Alec Empire - Shivers (Eat Your Heart Out)
Barry Healy | Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Following the critical acclaim of 2008's The Golden Foretaste Of Heaven, Berlin's favourite anti-hero Alec Empire releases Shivers, a five-track mini-album that serves up as a little taster for his highly anticipated new album, out later in 2009. Shivers was recorded in a studio warehouse space in the centre of Berlin; its design is reminiscent of Kubrick's Space Odyssey which has quite obviously, consciously or not, had a huge influence on this record.
Self proclaimed as the 'sound of new Berlin' comes a unique blend of audacious industrial-heavy electronic music, displaying all the hallmarks of German precision engineering. At just five tracks you can expect to be jolted from one style to another rapidly, while it retains its rigid industrial essence, resulting broadly in two things: tracks that evoke ideas and visions of classic Fritz Lang movies, or a strange but coy electro-punk genre full of raw energy, yet to be unfettered on an unsuspecting public.
The record opens with 'Control Drug', a declaration of intent in proclaiming the 'sound of new Berlin' is very much alive and well with a blend of aggressive industrial beats, loops and furious vocals. The title track leads in a chilled and spacey direction, fusing slow industrial and electro chugging with almost angelic vocals, reminiscent of Kraftwerk's earlier material. 'Baby Skull' and 'If You Live Or Die' are a whirlwind of pounding beats and fuzzy distortion which provide another dimension to the Empire's capabilities.
It all ends with '1000 Eyes', a mellow, dark and murky track with little or no synths, just basic guitars and drums which has little or nothing in common with the rest of its companions; it consequently seems rather out of place. This serves well as a taster, feeding the anticipation and wonder of what will be in store in late 2009. Unfortunately, the fluidity of this record is of a poor standard, and that does take away from the individual qualities of each track. That said, there's definitely plenty to get excited about in time for this collection's successor later in the year.