Music Reviews

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Artist: Philipp Münch & Loss (@)
Title: Transcontinental Desperation
Format: CD
Label: Ant-Zen (@)
Rated: *****
I was already familiar with Loss, but I had to look up Philipp Münch. Turns out that I already knew of his work, but hadn't put the name with the band. Münch is involved with a whole host of projects, most notably Ars Moriendi, Mandelbrot, Monokrom, and Synapscape, to name only a few (seriously ' check this guy's discogs page). I'll admit that I was less familiar with Münch's work than with that of Loss. I had previously reviewed "Thorns" by Mandelbrot, but my exposure to Synapscape, likely his best known project, was limited to a remix here and there. It wasn't like I was avoiding it - I just hadn't gotten around to it, and with Ant-Zen's prodigious output one has to make some choices.

From the very start, you can tell that this is quite different from Loss's previous output. So at the very least, you get the sense that this is a true collaboration, where the end result is more than the sum of its parts. The music is a lot less of the orchestral noisiness that Loss is known for, which seems to have been traded in for more beats and melody. This also seems much less personal than previous Loss outings; for example, "Dystopia" has samples of news reports and political speeches discussing the former Soviet Union, Detroit, democracy, and so forth. This is by design. As the label explains, ''Transcontinental Desperation' is an aural statement of distress, anger and doubt, where topics like injustice and overthrowing the media have been integrated into the voice samples and lyrics. The suspense buried in the sound textures transmits an emotional spectrum of dejection and subliminal aggression, executed with a variety of electronic and acoustic equipment.' The use of samples works well on this album, with tracks like "The Spirit of Consumption" telling a story by describing debt and the consumption of resources in a relentless pursuit of more. Indeed, some of these more political tracks would not seem out of place on a Snog album. "Extinction," for example, was almost like a poppy industrial track with analogue leads and a grooving beat over moderately distorted vocals. Yes, you can actually make out some of the words.

Overall this is an interesting release and different from what I have heard from either artist. It is good to see collaborations that push both artists in new directions, and this album does just that. As such, if you are looking for something familiar, this is not going to be it. This album weighs in at around 65 minutes.

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