Collide are a well known entity in their scene, there is no dispute there but where they have wound up on this album will be the subject of a lot of other reviews out there. This one included. As time has gone by, Collide have morphed into one of the strangest pairs working in what could be called rock and roll; only by the slimmest of margins. Their records have contained songs which would strip the conceptions off even the most primed of ears, and in this, they have done what few can say out there: they have outlasted the class of 96 which they came from who jumped at the chance to fill the void left by Toni Halliday and Dean Garcia (who, incidentally, plays bass on some of 'Counting to Zero'). If you're my age, you'll easily remember all the new acts eager to take up the reigns but ask yourself this... where are they now? Are they doing their eighth album and even if so, who cares? Really, who does. Collide are still with us, Karin and Statik continue to explore the edges of their sound with a set of steel nerves. Nothing fazes them, go on and read an interview, these two don't make any pretenses; it is about the music first and foremost. All other trappings fall to the wayside.
Be prepared to drop the tempo and soak in a luxurious mixture of atmospheres, guitars, loops, and that voice. Oh that voice. This release has the same tactile sense of smoke languidly curling up into the still air from a 30s movie starlet lounging about at some off the strip bar waiting for a moment's peace from the chaos of public life. You sit and watch it rise and as it merges with the surroundings, there is a sense of beautiful symmetry which cuts through the haze: you have been here before but it is never the same and it never will be. This is not to say that 'Counting to Zero' lacks in power, far from it, Collide have decided to let their arrangements loosen a bit and go for capturing a live sound instead of the usual precise level of tension they're better known for. Rough and ready is how it sounds to me, and even though it does, I have no doubt they agonized over each minute letter and detail of this new work far far into the night.
Many times on here, the backdrop of Statik's arrangements are drawn back to the barest hints of a song in order to let Karin's vocals shine through and shine they do. Like a mercurial stream of glimmering diamonds caught by the prospecter's eye amidst all the dust and dirt, she speaks and sings in ways I had not expected. I'm hesitant to call any of these additions to their catalog torch songs but some of them are so deliciously sad and contain so much longing that I cannot help myself. I just wonder if they'll ever take over a piano bar and reduce what they've done even more, I really was not prepared for how diverse and daring their newest wound up being. There have been hints, there have been overtures but now there can be little doubt that even if you take away all their toys they'll still make it slinky and seductive with whatever they find. I believe that would be called talent, my friends. Some artists heal with what they do, Collide wound this time out by virtue of how nakedly unashamed these songs are. It will hurt for a short while but as they are so fond of saying, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
What has happened in their world, is it just artistic license going on here or has everything been turned upside down. We'll never know, and it isn't our business anyway so let us just partake of the sumptuous repast they've put before us. No seriously, shut your mouth and listen.
El Desierto De Hielo
(translated) "Collide mixed, with skill and elegance, post-industrial electronic and saturated guitars, trip-hop atmospheres hypnotic and ethereal, as if it were about Curve relaxed, dreamy or a few NIN almost Gothic Massive Attack. "Counting to Zero" is a dark work, sensual and exciting, where all the element."
"Collide mezclan, con maestría y elegancia, electrónica post-industrial y guitarras saturadas, trip-hop hipnótico y atmósferas etéreas, como si se tratara de unos Curve relajados, unos NIN ensoñadores o unos Massive Attack casi góticos. “Counting to zero” es un trabajo oscuro, sensual y fascinante, donde todos los elementos funcionan con precisión milimétrica y aportan una dosis afilada y calculada de frialdad."
"...the end result is a sonic force that chills your bones, heightens your pulse and makes hot, sweet love to your neurons...kaRIN's hushed, seductive and slightly otherworldly vocals and Statik's skill with sculpting massive grooves out of simple beat patterns allow the band to stretch in different creative directions without losing their sonic identity... which is a very good thing, because with this album they've established that persona more clearly than ever.
