Dry Lung Overdrive: Mind Teardown

March 11, 2013

Music Review By: Mr. Roboto

Year: 2012

Artist: Mind Teardown

Written by: Ivan Myh [Ukraine] & Domagoj Kršiæ [Croatia]

Label: Crime:Scene

Download from: MediaFire

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Track Listing:

1. Intro – 0:46
2. Death Increased – 4:16
3. Machine Messiah – 3:42
4. Wreckage – 3:28
5. Whisper – 3:31
6. Processing – 2:56
7. Anthrax Junkie – 4:04
8. Breakdown – 2:32
9. Outro – 0:40


Overview: Somewhere between going back to full time work, the original Half-Life, discovering a couple of games for possible review, and my own inherent laziness I’m surprised spammers haven’t totally taken over. At least I’ve been keeping an eye on things here… And have a chance to listen to some new tunes while working. Mind Teardown lead me to their debut and it’s been a pretty good listen. Nine tracks running in 25 minutes time, Dry Lung Overdrive will give your ears some sweet industrial/EBM sounds as the duo makes their musical statement for themselves, and their Euro-based Crime:Scene label (Might want to check out the label’s line up). You can also check out additional tracks they have on SoundCloud if this album is too short for your liking. In the mean time, let’s check the tracks:

 

Intro: Imagine waking up in the near future to the sounds of air-raid sirens as your radio proudly gives today’s weather as sunny with lots of radiation, highs expected to be near 110. As for the good news: THERE IS NO FUCKING GOOD NEWS!

 

Death Increased: A higher tempo track with distorted vocals. The chorus vocals really reverberate.

 

Machine Messiah: Some sharp guitar sounds punctuate this tune. Sort of like when Ministry went from synth to industrial.

 

Wreckage: Percussion begins with some nice hammer banging with this moderately paced guitar-driven work.

 

Whisper: A slower, somewhat softer tune. Makes for a nice change of pace.

 

Processing: This one sounds like some machinery doing… well, processing… stuff. Kind of funky actually.

 

Anthrax Junkie: Back to uptempo music. Fast beats abound with this instrumental.

 

Breakdown: Lots of percussion, like Ministry’s Twitch-era music, or a Stomp show.

 

Outro: More air-raid sirens while the announcement Everyone seen after eight will be shot. Sirens Corporation: Making Earth A Better Place closes out the album.

 

Conclusion: Mind Teardown has a debut that gives mid-80s industrial/EBM fans a good dose to keep them going with whatever cyberpunkish (or not) activity are engaged in. And this is just for starters…

While searching them on YouTube, I came across a link to an EP of theirs, Begin Self Destruction. I’m going the check it out, and keep listening the Dry Lung Overdrive while working, and at home. Good stuff.

This post has been filed under Cyberpunk Music by Mr. Roboto.

Ultrawired: Dope Stars, Inc.

April 2, 2012

Music Review By: Mr. Roboto

Year: 2011

Artist: Dope Stars, Inc.

Written by: Victor Love

Label: N/A

Download / order from DSI’s site

Ultrawired

Ultrawired – Pirate Ketaware for the TLC Generation

Track Listing:

1. Better not to joke – 3:51
2. Save the clock tower – 4:01
3. Cracking the power – 3:05
4. Banksters – 2:44
5. Lies Irae – 3:35
6. Blackout – 3:23
7. Get young – 4:10
8. No life belongs to you – 4:02
9. Two dimensional world – 4:08
10. Run motherfucker run – 2:51
11. Pwning the network – 3:44
12. We are the new ones – 4:09
13. Riding Ufos – 4:04
14. Thru the never – 4:54


Overview: DSI’s latest takes the path that Radiohead started, and Nine Inch Nails followed. Ultrawired was made available from the band’s site via torrent and file sharing, with physical purchase and PayPal donation options available. Seems appropriate for a band known for its cyberpunk sound and themes with images of underground hackers and other wired warriors working against the corporations.

More than that, this is a salute to the birth-era of cyberpunk and those inspired and motivated by those heady 80s technologies. From the press release:

An album inspired by the 80’s and early 90’s imagery, icons, idols and attitude. A shiny manifesto for the generation who lived in the era of technolgical revolutions. Starting from the arcade maniacs, and Back to the future followers till the social networks addicts and wikileaks rebels. The music will be a cocktail of sounds that mix the modern and futuristic approach of Dope Stars Inc. with the sounds and atmospheres of the 80’s & early 90’s music. Breaking any stylistic rule: Hard-techno, Rockabilly, Indie-electro, Punk-Metal, Retro-games music, Synth-Pop and Rock’n’Roll are just a few of the influences embodied in the new album. No way to put it into a precise category. A set of 13 (14, actually) songs made of different individual souls.

