowly churning machine noises of Wings Of Steel are draped with sultry vocals and an incongruous harpsichord against a lazy trip-hop beat, further illustrating the dramatic growth that both kaRIN and Statik have undergone. Statik’s electronic compositions have expanded to include some eastern instrumentation. A sitar drone begins Halo, before being overtaken by a driving electronic score and KaRIN’s slightly processed voice; the sweeping Frozen is detailed by some other stringed instruments and middle-eastern horns, which work perfectly with the isolationistic atmospheres and laid-back percussion. The jarring explosiveness of Dreamsleep is held firmly together by kaRIN's determinedly heaven-sent voice, nicely exploring the classic balance of conflict Collide exemplarise. Chasing The Ghost is in every way strides ahead of Beneath The Skin, with the most notable aspect being Statik’s music. Each track is brilliantly layered in sound detailing, as Razor Sharp indicates so clearly. A jazz piano chimes quietly beneath a chilled beat and hollow percussion, and tiny spectres of ambiance float in and out of the song. Looking back to their electrogoth dance sound, Monochrome is a propulsive and scathing dance floor track, with a hard beat and fast-paced scratchy synthesizers, and a cover of White Rabbit suitably schizophrenic, both elegant and vicious, with a positively lethal rhythm structure. A fury of pure beauty and greasy ugliness, the soft and the harsh, flesh and machine, Chasing The Ghost welds together darkness and light into a seductive and haunting whole; sort of the aural equivalent of a clattering and screeching mechanical angel.--phosphor

Hidden Sanctuary

It seemed as if everywhere one looked, there was information about a band named Collide slapped onto something. Everything from packages to all sorts of public billboards and phone booths blatantly screamed the name from its perch only to be followed by a number of magazine ads. This made me start to wonder about this group as well as their street team who are getting the word out. Amazingly enough, all the posted stickers are coming from loyal fans. Upon listening to "Chasing The Ghost," it is impossible not to be fully absorbed into their musical world in a large way, and one can fully understand what all the fuss is about in the first place. Collide is a cross between Rhea’s Obsession, Switchblade Symphony, My Scarlet Life and a libidinous dark angel. This particular CD also received additional assistance from Monica Richards and William Faith from Faith and The Muse. There is also a dark remake of the Grace Slick song "White Rabbit" created for the new millennium sound, without detracting from the beauty of the original. The music is a steady amalgamation of trip hop, electronica, goth, ambient and rock, all rolled together in an intriguing hybrid and expertly sequenced for obtaining maximum listener enjoyment and satisfaction. Some vocal high tech tweaking similar to the Cher hit "Believe" is also included on the track "Razor Sharp," which rounds out the sound and is going to cause a number of tongues to wag in musical circles for quite some time. Beyond the fact that the album is well made and purely brilliant, is the fact that it boldly takes dark music to a sensuous level. It is romantically enigmatic and erotic while still giving homage to the surrealistic depth of darkness in all its guises. Basically you can sit back and listen, dance to it or you can have an all night Tantra session with that special someone with this as background music. The eroticism of the music and vocals leaps off the CD in an almost subliminal fashion, drawing you in deeper and further with each passing song. kaRIN's vocals are at times like sex-kitten whispers woven between anticipatory longing and sieved through a futuristic chasm with understated crooning. This reviewer can’t recall a dark music album being this seductive in quite some time. It can safely be said that based on the strength of this CD, I fell in love with this dazzling work and am looking forward to obtaining some of their earlier music as well. Mike Ventarola

