XP8 - Andrenochrome


XP8 is back with a great new album! It has been really interesting watching this album come together online. XP8 is notorious for being one of the more successful independent electronic artists in the dark dance scene, and Andrenochrome definitely had a unsurmountable support from the bigger names in the industry right now. The Indigogo.com campaign for this album well exceeded the goal, which allows for all kinds of fun perks and some music videos I believe are in the works.

Andrenochrome is a cyber punk story written by Marko (one half of XP8,) and follows two individuals through a not so far off London – deception rings through the streets no doubt! I have always been a fan of concept albums, I think that they are a difficult thing to piece together and I have always admired the skill it takes to link music and story through the process of creating an album. Andrenochrome is no exception, it buildings in waves of dance floor anthems and addicting lyrics. Andrenochrome is an album that you find yourself humming days later.

XP8 has done a good job of blending some of the newly popular styles of electronic music and their classic future pop feel. This is not easily obtained, and can be very annoying in my opinion, so to hear it come out in a way that I can agree with is a great feat! (Mainly I am referring to dubstep influences.) At the same time however, “Night Run” has a great classic XP8 feel (which I love.)

Overall it is a great addition to any DJ’s collection with songs like “Getaway” and “Information.” I am excited to add these songs to my current club rotation.  

You can buy this release on XP8’s Bandcamp page: http://officialxp8.bandcamp.com/album/adrenochrome

Or on iTunes! 

Check out the Official Lyric Video for “Information”

Review: XP8 - A Decade of Decadence

XP8 had a great remix on the newest Aesthetic Perfection CD that I really enjoyed, but I had never taken the time to go out and buy any of their CDs. I really wish I had now. 10 years later, XP8 really impresses me for a band that I had never heard. There is a lot of really good elements in the music that directly appeal to me.

I was sent the newest EP “A Decade of Decadence,” this morning, and I haven’t stopped listening to it since. If you have been reading this blog, you should know by now that I like dance, 4 on the fucking floor, industrial and have a soft spot of screamy aggrotech/HarshEBM. What you don’t probably know, is that I love early 2000’s Futurepop. I have a big closet hard on for old VNV Nation and Apoptygma Berzerk because I came from a mainly techno-based background (explains a lot huh?)

XP8 “A Decade of Decadence” is a shining example of cross over industrial. Now, what I mean by that, is that they have a lot of traditional elements housed in Futurepop of the early 2000’s mixed in with scoring aggression. I hear a lot of Apoptygma Berzerk in there in both the music style and the vocal style – and not full on Harmonizer Apop either – more 7 Apop.

There is a lot of jumpy synths and standard beats, and epic choirs and dancing – it’s really a flashback for me. I think it’s really excellently put together. I’ve been looking for a band to replace Apop in my collection and I can say that XP8 has filled the void for me. Songs like “Bullet Hole” and “Decadence” are just trips down that perfect lane when you were first learning to dance by watching everyone move and feel on the dance floor, awkward and shameful you kept with it, and before you knew it you were mouthing the words not giving a shit about everyone else. That’s how XP8 makes me feel – like I want to get out on the dance floor and feel the music extremely loud.

There is something to be said about Futurepop that I like, because there is a lot of bullshit out there, especially right now (VNV Nation you cocks.) I’m pretty snobby about Futurepop specifically because it is really easy to mess up. But songs like “Burning Down” and “Wake up!” transition me nicely from the HarshEBM I am known to push here. “Burning Down” has a lot of darker tones and distorted vocals – a good way to trick your purist friends. What I would call the title track, “Decadence,” takes the album for me though – very emotional in that proud way, but still could work on the dance floor. Really good synth work and layering for this one.

Overall, I would suggest XP8’s “A Decade of Decadence” for anyone who likes early Apoptygma Berzerk, Glis, Cesium137, GASR, and to dance. This would also be one of those bands that you could take your girlfriend to and enjoy yourself too (which is hard to do unless your girlfriend has an affinity for angriness.) I know that I will now be going back into their collection and checking out some previous releases. I am thoroughly impressed.

[[Also, as an afterthought, For your information: this is a collection from a decade of music…in case you didn’t get that.]]

Encephalon - The Transhuman Condition CR Review
Top Albums of 2011

The Transhuman Condition
ArtOfFact Records / Dependent Records
Available on iTunes

I will admit that I am a little late on picking up the debut album from Encephalon, despite the big name backers and chart topping singles popping up all over the place. I finally broke down and bought it, and I will say that I am infinitely glad that I did. I can see now why it is very quickly making the top lists for 2011 despite being released only a few months ago.

Coming from nowhere, Encephalon has had some mixes here and there on compilations and various remix CDs, as well as a small self release in 2009. “The Transhuman Condition” is a brilliant blend of all of the most popular genres right now. The introductory Track “Rise” is a perfect blend of all of the things that I like about current HarshEBM – really strong bass lines, good synth lines, lots of dance elements, but still a very harsh vocal styling. The next track took me a minute to get in to: “The Transhuman Condition” has a completely different vocal take then the previous track, but it is really catchy. The vocals sound more like the new Shiv-r album, which definitely it isn’t a bad thing. There is definitely some futurepop/Necessary Response influence in there.

You might be asking yourself, “Gee Michael (that’s me), how could a release have some angry boy Harshebm, new-style-shiv-r vocals, some Necessary Response thrown in, and still work and be appealing?” The answer is production quality and continuity. The sound is really super clean and well produced. A lot of HarshEBM tends to be clouded and over complicated (I am guilty of this,) and a lot of future pop for me, especially recently, is really boring. However, “The Transhuman Condition” is a really solid album. It is upbeat, it is dancy, it is angry, and the lyrics are good. These are all things that are extremely import to me – technique, can I dance to it/play it when I DJ, and is it intelligent?

I really cant express the amount of variety there is in this album, I’m down to the 4th track now, “Garden,” and it is again a different vocal styling (slightly,) and it’s kind of Stromkern meets Die Sektor (new Die Sektor.) Definitely in a good way though. Man… I just cant help but think that this album could have gone terribly wrong. All of the elements on their own are very different and usually do not go well together, but they pulled it off very well. Guess it’s time to uproot to Canada.

For fans of: Panic Lift, Necessary Response, Stromkern, Die Sektor, Fractured, Necro Facility, Shiv-r.