Better not to joke. We want the music for the rich and poor / hey you cannot block it anytime, so says this salute to file sharing, kicking off the ass-kicking with a solid beat.

Save the clock tower. There should be little doubt what this tune honors. Starting off with an electronic riff before rocking out, this track would have Doc Brown cranking the volume in his DeLorian while traveling the skyways.

Cracking the power. A warning to those who seek to silence the voices on the web, DSI is ready to fight back with this number. After all, We’re a mass of geeks ready to fuck you. You have been warned.

Banksters. Ironically, for a track that came before the Occupy movement, they seem to have the idea of what to do with the banksters (Shoot the bastard). This track has a speed/thrash feel to it.

Lies Irae. Giving props to WikiLeaks and their supporters (Gonna be the leak of this age), this track opens with an operatic tone before the ass-kicking starts with symphonic hits following throughout.

Blackout. You think Victor Love may have heard about reports of hackers causing blackouts? Sounds like it on this track.

Get young. For you old-school video gamers (arcade vets like myself), this one may have you dusting off your old Atari 2600 or booting up MAME to relive those memories of your nth key Pac-Man patterns. You modern console-jocks may not understand it now, but you’ll figure it out… if you haven’t already. Videogames make you feel, just make you feel good. Needless to say, this is my pick.

No life belongs to you. The message is fairly simple; Nothing new yet another rich fight for the oil and the human rights. Humanity has been treated like a commodity like petrol, but the corporations are going to learn otherwise.

Two dimensional world. A slower paced tune about… Facebook? It seems to be about Facebook, or possibly about some bloggers out there. Backup your tracks / backup your face / who gives a fuck of the crap that you say. Might be a good thing I haven’t fallen for FB’s hype.

Run motherfucker run. The Running Man in music form. You got a stalker in the back of your brain / you’re in a fucking TV battle game.

Pwning the network. A little hacking action going on, I can tell I’m gonna get some lulz today. The pace is a little fast for my liking though.

We are the new ones. Another declaration of youthful rebellion, featuring Mario Savio’s “Bodies upon the gears” speech. Kind of catchy, even for this old fart.

Riding Ufos. A slower paced tune about the want of knowing what others know and are trying to keep secret (we want a rich and global existence / give us the knowledge of your world), and of changing their minds about their wrong ideas (shame on you / to keep all this nonsense / now you can not swear / let it be now or a fleet/ /is gonna take down your beliefs).

Thru the never. About as close to a power ballad as I’ve heard from DSI, an invitation for self-introspection (Take a night to know yourself / take a night to know your thoughts / just to ride a dream) and a chance to let the hope be back into your soul. Just what the cyber-doctor ordered.

 

Conclusion: DSI has been putting out some good cyber-rock since their formation in 2002. Ultrawired keeps that streak going with a Ketaware selling-strategy that the RIAA needs to take note of. Based on this CD, DSI has the ability to be around for some time.

This post has been filed under Cyberpunk Music by Mr. Roboto.

Man-Amplified: Clock DVA

February 17, 2011

Music Review By: Mr. Roboto

Year: 1991

Artist: Clock DVA

Written by: Clock DVA

Label: Contempo CONTEDISC

Man-Amplified

“The first users of tools were not men (a fact appreciated only recently), but pre-human anthropoids. The old idea that man invented tools is misleading, more accurately tools invented man – so began the symbiosis.” – from the liner notes.

Track Listing:

1. Man-Amplifiers – 5:15
2. Techno Geist – 5:42
3. Axiomic and Heuristic – 4:48
4. NYC Overload – 6:28
5. Transitional Voices – 7:30
6. Bitstream – 5:55
7. Fractalize – 5:06
8. Final Program – 4:17
9. Dark Attractor – 5:16
10. Memories of Sound – 4:39


That’s “d-vah,” Russian for “two”. Originally founded in 1978, Clock DVA became part of the industrial music scene in 1980 when White Souls in Black Suits was released on Industrial Records, though at the time they had more of a guitar-driven sound. Breaking up in 1983 then reforming in 1987, the band went totally electronic with Buried Dreams. Man-Amplifiers was released in 1991, featuring songs (and liner notes) about cybernetics and how they are changing humans (This could probably be compared to Kraftwerk’s The Man-Machine).

