Published Mar 21, 2018Georges Bataille was an early 20th century French intellectual whose work touched on philosophy, economics, sociology and more. Among his big ideas was the role that energy plays in the world. He argued that we all have it in us; we expend some on basic survival, but beyond that, it's up to us whether or not we choose to apply excess energy in ways that are good for us. He defined wasted energy as luxury, a fundamental characteristic of society.
Drew McDowall and Hiro Kone are similarly noteworthy figures, at least to electronic music fans. McDowall first earned an international reputation as a member of Coil. Hiro Kone was a member of Effi Briest, before releasing her well-received solo debut Love is the Capital — which featured McDowall — last year.
This new four-piece work from the duo produces its share of suspenseful energy, "conjuring the sentiment of death as productive force," according to the album's notes.
It opens with a penetrating electronic squeal on "Barely Awake." As the piece gathers steam, additional layers of electronics, noise and percussion contribute to a sense of building anticipation. The beguiling "Dreaming Is Nursed In Darkness" comes next, where a ghost-like voice flutters over gentle tapping. If contact is made with Mr. Bataille at any point over the course of this album's 26 minutes, this is it.
"Bright Kiss of Fire" follows with industrial-grade clanging percussion and a variety of electronics. What's most intriguing about the work McDowall and Kone do together is the connections they make between his '80s-era work and her more recent recordings. While that may not have broad appeal among fans of the genre, this is a fine, very current example of that particular stream of industrial electronics.
The album's longest track comes last and "Violence's Detour" is clearly the disc's highlight. A steady hum of distorted electronics lends the piece a sense of drama and the melodic synth that accompanies it is offset by more clanging, jarring electronics. It's a lovely racket. (Bank Records)