Victor Love is perhaps best known as the main man behind Italian cyberpunks Dope Stars Inc. who have been spreading their DIY influenced mix of industrial and punk for over a decade now. Love's newest release 'The Network' is interesting for two reasons; number one it is his first ever solo release, and number two, it sees a big change in sound.
'The Network' builds on the DIY ethic of his main project and has a very minimal sound characterised by a dominant synth melody over industrial beats, almost doom metal guitars and a hip-hop influenced vocal style that recalls the likes of ohGr and Katscan. It still has a cyberpunk atmosphere to it, albeit in a slower and more sinister way than Dope Stars Inc. fans will be used to.
The EP kicks off with the bleak atmosphere of 'Doom Trap' which does a great job setting up the project with a slow trip-hop meets cyber metal construction that is both hypnotic and heavy. This formula is continued onto the more rhythmically powered 'Machine Gun' which adds a more dance-friendly pace to the EP. The release is rounded off by 'Net Reality' which sticks to its guns and maintain the pace of the previous track but adds a bit more familiarity with it's Dope stars Inc. style chorus.
The sound is rough and ready and definitely has a DIY quality to it. But with it's minimal construction and the experience of Love behind the desk it sounds nice and modern as well. It has just the right amount of grit to it to give it that low-fi sound, but the mixing doesn't suffer for it.
'the Network' is an intriguing release from Victor Love. With one full-length Dope Stars Inc. album having been recently released, and another EP on the way, it will remain to be seen whether his solo output will get much opportunity to be explored further in 2015. But based on this snapshot, hopefully a follow-up EP, or even a full-length album is on the cards to further build on this release.