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teardown cloudscoverthesun
Artist: tEaR!doWn
Title: Clouds Cover The Sun
Genre: Dark Electro
Release Date: 9th March 2013
Label: Electro Aggression Records


Album Review

I thought Cthulhu would return before Electro Aggression Records (EAR) released TEAR!DOWN's latest offering but the stars have aligned and the TEAR!DOWN assault has commenced... THANKFULLY! There has been a lot of talk about this release and like most releases on EAR they take their time and tease us with anticipation until finally when all hope is nearly lost, BOOOOOM!, there it is! It is always worth the wait because you know the end product was carefully crafted and aged like a fine bottle of Chateau Margaux 1787.

TEAR!DOWN, along with PYRROLINE and TERMINAL STATE all hit the electro world at the same time like Cloverfield, Godzilla and Rosie O'Donnell in a three-way monster death match. The day I received my package was a great day, and soon became a huge time commitment to break this beast down. After a few weeks of constant listening and ignoring my family, here is a recollection of my account with TEAR!DOWN 'Clouds Cover The Sun' album and 'Torn Down & Reconstructed' remix disc.

It was a cold day in New Jersey. I had a long ride ahead of me so I slipped in the first disc 'Clouds Cover The Sun' and set out to experience this offering without any distractions. I was familiar with TEAR!DOWN due to the fact that I have their self-released mini-album 'Mind!kick'. It was pretty good but really did not represent where the band ultimately ended up going. Given the fact Oliver Spring of Sleepwalk fame was involved with the project, one could only assume this was going to get better with time. Five years later, here we are with a completely revamped and improved sound that will surely please fans of quality music.

As my commute began, ‘A Tear Falls Down Part 1’ was the intro to the album. It is a slow, repetitive, soundscape overshadowed by a distorted voice that sounds like a sample of a NASA transmission from Earth to a space station. A voice breaks in and keeps repeating, "A tear Drops down and hits your face" while the music merges into a smooth and intricate piece sonic transformations that would make FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY proud. As the intro fades away ‘Sign From Above’ cuts a giant slice right through the calm and creates a high-powered storm of furious beats set to Oliver's hard-edged vocals. ‘Sign From Above’ has a nice old school feel with a modern touch. This is the perfect appetizer to the huge main course.

‘Lost’ slows down a bit and showcases some really cool sound layers that instantly become very memorable. The melodic vocals remind me a bit of ‘Breathe’. They are as pleasant as a mid-summer’s night and as menacing as a drifter whacked-out bath salts. EAR is big on cross-promoting artists they like as well as artists who are being considered for future releases. This is quite evident as I look ahead to disc 2. Back to disc 1 we see our first of several TEAR!DOWN collaborations. The first is with Oliver Spring’s electro-synth-pop side project NINE SECONDS. It is called ‘Disploded Visions (tEaR!doWn vs. Nine Seconds)’. The vocals are distorted slightly like they are on most tracks, but this one is a bit more synth-pop oriented with memorable choruses and easy to understand lyrics. This will undoubtedly be one of the most accessible tracks by TEAR!DOWN.

I'm about halfway through my commute and the next of three more collaboration tracks beckon me, so I skip ahead to ‘Nerve Conflict (tEaR!doWn vs. Venetian Blind)’. I am a little bit familiar with VENETIAN BLINE from their contribution to the VA ‘Old School Electrology’ 4CD Box. This song was very intriguing right from the start. I found myself completely immersed into the MENTALLO-esque composition and missed my exit. ‘Melt Away (tEaR!doWn vs. [Headcleaner]’ is a nice piece that brings the tempo down to a tranquil cold feel. It has a nice vibe for the end of my journey. You get lost in the soundscape; perhaps daydream a little until you realize you made it to you destination.