Legends Magazine

Since 1997, many trip-hop and goth-electro fans have waited on pins and needles for the follow-up release of duo Collide. The release of the remix album Distort and, a year previous, 1996's Beneath the Skin and the single Son of a Preacher Man, complete with a surrealistic masterpiece of a video that depicts a gang of cowboys fighting it out with a gang of people dressed in various animal costumes; this has set duo Statik and kaRIN up as greats within the trip-hop electro field of sound fusion. The dawn of the millennium brings us now Chasing the Ghost. The album ends a long wait for Collide fans, and delivers tenfold on the promises that the moody duo has set for themselves with previous releases. Moody, rhythmic and infused with a maturity that shows how the two have grown together on a personal, professional and musical level, Chasing the Ghost is, in short, a fucking masterpiece. Not only can you hear the maturity of their music, you can see it in the release of Chasing the Ghost on their own self-made label, Noiseplus Music. Available at CDBaby, Amazon.com, and direct from Noiseplus of course, this is a must-have for any lover of previous Collide releases. It is a further step in the duo's analogy and no collection of trip-hop or similar music is complete without it. Statik's control of the instrumentals have reached a new high, with more control and less of a noisy stance. The rhythms are smoother, more subtle, even cerebral at times and with the exception of some tracks that push a high-brow drumbeat they have a deeper arrangement. kaRIN continues to laud us with sultriness and erotica, crooning with a combined sound of malice, finesse and lust. "This album was torture to make," says kaRIN about Chasing the Ghost, the perfectionism of the duo manipulating each track to higher levels of form. Some favorites include the slow, moody and sultry Razor Sharp, with vocal effects that give kaRIN a devilish/succubus sound, dragging "s's" and consonant sounds as they chant through the membranes of your soul. Statik's groove is slow, funk-driven and sexy, pulsing bass that are wrapped with melodic, sharp-intoned keyboard licks. Jumping to track 5, here Collide cover Grace Slick with the 1966 White Rabbit. The rhythm is lifted up and injected with more fervor, speeding along with guitar chords that are mechanized yet retain humanism when surrounded by kaRIN's deep vocals. One thing you will notice on Chasing the Ghost is that she seems to supply less of the diva-esque vocal qualities and more a deep-chanting quality, with even soprano notes spoken with assured intonations and less of a belting wail. The latter computer-bass rhythms and guitar-style riffs performed by Statik further on surrounding kaRIN's "ooo yeah" closing vocals are excellently balanced without a highlight, providing a blend of instruments that play along with each other rather than one against another. Also here is Halo, a true trip-hop bass-sliding style. The mixture of bass-level sounds throughout Halo allow kaRIN to shine with her singing, as it allows her to appear just above the bass lines with higher-octave sounds, though you'll find her voice still remains within an alto range for most of the song. Chorus areas are intoned with a keyboard chorale style that, while stepping up to the higher octaves, are low-cut enough to still allow kaRIN's vocals to retain control of the track. Overall, Chasing the Ghost delivers on a promise made about three years ago when the last Collide release hit the streets. Back in June of 2000 Rat B. reviewed the previous works of Collide and closed by saying, "There are plenty of Front 242s, Leaether Strips, and FLAs in the world, but only one Collide." And indeed, kaRIN and Statik remain true to their sole vision - Chasing the Ghost, and Collide in general, is not a band where you can easily pin their influences on the jacket sleeve. Trip-hop, electronica, EBM, euro-industrial (a la Kraftwerk and not Ministry) - it contains facets of all of these, while still being a sound of their own. Marcus Pan

MeanStreet Vol 11.06/December 2000

Collide, a Los Angeles based duo comprised of kaRIN (vocals) and Statik (programming), creates music that marries exquisite vocals with orchestrated layers of sounds. The band’s latest release, Chasing the Ghost, weaves together complex tapestries of rhythm, melody and texture in which kaRIN’s velvety vocals and poetic lyrics add a beautifully human element to Statik’s moody electronic washes and machine generated sounds. “Wings of Steel”, an ethereal erotic piece reflects the bands gothic roots while “Halo’s” infusion of eastern dance imagery and club friendly beats showcases the band’s industrial nature.Not to be overlooked is Collide’s mystical version of Jefferson airplane’s “White Rabbit,” which is utterly delectable. Overall, Chasing the Ghost is a pleasurable feast of rhythms-- offering up a perfect balance between sound and vision. Grade A Nikki Neil:

Music Connection Vol. XXIV, No.23

An L.A. based Duo, Collide create a fetching swirl of industrial-based rock that is very nicely realized on their full-length CD. "Razor Sharp" and "Wings of Steel" are appropriately draped with fantasmagorical lyrics and electronic textures that combine to conjure black and Blue visions of what the band (vocalist kaRIN & Statik) might create in a live, goth-enshrouded setting. Echoes of Souixie & the Banshees envelope the duo's cover of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit," turning it into a wicked, wind sheared tour de force.

