Genre: Electro / Techno / Synth Pop
01 Math & Emotion - The Square Root Of One
02 Perdere Per Vincere (The Italian Opening)
03 Love Has Too Much Audience
04 Fighting Colours
06 Hanham Vs. Steinitz
07 Lauf, Lauf!
08 Good Night Kingdom
10 Twisted Words
After the reappearance of electro a couple of years ago an avalanche of bands has flooded the world scene, most of them come from Europe, though the axis seems to be located at Germany where the best acts makes the distinction. Klangstabil is today one of the more applauded and respected representatives from that particular scene, not just in Germany but in the rest of Europe and at least a good portion of the world. A band with no further introduction needed, presenting their later album that should be simply described as a classic, an overly intelligent piece and a paragon for what modern and intelligent EBM electro with brained attitude should stay. Klangstabil acknowledge theirselves as avantgardists above all. From their primal experimentations in abstract electronica, industrial and noise till their most advanced rejuvenation on Electro on their penultimate album “Taking nothing seriously”, they have done an outstanding career that balances them to create original pieces full of emotion, rhythmic cunning and meticulous melodic creativity. Math & Emotion retakes the precedent stance experienced on their previous conceptual album and constitutes itself as another musical form and context. The harshest, violently noisy tone, morbid melody line and furious temper from the previous album disappeared. Math & Emotion is also a consequence and necessary sidestep from its predecessor preserving the poetical creativity and infusing it with new thematic, elaborated melodies, different mood and perspective.
The album concentrates on the dichotomy found in the Dionysian and Apollonian aspects found in the art of chess, rationality vs instinct, method vs improvisation, inmaculate purity vs exalted spirit and so on. All those aspects presents as well as a mirror reflection on the actual facets from our own lives, from the more mundane episodes of our diary living to the decisive battleground of our choices, desires and personal struggles. Life is a permanent battle chess and that is what “Math & emotion” brilliantly captures through their hyper modern vision of post modernity and electronic music avant gardism. Darkness has never been so elegant and popular before!
First of all we have to point out that the work basically nurtures itself from three genres that Germany, the nation in which they reside has been famous for: Electro (Yesterday and today), Synth pop and Techno, using all of them altogether to create a perfect chemical balance that finally defines the character and distinctive seal of the band. The duo capitalize their power by taking the best side from each genre in order to conform a whole new thing, accordingly to the new century, not only musically but also and most specially, lyrically, which is where resides half of the magic from Klangstabil. There is an also additional connection with other styles but in less proportion, like some flavours of late 90’s Trance, especially in the more moved themes such as “Gridami” and “Lauf, lauf!” some excerpts from Italo disco are also present and perhaps neoclassical feel as well, remarkably appreciated in the grandiloquence from the piano when it appears and the ominous and synthetically gelid electronic accompaniments that surrounds it.
The powerful beat from electro is called when needed to reinforce the sentiment in the work, never abused, smartly encompassing the apathetic playfulness from synth pop that its typical melodies bring. The technoid elements serve as the more experimental exposure, varying the structure, avoiding the repetitiveness and giving extra textures where & when needed, polishing the finishes and giving abundant exuberance, with a Kraftwerk(ian) influence noticeable at times. Math & emotion follows the premise of its concept by playing with the opposites present in their theme, rhythmic stances are often stumped with highly melodic parts, providing gracious movement to the plot, creating an unparalleled match of beauty and force. Bombastic rhythms succeeds more calmed ones and viceversa at the same time ominously elaborated melodies oppose to more minimalistic ones giving a permanent flood of movement and freshness to the work. Outstanding poetry and lyricism, remarkable aspect considering the brainless and often out of hand attitude reflected in this section that is appreciated in the vast majority of bands that now wander into this genre, this goes for new ones and old ones.
Not everything is pop sensibilities and electronic delicacies; the dark side of the work resides in the mood that emanates within. I would say there’s lots of spleen in here and although their construction may be popular this work will remain as part of the underground scene for its limited appeal in terms of thematic and feeling, this is music for selected personnel. Sadness and ire cohabit respectfully, the later one represented in the voice (that at times resembles of solitary rants full of poetic anger) while the melodies always remain consistent to soulless synthetic feel, a world of plastic and ultra rationalistic approach on reality, where melancholy reigns as the final testament from human sentiments. There is also a sense of graveness and doom appreciable, which could be the missing link between this album and its predecessor. They paint a bleak world with their music and poetry; a world commanded by pragmatic measures and prefigured ideals, security above liberty and utilitarianism as the imperative condition for victory, victory presented as an empty deal with no additional finalities in itself. A match of chess where “the end justifies the means” and no further adventure or additional knowledge is appreciated during its realization. Cold and merciless, but infinitely beautiful in form, Math & emotion compactly constitutes itself and leaves the listener completely submerged into their visionary musical voyage.
To highlight is the fact that the album has made a hit in the alternative/underground charts from Europe for at least several weeks, in Germany, Nederland and Greece! Themes like the opener “Math & emotion”, “Gridami” and “Lauf, Lauf!” (curiously each one represent the three languages that Klangstabil manages during the work) can be easily usable for massive appealing since they have an excellent sense of melody and rhythmic catchiness. Another appreciable sense for balance found is the inclusion of more atmospheric pieces in between sections, songs like “Fighting colors”, “Hanham vs Steinitz” and “Beziehungsohr” are highly atmospheric and instrumental, “Hanham vs Steinitz” has this almost industrial feel, with their robotic repetitiveness and computerized voices. Intermediate pieces adds the final balance to the presentation: The wonderfully poetic and musically inspiring “Perdere per vincere”, remarkably catchy and seducing, the melancholic “Love has too much audience” and the farewell “Twisted words” easily transforms this whole album in a solidified cornerstone of the year but also an epic creation and clear reference in the genre. A top notch release for Ant-Zen/Megahertz. Very recommended!