‘Would You Follow Me (Nocomment vs. tEaR!doWn)’ brings back a beautiful voice that I remember from the 90’s into the 2000’s. I had all but forgotten about NOCOMMENT, until I heard this track and the memorable voice that helped create some amazing synth-pop tunes. This track is standard operating procedure for NOCOMMENT. Nice hooks and melodies to keep your ears occupied. After a minor work hiatus, I returned to my car eager to pick up where I left off. ‘Insight’ starts the trip off with a dark journey into what appears to be an honest mind trying to explain the nature of their personality. I keep hearing “I am not perfect” over and over. Perhaps the song is about expectations placed on someone who feels they cannot live up to those very expectations. This story is told over a slower beat that builds gradually as the vocals get more and more pronounced and aggressive. The crescendo is repeated a few times.

The next song, ‘This Cold Room’, immediately picks up the pace. It’s a very danceable track with memorable choruses set to another theme of inner conflicts and personal harm. The lyrics that are partially printed inside the inlay for this track, suggest it is about drug use or drug abuse. “Toxic dust inside my dying lungs” & “Toxic needles inside my skin, paralyzing me” are phrases that stand out and act as window into the meaning of the song. As the song progresses, I get the impression that there is no turning back as there is mention of a dimmed candle light by the door giving a glimmer of hope.  Could this be the final light this person sees before they release themselves to death?

‘Burnt By The Sun’ starts off with a spoken sample that goes on for a short time about war and creating a better world. We hear, “The history of war is the history of pain”. This repeats several times throughout the song eventually giving way to Oliver’s powerful voice. The song builds up and gradually slows down as the sample resumes. The song demonstrates an excellent blend of brutal power coexisting with the serene. Following the collaboration with VENETIAN BLIND, ‘Silent Noise’ is nice layered track with a few guitar samples and heavily distorted inaudible vocal samples. ‘Play Dead’ incorporates more female vocals, along with Oliver that belts out a melodic song that is consistent with what you would expect from a TEAR!DOWN track- melody laced with a gentle dose of viciousness. The use of a guest vocalist whether male or female, can add more to what is already done well. In other cases, it becomes the saving grace of an album. On this release, it added more. I really enjoyed the variety and diversity it gave to the overall feel to the entire output.

‘Not from This World’ is the second to last track I hear before the end of this journey. The music is very good, yet a bit more linear than other tracks. There is a familiar synth sound of the 80’s settled into the track. It takes the song from average to above average. The sound reminds me of CETU JAVU’s ‘China Girl’. The album ends as it began. ‘A Tear Falls Down Part II’ closes the door with an intricate musical piece. The experimental aspects are very similar to the opening track without the vocal parts. Some may say the intro and outro are nothing more than filler on most releases; this however is not the case here. If TEAR!DOWN’s opening and closing tracks are filler, I’ll take a few pallets.

Disc 2 is titled ‘Torn Down & Reconstructed’. If you are familiar EAR products, you can always rest assured you will get a monstrous dose of remixes from artists that are part of the EAR crew as well as friends of the label. To some this can be overkill, but to others we see it as revelry to days gone by and to new horizons. EAR has managed to resurrect the dead when it comes remixes and collaborations, sometimes even re-launching the necrotized project. This is something the label takes very seriously. EAR tries and succeeds to raise the bar each time to give you a little more than one might expect.

The first track on the remix disc is called ‘Addiction’. The remix is done by SOILLODGE (Michael Renfield). He quietly boosts his resume with his song writing and technical skills. Michael has worked with PYRROLINE, FGFC820, NOISE PROCESS and many others. I’m not certain where this track came from. Perhaps it was left off the first disc due to space? It’s not from any release I’m aware of, however it is solid track with some cool background and atmospheric sounds blended in.

SECOND DISEASE, AMNISTIA and FRAMEWORK open the remixing assignments with their creations from the originals off the first disc. All are definitely solid remixes by somewhat established names in the scene. There was really nothing overwhelming here, however I did like the slow drawn-out approach to the remix that SECOND DISEASE did. AMNISTIA’s remix of ‘Insight’ has a choppy feel to the first few minutes before it settles down into a nice rhythmic dark electro vibe. Framework showcases a purposeful and somewhat atavistic approach to ‘Play Dead’. I get the feeling this was the original demo version and TEAR!DOWN’s version on disc 1 is the finely tuned remix that polishes off the primordial ooze. I do mean that as a compliment to FRAMEWORK.