This is one of the rarer CDs you’ll want for your collections (actually, Clock’s whole discography is very rare) so be prepared to pay a premium unless you want to try the torrent route. However you acquire this CD (or their whole catalog), cyber-music fans will find something to love. Just check out the tracks:

Man-Amplifiers. The opening/title track starts off by declaring We are machines / a system of mind (I wish I could find the CD’s lyrics somewhere online) setting the tone for the rest of the CD.

Techno Geist. Let the spirit rise. With a bouncy beat, it’s hard not to let your spirit rise as that all-important question posed by the CD is asked: Did man invent machine, or machine invent man? Then again, man is a machine that goes beyond.

Axiomatic and Heuristic. A bit of a down-tempo tune.

NYC Overload. Do yourself a favor, don’t watch this video (from Clock DVA’s video compilation Kinetic Engineering)… LISTEN instead…

If the music makes you feel like you’re standing in the middle of the Big Apple, surrounded by the visible hustle-and-bustle of the streets and the invisible hustle-and-bustle of data transfers, your system might be experiencing a bit of NYC overload.

Transitional Voices. Can you hear them? Can you feel them? If so, they may make you want to dance to this ditty.

Bitstream. A bit of electronic noise leads into a tune with a funky bass line. But is this about surfing for porn, or looking for a date off Craigslist? You are a number, a number of desire. Maybe it’s just the mathematics of emotions coming through the wires.

Fractalize. Now this is a bouncy number. Almost danceable.

Final Program. Not exactly the “final” program on this CD, Adi Newton wants us to escape the final program and escape man’s emotions.

Dark Attractor. Mostly electronics with some synthesized voices. Can’t really tell what they’re saying though. This is probably what it would sound like in the wires.

Memories of Sound. Performance perfect is perfect performance, so says a female voice at the beginning of this dark, brooding number with bits of THX-1138 mixed in for good measure.

 

Conclusion: Not often that something is mandatory for your cyberpunk media collection, but Man-Amp’d is a mandatory MUST HAVE. And if you can get the CD complete with booklet, you not only win the Internet, but the whole Universe.

This post has been filed under Cyberpunk Music by Mr. Roboto.

Cyber Punk Fiction: Various Artists

January 19, 2011

Music Review By: Mr. Roboto

Year: 1998

Artist: Various

Written by: Various

Label: Re-Constriction / Cargo

Cyber Punk Fiction

This CD has been labeled a “parody” of… something…

Track Listing:

1. CyberPumpkin and Energizer Honey Bunny / Misirlou – Tinfed – 3:44
2. Electro Body Music – Society Burning – 1:25
3. Jungle Boogie (feat. Arjan McNamara) – Killing Floor – 3:48
4. Let’s Stay Together – Christ Analogue – 3:42
5. Bustin’ Surfboards – Society Burning – 3:46
6. Son of a Preacher Man – Collide – 4:42
7. Chemlab’s Dead, Baby/Bullwinkle Part II – Society Burning – 4:18
8. Mos Eisley Download Contest – Society Burning – 0:31
9. You Can Never Tell – Hotbox – 3:01
10. Lonesome Town – Nimpf – 3:32
11. Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon – Purr Machine – 4:28
12. If Love Is a Red Dress (Hang Me in Rags) – Society Burning – 4:43
13. Bring Out the Hack/Comanche – Society Burning – 2:55
14. Flowers on the Wall – Non-Aggression Pact – 5:09
15. User Friendliness Goes a Long Way – Society Burning – 1:00
16. Surf Rider – Society Burning – 2:56
17. FAQ 25.17 – Society Burning – 0:48
18. Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon – 16Volt – 4:37
19. You Never Can Tell (feat. Jude Graham) Hexedene – 4:30
20. Flowers on the Wall – Society Burning – 3:21


Introducing the soundtrack to a movie you’ll NEVER see! OK, you may have seen the movie already, or at least heard of it. This CD is a parody of that movie. No, not a “Weird Al” Yankovic-style parody, but a cyberpunk take on the movie’s soundtrack. The music is given a cyberpunk/industrial/electronic twist while the spoken tracks (in italics) gets technical enough to make nerds’ ears happy. The CD can also be considered as something of a “showcase” featuring Re-Constriction artists, though Society Burning has six of the music tracks and all of the spoken parts. But putting that aside, let’s see if this disk is one for your soundtrack, or if it’s just a bad joke…

 

Track one opens with a quick spoken part with a couple of lovers expressing their affection for each other, before they threaten to terminate every last motherfucking job on the mainframe. Then the music kicks in; light, simple, but good.

Track two (Electro Body Music) is the first of four totally spoken tracks. Just two guys talking about buffer overflow on Telnet before moving on to how industrial music in Germany is called “Electro Body Music” and how they use flange instead of reverb on the drums in Belgium.

