Thursday 23 May 2013

Review: Controlled Collapse - 'Babel'


Polish electro-industrialists Controlled Collapse have been making music for a decade now combining the more experimental arm of the harsh ebm spectrum and mix in hints of techno, rhythmic industrial and even a bit of darkwave. It's a sound that many seem to strive for, but inevitably don't achieve, instead becoming caught up in the clichés of the scene. But not Controlled Collapse. With their third outing 'Babel', they distil ten years of work down into one definitive statement.

The album is full of the unexpected. Yes at its hear it is a hard and dirty dance album. But the constant shifts in tempo and key changes in the songs give this a more rockier edge that will definitely play well live. The shifting beats, sparse but effective guitar and accomplished synth work make this a very compelling listen. But when you throw in the many vocal styles at work here, it becomes even richer.

Songs such as 'Pain', 'Numb', 'Dzień Sądu', 'Cube' and 'My Fault' are ready made to take on dance floors around the world with their body moving rhythms and utterly infectious melodies that channel the likes of Suicide Commando, :Wumpscut:, Ade Fenton and Kraftwerk. But arguably the album's true highlight is the stunning centrepiece that is 'Fragment Of Time' featuring guest vocals from Aleksandra Burska. It's simply one of those songs that the stars seemed to have intangibly aligned on, with the dual male and female vocals, synth strings and throbbing bass coming together for a memorable song.

In terms of production this is a fine example of how to mix an album. It feels fluid and organic with all the different elements within the songs having room to breath, allowing the listener to take every nuance in.

Controlled Collapse have crafted a definitive album for themselves with 'Babel'. It's everything a good electro album should be – accessible, yet experimental and melodic, yet heavy – giving the listener plenty to get their teeth into. CC have taken some bold moves that have paid off in a big way, and if they can get the coverage they deserve, then there is no reason why this album shouldn't be big.

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