Music Reviews

Oct 18 2015
Artist: Edrh (@)
Title: Sideremesis
Format: CD
Label: Apathia Records (@)
Rated: *****
Erdh is Nicolas Pingnelain (electronics, programming, guitar, bass, drums) and Emmanuel Levy (vocals, lyrics) from Paris, France. Pingnelain is the co-editor of Obsküre, a French dark music magazine, and Levy aka "El Worm", is the mastermind behind Wormfood, a French avant-garde doom gothic dark metal band. This is my first experience with any of this, and 'Sideremesis' seems to be the second release by this project, following 'Resilient' (2013). The EP consists of four tracks, the first being the title track and the lengthiest one on the disc. At first, it seems to be about disease- "I don't feel well this morning, A sour taste on my tongue, Gastric acid mixed with blood, And potassium hydroxide..." but as it goes on, you realize that it's actually some kind of metamorphosis - a human turning into some kind of cyborg, or machine. Well that certainly is imaginative! The electronics and beats are moodily evocative and El Worm's vocals are quite varied and dramatically gripping. The track is disturbing but beautifully orchestrated from start to finish. It melds seamlessly into "Backup 1011" and now the machine created out of the human seems to be having a romantic, sentimental dialogue with an (anonymous?) female user. Very melancholic. "E-Creed" is a funky electro number beckoning the listener to "embrace your city..." and "follow along its pulse". Last track, "Pink Circuit Firmware 2.0.15 (Mlada Fronta remix) is a hypnotic piece of electronica that begins with a medium slow beat and filter-sweeping bass. The vocal begins in Type O-Neg style but quickly moves into machine mode with vocoder assistance, which it slips in and out of. This is quite a change from the original ("Pink Circuit" from 'Resilient') which had a much more metallic and human bent to it. I really like this version much better.

While that may describe some of the mechanics of 'Sideremesis', it certainly doesn't do justice to the whole. There are elements of EBM, darkwave, gothic, industrial, synthpop, rock, ambient, opera, trip hop and avant-garde, but this music owes no allegiance to any one of them in particular. That may make it difficult for some to grok at first, but repeated listenings will enhance comprehension, and open you up to the genius that's at work here. Erdh may have described their project as "cinematic metal", but there is a curious lack of metal on this EP. What they have done is create a mini-masterpiece in a dark, downtempo soundscape that attempts to reconcile man vs. machine, the organic melding with the inorganic. To a degree, they have succeeded. It's like many things you've heard before, and yet nothing you've ever heard before. A most delicious enigma.

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