Killing Floor keeps Jungle Boogie funky, while Christ Analogue gives Al Green’s Let’s stay together an electro-shock to his soul. Bustin’ Surfboards trades surfing ocean waves for electronic waves… or just surfing the nets. While Son of a Preacher Man goes from southern blues to industrial rock.

Some more dialog as a girl finds a sampler, then Bullwinkle Part II takes the same surf-to-industrial path as Bustin’ Surfboards. Mostly drums, mostly groves.

The Mos Eisley Download Contest features a robotic voice speaking Japanese (could be Klingoneese?). Meanwhile, Hotbox gives Chuck Berry’s You Can Never Tell a shot of rock and… reggae? That’s what it sounds like to me. Interesting.

Lonesome Town now sounds like it could be any cyberpunk village you care to mention. Purr Machine gives Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon new meaning, mostly due to the female vocals. Another version of the truth: I prefer the 16 Volt version. If Love Is A Red Dress sounds a bit more vicious than the original.

Quick dialog before Comanche. Non-Aggression Pact gives us the our WTFF? moment with the bizzare vocals of Flowers on the Wall. I could try to explain but… the FUCK???

User Friendliness features a guy who doesn’t use Windows because it’s too complicated (ಠ_ಠ). And Surf Rider thrashes its way into our eardrums, literally.

FAQ 25.17 gives us our last bit of dialog, and the funniest moment of the CD. It just one guy talking about how high-resolution modes can strain an 8MB system (remember, this CD came out when graphic accelerators like 3Dfx were considered high-end), and how you need to use eight-bit color lest ye overload your piece-o-shit video card!

The “Bonus Tracks” (tracks 18-20) are rather odd additions since they are actually better than the main versions, especially 16 Volt’s version of Girl…

Actually, it was this song/video that brought my attention to this CD.

Hexene gives You Never Can Tell some electro-soul-and-funk to make it good, while Society Burning’s offering of Flowers on the Wall has a rocking edge with understandable vocals.

 

Cover Charges. How you feel about this CD may depend on how you feel about cover tunes and/or parodies. I have a few favorites on this CD. You should find this CD worth a listen, especially if you like cyberpunk/industrial.

This post has been filed under Cyberpunk Music by Mr. Roboto.

Transverse City: Warren Zevon

December 7, 2010

Music Review By: Mr. Roboto

Year: 1989, 2003

Aritst: Warren Zevon

Written by: Warren Zevon (All tracks) & Stefan Arngrim (Transverse City & Networking)

Label: Virgin

Album Lyrics on LyricWiki

Transverse City

“As time goes on Transverse City looks less like science fiction and more like home.

“I received Warren Zevon’s Transverse City back in 1989 when it originally came out, but I confess I only really got it recently. The fact that it took more than a decade for this fine album to sink in my say something bad about me, but it also says something great about the foresight and ambition that marked Warren Zevon’s work on Transverse City. Having taken a long, hard and inspired look at himself on his 1987 comeback effort, Sentimental Hygiene, Zevon seemed ready here to take on the world at large with this trippy song cycle that suggested the intellectual influence of Philip K. Dick and George Orwell, and the musical influence of everything from Kraftwerk to Igor Stravinsky, with a little refried California rock and a bit of British art rock thrown into the potent, dense mix. With characteristic guts, Zevon dared to combine a cyberpunk concept, a mindbending modern soundscape, and a crowded house of well-known musical guests from Neil Young to Chick Corea, Jerry Garcia to Dave Gilmour. The resulting album didn’t become a big hit, but its futuristic songs here have already stood the test of time.” – David Wild, 2002 (From the 2003 liner notes).

Track Listing:
1. “Transverse City” – 4:19
2. “Run Straight Down” – 4:05
3. “The Long Arm of the Law” – 3:47
4. “Turbulence” – 4:08
5. “They Moved the Moon” – 4:31
6. “Splendid Isolation” – 4:35
7. “Networking” – 3:02
8. “Gridlock” – 4:34
9. “Down in the Mall” – 4:28
10. “Nobody’s in Love This Year” – 4:17
11. “Networking (Acoustic Demo Version) (2003 Bonus Track)


Excitable boy is excited. You must have heard at least one of Zevon’s songs; It’s played to death every Halloween. While it is his biggest hit and best known song, Zevo took a stab at cyberpunk music thanks to an interest in William Gibson’s works. Of course the album didn’t sell, mostly because cyberpunk was still an underground sensation at the time so many didn’t understand the concept.