Negativepop.com March 2002

Now, when I first heard Hooverphonic’s electronic trip-hop masterpiece A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular I thought that I”d heard the sexiest album of my life. Of course, that title was just begging to be contested, and the new champion is Collide’s Y2K album Chasing the Ghost. This is a sexy, sexy album kids! It’s a triumphant blend of trip-hop, electronica, goth, pop and yes, even world-music elements. Exotic, erotic, and seductive, that’s this album in a nutshell. All of Collide’s songs are produced, mixed and engineered by Statik, while the lovely Karin provides vocals and words. It’s a match made in heaven, to be sure. This album is cohesive and fluid. And I’m gushing now, which is hardly flattering to me, but this album is just so good that I can’t stop talking about it.

All the way through, the rhythms are syncopated and trippy, with undulating waves of sound that seduce the senses. Karin’s vocals are amazing. Sometimes soft and sweet, often whispery, she is a siren to be sure. She can also scream and rant with the best of them. She’s not a bad poet either. From “Wings of Steel”: “Your wings are tired/You can not get there from here/Where you aspire/You can not fly there from here/Chasing the wings of steel/Chasing the ghost of time/Chasing the taste of life/Chasing the ghost of time”. Her imagery is powerful, often dark and lyrical.

Collide’s “thank you”section reads like a who’s-who of the underground music industry. They even garner the help of William Faith and Monica Richards of Faith & The Muse for guitars and vocals on the songs “White Rabbit”, “Dream Sleep”, and “Monochrome”. If the title “White Rabbit” rang a bell in your memory, yes, it’s a cover of the Jefferson Airplane song! Collide does it up sultry and trippier than the original. I like cover songs anyway, but I REALLY like Collide’s covers. By all means, search out their covers of Devo’s “Whip It” (its extremely sexy) and “Son of a Preacher Man” available on their remix album Distort.

I am amazed by their ability to segue from a darker-heavy-beat dance song to a strange wispy vampyre-waltz type tune. My favorite songs include the trip-hop “Razor Sharp”, which goes down so easy, yet, if you listen to the words, isn’t all that pretty of a song. Its all about the isolation, baby. “Ocean” is my other favorite, a rhymthmic tango of a song. “Liquidized emotion/Water takes you in/Deep within the ocean/ I could sleep for days/Hours only minutes/ thoughts of imagery/lure you from your spectrum/solve your misconceptions”. “Ocean” is extremely melodic, sensitive and sensual. Its at once deep and smooth as glass. Other tunes of note (although the whole album comes highly recommended): “Wings of Steel”, “Transfer”, and “Like You Want to Believe” (one of my personal anthems of the summer).

Chasing the Ghost was my second-favorite album of 2001 (nevermind, it was new to ME in 2001). Languid, sensual listening with a darker bent and tremendous production value. Take this to your next rendezvous. Rating: Sensual electronic dark trip-hop dream-pop Stars:(5 stars) Bloodloss girl

Outburn Magazine, Issue 14

Dark Femme Fronted Electro Goth: After 4 years, kaRIN & Statik have finally supplied the waiting and drooling masses with their second full-length of new material. Chasing the Ghost has a bit more of an ethereal feel to it. It's less dense, ghostlier if you will, then their debut Beneath the Skin, but that's not to say it doesn't have the same cool sharpness. Angel voiced kaRIN's whispers, coos, and purrs drift through the ears, down the spine, and shimmer out to the nerve endings prickling the skin as they go, only to rush back in a wave to the brain dispensing their rapture...ahem, where was I? ah yes, kaRIN's vocals hang well supported in the roiling gauzy mist of Statik's programming. "Wings of Steel," "Frozen," and "Halo" stand out just above the other tracks, but really all of the cuts are fantastic. Overall, Chasing the Ghost is a haunting album, meant for a glass of absinthe in a darkened room to be absorbed into the pores. Oh how I wish there were more than just 10 songs. Doc Benway

