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Having enjoyed both of the JASSS records on Mannequin’s ‘Death Of The Machines’ series, I was expecting more of the same from this Spanish artist. However, on debut album ‘Weightless’, she’s really spread her wings way beyond the fringes of the dancefloor and that EBM rooted sound. Although for sure there’s plenty of that sound present, she also incorporates elements of dubbed out industrial, musique concrète, free jazz and African rhythms into the brew.
The dubby, tribal drums, slicing metallic percussion and menacing sub bass of opener ‘Every Single Fish In The Pond’ are a proper mood setter, as it builds into a sort of mutant stepping EBM hybrid with a big, frosty synth. ‘Oral Couture’ is like a corrosive molten liquid - spitting as it sizzles atop searing bass, trippy bleeping loop and blasts of percussion like bursts of high pressure steam. The relentless, mechanical industrial rhythm of ‘Danza’ is backgrounded beneath Persian Santur and then takes a few unexpected rhythmical twists and turns - the whole thing coming off like an attention deficit disorder Muslimgauze or something. ‘Cotton For Lunch’ splices up vocal fragments and skittering, collapsing jazz percussion and bursts of sax over a tension filled drone. Then it’s time for a good workout to the springing, darkside EBM stepper that is the title cut, complete with counting vocal to make sure you keep in time as it gradually becomes shadowed in a gloomy black cloud. Then we reach the introspective, stygian ambient soundscapes of ‘Theo Goes away’ before we head back to the floor for ‘Instantaneous Transmission Of Information’. A real freaky, nightmarish bad trip/downer techno monster with ghoulish wailing horns and darkside, growling bass. ‘To Eat With Dirty Hands’ layers cut-up vocal samples, or quite possibly her own voice over grinding, rusty bass to claustrophobic effect - before the whole thing becomes consumed by an overwhelming synth that’s at once ecstatic and suffocating.
Silvia Jiménez Alvarez has really forged her own distinctive sound on this record. The more danceable tracks are a refreshing, off-kilter, avant-garde take on the rebirth of EBM/industrial. Her sounds are very effective - as though they’ve left a dirty residue on your skin that leaves you scratching, even after you’ve taken the needle off the record.
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- Weightless by JASSS
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