Re-released the same year as his death, Zevon’s Transverse City sounds like a brand-spanking-new soundtrack of our modern world instead of a 30 year old slab of classic rock. You don’t need to be a Warren Zevon fan nor a cyberpunk fan to enjoy this album, but it might help to be a bit of both for full enjoyment. So let’s take a trip down into town to see what’s going down downtown…

 

Transverse City. Warren Zevon plays keyboards on most of the tracks. For the opening title track, his keyboard playing sounds almost Japanese. A rather nice touch to a song about a city past the shiny Mylar towers, past the ravaged tenements, where life is cheap and death is free. You’ll also get to hear the hum of desperation, the song of shear and torsion, and Jerry Garcia (the head Dead-Head himself) on guitar.

 

Run Straight Down.

Zevon sings about walking through the decaying city wanting to head home to watch the decline on T.V. instead of experiencing it first-hand. Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour plays lead guitar. If you listen carefully (it’s most noticeable at the beginning) you can hear a monotonic, almost robotic voice delivering a rhythmic delivery of 4-Aminobiphenyl, hexachlorobenzene, Dimethyl sulfate, chloromethyl methylether, 2, 3, 7, 8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin, carbon disulfide, Dibromochloropane, chlorinated benzenes, 2-Nitropropane, pentachlorophenol, Benzotrichloride, strontium chromate, 1, 2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane. (That shit sounds dangerous, like some super-adrenaline-and-caffeine-charged-heroin… or that “cream” they put in Twinkies.)

 

The Long Arm of The Law. Seems like no matter where you go these days, the blue meanies are looking to lay a beat-down on someone. If the first words you remember hearing are Nobody move, nobody gets hurt, you better live like a fugitive and don’t protest your innocence, only the dead get off scott free.

 

Turbulence. Turmoil back in Moscow brought this turbulence down on me. Told from the POV of a Russian soldier in Afghanistan, 1989 was the year of Perestroika in the former Soviet Union, which also lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall. All our soldier wants is to go home, singing in Russian about “missing our mothers” (that’s according to a couple of translations of the Russian lyrics).

 

They Moved The Moon. A bit of a sad song, written after a breakup. Zevon suddenly feels like his everything in his life has been re-arranged so nothing makes sense anymore (They changed the stars around). Definitely a breakup song.

 

Splendid Isolation. The message of this song is quite obvious: Leave me alone. (Michael Jackson in Disneyland / Don’t have to share it with nobody else / Lock the gates, Goofy, take my hand / And lead me through the World of Self). He even goes so far as to put tinfoil over his windows to block the outside world.

 

Networking. Zevon has been known to have a rather unusual sense of humor. Here, he has a major nerd-gasm while dropping some tech-related puns like I’m user friendly / I install with ease / data processed, truly Basic. He may have even predicted his CDs being file-shared: I will upload you, you can download me. I’m certain many of you have already. ;)

For the re-release, an acoustic demo version is included. The same lyrics, only stripped-down with Zevo, an acoustic guitar, and a harmonica. Sounds something like Neil Young might have tried.

 

Gridlock. An ode to the evening rush. The morning rush isn’t too bad, but the evening rush… can I possibly tell you how much it sucks? Well, Zevon can tell you about it better… and in song form with Neil Young on lead guitar. Stuck on the edge of the suburban sprawl / Everybody’s chocking on monoxide fumes / I feel like going on a killing spree / and Roll down the window, let me scream. You have my sympathies, Zevo. Crank this one up to 11 while you’re stuck on the interstate parking lot.

 

Down In The Mall. Nothing like a little conspicuous consumption, especially at a mall seven stories tall with a four floor parking garage. Zevon goes on a shopping spree so he can put it on a charge account we’re never gonna pay. Like what people are doing this holiday season…

 

Nobody’s In Love This Year. Prepare to have your heart broken with this down-tempo bit of bitter-sweetness. When lovers no longer communicate with each other, there’s no need to wonder why the rate of attrition for lovers like us is steadily on the rise.

 

Conclusion: Unlike other efforts at cyberpunk albums, both intended and unintended, Transverse City has become a true time-tested cyberpunk work (though it’s too early to say anything about recent acts like Dope Stars or Ayria). Then again, this is the only album that was written by a proven musical genius like Warren Zevon. This is classic rock that cyberpunk fans, even those who are not into Warren Zevon, can get into.

At least it beats listening to Werewolves of London for the zillionth time.

This post has been filed under Cyberpunk Music by Mr. Roboto.