Rhythm us Network

Gothic diva KaRIN's vocals ring in your head like a dark siren call. Collide will most likely appeal to fans of artists like Curve, Siouxsie & The Banshees and The Cranes. They have a dark sensibility which appeals to lovers of Ethereal and Gothic music while Statik's electronic manipulation will draw heavily on the EBM and Electronica crowd. While remaining highly alternative in sound some tracks such as "Razor Sharp" has a more pop sensibility while not losing any of it's subteranean depth, it remains dark and progressive. Collide evidently draw from a wide range of influences from both pop and alternative music styles. Appropriate for a CD whose release is Halloween of 2000, "Wings of Steel" has a bit of what sounds like a Halloween soundtrack in the introduction. "Halo" and "Monochrome" have a bit more of an EBM feel to them. "Ocean" drops back into a more ethereal sound with a bit of internationally flavored percussion. In some ways Collide has more similarities to artists like Attrition than any others but there are so many aspects which are dissimilar between the two bands that comparisons could do neither any justice. Collide somehow manages to juggle a heavy electronic sound with ethereal vocal stylings while blending various forms of alternative music to create a wholely original sound. There's even a very interesting cover of "White Rabbit" featured on the CD which grabs the essence of the original while completely updating it technologically with modern hardness and electronics.

Sideline Music Magazine, #34

Hey kids, tired of the soulless fodder available at your local record store? Well, "in the middle of darkness there is a light", Collide's latest is dripping with hot sweaty soul. Long overdue but well worth the wait, "Chasing the Ghost" slithers in and out of your mental meat dropping unnoticed fertile eggs at each and every turn. This is an ethereal, emotive disc that crosses the cold fire of early Siouxsie with the warm urgency of modern trip hop, yet wholly manages to defy categorization. The lyrics intrigue and kaRIN's vocals are seductive and powerful enough to make the hair on your ass stand up and take notice. Statik, the insane digital wizard behind the music, takes us places we haven't been since those feverish, chemical induced, lucid dreams of yesteryear. Guest musicians abound and provide a subtle added dimension to the recording. Featured are: William Faith and Monica Richards of Faith and the Muse, supplying additional guitar and vocals on several tracks, Kevin Kipnis of Purr Machine, Tim Pierce and Chris Candelaria, all contributing guitar as well. There's even a dose of sitar on "Halo", courtesy of Fritz Heede. My favorite tracks are "Wings of Steel" for it's methodical hypnotic groove, and "Ocean" for its tribal beat and sheer beauty. Both tracks supply the mind with enough added bouyancy to transcend the woes of everyday life. Anyhow, I say put this recording on your list of "must haves". Buy it , jam it in the CD player and experience a synergistic capitulation of your senses. KMR.

Slug Magazine

kaRIN & Statik return with their own record label, after remaining silent for the past few years. It is deeply introspective album and a slight change of musical direction. Those of you familiar with their previous efforts, Beneath the Skin” and “Distort,” need not fear because Collide is just as layered and well orchestrated--they just pulled back the noise, allowing for more focus on the vocals and lyrics. The only drawback the album may carry is that none of the tracks scream out to be club hits, with a massive sing-a-long chorus, but since when was that a drawback? If you even remotely like bands with female vocals against distorted electronics or intelligently constructed sound-scapes with honest lyrics this album will not disappoint.

Starvox

Sex. That's what this CD is all about. Put it on before you hop in the hay, or flannel, or whatever it is you use to do the deed in, and you'll see what I mean. Collide have been around for awhile, but I'm a newbie to them really...so I can't really say if this is a departure of sound for them or not. I think it is, if the press-sheet is to be believed. Although the 'sex' part was probably always there, thanks to kaRIN's vocal delivery. She just sounds so...sultry. This time around it seems as though the music caught up. Listening to 'Chasing The Ghost' brings visions of kaRIN encased in a drool-tastic latex/leather ensemble, draped over a piano in a smokey lounge sometime in the 40's. Great atmosphere to this release. Statik is no slouch either, the music on this album is top-notch, covering a lot of ground. Hints of middle-eastern material here and there, subtlety abounds... I have a soft-spot in my heart for Darkwave. It appeals to both my inner Goth and my inner Rivethead. Collide have crafted an exceptional work with 'Chasing The Ghost', further establishing themselves as part of the upper elite in the Darkwave genre. Lookin' for music to drink wine to late at night, but tired of the same old Goth classics? Go out and grab yourself a copy of this release. Bask in it's voluptuous, seductive charms... Anguish never sounded so kinky. Psionic Imperator

