Music Reviews

Artist: Beta (@)
Title: Reflections in Darkness
Format: CD
Label: BLC Productions
Distributor: Metropolis (USA); e-noxe, Alive (Europe)
Rated: *****
This is Beta's debut, or so says BLC's rap sheet on this one-man Industrial crime wave. The website, however, of Ian J. Velasquez--Beta himself--shows a prior, out-of print release, Without/Within (and contains .mp3s of several of its tracks). But back to the task at hand. We are dealing with driving, relentless electro rhythm, laced throughout with hallucinated speech samples and nightmare-induced auditory imagery mixed in at just the right liminal level. None of the original-mix tracks on Reflections in Darkness is under five and a half minutes (save for opening track "Absolution," basically a song-length intro to the record itself); my current favorites are "Possessed," the de facto aggressive centerpiece, and the slower, slinkier "Escape." Four of the other tracks appear again in the back of the CD as guest remixes by different collaborators (Skoyze, Agonoize, Implant and Schattenschlag), but on first blush they don't seem to contribute as much to the overall Beta lustre, and therefore serve to max out the disc capacity. And therefore perfect for your next unbroken spell of doing whatever or driving wherever on your favorite type of rocket fuel, so get ready to settle in for the long haul. Speaking of which, although the label is based in Little Rock, Ark., a clue or two in the liner notes point to the Los Angeles area as Beta's likely habitat, so for God's sake don't piss him off in traffic. Cool body-part photo pastiche artwork, too, courtesy of a design entity named DeadDreamer.

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