Tuesday, July 7, 2020
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Non Toxique Lost: S.O.T.A.

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Artist: Non Toxique Lost
Title: S.O.T.A.
Format: CD + Download
Label: Klanggalerie
Non Toxique Lost have been plying their industrial and political electronic attitude-driven music for over three decades now. After the tragic loss of long-time member Steffen Schütze in 2017 they’re now a duo of Gerd Neumann aka Sea Wanton and Cem Oral aka Jammin’ Unit. While their older cassette-only works are being reissued on vinyl and CD, this is a brand new studio recording. It’s based on a “surprisingly dancy” live set that they performed for the Klanggalerie label’s 25 anniversary. Although it was videoed, and parts of the performance are available on YouTube, nobody recorded good quality audio on the night, so the band went into their studio and recorded it- so it’s studio quality, but with an energetic, live feel. It’s a masterful journey through the deeper darker side of electronica, with industrial tones that never really get too heavy. Sweeping effects, backwards percussion, squelchy bass arpeggios and various stretched-out noises create atmospheres that feel like an inverted mirror image of dance music. After the screaming German introduction of “Bewegen Wir Uns Noch”, the advanced restraint of the music is on display in the nearly-sinister “Dulce Et Decorum Est”, with its super-gradual build and unfold. The contrasting tensions are clear on tracks like “I.N.T.A.S.B.T.L.A.S.S.”, where the dubby understated electronic groove (reminiscent of some recent Orb tracks) is unmoved by the angry shouting that’s initially stamped on it. “Schwarze Mamba” is absolutely mesmeric, and a highlight. It’s got the long, patient building patterns of Tangerine Dream, but with a carefully exposed backbone of attitude, and (eventually) a vocal that’s oddly reminiscent of The Doors’ “Rebel Woman”. A similar atmospheric build also makes a joy of the catchily titled “Buchenwald (Case No. 000-50-9. 31 Pleas: NG!)”. People who like their industrial electronic more urgent and relentless will be more drawn to tracks like “Untergang”, a war-like call to arms where the pulsing bass pattern doesn’t let up or pretend to be clever, or the more aggressive snares and beat poetry-ish vocals of “Buchenwald”. “Ich BIn Nicht Sisyphos” exposes the band’s 80’s industrial roots. The promotional material is right to pitch Non Toxique Lost as an underrated band, and in some ways they’re quite understated too, showing their musical teeth in moderation and with a lot of maturity. Despite being supposedly quite raw, as a representation of a live set, nevertheless this is an extremely strong industrial electronica album that ought to garner a lot of attention.

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