Music Reviews

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Artist: Haujobb (@)
Title: New World March
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Tympanik Audio
Rated: *****
Well, finally got the new batch of review CDs and Haujobb's 'New World Market' is up first. A little while ago I reviewed their 'Dead Market' CD (maxi-single or EP, depending on how you look at it) and at that time I recall saying 'I can only hope the whole album would be as good as 'Dead Market'.' Haujobb has given listeners a double-dose of 'New World March' in the form of an additional CD with a remix of each of the 12 tracks on the album. I believe this works out favorably for the most part (exempting 'Dead Market' but we'll get to that later) and actually enhances in some ways by presenting complementary versions of the original tracks.

It is no surprise that this was going to be a moody, dystopian future album; just look at the cover. If 'Dead Market' was the harbinger of what was to come, 'New World March' is the apocalypse fulfilled. Lyrics (predictably) are abstract-expressionist for the most part, carried out vocally by Daniel Meyer in alternating currents of brooding despair and helpless rage. The words come from a variety of sources - Daniel Meyer & Dejan Samardzic on some tracks; Susanne Thiele, Joakim Montelius, and Michael G. Stone on others. (I don't get why Thiele was credited for the lyrics of 'Dead Market' on the maxi-single but Meyer & Samardzic credited for the words of the same song on the album, but oh well'¦) They all work well together to paint a frightening picture of not only where we are headed, but where we stand NOW.

As for the music, but Meyer and Samardzic get a boost from some guests - Achim Farber (Project Pitchfork), Ben Lucas Boysen (Hecq), Andreas Meyer (Forma Tadre), Manuel G. Richter (Xabec), Sebastian Ullmann (For A Space), and Joakim Montelius (Covenant). Still, it sounds like Haujobb. The opening track, 'Control' sets the tone coming on like a dream (nightmare?) with a harp-like arpeggiated sequence over dark pulsing ambience before it gets into the meat of the track. It seems to build but ends inconclusively. The remix (by Xabec) is more to the point subbing out a more electronic sound for the (still arpeggiated) harp, and brings in Meyer's vocals earlier with more presence. Overall, I thought the remix was perhaps less subtle but stronger, and did not seem to end inconclusively.

'Crossfire' is actually where the 'March' seems to begin presenting a vigorous cadence and brings in some old school Haujobb sounds. A powerful chorus accented with pull-out-the stops synth-orchestra amps up the drama. Before you know it though, it's over. Dryft's remix forsakes the martial cadence and arpeggiated sequences in favor of staggered beats and a dreamlike atmosphere. Well, there is some old-school synth sequencing but I wasn't knocked out by this version, preferring the original as the more substantial track. 'Let's Drop Bombs' features a big beat, muscular synth sequencing interjected with an atmospheric overdriven guitar phrase and a generous helping of electronic sonics. The track builds but then just ends with a couple of piano chords. Dupont's remix is drier with a stripped-down beat and mono sequence at first and still using that overdriven guitar phrase. Meyer's vocals seem to have more presence in this version. The synth sequencing gets a bit of a boost as the track progresses. Electronic sonics still come into play, albeit more subtely. Dupont ends it with a repeated rat-a-tat snare cadence on the last few bars. Both versions have their own merit.

The differences between the original and the remix are more readily apparent on 'More Than Us,' a modern take on Kali (the multi-armed Hindu Goddess of destruction), mostly in the beat department. While the original is a nightmarish run, the (Continues) remix employs a shuffle beat making it more like a dance. Either version is pretty cool, in different ways. I think there is more tension in the original of 'Machine Drum' than in the (Unknown) remix, but the remix adds a better rhythmic component which I believe essential to making this track work. Chalk up another score in the win column for the remix album. 'Dead Market' is arguably the most memorable track on the album and the original works just fine with its pulse bass and industrial percussion and synthwork. The Ah Cama-Sotz remix adds a Worldbeat (Globalization?) component and downplays the industrial aspects which really doesn't work so well in my estimation. Chalk up a win for the original.

'Lost' has an undercurrent bass pulse running through most of it on the original but not on the Somatic Responses remix. Beats are quite industrial on the remix and the whole effect tends to retitle the track as 'Really, Really Lost'. I prefer the original. The beginning of 'Soul Reader' is reminiscent of NIN at Reznor's moodiest, before getting into squinky Haujobb electronics backed by a solid beat. This Morn Omina's remix employs a clubbier beat and female vocal (sans Daniel) to nice effect. Much better dance potential here on the remix, and I dig it!

'Little World' adds a touch of melancholy violin (or is that viola?) to a predominantly beat-driven industrial tune. The Binary Park remix is more subdued, and a better vehicle for Meyer's vocals on this track. It has a dreamy quality to it, more appropriate to the lyrical content. Remix wins on this one. There are certain little touches on 'Membrane' that are unmistakably Forma Tadre (yes Andreas had a hand in it) and it is a solid track full of a lot of interesting elements. The Acretongue remix adds a steady bass pulse and more consistency in the rhythmic elements. It's a toss-up on this one; they're both good, although I think the melodic aspect of the track in enhanced in the remix. Title track 'New World March' is the most understated and subdued track on the album; full of fatalism and resignation. The original ably carries this theme out sounding itself like a deconstructed remix. Shades of Depeche Mode and Gary Numan at their bleakest. More of a dirge than a march. Can the Anklebiter remix improve on this? Well, no'¦but it's a nice instrumental take on the track omitting the vocal. No substitute for the original though.

So if you've been keeping score, you'd know that it's dead even so far between the original and the remix. Four in the win column for each, with three ties. 'Echo' could be the tie-breaker. It's an eerie instrumental track that is beatless for first half. Dramatic percussion enters for the final phase. The Incite/ remix adds pulsing beat and sort of a distorted bass and pulse. Talk about shredding the low end! I liked it, but I liked the original just a little bit better. So the original squeaks by on one!

Okay, it wasn't a competition. Both are very good, and both have their merits. It's great to have a Haujobb (double) album this good after an 8 year wait. For me, in certain ways, it took me back to the industrial days of 'Freeze Frame Reality,' although it sounds nothing like it. Let's just hope we don't have to wait another 8 years for Meyer & Samardzic to come up with the next new Haujobb album.



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