Beginning with the texturally complex, almost psychedelic "Bending And Floating", this veteran Californian electronic duo have taken aspects of their last effort (the all-classic rock covers album "These Eyes Before") and synthesized them into the band's signature dark-edged electro-rock template. "Lucky 13" is a slinky, seductive groove with an almost bluesy swagger. "In The Frequency" is a low-and-slow trip-hop gem, and "Slow Down" is a trippy kaleidoscope of ambient rock. "Further From Anything" begs for club play. There are other standouts, as well, but I'd be rambling. Suffice to say that Collide's expert synthesis of electronica, moody rock, and dark dance is among the finest you're likely to hear anytime soon. "Counting To Zero" finds Collide firing on all cynlinders. Kudos to Statik and kaRIN! (Noiseplus Music)
Collide are back, and its happy days.
This is probably the album I have had the most difficulty adjusting to, possibly in my life! On listening to their previous albums of Collide I could almost instantly pick out the highlights for myself. Some of the tracks were an instant “love at first listen” type of scenario. Like a voice pitched and tuned perfectly for your own ears, they felt like comfort beyond comfort where you could just close your eyes, sigh with relaxation, and know you are with something that was perfectly working in tandem with your own inner soul.
This time round it’s been a real nurturing process. And I don’t mean that to sound like the album is poor and I was just desperate to like it, more a case of the band really are making the audience participate further by listening more intently. I was of course worried that something had gone horribly wrong when I first listened to the album – although I knew I was doing two other things at once ads I was doing so – but the end I knew I had to give the album its due and listen closer. Turns out when you first fall in love with any art, it is conceivably going to be a different process when you return for more. First love is never the same and this is true of anything you attach yourself emotionally to.
My second journey through the album assured me that there was nothing particularly wrong with the album at all. I was worried though that the album perhaps lacked songs that leap out at you (as when you have your first listen), and that is probably what set off my alarm bells in the first place. This is undoubtedly a Collide album and a decent one at that. What we do have are several tracks that grow steadily with each listen.
The album starts with Bending and Floating which Collide fans may smirk at as they listen. Not only is it a very “Collide” type of title for a song, but it pretty much does what is on the tin. The music and vocals bend and float. This again is perhaps more reason to be suspicious upon your first listen as they play a song that will be very familiar to fans ears. It’s very graceful and pretty, yet it doesn’t offer us anything new to get too excited about, but enough to realise at least you are with friends you can trust. Lucky 13 takes a dark twist back to the burlesque of the likes of previous album Two-Headed Monster; and whilst it feels like a track that belongs on that album, it is a real treasure that sparkles with a naughty fairy-tale-esque quality. We then take a trip in more of a distorted feel in Mind Games which to be honest is a perfectly original song from the band; further stretching Statik’s sound engineering skills as a master of the sound art form.
Then we get what I consider to be a truly great tune from the album, In The Frequency. Quite how I missed it upon first listen can only condemn how half awake I must have been at the time of listening. This is where kaRIN really shines through and commands the audience with her soft and seductive chords.
Clearer keeps the music on the alternative side of industrial rock. For fans who dreamt of the merging of the likes of Kate Bush and NIN; then Collide is the dream to follow. We’ve had many bands that honour the likes of industrial rock blended with soothing voices: Curve probably were a band that did it to perfection and Collide have carried it off in their own direction. And here they broaden that spectrum further.
The tunes keep coming, and again the argument remains. The more I listen to this album the more I like what I hear. I am reminded of past glories. In fact if I had heard this album before any of Collide’s previous efforts I can safely say that I know I would have felt very much at home with a band who it felt to me like were making music just for my ears alone.
If I am to find a low point, I would say that towards the end of the album it does utilise perhaps a little bit too much of the techno-beat side of music and vocal interference that I sometimes find repellent. Beyond that criticism this album is not really going to let fans down. Some may find it a challenging listen, to who I would encourage to keep listening – as it only gets better.
I am always tickled chains and shackles when a longtime favorite group/friends, deliver indeed, Noiseplus. A mature sound from Collide this year with their hot off the press new album, Counting to Zero.