Cyberpunk: Colin Timothy Gagnon

December 27, 2009

Music Review By: Mr. Roboto

Year: 2008

Aritst: Colin Timothy Gagnon

Written by: Colin Timothy Gagnon

Label: N/A

DOWNLOAD FROM THE ARTIST’S SITE
Album Cover - Colin Timothy Gagnon - Cyberpunk

Click the image to download the album from the artist’s site.

Track Listing:
1. Quiet – 2:10
2. Asphalt Dawn – 3:06
3. From the Ground Up – 3:08
4. Bad Deal – 1:24
5. Mass Transit – 3:54
6. These Doors Are Open – 1:45
7. It Never Stops Raining Here – 5:05
8. The Path of Least Resistance – 4:29
9. Arena – 1:41
10. Macrocosm – 2:42
11. Insertion Point – 3:29


Overview: Cyberpunk music is often described as “music with a feeling of living in a cyberpunk world.” Some would prefer that music with lyrics that tell a story; Others prefer just the music. If you prefer instrumental “ambient” cyberpunk, Colin Timothy Gagnon has an album for you to download into your ear canals. Released late last year, here’s how he describes his work:

A collection of tracks composed between 2002 and 2008 in the style of late ’80s and early ’90s video game music. I was reading a lot of seminal cyberpunk fiction when I composed the earliest of these tracks, and I imagine those authors expected the future to sound a little like this.

To me, ambient music is much like the “magic eye” autostereograms from the mid-90s; You may get it right away and the effect is spectacular, or you struggle with it and never get it. Fortunately, Gagnon’s site has a built-in player that will allow you to test the tracks to see if you like them. For now, let’s see what the individual tracks have to offer.

Quiet. The opening track is more tension than actual quietness, with echoing drums. I can probably hear this tune playing in the background while exploring Neocron’s Industrial and Outzone sectors.

Asphalt Dawn. Daybreak over the gritty city. Don’t think I quite got this one, but it does sound uplifting, like watching the sun rise.

From The Ground Up. Not sure about this one. Maybe looking up at the towering buildings

Bad Deal. A transaction has gone sour and now you need to run.

Mass Transit. Try listening to this the next time you’re on a subway or bus on your way to… wherever.

These Doors Are Open. I can imagine waking past a club and hearing a tune like this near the front door.

It Never Stops Raining Here. The opening does sound like water dripping from the roof after a recent rain.

The Path of Least Resistance. Funky bass line at the start, soaring the rest of the way.

Arena. Music you would expect at any sporting event. Bring on the gladiators!

Macrocosm. A term for how one interprets large-scale patterns, maybe like the rifts in this tune.

Insertion Point. You arrive at a spot, ready for action when the music picks-up the pace.

Conclusion: Whether or not this album is cyberpunk enough depends on how you interpret ambient music. Best advice: Visit Gagnon’s site and listen to the tunes via the player application, and make you own call. I’ll be listening to this work to see if I can get it.

This post has been filed under Cyberpunk Music by Mr. Roboto.

21st Century Slave: Dope Stars Inc.

November 2, 2009

Music Review By: Mr. Roboto

Year: 2009

Artist: Dope Stars Inc.

Written by: Victor Love

Label: Metropolis

21st Century Slave

Track Listing:

1. Omegadrones – 6:49
2. 21st Century Slave – 5:36
3. It’s Today – 3:27
4. When I See You Smile – 6:00
5. Digital Warriors – 5:25
6. Megacorps – 3:35
7. Criminal Intents – 3:32
8. Neuromantics – 4:43
9. Outlaw Thrones – 5:14
10. The World Machine – 4:34
11. It’s For You – 3:40


If you’ve never heard of Italy’s cyber-rockers Dope Stars Inc. (DSI for short), you’ve been sleeping in kool-aid for far too long. Victor Love, Fabrice La Nuit, and Darin Yevonde have been rocking and shocking the system since 2004-05 with a the look, sound, and lyrics that could have originated from any William Gibson / Bruce Sterling novel. Just look for and listen to songs like “Infection 13″ and “Vyperpunk” and you’ll see what I mean. For their 3rd full album, DSI has pulled out all the stops with 21st Century Slave, what can be considered a soundtrack for cyberpunk, complete with a manifesto (from DSI’s site):

21st Century Slave: A new manifesto for Digital Warriors, Outlaw Technologists and Console Riders of the 21st Century to survive in a World Machine where sheeple are being totally brainwashed and enslaved by Corporatocracy’s agenda and vicious propaganda.

Around half a century ago a primitive and promising silicon-form of intelligence, the artificial one, was born to be the guide of a new age. We called it Computer. And the world would never be the same again.