Starvox Webzine

As a music-hungry teenager I ordered Collide's debut, Beneath the Skin, on the basis of one review, a good 4 years ago. This review was favorable, but the CD was also considered a disc of hit-and-miss. I couldn't disagree more on the hit-and-miss part once I heard it and felt quite grateful for whichever part of that review had convinced me that this was straight up my alley. To date Beneath the Skin remains one of my all-time favorite albums and although band members kaRIN (vocals & lyrics) and Statik (music) have supplied us with singles, a remix CD (Distort), numerous compilation appearances and several excellent remixes over the past few years, I couldn't wait to finally hear their sophomore effort.

Wrapped in a gorgeous cover courtesy of Digital Apocalypse's Chad Michael Ward, Chasing the Ghost presents itself with nine new songs and one cover version ("White Rabbit"). The first thing that occurred to me was that the often harsh and explosive sound of their debut has partially made way for a more trip-hop feel. The songs are still powerful, but thanks to dense layering it creeps up at you, instead of lashing out full-force. And what definitely hasn't changed is the lush, sensual mood and its paradoxical feeling of a beauty submerging the listener so seductively that it could please, yet just as easily kill. All of this is still the result of kaRIN and Statik's symbiotic chemistry; voices become instruments, sounds emerge like whispers, words fall seamlessly into place and the end-result is once again astonishing.

"Transfer" sounds the closest to something off of Beneath the Skin, with uplifting guitars and lovely vocals, while "Wings of Steel" turns towards the trip-hop feel that dominates most of this disc. Statik creates a wonderfully eerie soundscape on this track and its ethnic feel is present on several other songs as well, a very welcome addition to the scope of Collide's sound. The lyrics are poetic and extremely well-placed, with kaRIN's whispers sounding as creepy as they are beautiful during strategic breakdowns. One of the album's best songs, in my opinion. The percussion and loungy feel of "Razor Sharp" are also very trip-hop, but during the chorus the song gains a lot more substance and transforms into genuine Collide material. While I'm not too fond of the "Cher" vocoder effect, the song is still very good. The same effect, however, is applied much better in the mesmerizing "Frozen" and its use in "Halo" deserves mentioning as well. It's unfortunate that it has become so over-used, because Collide show that when utilized sparsely it can be very effective. (Or use it like Yendri in their lovely "Inside the Machine", where the human nature of the vocals has almost entirely been discarded.) Faith and the Muse play a significant guest role on this CD, with William Faith's guitar work gracing the delicious mayhem of "Dreamsleep", as well as Collide's cover of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit". Grace Slick's psychedelic 60's anthem finds itself revamped with style and this cover shows that a gap of over 30 years of music history can definitely be bridged. Monica Richards shares vocals with kaRIN on the high-speed chaos of "Monochrome", my second favorite track on this disc. "Ocean" sounds like the ultimate cyber-age lovesong, with a charming chorus and more of kaRIN's alluring vocals, which always tend to drift on through your mind long after the CD has ended. The CD comes to a subtle end with "Like you Want to Believe", which makes me want to believe that the next album will follow sooner than this one did. ;)

The production of this CD is simply amazing and as with their debut there are new sounds and whispers to be discovered each time the disc is being played. There will only be one Beneath the Skin, but Collide can only be applauded for avoiding the "debut part 2" syndrome and continuing to push their sonic explorations. Chasing the Ghost is a perfect package of poetic lyrics, enchanting vocals and unique compositions with a refreshing mind of their own. There's no stopping it now, the band that was once the best-kept secret of the goth/industrial genre and its many sub-genres is convincingly working on making sure that mentioning the name Collide will never be met with question marks again. ~reviewed by Wolf

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