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iamx byIrynaKalenska27Markthalle, Hamburg, Germany
14th October 2023
IAMX - “Fault Lines¹ Tour 2023”

This fall the cult electronic project IAMX went on a massive “Fault Lines¹” tour across Europe and the UK. The band has not missed Hamburg as well. Therefore, I can proudly say that I became witness to a grandiose show in support of the new album, but it was not without classics. But first things first.

For former astrophysics student Chris Corner, natural science and technical expertise meet kohl pencil and exuberant emotion. The Londoner unites conflicting souls in his chest to form IAMX and turns it into a multimedia spectacle; filled to the brim with musical drama of the highest order. First, however, he stirred up the British Indie scene with the SNEAKER PIMPS, for which he was also the leading force. Then, in 2004, he really got going with IAMX and collected all the friends of grand gestures and melodramas. As loaded as the SMITHS, as full of pathos as SUEDE, as indulgent as the New Romantics of the early 80s, and last but not least as eager to transform as BOWIE, he builds his own artistic empire step by step.

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Already the debut ‘Kiss + Swallow’ turned out to be a respectable success with fans and critics. At the same time, it is not yet a complete free-for-all of their own vision. Large parts of the tracks were written during the SNEAKER PIMPS’ active time and were planned for a final album. Only with the successor ‘The Alternative’ does he find himself. IAMX’ independent identity is only really completed with the move to Berlin, which is important for Corner’s development. Fascinated by the atmosphere of the city, which he finds existentialist and exuberantly colourful in equal parts, he creates two excellent albums there that finally define the DNA of the project. Then, due to health problems, Corner, of course, changed his place of residence. He now lives and works at Silent Valley Studios in Southern California.

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The musician experiments a lot with the sound, and it is noticeable during concerts, when compositions sound different every time than it was on the album for example. Corner is unfazed by all the reactions and explains his musical approach: ‘With many bands, people always say ‘Oh, it sounds the same. Nothing new!’ I couldn’t do anything like that. I don’t sit down and consciously, tense up every time, and do everything differently than before. It’s not like that. However, the result is always different. I’m probably a restless type who is always automatically looking for something new. New in expression and new in impression.’ /

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Music & Performance
As IAMX’ time on stage was getting closer and closer, the fans were getting more and more excited. I was pleased to see in front of the stage some old friends I haven’t seen for years, as well as Facebook friends I’ve wanted to meet in person for a long time. And that’s another feature of IAMX, they bring people together around them into one big family. Since Chris Corner is always experimenting, I didn’t know what to expect from the presentation of the new album, but I was sure I wouldn’t be disappointed. A few words about the album itself. ‘Fault Lines¹’ is definitely for those who again love experiments, and are ready to perceive material that is complex in its structure. Complex in terms of both musical background and content. While delving into the dark depths of the human psyche is nothing new for IAMX, it’s more about wild, raw emotions, be it anger or despair. Kinetic sounds and explosive voices increase the acuity of perception. In general, the album seems to reflect the inner world of an artist who is disillusioned with people, but at the same time is part of society and expresses his feelings about what will happen if he completely surrenders to gloomy thoughts, what kind of ending this will lead to.

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The concert started with the first hard and emotional song from ‘Fault Lines¹’ album, ‘Disciple’, and Chris and his long-time bandmates, the gorgeous Janine Gesang and drummer John Siren, burst onto the stage full of energy. All three wore different black masks - Chris in a theatrical glam mask more like a gothic crown, John in a rabbit mask and Janine looked more like a bank robber, which only added excitement to her performance. ‘Disciple’ starts with the words “Believe in me, worship me. You will always be protected.” It is about disciples, who deceive themselves, lie to themselves, and instead follow someone unconditionally. In doing so, losing oneself and surrendering to the teacher seems to be the only right way. “But I love you more when you beg and adore, and you kneel. Here’s your liberation.” This is joined by diverse sound structures that first clash and then merge with each other.

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The measured performance of ‘The X ID’ slightly reduced the pressure with which the musicians ran onto the stage. Chris was constantly communicating with the audience through distortion. By the way, this time he made many jokes, sampled the fans in the audience making strange sounds and played them through a bunch of filters on his modular setup while waiting for the next song to start. He responded to some fans in the audience from the stage, of course making fun of them. And no matter how private Chris may be, it seems that during the lockdown, he missed communicating with the audience. Starting with ‘Sailor’, Janine turned up the heat and the frantic rhythm of the concert resumed. Janine came out from behind the keyboard to play around in her mask costume, flirting with the audience and Chris.

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After the classic ‘After Every Party I Die’ came another new composition with ‘Fault Lines¹’, a dark slow composition of the same name, and by the way with a very ambitious, extravagant video. Then the classics ‘I Come With Knives’ and ‘President’ were played, but in a new sound, and it seems to me that this was the best performance of ‘Happiness’ for all the times that I heard live, the romantic, even Shakespeare’s ‘Bernadette’, and finally the undisputed hit ‘The Alternative’. Then suddenly it was over. Although no one had time to come to their senses yet. It’s a shame that the setlist for this tour is so short. On the other hand, we understand that we can expect another LP from IAMX this year. Therefore, there is hope that next time our pleasure from the live show will last longer.

01. Disciple
02. The X ID
03. Sailor
04. After Every Party I Die
05. Fault Lines
06. Screams
07. I Come With Knives
08. Exit
09. President
10. Happiness
11. No Maker Made Me
12. Bernadette
13. The Alternative

Music: 9
Performance: 10
Light: 8
Sound: 9
Total: 9 / 10

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All Pictures Iryna Kalenska

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