The awful situation during our pandemic days during the whole year 2020 makes it possible – if not necessary – that artists have the need to concentrate on their composition and production processes. Concerts and festivals are almost completely canceled or deleted until further notice. Surely hard times for the whole scene and all artists themselves which still try to earn at least a few bucks to pay some bills. And even if it is actually a sad fact that artists have free time during lock-down days, it brings us listeners in difficult times into the situation to consume music more intensely than ever before.This all happened also to Martin Sane, mastermind behind Fix8:Sed8.
I guess there isn't any need to introduce this notorious Dark Electro musician more detailed as he has become everybody's “darling” through his well selling releases "Foren6" and last year's “Warning Signs” album. So we are talking meanwhile on this new release of one of the genre-leaders when it comes to unite the classic, late-80s synthesized sound ideas of the Canadian Industrial school (Puppy / FLA / Numb) combined with the layered complexity of their early-90s followers (Mentallo & The Fixer / XMTP).It is Martin's fifth full-length album, the third released again under the roof of the German Dependent Records label. “tHe iNEVITABLe rELAPSe” comes out as the normal 10-track CD edition, but it is also available as a special 2CD edition which features 10 cover versions of the 10 album tracks provided by 10 different artists of the international EBM / Dark Electro music scene.
Well, what's so different compared to the successfully selling predecessors? After the first listening obviously not too much, what a pity. Martin still doesn't produce polka or schlager music and he won't be able to dispute the ultimate throne of Gerhard Müller, the German spear-head of poly-rhythmic polka perfection.But seriously and as usual with all of Martin's releases also this new album needs a bit more time and several spins to grab a glimpse of the rich layered and densely installed dark content of his music. And since the content of the main album differs extremely compared to the companion “Rail At A Liar”, both albums have to be reviewed separately.
1.) “tHe iNEVITABLe rELAPSe”
Also “tHe iNEVITABLe rELAPSe” is a thrilling and epic soundtrack to satisfy your inner darker-minded demons, an album to balance precisely the thin line between elegance and fragility on one side, and the cold, morbid and at times raging kind on the other.Already with the opener “eNIGMa” Martin starts with a haunting and ominous sounding track filled with several oppressive voice samples of a female being interviewed in a hospital. It is astonishing how meticulously Martin has installed these samples in between his music as they carry the story and transport extremely well the sick and angst-driven content of this track. This one actually seems to be more the kind of work of a movie score musician. “pROGNOSIs” then takes control on the dense mood submitted through “eNIGMa” and pushes the speed and mood straight forward with its oscillating synth bass lines and multiple percussion inserts. Martin's alien-like effected vocals do its best to support this rather forward-moving tune which should appeal to the dance-floor addicts of the dark music clubs – just in case we'll be able to experience a club visit after our pandemic times. This is one of the appetizer tracks of the album previously released and supported with a video clip.
A bit more homogeneous and actually also more straight-forward moving is “hUMAn hARVESt”, to me one of the “Fixi-tracks” to go. This one features all positive aspects of Martin's music including the rise into a straight and quite danceable tune after the sense and haunting introduction. Relatively comparable turns out “uNKNOWn tO vIRTUe”, the second previously presented track supported through a video clip.
In between thrones with “tREMORs (fEAt. EMKe)” the ultimate Dark Electro pearl to warm your cold hearts during our snowy winter days as this features the brilliantly acting Emese Arvai-Illes of the Hungarian Dark-Pop project Black Nail Cabaret. Actually I can not imagine how this track would sound if Martin himself would try to perform with his voice on it. Since this tune is a rather calm and quite catchy one filled with multiple layered synth-pads to undersign the dark mood, it doesn't matter if you're a Goth-, Wave-, Synthpop- Industrial- or Metal-head, this one deserves respect and will surely appeal beyond all genre-boundaries. The ideal hymn to sit in front of a fire-place in a lonely, completely snowed-in wood hut!
Respect also for the title track and its cleverly produced arrangements. Starting as usual again with so typically eerie layers that it once again leaves me baffled with a „how-the-f...-does-he-do-that?“ face. The good thing to point out here is the fact, that especially on this track Martin is able to balance extremely well between the eerie fragility and the pulsating aggression in the chorus, that special talent to build, to interrupt and to rebuild the mood and float of a track.As for the more bulky content of this album there can be discovered something disruptive and spooky in „cHLORINe cLEAn tEARs“, to me thanks to its uncountable breaks and interruptions the most Puppy-an inspired track on this new album.