"Bending and Floating" starts the party and kaRIN never sounded better vocally...so breathy and ethereal and romantic from voice to guitars, and shoegazey-soundscape which creates an amazing track. True to the Collide sound, yet a place you get to when you have "Found Yourself" folks!
“Lucky 13” is a sexy "dance", a come hither musically with kaRIN on vox. Statik is indeed a musical genius and shows his "programming” on this album that accompanies kaRIN's already yum vocals and songwriting expertise.
There's more, Counting to Zero (title track) is a Beatlesque/steampunk gem and the industrial-dance throwback, “Further from Anything”. “In the Frequency” is dreamy and has a subtle power!
This new album is very exciting, the growth and range is huge from Collide and from their nearly 20 year musical partnership, you hope that a band can arrive to a place like this.
I Die: You Die
“In the Autumn a paler rose blooms on the wood’d lee side;
In the Autumn a young man’s fancy darkly turns to thoughts of Collide.”
Yeah, that’s right, I’m abusing Tennyson’s trochaic octameter as an intro. Whatever, the point is that it’s autumn, the perfect time to slip into a new Collide record. It’s somewhat remarkable that this is only Collide’s fifth proper studio LP when they’ve been such a fixture in the dark music scene for so long – it’s been 15 years since their debut LP, Beneath The Skin. But, before anything else, they’re an act known for painstaking craftsmanship when it comes to the most minute aspects of their compositions’ production and atmosphere (as Alex said, check Statik’s credits in the major music industry), a calling which certainly accounts for the time it takes to properly assemble albums as layered as Collide’s.
It’s that slavish devotion to perfection when it comes to texture which has prompted me in the past to use Curve as a first point of comparison when trying to describe Collide. In fact, your intrepid reporter would like to note that he went on record (in traditional dead-tree media, no less!) as calling Collide “the post-apocalyptic inheritors of Curve’s legacy, dipped in shiny black paint and slinkier than a Slinky” several years before their first collaborations with Curve’s Dean Garcia. That comparison may no longer be as useful as it once was, however. As Counting To Zero indicates, things have changed over the years in Collide-land. There’s a subdued feel to the new record, and I mean that in the best way; while not relying on the sonic extremities and oodles of overdrive-laden guitar of their early work, songs like the spacey title track and penultimate “Slow Down” are as evocative as anything Collide has done.
Much of Counting To Zero, especially its first half, builds upon the swampy, loungey feel of 2008′s Two-Headed Monster. It’s an ingredient which has always been present in Collide’s gumbo (good work, Bruce – swamp and gumbo – keep torturing that analogy), but has come more to the forefront the longer it’s been simmering (nailed it!). It’s a good look for Statik and KaRIN, feeling very much like a natural evolution away from their noisier days. Collide’s music has always been “deep”, however one wants to take that term (the trip-hop elements of their sound, for example, are still in full effect), and it’s encouraging to see them finding new ways to stay true to and explore the particular combination of mystique and virtuosity which has made them such an endearing and enduring force for all these years.
Buy it. (Plug: I’ve purchased the bulk of Collide’s discography from the band’s own webstore, which they run entirely by themselves. They always have loads of bundle deals going on, they package everything with love and extra goodies, and are hands-down one of the best examples of bands delivering their stuff direct to their listeners in these wild and woolly days of contemporary record buying. If yr thinking of copping Counting To Zero or anything else by Collide, do so straight from the source. You’ll be glad you did.)
