Out Of My Ego EBM, Old School EBM Escalator I've had something of a revival in interest in anything associated with old-school EBM and other early electronic styles of late, which is a pity as interest in said genre seems to be dying a death in my native London, which not only means I have to look further afield for live shows (and indeed potential DJ set opportunities!), but also need to spread my net wider in order to search out new territories where interesting bands may be located. And Escalator from Hungary, despite being a quarter of a century old, have escaped my radar until now. Even then, this eight-song collection is a couple of years old, but that's no reason not to give it a go and offer my opinions here. First things first, every classic EBM album needs at least a couple of unsubtle, in-your-face, energising anthems in it's tracklist, lest the collection as a whole get mistaken for some analog-elitist hipster art-wank project, and this collection has "Rew Stop Play" and "Shut Me Off". They both deliver the punchy beats, throbbing rhythms and vocal snarl that make a legitimate EBM classic, with enough variation throughout their length to remind everyone that classic EBM isn't just a case of programming one synth line, one drum loop and shouting over the top. Yes, I tried that trick myself to be sure. Anyway, that's the DJ selections sorted out. Now to see if there's any variety in their sound. "Deeply Buried Psychosis" is the most interesting diversion, utilising a combination of varying beat patterns, dark synth chords and well-placed samples to produce a final product not dissimilar to the more accessible Skinny Puppy or X Marks The Pedwalk recordings. I'll admit that the Puppy comparison was actually made by my girlfriend, but she knows this particular school of industrial music as well as I do, and she didn't demand I turn it off, so I'll call it a compliment. The opening track "Bad Constellation" also borrows heavily from this school of dark elektro, a discordant, high-frequency synth click driving the track into the double-time drumming that provides it's eventual climax. There are also two tracks ("Out Of My Ego" and "Biological Countdown") that get remarkably close to a Belief-era Nitzer Ebb sound. And my comparison of these tracks to the aforementioned anthems is the same as my comparison of 'Belief' to 'That Total Age' - specifically, wins on technical merit and musicology, but not on artistic impression. Sometimes simple is best. There are the occasional misguided experiments. "Strike" is too static rhythmically and it's over-reliance on a scratchy, high-pitched motif makes it quite tiring to listen to. "Gépek lesztek" is the most significant deviation from the EBM norm, journeying off into a minimal techno territory, which might have worked had they not indulged themselves in a 9:40 song length that results in a track that stretches out too few ideas for too long. But when they do what they're best at, Escalator ensure the EBM flag is flown proudly on Hungarian territory, and thus contribute to my growing theory that I need to head eastwards into Europe in search of interesting new (and old!) music that I had previously been unaware of. And I won't be satisfied with just Leipzig this time! 450
Brutal Resonance

Escalator - Out Of My Ego

7.0
"Good"
N/A
Electroracle
Released 2011 by EK Product
I've had something of a revival in interest in anything associated with old-school EBM and other early electronic styles of late, which is a pity as interest in said genre seems to be dying a death in my native London, which not only means I have to look further afield for live shows (and indeed potential DJ set opportunities!), but also need to spread my net wider in order to search out new territories where interesting bands may be located. And Escalator from Hungary, despite being a quarter of a century old, have escaped my radar until now. Even then, this eight-song collection is a couple of years old, but that's no reason not to give it a go and offer my opinions here.

First things first, every classic EBM album needs at least a couple of unsubtle, in-your-face, energising anthems in it's tracklist, lest the collection as a whole get mistaken for some analog-elitist hipster art-wank project, and this collection has "Rew Stop Play" and "Shut Me Off". They both deliver the punchy beats, throbbing rhythms and vocal snarl that make a legitimate EBM classic, with enough variation throughout their length to remind everyone that classic EBM isn't just a case of programming one synth line, one drum loop and shouting over the top. Yes, I tried that trick myself to be sure. Anyway, that's the DJ selections sorted out. Now to see if there's any variety in their sound.

"Deeply Buried Psychosis" is the most interesting diversion, utilising a combination of varying beat patterns, dark synth chords and well-placed samples to produce a final product not dissimilar to the more accessible Skinny Puppy or X Marks The Pedwalk recordings. I'll admit that the Puppy comparison was actually made by my girlfriend, but she knows this particular school of industrial music as well as I do, and she didn't demand I turn it off, so I'll call it a compliment.

The opening track "Bad Constellation" also borrows heavily from this school of dark elektro, a discordant, high-frequency synth click driving the track into the double-time drumming that provides it's eventual climax. There are also two tracks ("Out Of My Ego" and "Biological Countdown") that get remarkably close to a Belief-era Nitzer Ebb sound. And my comparison of these tracks to the aforementioned anthems is the same as my comparison of 'Belief' to 'That Total Age' - specifically, wins on technical merit and musicology, but not on artistic impression. Sometimes simple is best.

There are the occasional misguided experiments. "Strike" is too static rhythmically and it's over-reliance on a scratchy, high-pitched motif makes it quite tiring to listen to. "Gépek lesztek" is the most significant deviation from the EBM norm, journeying off into a minimal techno territory, which might have worked had they not indulged themselves in a 9:40 song length that results in a track that stretches out too few ideas for too long.

But when they do what they're best at, Escalator ensure the EBM flag is flown proudly on Hungarian territory, and thus contribute to my growing theory that I need to head eastwards into Europe in search of interesting new (and old!) music that I had previously been unaware of. And I won't be satisfied with just Leipzig this time! Nov 22 2013

Jonny Hall

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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