JIHAD and ONE EYE WANDERS added their signature sound manipulations to the already masterful and dark ‘This Cold Room’. I find the remixes very interesting. ONE EYE WANDERS is known for the extremely complex nature of their arrangements weaving in sounds and inspiration ranging from Kabuki theatre to carefully selected samples. I know I am not the only one out there craving more from this artist. ‘Glimpse/Recoil’ is flat out genius. The remixes are just tiny teasers and look ahead to hopefully a full-length by ONE EYE WANDERS. JIHAD revisits the theme of human frailty by taking on ‘This Cold Room’. The subject matter is dark, cold and perfect for JIHAD’s distinct sound.

RED & TEST is another promising up and coming act on the EAR horizon. With very little to go on we have heard enough to be quite intrigued by what RED & TEST brings to the table. Like all the handpicked remixers, we get a high-level treatment of technical wizardry on the track ‘Insight’. RED & TEST like OEW has a gift for incorporating uncommon sounds that become extremely memorable and leave you in awe. PYRROLINE, BRAIN LEISURE and TERMINAL STATE expand the parameters of the originals by creating a more chilling, controlled atmospheric approach. BRAIN LEISURE remixes usually stand out no matter which artist is fortunate enough to get the treatment.  

BRAIN LEISURE dishes out a mighty atmospheric dark electro instrumental version of ‘Silent Noise’. You can get lost in the music. The boundaries have no limits when BRAIN LEISURE is involved. Dom also has the mastering privileges as well. MC1R has a similar feel. You get the atmospheric well-crafted track with a sprinkle of aggression and chaos laced in for a slightly different feel. SYNAPTIC DEFECT & SLEEPWALK (Mr. Al) go for a more straight forward electro assault. Both add nice touches to their mixes. TO AVOID adds a killer warm and fuzzy feel, handling the old school EBM point of view.

Overall this is one hell of a release. It highlights some great programming and song writing. Every track offers something different. Everything appears to be well thought out and placed accordingly. The vocals are far from the typical dark electro guttural howls we hear screamed out to no end. I like that I am able make out what is being said throughout the song. Nothing is too polished, or too abrasive. My only complaint is that it is a very lengthy release and took me forever to go through it. Keep an eye out for more releases coming soon.


Tracklist

CD1: ‘Clouds Cover The Sun’
01. A Tear Falls Down Part I
02. Sign From Above
03. Lost
04. Disploded Visions (tEaR!doWn vs. nine seconds)
05. Insight
06. This Cold Room
07. Burnt By The Sun
08. Nerve Conflict (tEaR!doWn vs. Venetian Blind)
09. Silent Noise
10. Play Dead
11. Not From This World
12. Melt Away (tEaR!doWn vs. [headcleaner])   
13. Would You Follow Me (nocomment vs. tEaR!doWn)
14. A Tear Falls Down Part II

CD2: ‘Torn Down & Reconstructed’
01. Addiction - Soillodge RMX
02. Burnt By The Sun - Second Disease RMX
03. Insight - Amnistia RMX
04. Playdead - Framework RMX
05. This Cold Room - Jihad RMX
06. Nerve Conflict - MC1R RMX
07. Silent Noise - Brain Leisure RMX
08. Insight - Pyrroline RMX
09. Burnt By The Sun - Terminal State RMX
10. Lost - Synaptic Defect RMX
11. Sign From Above - To Avoid RMX
12. This Cold Room - One Eye Wanders RMX
13. Insight - Red+Test RMX
14. Not From This World- Mr. AL of Sleepwalk RMX


Line-up

Oliver Spring and Charly


Websites

http://www.teardownmusic.de / https://www.facebook.com/teardownmusic


Cover Picture

teardown cloudscoverthesun


Rating

Music: 9.5
Sound: 9.5
Total: 9.5 / 10


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