Music Reviews

Artist: Unitcode:Machine (@)
Title: Nosophobia
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
I know no one wants to hear me rant about the mechanics of a review but rant I must. Before you can even post a review here you've got to gather ALL the info which includes artist and label websites and email contact and get a pic of the cover of the release and resize it to Chain D.L.K. Specifications. The pic is the least of the problems; it's email and website addresses that are usually the problem, artist's email contact usually being the toughest. I got lucky with this one; others...not so much. It's very time-consuming and my time is quite limited. I'd rather spend the bulk of it listening and evaluating the recording rather than playing 'contact detective'. (Note to band: this ain't about you; you had it covered.) So with that out of the way, I know I'm waaaayy behind on reviews, part my fault for all the other things in my life that cropped up that had to be dealt with by the time I got the review batch, and of course, the review package is always late.

Unitcode:Machine (heretofore U:M) is the EBM/electro-industrial project of Eric Kristopher from Fort Worth, Texas, I believe, and he does it all (almost) ' vox, synths, sampling, percussion programming, production. Helping out on a few tracks is Katrin X (Tears of Arria) on vocals. It's all very well done, and Eric's vocals are gruff enough for the music without resorting to distortion, screaming, excessive raspiness or too much electronic processing. Lyrically, pretty standard for this kind of music...I detect a bit of Assemblage 23 with more of an edge. Melodically U:M is nearly on a par with that outfit as well, although more noise-pop than future-pop.

As for danceability, U:M rocks! You won't be moping around the dancefloor at the Goth Club when any track from 'Nosophobia' comes on, and there's a decent amount of variety. Trouble is, no tracks seemed to have that certain 'killer hit potential'. I found myself liking the tracks Katrin X sings more than some of the others, especially 'Ghost' where she's the sole vocalist. That track really showcases her pipes, which are formidable. The constrast between the two vocal styles serves U:M well, and separates them from the pack. Maybe I should mention that Eric and Katrin X are also involved in a Neo-Folk project called Awen under the leadership of Erin Powell (guy, not gal) which is obviously very different from U:M. Even though Katrin X sings on only three tracks I think she adds a lot to this band, and on the track 'Imperfect' the vocal interplay between her and Eric is scintillating. On the CTRL remix it becomes much more evident just how vital her vocals are (some of the other elements are stripped down and the vocals are more clear) and it would be a big plus if she became a member rather than just a guest artist.

Oh, did I forget to mention the album contains seven remixes? (9 basic tracks to the album, three of them remixed by geeky c, CTRL, vvulgar, Void Prototype, Tokyo Focus, LKERR, and Awen, for a total of 16 tracks. I've never been wild about remixes, and these don't change my mind on the issue, although there are a few creative twists. I guess I didn't need to hear those three songs again, and would have preferred one more stab at a new killer tune.

Be that as it may, Unitcode:Machine is a band to keep an eye on. Eric's programming skills are solid, his vocals strong, and if Katrin X stays with the project, this band has the potential to rise to the top. A couple of catchy, memorable numbers with dynamite hooks may be all they need to make their mark in this uber-saturated genre. Nice effort, and one well worth checking out.

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