Electronic generated domains are the new frontiers. Cyberspace is the battlefield for the upcoming wars against the old and corrupted system that is naturally fading away. The System is collapsing. The System is obviously wrong. The only working System is the one we know as the computer generated one where we share our common interests and views: among the 0 and 1, among the stream of bit and bytes and an ocean of information that can’t be controlled and where all languages, subcultures and lifestyles are merging together. In Cyberspace we are free. In Cyberspace we are the kings. In Cyberspace we are a global Central Processing Unit. No other path to survive: Master Technology.

With technology we’ll be no more slaves of our Century. With Technology we’ll be no more sheeple ruled by questionable, hypocritical and oppressive authority and its obsolete principles. Technology is the cure: It’s the alternative. Technology is our terrific weapon and the network is our realm.

May the words of revolution spread unstoppable at light speed.
Free the energy. Free the information.

And then a day will come
For what you’ve done
For what it’s gone
For every death we’ll strike a bomb on Megacorps.

Of course, it takes more than a manifesto to make a CD cyberpunk, and DSI provides the sound and lyrics to make it so:

 

Omegadrones. The opening track has Victor declaring his readiness for the impending battle (I, the evolved machine / I, the adamant who thinks / I will battle), and features a sample of a famous movie line (from a movie reviewed here). By the sounds of it, he may be a machine who has seen through the corporate lies and has decided to join the humans.

 

21st Century Slave. Consider the title track a warning about what is being done to the sheeple… and to you. They just tell you: Eat this shit / And the big amount of flocks / Just don’t care about this.

 

It’s Today. We’re trapped in a world / That still refuses technology / It’s better to keep slow / And please corporatocracy. Wake up, sheeple, if you want to change the world.

 

When I See You Smile. Perhaps a reason for the war against the corporatocracy, other than just revenge? I know I’m not alone and I can fall / Straight down / Into your arms to find the force / And rise up. Certainly would make my cyber-war easier to manage.

 

Digital Warriors. This was the first track I heard from the CD… and I LOVE IT! This could be the hacker’s anthem: We are the children of the zero and one.

 

Megacorps. They own the crown, and Victor is looking to take it from them. It’s war in the streets with flamethrowers, pump rifles, and bombs.

 

Criminal Intents. The hackers get another crack (no pun intended) at the corporate system as My criminal intents / Will break the mainframe spear / That’s killing all you dear.

 

Neuromantics. All the fighting would drive a person insane if they didn’t have a break. For Victor, it seems to come from a bit of VR: A new reality connects through my brain / But all in all that’s the way I need to cut my pain.

 

Outlaw Thrones. A bit of concern shows regarding what “hope” can deliver. It’s just a dream / It can’t change the world at all.

 

The World Machine. Death will come for the corrupt leaders, even if it means waiting it out.

 

It’s For You. Another reminder of what he is fighting for: Someone to make the future for. It’s for you that is worth to die.

 

Conclusion. Dope Stars may be following the same path taken by the likes of The Cassandra Complex and Billy Idol, they just don’t tread lightly on that path. With several EPs and two albums of practice, DSI has struck a major blow for cyberpunk music. This is one CD you need to have in your collection, especially if you prefer harder music.

This post has been filed under Cyberpunk Music by Mr. Roboto.

The Cassandra Complex: Cyberpunx

July 5, 2007

Music Review By: Mr. Roboto

Year: 1990

Artist: The Cassandra Complex (Official Site)

Written by: The Cassandra Complex

Label: Play It Again Sam

Cyberpunx
Track listing:
1. Nice Work If You Can Get It – 3:36
2. Let’s Go to Europe – 2:18
3. Happy Days (War Is Here Again) – 1:24
4. Jihad Girl – 3:09
5. Sunshine at Midnight – 1:43
6. I Want You – 2:45
7. Sleeper – 4:03
8. Nightfall (Over Ec) – 3:27
9. Into the Heart – 3:37
10. I Believe in Free Everything – 3:26
11. What Turns You On? – 3:13
12. Ugly – 4:53


If you find similarities between this and Billy Idol’s CDs, that’s because there is some eerily close relations to the two: They’re both concept albums, both about cyberpunk, both were inspired by William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and both we’re commercial bombs. Being released three years before Billy’s CD, The Cassandra Complex made the attempt at a cyberpunk album that Mr. Idol could have taken notes from. While band leader Rodney Orpheus thought the concept was a great idea, an artistic clash between himself and the record label may have ruined it:

Overview: (from the Cassandra Complex website about the album)

Cyberpunx was that scariest of all things, a “concept album”; actually it was even worse, it was devised as a ROCK OPERA! I’ve always felt that rock’n’role lyrics are the worst kind of literature, and I wanted to try to write something that had the depth of a novel. So I put together the whole story of Cyberpunx as if it were an opera libretto, then wrote the songs to fit into sections of it.