What with the arrival of the first new Skinny Puppy album in four years, an ohGr record only a summer old, and an ohGr tour on the way, it would be easy to overlook some of the other great music being released. Collide's new record, Counting to Zero, sees the duo further augmenting their electronic sound with live instrumentation. Rather than any sense of sub-WaxTrax! dancefloor nostalgia, Collide have embraced the snaky grooves of glam and shimmering colors of shoegaze. Live guitar and bass, including guest Dean Garcia of Curve, are woven with Statik's programming, well known from work on albums by Tool, Prince and, of course, Skinny Puppy, for a result not unlike a forgotten sibling of ohGr's most industrial-glam moments. kArin's voice has never sounded fuller and has taken a central place in the mix. "Slow Down" fuses almost-Pink Floydian guitar with shimmering electronics. The seductive "Lucky 13" could be by Siouxsie and the Spiders From Mars. The smoky ballad "Human" evokes Bauhaus as if produced by Brian Eno, while "Tears Like Rain" is reminiscent of the best aspects of Greater Wrong of the Right. Think Cocteau Twins with teeth or a slicker, groovier My Bloody Valentine wrapping itself around an electronic core. Vibrant and current, this record reignites an aspect of dark rock that has lain dormant for far too many years. If you yearn for an era when 120 Minutes was a weekly appointment or had the soundtrack for the Crow on repeat, this is the record you've been waiting for.
Over the past few years, some favourite moments on television shows like True Blood, Vampire Diaries, Fringe and NCIS have had something musical in common - they have all had songs by Collide playing in the background of key scenes. Album number seven from Collide (a Los Angeles, California duo comprised of members kaRIN and Statik) entitled Counting to Zero, brings a similar sound to eleven new tracks.
The material on Counting to Zero sounds a little less rooted in EBM/Goth and a bit more focused on elements of sublime song structure and even a bit of jazz ('Lucky 13'). The deviation is slight and doesn't take anything away from Collide's core sound, which remains rooted in intricate soundscapes sculpted by electronic maestro Statik. Statik's electronics, married with kaRIN's dreamy vocals, create a sound that is reminiscent of the better material from the Bristol movement a few years back, but with an ever-present edge towards darkwave.
One of my favourite things about Collide is that they are utterly independent musicians. Forming their own label (Noiseplus in 2000) and quietly continuing to perform their art form without the financial backing of a major label is not without its challenges. This year fans were given the opportunity to contribute to Counting To Zero in the months leading up to its recording by donating online to the band's cause. In return, the band would credit contributors on their album. For a band that seldom tours, living in California and trying to pursue their art form in as full-time a fashion as finances will allow, the band was indeed true to their word and the last pages of the album artwork contain a listing of contributors eager to hear more material from Collide.
In the early nineties, when I was heavily into shoegazer music and was utterly enamoured with a British band called Curve, I was given to review a copy of Collide's debut album, Beneath the Skin. The similarities between Toni Halliday's vocals and kaRIN's vocals were enough to get me immediately interested, and Collide's more EBM-tinged material has kept me coming back year after year. It is fitting that Collide and Dean Garcia from Curve collaborated a few years ago on a project called The Secret Meeting and Dean's subsequent solo material SPC ECO was released in North America on Noiseplus Music.
While 'more of the same' is often a term I feel might diminish the musical output from many bands… when it comes to Collide, 'more of the same' is ultimately what I want to hear from the band. Considering how much I enjoy Collide's material, more of the same is exactly what I hope to hear from the band every time a new album comes out. Collide is a band that likely wouldn't work too well if they deviated TOO far away from their core sound, and even with the subtle changes on Counting to Zero, they have managed to deliver another atmospheric album of quality headphone music that won't soon leave my iTunes 'Recently Played' rotation.
- See more at: http://www.lithiummagazine.com/collide-counting-zero-album-review#sthash.cxaEPD13.dpuf
Reviewed by Mike Bax
Style: October 2011
Electro, darkwave, trip-hop and seductive female vocals.
Counting to Zero sees Collide doing all that they do best with even more class and finesse. Plaintive piano and cinematic strings run a thread of elegance through a number of the tracks on this album, a contrast to the distorted guitars and crunchy electronics. The downtempo pace of much of the music heightens the moody, stalking nature that Collide creates so well. There is a fine balance of intricate detail and deft sparsity with gritty effects; crawling synthetic atmospheres and programmed ephemera embellishing the guitar, drum and bass core. The resultant mix often allows the vocals space to soar as on Bending and Floating; meander ethereally or haunt the corners. Further From Anything sees Collide drive the pace up a few notches: a driving drum beat and layered guitars heaving behind a slinky vocal arrangement that comes from different directions; languid and cool against the sonic maelstrom.
