CD, Tympanik Audio, 2008
Electronic music fans are a difficult collection of people to impress on a whole. They tend to be more technologically savvy and often likely to grab an album off iTunes (or equivalent service), unless that album comes in a pretty amazing package that requires a purchase of the physical – and this is where Zentriert Ins Antlitz have initially excelled themselves. “…No” really is the full multimedia package.
Firstly, though, it is the music that counts, and “…No” really is unlike most electronic CD’s of the past year. Zentriert Ins Antlitz’s music bears more of a resemblance to something you would find in a film score – think Hans Zimmer, or John Williams going head to head with someone like Architect, or Totakeke and you’re somewhere in the right direction. The music lends itself to actual structure and a more organic sound. The title track is a prime example of this – beautifully orchestrated, minimal use of samples (although some are used, and to brilliant effect) and enough beats to remind you that this is an electronic project. “24th Dimension” has a beautiful string section, and is mostly guitar oriented for the first half, until an interesting rhythm becomes interlaced.
Other tracks worth noting are “Can’t Get Me” which sounds very trance like to me, and is as close to a dancefloor track as “…No” has – it has got some really great, slightly metal sounding guitars in there too. “Shamisen Jungle” is very laid back, with some world music style flourishes while “Silence Diary” feels strangely unsettling – it is particularly calm, with odd samples, which gives it a slightly sinister feel. “Today” should appeal to hard EBM fans as it has the big synth sound, but without being too in your face about it. I like the fact that Zentriert Ins Antlitz aren’t afraid to play with just about every sound they feel like using – be it highly orchestrated film score sound, or trance, or world music; it all fits.
This isn’t all that “…No” has to offer though. Using a piece of software, downloadable from the band’s website, you can (literally) extract 2 CD’s worth of amazing remixes (from the likes of Stendeck, Autoclav 1.1, Subheim and the aforementioned Totakeke amongst many others), in addition to a series of desktop backgrounds, CD covers, etc which are encoded as data elements in the CD’s audio tracks. A strange but rather smart gimmick which means quite a lot of extra bang for your buck.
Zentriert Ins Antlitz are a great addition to the already sublime roster at Tympanik, and I look forward to seeing how “…No” works in a live setting. It’s a truly great album and anyone with a wide interest in music would be wise to pick this one up.
– Kate Turgoose