Briefly, the story is set in a future war between the European Union and the Arab states, and is told through the eyes of one of the protaganists, an orphan boy who grows up in the jungle, becomes a European helicopter pilot, falls in love with a girl from the other (Arab) side, deserts, takes the girl to a space station where he gets her pregnant, gets brain damaged, becomes a hardcore criminal, and ends up as a dying in a hostage situation.

The record company hated the idea, and refused to release it in the form I wanted. After much argument and pressure from them I agreed to let them change the track order, drop some things etc. This was the worst decision I have ever made in my entire life, and I have regretted it ever since. The album as it is now is a bit of a bastardised version of what it should have been. It should have been magnificent, but it’s not. It is still a damn good record however, has some great stuff on it.

Incidentally, some of the tracks from this aborted story appeared on other records: Forests and Fire & Forget appeared on the Finland EP, Why and Lullaby appeared on the War Against Sleep album. Someday I’d like to piece the whole thing together as it was intended to be, including the full original story. And if I ever get the money, I’ll put the opera on the stage. We’ll see…

Typical suits, wouldn’t know art from shit.

It would have been interesting to see what the whole story would have sounded like, and the opera on stage… maybe Billy Idol is thinking the same thing for his CD. Cyberpunx, such as it is, is still an interesting listen even if All Music Guide considers the album “vaguely derivative” and “forgettable,” recommending it for die-hard industrial music fans. Now let’s run this mutha up the flagpole and see if it’s cyberpunk…

 

Nice Work… If You Can Get It: Track one is a little ditty about a person who murders a wealthy man then hacks his computer to steal his money (Back in car, I load the guy’s computer, ‘Course he keeps his passwords on a smart card Taped under the dash) and flies to Liechtenstein “Spending his money on a diamond mine.” Something many hackers probably dream of.

Let’s Go To Europe: It’s weird hearing this song, knowing it was written in the late 80’s, since the lyrics sound like a slam against modern America (You wrote a constitution and left it unread… Your only source of knowledge is T.V., You censor everything and think you are free). Back then, the US was at war in Iraq while a power-crazed president named George Bush was dictator. Nothing like the US today. ;)

Then again, Europe doesn’t get off easy either (There’s not much to Europe really, it’s so small).

Happy Days (War Is Here Again): What has to be the Bush family anthem, this short instrumental piece sounds almost like a celebration complete with a saxophone.

Jihad Girl: This is where the European helicopter pilot falls for the Arab girl, and when he suffers a mortal wound his thoughts turn to her for strength (Saw my insides in my hands, Survived by force of will, And by the thought of you), probably wishing she was like a robot (Wrap me in your arms of steel).

Sunshine At Midnight: The pilot and his Arab girl on the space station. Another short instrumental, with a bit of a Twilight Zone vibe to it. It segues smoothly to…

I Want You: Nothing cyberpunk here, just continuing the storyline where the pilot gets the girl pregnant.

Sleeper: Something about this song sounds like something from the Matrix or Queensryche’s Operation: Mindcrime (Someday the phone will ring, I’ll get my orders, I’ll come awake, And I’ll go home).

Nightfall (Over EC): An apocalyptic-sounding number of war in Europe (Jihad is coming, jihad is coming, The Third World War is coming home).

Into The Heart: A surprisingly guitar driven song with drugs (I snort some coke, It’s in my brain, Makes me feel alive, Makes the world insane) and a bit of violence (I got an Uzi, The only work of art, And on the handgrip, I paint my heart).

I Believe In Free Everything: The final instrumental offers voices lifted from some movies somewhere. Could be the anthem to the Free Software Foundation.

What Turns You On?: A serial killer gets sexually aroused murdering girls. ‘Nuff said. (My name is Ted Bundy… I liked to see the dead, And when I came in them, It’s like Jesus giving head).

Ugly: The hostage situation where the pilot dies (Here come the bullets), but not before he has one last say about the world (Your world is ugly). A rather ominous finale to the album.

 

Conclusion: With only five of the twelve tracks having confirmed cyberpunk lyrics, I’d have to say the album isn’t cyberpunk. But after learning what planned and how the record execs fucked it up, I’m only more interested in hearing the album as it was originally planned, complete with the storyline.

Hopefully, Rodney Orpheus will re-release Cyberpunx as he intended. As it is, it’s still worth a listen, it’s just not quite cyberpunk enough.

This post has been filed under Cyberpunk Music by Mr. Roboto.