Artwork: Counting to Zero arrives in a hand wrapped shroud of black tissue sealed with a sharp Collide sticker. The band clearly take great care and interest in presenting their craft; the generous accompanying package includes: a signed poster; a glossy photograph; a press release sheet; a postcard; a signed monochrome card; a small logo card and a badge (at least it does if you order direct from the band's site - you'll just get the CD otherwise). The jewelcase is fronted by a beaming, wind-whipped portrait of kaRIN (as on the poster); hair and light threads curling horizontally toward a faint overlaid zero. The rear cover shows similar trails of light streaming across a stark landscape and over a distant crag. Track titles are here in simple font to the left. Inside is a lush sixteen-page booklet brimming with sleek photographs, lyrics, track-by-track credits, contact details, websites and a huge - huge list of thanks. Again, the band have taken the time to sign the booklet. A final sultry image of kaRIN bathed in light hides behind the disc.
Overall: Vocalist kaRIN and multi-instrumentalist Statik return with their seventh studio album joined by bassists Kai Kurosawa, Kevin Kipnis and Dean Garcia with Scott Landes providing additional guitar work. Familiar names now, Collide are further known through side project The Secret Meeting (with Curve's Dean Garcia) and remix work from such notables as Charlie Clouser (NIN, SAW), cEvin Key (Skinny Puppy) and Rhys Fulber, (Frontline Assembly, Delerium). The eleven recordings here flow smoothly as a lush multi-faceted whole; the emotive, expressive deep piano chords and electro-crackle of Human; the shady dream pop and quiet interludes of the title track Counting To Zero; the heavy guitar and buzz-synth wall-of-sound of Clearer. Of course, kaRIN's distinctive voice and siren-song approach unites the songs, but there is a powerful unity of vision also in Statik's filmic-cyber-grunge sonic diversity. Interweaving the harshness of noise and distortion with musical grace and saturated colour, the beauty and passion of unique song: Collide are riding the peak of their wave. Visit the Collide website for details on this and all previous Collide releases.
It happens to be the stormiest day to hit Portland, Oregon so far this winter. The rain is pounding on the roof as soggy leaves skitter by in micro-tornadoes. Warm within my home, I’m enveloped in a cocoon of sound, lost in Counting to Zero-- the latest release from Collide. I can’t think of a better way to spend an isolated day, completely absorbed within the lovely sonance of kaRIN’s feminine voice fused with Statik’s genius programming.
Counting to Zero opens with the hauntingly beautiful, “Bending and Floating”. “Lucky 13” is sexy, grinding, and rule-breaking, “everything comes around that goes around”. “Mind Games” is another very sexy track, the magic of Statik’s sequencing illuminates a perfect backdrop for kaRIN’s words and vocals. “In The Frequency” gives a trippy, mind-altering, other-worldly experience. Mind your head with this one!
“Clearer” reaches through time and space, incorporating an Appalachian dulcimer sample to the already lush tapestry of sound.
The title track boasts of something called a “zizzle”. I asked kaRIN to clarify. “The zizzle was given to Statik by an old friend of his,” kaRIN states, “it is sort of like a toy that makes sounds”. Indeed, the Zizzle Zoundz claims to be: “an electronic music machine, [that] can give you a variety of sound bites whenever you place a Zoundz object on one of its glowing spots on the amoeba-shaped sound board”. Sounds like a fun little gadget!
Finally, as this trying year comes to a slow and all but grinding closure -- and as the rain continues to fall outside -- I hope all who read this will join me, warm in heart, counting to zero with this latest brilliant release by Collide.
