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Reviews
Radial - Nexus
Friday, March 12 2004 @ 02:34 AM PST
Contributed by: Malahki Thorn

Nexus

Artist: Radial Germany

Title: Nexus

Label: Triumvirate United States

Genre: Rythmic Industrial / Noise / Break Beat

Radial is a New York based musician. His first full length release “Nexus” was created with the help of Triumvirate. Triumvirate is an Indiana based label that specializes in promoting artist in the electronic music scene.

Radial is an aggressive foray into the sterilized world of emotionless, hard-hitting machine rhythms. Familiar sonic territory for fans of the rhythmic noise genre. The Rhythmic noise genre has been exploding in past years as technology has enabled more musicians to create music on lap tops. An exodus from renting large studios has occurred. The result has been an explosion in the rhythmic industrial noise genre of new artists who are no longer restricted by resources. Electronic music genres have shared in the benefits of these technology gains. Being a genre stripped of human and acoustic signs of life by its very nature the rhythmic industrial scene is blossoming in these new conditions of accessibility.

Nexus contributes his own manifesto of sound and fury to this growing tide with “Radial.” The first song on the album is titled “Scent.” “Scent” begins with a familiar synth waves that are quickly joined by successive waves of rumbling bass. A mix of crackling noise elements pop and snap their way through the composition. The song quickly transitions from warm synth waves to waves competing with noise and industrial elements. The result is a hypnotic journey through sculptured industrial noise. The music is passive as it moves amidst the larger industrial elements. Short cycles of aggressive noise pierce the calming atmosphere at key points. These brief bursts of sound and energy awake the listener from an otherwise passive listening experience. Radial delivers a balanced use of noise and heavy industrial elements amidst rather tame ambient atmospheres. This recipe works well in introducing the album. The over all presentation is rather stark and almost violent. My take on the song was “follow the scent into the industrial slaughter house….”

Nexus's strength lies in his ability to generate interesting noise, harness it and present it to the listener in such a way that we will be inspired to listen. Nexus has achieved a signature sound that is effective in engaging the listener through a sweltering listening experience. Things ratchet up after the opening track. Elements of noise, industrial and ambient music get cozy in a unique and ferocious take on the rhythmic noise.

Track 8 is titled “Affliction.” “Affliction” demonstrates Nexus’s ability to harness raw power electronics into an engaging rhythm driven song structure. Affliction opens with an eerie ambience full of electronic dread. The ambient atmosphere is dark and suspenseful. The cycled melody is reminiscent of a horror movie. The calm is broken with a flurry of tightly controlled beats. The aggressive beats rain amidst a storm of industrial noise. The song overcomes the listener in a torrent of sheer hostility. Micro beats comprised of strange clicks and distorted industrial traces revolve inside the thundering beats. The assault ends as quickly as it sprung leaving the listener once again suspended in a dream like ambience with only the haunting melody to guide them. The track is packed full of intricate micro beats and embedded industrial rhythms. The combination and mastery of these elements makes for a heavy hitting, sub sonic blizzard of sound.

Affliction reflects many of the songs on the album. Nexus has honed his ability to weave calming ambience with sudden rhythmic ambushes on Radial. Noise can be a terrible thing in the hands of the wrong artists. Thankfully we have Nexus delivering compositions that push us to the edge while remaining digestible and even addictive.

“Liberation” is the tenth track and it appears second to last on the album. The album version of “Liberation” is a remix. “Liberation” offers the listener a deeper venture into unpredictable and new musical terrain than previous songs. The emphasis of balancing powerful crunching beats with ambient passages is forgotten in preference of a more experimental approach. The result is an eight minute long song that explores the merging of ambient and mellowed industrial rhythms. This merging of elements differs from previous songs where ambience is used more for its contrast. On “Liberation” The ambient tone of the song holds equal sway with industrial / noise elements. It is this openness to experiment with the music that makes “Liberation” stand out as one of the better tracks on Radial.

Liberation begins with a harsh discourse of noise. The static offensive slowly fades down to a more subdued ambient atmosphere punctuated with industrial beats. The background is filled with static and churning industrial noise. The composition has an alien feel that leaves the listener wondering what planet they just transported to. The rhythms are dense and quieted to a distant churning of metal, steel and earth. The in your face beats of previous tracks is gone. In its place are experimental landscapes impregnated with microscopic beats. The song takes its time flushing out this bizarre musical landscape before breaking the seems of its confines. The track peaks quickly into an unbearable splintering of sound and consciousness. The noise breaks and the rhythms you were briefly denied come back full throttle. This track was a great glimpse at the potential world Radial has in store for us.

Nexus is definitely carving out a niche for himself with a unique blend of opposing forces. Radial has huge potential to eclipse similar acts that are running on auto pilot regurgitating tired loops and beats. Radial submerges the listener in a world of electronic stimulation that is intellectually engaging as well as entertaining. The emotional impact of being stripped to the bone by flailing shards of noise and industrial beats is Nexus‘s trademark. There is no love in this music but what it lacks in emotion it makes up for in aggression.

I would recommend Nexus - Radial for Radical Faeries that thrive on teeth shattering beats and sonic assaults by machine driven rhythms. Radical Faeries that live for pounding dance music with a sharp edge will find Radial appealing as well. Faeries with a foot in the experimental electronics scene will also like this release as it steers itself into new territory. Fans of gabber, jungle and drum & bass should also check out this release. Its an ideal introduction to the cross over potential rhythmic noise and drum & bass share. Lastly, any Faerie looking to experience new electronic music that transcends boundaries with aggressive force should have this album to.

     



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