Music Reviews

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Artist: ATTRITION (@)
Title: Tearing Arms from Deities 1980-2005
Format: CD
Label: Two Gods
Rated: *****

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There aren’t many bands who have gone through 25 years of dark contemporary history and come out unscathed. Attrition have, maintaining all the time a remarkable coherence and integrity. Martin Bowes, leading soul of Attrition, has compiled a new anthology of tracks covering the whole span of that history. It is very much a personal and intimate recollection of the different periods of the band (often just Martin and female singer Julia Waller), unlike the recent Something Stirs where the fans were treated to the very early beginnings of Attrition. The interest of the CD lies in the good number of rare tracks from hard-to-find samplers or 7" and new remixes of old tracks presented in the booklet with accompanying comments and memories by Martin himself. The very human exploration of the mysterious duality of man – like the Two Gods of the same title – comes across in the mix of dark ambience, pulsing rhythms, and the often contrasting voices of Martin and Julia.Part of the music ventures into classical moods, melancholic strings yearning for love, integrity, peace (see the 1997 Etude CD of classical interpretations). This is carried along by the wistful soprano voice of Julia Waller. My own personal taste prefers the rhythmic nervousness of tracks like "Beast of burden" where the electronic programming skills of Martin Bowes show how Attrition rose from the dark industrial, cut-up electroculture of the early 80s. All in all a very fine compilation which can provide an excellent introduction to the band for those who have not yet listened to Attrition. "The light and shades that make up the whole", according to Martin’s words, is what keeps together these haunting tracks, inspired by the passions, by the turmoils of love and losses witnessed by Martin Bowes in the booklet. Thus, the CD is also a journey where each track unravels a page in a very personal diary. The best surprise? The long, sparse krautrock symphony titled "A few of my favourite things".

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