Millipede – Powerless


CD, Hymen Records, 2011

Hymen Records is a label that I have gone back to time after time, as I know the quality of their releases is something I can rely on. They release music that is creative, powerful and different. They’re also not afraid to take chances, and have released some of my favourite albums. I am somewhat confused as to why they chose to release Millipede’s “Powerless”, as it doesn’t feel like a natural fit for them at all.

“Powerless” appears to be the soundtrack to a period of time that was testing for Don Hill (otherwise known as Millipede) and his family, and it certainly doesn’t bring to mind any feelings of happiness. Its very fibres (if music were to have them) are just soaked in misery of the most pedestrian kind. This isn’t misery you can tap into and feel (and I know some people like music that has some sort of sadness behind it) – whilst this release does try hard, the emotional content seems somewhat lacking, or hard to connect with.
This isn’t even the work of one person – this is a collaborative album, with each track featuring some other well-known, and well-thought-of, artist whom you might think would be able to bring something different to the table. To be blunt, it’s terribly bland ‘emotional industrial’. To define it as anything else would be tarnishing IDM or ambient releases elsewhere.

On the entire release there are probably three tracks that are worth paying any attention: “Synovial Damage (feat. Brian Grover)”, “Darkest Night (feat. Candle Nine and Access to Arasaka)” and “No Place to Stand (feat. Lucidstatic)”. These tracks all follow one another on the album, and all use some really interesting noises and synth lines to create an atmosphere you could cut with a knife. If these artists alone had collaborated on this release, they could have created something interesting. There are other artists involved that I enjoy in their own projects, but who bring very little here. Also, most, if not all, of the collaborators are signed to Tympanik Audio, and the emotional electronic industrial sound that predominates on the album would certainly be better suited to that label’s listeners than Hymen’s.

In the end, three tracks out of eight doesn’t create an album of any real interest.

– Kate Turgoose [2/10]