Thursday, 9 January 2014

Review: Controlled Collapse – 'Ruins After Babel'

'Ruins After Babel' 

Poland's Controlled Collapse released a forceful album in the form of 2013's 'Babel'. An album which melded the band's decade of experimentalism with a clear and focussed dance floor agenda that blended techno, rhythmic industrial darkwave. It was a compelling listen, but will the new remix EP 'Ruins After Babel' bring anything new out of a varied and well executed album?

Kicking off with the old school ebm orientated techno of 'Ruins (Mental)' the album takes a brave step opening with an infectious instrumental rather than a full-blown dance mix, however it works through the sheer power of its grooving synths and toe-tapping beats. Die Braut's take on 'Change The World' by comparison feels fresh and and suitably epic blending big future-pop synths with slow industrial beats. The Paralyzed by H.EXE mix of 'Numb' wanders into recent Gary Numan territory albeit with a purer syth-based execution for a great dance track.

'Fragment Of Time' featuring Aleksandra Burska on vocals was an undoubted highlight of the original album, but the remix featured here just doesn't do the original justice and by comparison sounds flat and uninspired. Volt 9000's take on 'Dzień Sądu' on the other hand is a dark and stripped back affair that loses none of the menace of the original and brings out the band's more experimental flourishes nicely. 'Change The World' contributed by remix contest winner Nick James is a pretty straight-forward minimal and ambient mix that focusses heavily on the rhythms and slowly breaks out the old school synth sounds before throwing some dubstep embellishments. Absured Monkey Project continue from the previous mix nicely with a more frantic pace and more overt dubstep elements filling the track. Finally 'Phoenix' rounds things off nicely with a nice blend of ebm and slow groaning bass for a subtle but catchy finale.

Although 'Babel' was a strong album, Controlled Collapse and their partners in crime have still managed to wring some new and interesting takes on the original songs. The variety of the remixes means that even on it's own this feels like a continuation of the main album rather than a mere appendage. This should ensure some continued club play, but it's one that casual listeners with certainly enjoy as well.

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