This duo comprising vocalist kaRIN and musician Static hail from the the City of Angels. In 1992 they began their exploration into electronic rock, electronic body music, Eastern mysticism and synth pop, and this is their fifth studio album, following on from 2008's 'Two Headed Monster' (discounting the 2009 covers album 'These Eyes Before'). Their music is seductive, sensuous, slinking, stalking and seriously groovy, like a slow rhythmic rumba of love with a sultry femme fatal. Lying somewhere between Goldfrapp and Muse at their most moody, it is packed with amazing sounds, hip grinding guitars, and swaying beats that make you want to get down and dirty and flirty. Captivating kaRin's delicious delectable whisper blows sexily into your ear, breaking what's left of you resistance, you have to surrender to the orgasmic ecstasy. This is the perfect soundtrack for putting your parter into the mood for love, or simply want to chill out and unwind, as kaRIN breaths softly “concentrate, gather your defences, slow down” ('Slow Down'). It appropriately starts with 'Bending and Floating' with sounds like the music to a James Bond love scene. After that you are taken on a slow burning, spell binding journey into the sublime, particular highlights being the 'Lucky 13' waltz, the catchy string laced title track 'Counting to Zero' and it climaxes with the suitably titled eastern infused 'Letting Go'. The only song that breaks the mood is the more urgent 'Further From Anything', which erupts out of the speakers after the atmospheric 'Tears Like Rain', catching you unawares. Everything is self financed and released on their own label Noiseplus, and you can sashay your way to www.collide.net/news/ for more low down. A mesmeric record that is perfect for late night relaxation and recreation, dim the lights and feel the rapture, a seductive 8.75/10 (Phil)
Re Gen Magazine
Category: Goth / Industrial
Album: Counting to Zero
Blurb: The seventh album from the electro/goth rock duo may not be a stretch for them, but is full of the same rich production and performance we’ve come to expect and love.
There are those artists and bands whose sound is so distinguished and identifiable that you immediately know what to expect when a new album is released. In some cases, this is a detriment indicative of a lack of progress or exploration, while in others, it is simply the musical DNA that binds the whole of the artist’s output together to form a cohesive path of development and style. Collide is one such band. For nearly two decades, kaRIN and Statik have carved their own niche in underground music, incorporating gothic atmospheres and dark electronics with an ambient rock sound that is as much rooted in the contemporary sounds of today as in the bluesy, jazzy sounds of old. In so many ways, the band’s seventh album, Counting to Zero is a quintessential Collide album… but unlike many others, this works to their advantage.
As the shimmering guitars, somber electronics, and ethereal layers of vocals introduce us to the slow, epic opener of “Bending and Floating,” there is no doubt that it’s a Collide record. And then, “Lucky 13” comes in with a strutting rhythm and a subtle string refrain that sounds somewhere between a cabaret nightclub and an Arabian harem, scratchy guitars filling out the mix as kaRIN’s sultry voice soars in like a smoky jazz diva. Similarly, “In the Frequency” moves with a slow beat and a smooth bass line that evokes images of hazy city streets by night, while the sullen piano of “Human” and the title track provides a nice classical backdrop for the swirls of electrified ambience, the breathy vocals echoing into the ether while the drums apply just the right amount of power and restraint in equal doses. Especially noteworthy on this album, as exemplified best by “Mind Games,” is the use of vocoder on kaRIN’s voice, enhancing the atmosphere of the accompanying electronics while showcasing her precision of pitch. Once again, it’s nothing we haven’t heard from Collide before, but done so well on Counting to Zero that it sounds as lusciously fresh as ever. Other tracks like “Further from Anything” and “Clearer” amp up the rock energy, the balance of organic guitars and drums meshing well with the subtle but elaborate programming, each distorted sound working to augment rather than overtake each other.
