A Thousand Societies - Le Crepuscule Des Idoles
EBM, Coldwave The French have an fine history in terms of minimal electronics projects. Back in the early-to-mid 80's, projects such as End Of Data, Opera Multi Steel and even the early works of Die Form produced a legacy of work that has sadly seen little international recognition outside of the 'Cold Waves and Minimal Electronics' compilation issued a couple of years back. A particularly obscure practitioner of this style was A Thousand Societies, late arrivals at the Coldwave Ball, producing a few self-released albums in the mid-1990's and then disappearing again.

Spurred perhaps by a revival of interest in this particular corner of music history, A Thousand Societies are back for another try, delivering up this self-released 13-track selection. Despite all of this history, this is not a project stuck in the past, avoiding the temptation to become a Moog-toting lo-fi retro-electro revival outfit, instead delivering a cleaner, punchier production, borrowing influences from various 00's electronic styles without directly copying any of them. And that's a relief in it's own right. Last thing we needed with another "tribute band with new lyrics".

For example, the opening track "Action P4" builds itself around a pipe organ chord progression and spoken-word vocals, a fine prelude to the album's title track, which is just a solid, mid-tempo melodic electronic composition. The French language vocals, punchy beat and melodic elements are all relatively simple in concept, but in combination they just work together in a manner too intangible for this poor reviewer to sum up in words.

"Keep Rockin" sees a switch to the English language, and a slight dip in quality due to some rather trite lyrics and the songs uptempo nature coming across as being rather 'rushed'. "LSD" is the first really weak track - the first lead female vocal track and first appearance of guitar proving to be very dirge-like compared with what has come so far. Almost on cue, things instantly wake up again with "Do You Like It?", an furious, blistering composition, distoro-beats and sneered vocals finally briding the gap between the French and American schools of coldwave.

"Fly With Me" is slower but no less memorable, featuring a octave bass line and an alternating pair of synth leads that borrow equally from the And One and [:SITD:] schools of catchy, modern-day EBM. The albums midpoint is marked by "Les lèvres de l'existentiel", an intricate piece that alternates clean and dirty basslines in a manner that keeps the piece sufficiently interesting for the duration.

"Stop" takes the tempos up again, but the inherent energy that the track tries to convey fails to come across in the final production. The curiously named "EBM! (A Thousand BPM)" is an improvement, certainly the best dancefloor track so far, borrowing equal parts from the old and new schools of body music, mixing shouted vox with throbbing arps and synth effects. 'Licht im Licht' adds a third language to the mix, even if it is only in the chorus, again combining an Belief-era Ebb bass with various modern-era synth trickery.

"See Me Bounce" is another mid-tempo EBM cut, but quite monotonous compared with what we've had so far. "Erreeur Fatale" finally returns us to the artist's native tongue, and whilst the chord progression and ominous piano melody work well enough in places, the track as a whole isn't especially memorable. "Give Me The Mix" ends the album, with effected female vocals hinting briefly at the now-deceased electroclash sound that was once so popular, but there just isn't enough song here to prove to be anything other than a token album closer.

This is still an impressive collection of songs, even if it's a couple of filler too long, and more importantly, the project doesn't try to associate itself with any one electronic sub-genre. At a time where every band wants to be the next Nitzer Ebb, the next Combichrist or the next Depeche Mode (dream on....), it's almost a relief to here a couple of musicians just getting on with sounding like themselves. The challenge they face is finding themselves an audience - getting any kind of attention for this style of music without significant label backing is difficult at best in these times. Here's hoping this is just the start of a new era for the band, and not just an abortive comeback attempt.
3
Brutal Resonance

A Thousand Societies - Le Crepuscule Des Idoles

6.5
"Alright"
N/A
Electroracle
Spotify
Released off label 2011
The French have an fine history in terms of minimal electronics projects. Back in the early-to-mid 80's, projects such as End Of Data, Opera Multi Steel and even the early works of Die Form produced a legacy of work that has sadly seen little international recognition outside of the 'Cold Waves and Minimal Electronics' compilation issued a couple of years back. A particularly obscure practitioner of this style was A Thousand Societies, late arrivals at the Coldwave Ball, producing a few self-released albums in the mid-1990's and then disappearing again.

Spurred perhaps by a revival of interest in this particular corner of music history, A Thousand Societies are back for another try, delivering up this self-released 13-track selection. Despite all of this history, this is not a project stuck in the past, avoiding the temptation to become a Moog-toting lo-fi retro-electro revival outfit, instead delivering a cleaner, punchier production, borrowing influences from various 00's electronic styles without directly copying any of them. And that's a relief in it's own right. Last thing we needed with another "tribute band with new lyrics".

For example, the opening track "Action P4" builds itself around a pipe organ chord progression and spoken-word vocals, a fine prelude to the album's title track, which is just a solid, mid-tempo melodic electronic composition. The French language vocals, punchy beat and melodic elements are all relatively simple in concept, but in combination they just work together in a manner too intangible for this poor reviewer to sum up in words.

"Keep Rockin" sees a switch to the English language, and a slight dip in quality due to some rather trite lyrics and the songs uptempo nature coming across as being rather 'rushed'. "LSD" is the first really weak track - the first lead female vocal track and first appearance of guitar proving to be very dirge-like compared with what has come so far. Almost on cue, things instantly wake up again with "Do You Like It?", an furious, blistering composition, distoro-beats and sneered vocals finally briding the gap between the French and American schools of coldwave.

"Fly With Me" is slower but no less memorable, featuring a octave bass line and an alternating pair of synth leads that borrow equally from the And One and [:SITD:] schools of catchy, modern-day EBM. The albums midpoint is marked by "Les lèvres de l'existentiel", an intricate piece that alternates clean and dirty basslines in a manner that keeps the piece sufficiently interesting for the duration.

"Stop" takes the tempos up again, but the inherent energy that the track tries to convey fails to come across in the final production. The curiously named "EBM! (A Thousand BPM)" is an improvement, certainly the best dancefloor track so far, borrowing equal parts from the old and new schools of body music, mixing shouted vox with throbbing arps and synth effects. 'Licht im Licht' adds a third language to the mix, even if it is only in the chorus, again combining an Belief-era Ebb bass with various modern-era synth trickery.

"See Me Bounce" is another mid-tempo EBM cut, but quite monotonous compared with what we've had so far. "Erreeur Fatale" finally returns us to the artist's native tongue, and whilst the chord progression and ominous piano melody work well enough in places, the track as a whole isn't especially memorable. "Give Me The Mix" ends the album, with effected female vocals hinting briefly at the now-deceased electroclash sound that was once so popular, but there just isn't enough song here to prove to be anything other than a token album closer.

This is still an impressive collection of songs, even if it's a couple of filler too long, and more importantly, the project doesn't try to associate itself with any one electronic sub-genre. At a time where every band wants to be the next Nitzer Ebb, the next Combichrist or the next Depeche Mode (dream on....), it's almost a relief to here a couple of musicians just getting on with sounding like themselves. The challenge they face is finding themselves an audience - getting any kind of attention for this style of music without significant label backing is difficult at best in these times. Here's hoping this is just the start of a new era for the band, and not just an abortive comeback attempt. Jul 30 2012

Off label

Official release released by the artist themselves without the backing of a label.

Jonny Hall

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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