Reviewed by Julian Wilson

Farchild/Chivalry Has Died

“Do you smile when I look up/Or does your hand promptly move down to the back of my pants?” sings Farchild on “Ey, Papi,” a brutally frank demand for r-e-s-p-e-c-t directed towards male horndogs. Even though she doesn’t slam the floor with big, metallic guitars, with “Ey, Papi” there’s no doubt that Farchild is from Seattle, especially when she warns, “Make sure that hand stays firmly around my waist/Cause if it slips without permission you might find yourself/Losing a tooth.” Quite edgy and tough, but Seattle rock has never been known for its softness, right?

However, Farchild isn’t “rock.” Although “Timmy’s a Rebel” and “Orbital” have their share of prime, speaker-filling Seattle riffola, Farchild’s music most often powered by keyboards. If Tori Amos, instead of just dating Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails at one point, had actually fronted for his group, the result might’ve been like this album. The slow piano track “Natural Solitude” certainly has that Amos-like dimly-lit introspection but the pounding percussion and machine clanging of “Peter Piper” is pure NIN. At only eight cuts, I wish that Chivalry Has Died were longer, but in these days of filler-filled CDs that’s a huge compliment.



Reviewed by Julian Wilson

Skin Contact/The Fine Line

Skin Contact is the name of Kevin Breidenbach’s project and not a band by any means. On this six-cut EP, Breidenbach unites elements of both techno and industrial music to achieve the most infectious grooves. Although it’s an experimental process, the results are far more accessible than you’d anticipate; this is not some cold Kid A construct. Much of this is designed to move – and make your feet follow. On that level, it certainly works.

The title track has a claustrophobic, icy opening that eventually gives way to stimulating, pulsating synthesized rhythms a la Depece Mode. I’m not sure if Breidenbach was consciously riding on the Mode but that’s who I was reminded of. No doubt that Martin Gore would find it enjoyable. “Under the Skin” and “Nerves” are more aggressive, closer to the industrial bump and grind of Front 242 but without much of the heaviness. “Slipping” finds Breidenbach flirting with pop without giving in to it while “Collisions” engages the ears with its hypnotic drum and bass beats.


Reviewed by Julian Wilson

Wolff/Addition by Subtraction

Just when you think that everything’s been done with electronic music comes Wolff with a radical yet, at least on Addition by Subtraction, completely successful idea. The gimmick, if you want to refer to it as such, is that most of the instruments are played through a tuba. What could’ve been a prog-rock disaster of epic proportions is a surprisingly accessible and actually well-crafted disc that sounds completely, breathtakingly original. Bravo! The title track and “What I See” are rooted in the raincoat post-punk of Joy Division; however, Wolff is feeding the cold, ominous textures and pulsating rhythms through a tuba, producing a big, eeriely claustrophobic sound. Add the distorted vocals to them, and you have Goth redefined for the 21st century.

Shockingly, Wolff is incredibly versatile, able to create varied styles with his super tuba powers. “It’s Okay to Be Happy” hops with playful electronica while “Broken Words” slams the scratchy beats of hip-hop with the chilly Euro dance of Kraftwerk. “Combustible” swirls with a jazz-like free flow while “Screaming Tuba” and “Haunted” bring on the industrial grind.