Boomkat Product Review:
My Disco’s industrial goth gristle and bones congeal in petrified form on a return to Downwards, benefiting from visceral mixing by legendary Einstürzende Neubauten engineer, Boris Wilsdorf. With a sound that intersects elements of Pan Sonic, Fugazi, Raime, Regis, The Human League’s 'Dignity Of Labour’ and Big Black, 'Alter Schwede’ comes v v highly recommended to anyone with interests anywhere along that spectrum.
Back in the Downwards clammy clutch, Melbourne’s tightest trio compile material recorded during midwinter sessions at Einstürzende Neubauten’s infamous AndereBaustelle studio in Berlin. The eight new components of ‘Alter Schwede’ offer a compelling instrumental psychodrama of klangorous percussion and seething industrial urges harnessed to the trio’s critically stylised minimalism. Set in acres of resounding negative space rendered by Boris Willsdorf at the AndereBaustelle studio that’s been hailed a vital x-variant in heavy recordings by everyone from Neubauten to Pan Sonic and Keiji Haino, the record continues the band’s strong tradition of working with seminal engineers, such as Steve Albini (they’re also named after a Big Black song) at Electrical Paradise on ‘Paradise’ (2007) and ‘Little Joy’ (2010), to best bring out the gnawed-bone texture, spectral sinew and gothic romantic sturm und drang of their music.
Liam Andrews (bass, electronics, vox), Ben Andrews (guitar), and Rohan Rebeiro (drums, percussion) mark nearly 20 years of releases with some of their most uncompromising, and, by turns, captivating, work on ‘Alter Schwede’. Between the elemental howl of ‘The Shore’ and grand, cinematic epilogue of ‘Third Place’ they stake out a distinctive space in the contemporary industrial field. The back-combed tape loops of ‘Irreversible’ hint at the feel of Gaspar Noe’s film of the same name, while the mix of spoken word german and collapsing workshop structures of ’StVO’ uncannily recall Jani Christou’s ‘Mysterion Prolog Und Sprechertext’ to these ears, while their cogs finally knit into some semblance of industrial grind on ‘Meshes’.
They make most crucial use of the studio-as-instrument in the cavernous klang of ‘Toil’, with the clenched pulse and awning harpy moans of ‘Folterkammer', with the deathly stasis and distant chain rattles of ‘BaustellenLüftung’ offering space to reflect on the bleak state of things.
Heavy, precise, intense gothic minimalism, perfected.