Ever the model for self-sufficiency, Collide’s music is self-produced and self-released via their Noiseplus Music label. Their path is their own, and while many will listen to Counting to Zero feeling that it is no different from past works like Two-Headed Monster or Chasing the Ghost, it can honestly be said that no other band sounds like Collide. The diversity of their music appeals to a broad range of tastes, from the slower, jazzier numbers to the heavier electro/rockers. It may not be the most adventurous the band has been, but the richness of Statik’s production and kaRIN’s vocals shine throughout, making Counting to Zero at the very least another enjoyable entry in the Collide discography.
Few bands in the world make music that could be described as “beautiful” as Collide. Sweeping synths, gorgeous vocals, the word “big” keeps rising up. There is beauty and grace in almost every utterance from this band. And now, after a bit of a misfire covers album the duo are back with a terrific return to form. Eleven languid, sexy, sometimes sad, always beguiling songs from Statik and kaRIN that represent some of their strongest work to date.
Perhaps less electronic than previous work, the band strike an interesting balance of wailing guitar (and “wailing” serves the *perfect* word to describe the guitar work here) and washes of synths (and “washes” serves as the *perfect* word to describe Collide’s use of synths). The whole thing sounds like a soundtrack for a mid-period David Lynch film. One of his sexier ones. But the music just forms a backdrop to kaRIN’s spectacular voice which gets stronger with each recording. She growls through rockers like “Clearer” and purrs through the mid-tempo title track, and bounces through the almost-poppy “Lucky 13″. She never strikes a bad note through this utterly satisfying album and one wishes she received greater, wider-spread acclaim throughout the electronic community as one of the strongest vocalists we have.
As prolific as they are creative, Collide are consistent experimentalists, who pick up an idea, try it on for size and move on to the next thing. So while not every recording they share with us scores across the board they are wonderfully able to absorb those qualities that work well and incorporate them into future work. The results being a solid, dense, packed audio experience like Counting to Zero. It’s a worthy effort and one of their very best to date.
Vampires in the Sunburnt Country
Collide’s Counting to Zero really does add up
American duo Collide remind me a little of Massive Attack, but the midnight version. I’ve got a promo copy of their latest and seventh studio album, Counting to Zero (Noiseplus), on high rotation, and their electro cruise is so smooth – find a place under the lasers in the fog and let your slo-mo bat-catching go wild. Suggested track: ‘Lucky 13′, suitably slinky beats with singer kaRIN hitting some sultry notes down low.
It doesn’t pay to get too complacent, though. They like a little mid-song pause, a little change of tempo, just to keep you on your toes. See ‘In the Frequency’ for a fine example: fuzz guitars making highlights, and a gradual fade to grey, setting up the heavier bass attack of ‘Clearer’.
kaRIN and programming partner Statik perpetuate their distinctive sound – her fetching pipes remain the lead instrument as the layers of music builds and fades in step – while pushing their studio savvy out all the speakers. There are shards of Vangelis, Goldfrapp, John Foxx, Portishead … some Middle Eastern notes, too. The album is both perfect mood music for a chill-out as well as a funky stereo-sound experience.
The tone is set from the opener, the slow-building ‘Bending and Floating’, a doorway into a rich electronic landscape the name of which kind of says it all, really. Across the 11 tracks, the vocals do float above the electronic current, and there’s some bending going on, too: keyboard and strings on the exemplary title track with gorgeous guitar courtesy of Scott Landes, a quietly catchy lead track in ‘Mind Games’, a fractured electro snatch and grab in ‘Tears Like Rain’.
‘Human’ is a slow burn, kaRIN exercising some range to bring added emotion – “who’s going to fix you when you’re broken?” – to an outfit who can come across as sonically icy rather than fiery.
‘Further from Anything’, with Secret Meeting collaborator Dean Garcia (of delicious, departed Curve) on bass, changes gears nicely for a last-half jolt before the slide to the end, concluding with the poppy (and suitably named) closer, ‘Letting Go’.
With more than half the songs clocking in at more than five minutes, the album takes almost a full hour to unwind, and it can lull. kaRIN’s default vocal setting is a lullaby croon and it will take you away – to a good place.