Sine Silex - Schachmatt
If you are still living your life unaware of Werkstatt
Recordings, I feel for you as this underground label continues to produce some
very intriguing releases. As we have mentioned several times on BR, Werkstatt
Recordings is brought to life by Toxic Razor of Paradox Obscur. Every month
something new pops up. Over the last few months we uncovered the band Vandal Moon and reviewed the latest Beatbox
Machinery. Now one of the latest releases is
by Sine Silex featuring Kriistal Ann (the other half of Paradox Obscur) and
Chroma Carbon of the French/Swiss minimal cold wave act, Factice Factory.
Kriistal Ann seems to surface on something quite regularly. Not too long ago Kriistal Ann's 'Cultural Bleeding' LP was released on Wave Records, and around
the same time, she reunited with dark retro synth luminary Gost to add vocals to the chilling track "Arise" off of the highly acclaimed 'Non
Paradisi' LP on Blood Music. Werkstatt Recordings is also home to her albums 'Delirious
Skies' and 'Refraction' both displaying the cold minimal wave approach with
Kriistal Ann's unmistakable vocals. As for Factice Factory, the trio have released two albums heavily influence by 80's coldwave, 'The White Days' and 'Nada!!' Factice Factory utilized
three guest vocalists on 'Nada!! Hooking up with Kriistal Ann seemed to be a
logical move since she was featured on the track "Lodged". Spatial
Relation's Lissette Schoenly delivers her trademark vocal style on
"Mask". Also featured is the amazing Jeanne Lefebvre of Rajna. The alternating
male and female vocal pieces parallel what we find on 'Schachmatt'. Factice
Factory's moody melancholic coldwave rhythms deliver heartfelt chills down the spine as
the listener is immersed into soundscapes of a cold inviting arcane world. Now let's take a look the union between Chroma Carbon and
'Schachmatt' contains 10 songs with both Chroma Carbon and Kriistal Ann sharing vocal duties. Kriistal also composed the music while Chroma Carbon wrote the lyrics for every track except "Operative" which was written by Kriistal Ann. The lyrics are in French and English. The album is released on a super limited cassette as well CD and digital format. The cassette is limited to only 12 copies and comes in some very nice detailed packaging including an 8 page booklet with lyrics and artwork by Frederique Longree. 'Schachmatt' was carefully produced by Toxic Razor (Paradox Obscur) and mastered at The Cage Studios by none other than Martin Bowes.
The album is a fantastic blend of minimal wave, cold wave and dream pop. Fans of Factice Factory and Paradox Obscur will certainly obsess over this collaboration. There is plenty of influence from each act. Kriistal Ann's voice can certainly dominate, but the arrangements keep that happening as each vocalist compliments the other with their unique style and approach. As each track comes to an end and the next begins, we hear more and more diversity in each of the songs from the tempo to the overall arrangement. "Antidote" kicks off the album with a nice dark pop feel with all lyrics in English. "Operative" really grabbed my attention with the combination of Chroma's vocal pieces paired with the minimal electro beat that jostles hints of Oppenheimer Analysis. The chorus displays vintage Kriistal Ann vocal approach; melodic, pronounced and aggressive all smashed together isolated and redistributed and delivered impeccably. Another standout track is "Six To Twenty Seconds". The airy excited synths mixed with monotone layers make this very memorable track. "Rifle" was the first song I heard just before the album dropped. The vocals capture you as they whisper and howl seductive and beautiful melodies creating a peaceful serene state of mind, perfect for getting lost for a while. Chroma Carbon's voice on "Modeliste" as well a few others reminds me of Yello. I can’t help hearing the undercurrents of "I Love You", one of my all-time favorite tracks. The constant mix of French and English language adds another dynamic to an already diverse and well-designed album. Nearly every track utilizes this lyrical technique.
Werkstatt Recordings usually makes small runs of its releases. Sine Silex is no exception. As of mid December there are still copies for sale for both CD and cassette. What the hell are consumers buying if this is still in print? This is a top-notch release on small indie label worthy of much more attention than it has received. Buy now or wish you did later. Werkstatt awaits your orders.