Even if not all of the 10 featured tracks get a more detailed mention here it needs to be said that all of tracks offer enough space / elements worth to get discovered. Not to forget to mention a few lines of credits as this album has been produced additionally by Arnte of Pyrroline and hasbeen mastered by Vincent Uhlig of 2nd Face. So it MUST be top-notch, mustn't it?
“tHe iNEVITABLe rELAPSe” offers at least a thrilling experience of Dark Electro music which doesn't get boring even after the 417th listen. To me the better one directly compared to “Warning Signs” because consumed as a whole album it sounds more harmonic and homogeneous instead to present the listener another compilation of variously collected tracks. And actually, since almost all used musically weapons out of Martin's arsenal with its dedication to the early 90s Dark Electro movement, it makes sense to produce a totally floating album its length and brilliance.
2. “Rail At A Liar”
The second chapter of this new album isn't at all the usual remix companion which the one or other listener maybe has expected. It is more than a usual business-related idea and follows seemingly a quite different concept which I haven't discovered anywhere else before. Currently while writing these line I can only make my assumption on this one and the Martin surely needs to be asked about but I guess that all participating bands and projects have received the lyrics of the tracks, the voice samples and maybe the midi files with the clear order to produce cover versions in their free will and sound. The participants of this initiative represents for the most part the who is who of the currently rising Dark Electro music scene and all of the people behind can be counted to Martin's inner circle of friendship:
01. “eNIGMa” by Frontier Guards
02. „pROGNOSIs“ by Mildreda
03. „hUMAn hARVESt“ by Cryo
04. „tREMORs (fEAt. EMKe) by Black Nail Cabaret
05. „uNKNOWn tO vIRTUe“ by Jihad
06. „tHe iNEVITABLe rELAPSe“ by Amnistia
07. „mELTDOWn“ by 2nd Face
08. „pALe lIGHt sHADOw“ by Akalotz
09. „cHLORINe cLEAn tEARs“ by Amorphous
10. “mETABOLITe” by Full Contact 69
Yes, the order of the tracks of these cover versions is the same like on the main album which actually invites the listener to explore deeper the differences to Martin's original versions. Each contributing band brings life into Martin's compositions using own instruments, sounds and ideas to completely create a track sounding at best drastically different to the original. So it is at least an album in the view of the participants and in that style how they interpret and transport Martin's newest compositions.
The advantage is obviously as this kind of work is more promising than to initialize another more or less interesting sounding remix war. It is therefore not an option to talk about winners or losers of this cover version album, but some surprises can be pointed out. First of all Akalotz as they are old-school EBM purists and therefore musically relatively far away from Martins layered compositions. But they solve this riddle quite fair with „pALe lIGHt sHADOw“. „pROGNOSIs“ got fabricated by Jan Dewulf's Belgian Dark Electro Project Mildreda and provides remembrances to early 90s projects like yelworC, what an excellent contribution.
Cryo and in person of Martin Rudefeldt I haven't actually heard that aggressive when it comes to add his vocals into „hUMAn hARVESt“. Clever idea also to leave „tREMORs” in the hands of Black Nail Cabaret since Emese Arvai-Illes already provided the lead vocals on the main album. Deeply impressed I am also with the Martin Pavlik's conversion of “eNIGMa” which introduces us to Mia Bohemia (Jitka Charvátová), a new female vocalist who could play a bigger role in the upcoming works of this Czech project.
Also thumbs up for the nasty lo-fi lead synth-sounds which Vincent Uhlig of 2nd Face has used to manipulate „mELTDOWn“ - it is high-modern ultra-sonic purity! The further appearances DO NOT AT ALL disappoint but they rather provide as expected and their very own style.
Let's agree that 2021 is a very young year but it couldn't kick-off any better with this new Fixi-album. Yes, we'll start counting to remember ourselves on the best of the bests in the second half of this year but it can be assured that Fix8:Sed8 will be on this list and can expect highest positions.Please note that the limited edition of this new album is limited to 666 exemplars (individually numbered) and contains a lavish 36-page hardcover artbook, which includes this bonus album "Rail At A Liar". Release date is set to January 22nd, 2021, so... what are you waiting for?