Certainly a more cultured album than Zak Roberts’s previous excursions into heavy breakcore, Valentine breaks down the fury of The Cursed Species (2004) to focus on a much deeper and more challenging concept.
When the pace of music is slower, the listener has more elbow room to focus on moods and atmospheres and pick apart the production, and through dissection Roberts proves that there is certainly a lot more creativity and maturity to his sound nowadays.
Yet Valentine remains a deeply dark and sinister experience – made obvious by the opening vocal prose of No Brakes, which then evolves into a sprawling mass of spiralling analogue synthesis, mixed with bludgeoned beats, piano tones and staccato, bleached vocals. The following, You Are Mine, follows a similar trend, with Morrocan-sounding percussion; the ghostly vocals reminiscent to that used by the likes of Akira Rabelais.
Mingi is excellent, if not a little repetitive, but Roberts makes a great job of sample stitching bizarre noise effects together to create steamy, oppressive Bladerunner atmospherics. Much of Valentine flits between this type of track and progressive dub-heavy, almost trip-hop oriented rhythms. The likes of Nefertiti Dub and Two Hammers are enjoyably nightmarish and haunting, oozing with creaking, groaning synths and taunting, spliced vocals – this is serial killer music.
Hungry is also tempting, with its mesmerising, winding analogue synth surrounded by breathy vocals, whilst Raining Glass a more complex affair, with big breaks pelted by bristling, dense machine music, the album increases in complexity and intensity as it approaches its end.
Valentine is a deeply dark, yet challenging album, taking the breakcore genre into a subtly imaginative, dreamlike universe that has been explored by relatively few to date.
Ein Kunstwerk, ein Meisterwerk. Weil es nichts braucht außer sich selbst. Weil es so fernab von allem anderen ist. Weil es sich, und damit mich und dich, frei von Bezüglichkeiten unendlich lang in dem Schwebezustand, der Musik so schwer greifbar und damit umso interessanter und schöner macht, halten kann. 11x nimmt uns Zak Roberts aka CDatakill an die Hand, um diese dann bei Eintritt in die unbekannte Dunkelheit, die der Schatten unserer Seele, die auf unserem Weg nach Innen jenen auf uns hinabwirft, verursacht, loszulassen. Klangliche Verstrickungen, die aufbegehren, durch ihr Ranken selbst eine Struktur bilden, ohne jene offen darzulegen. Linearität ist da, ohne Frage. Der rote Faden, der sich durch das Album spannt, heißt Menschlichkeit. Rar und kostbar sind diese elektronischen Kompositionen, die sich organisch entwickeln, das Plakative und pur Funktionale hinter sich lassen, indem sie ein scheinbar unplanbares Eigenleben entwickeln, Emotionalität, durch die der Mensch tiefer, als der Klang sonst vorzudringen vermag, berührt wird, nämlich im Inneren seines kalten, tot geglaubten Skeletts, an dem er in seinem hilflosen Verständnis von Körperlichkeit festhält, der Ort, an den der Bit Crusher seine hochgerechneten Impulse versandt hat, um durch Rückkopplung eine tomographische Bestandsaufnahme jener Transmitter-Höhlungen auf Klang-Wirkung-Basis zu erstellen, aufgrund derer jeder Song, jeder Klang- und Melodiestrang vorher lose erfasste, dabei immer die Schönheit der Vergänglichkeit atmende Aspekte menschlichen Daseins über die Verstand-Seelen-Achse des Zuhörers spiegelt, so wie der Mond in der Nacht es über den See macht. Die Überblendung, die Schnittmenge, die dabei gehört wird, beschreibt in einer von den üblichen Paradigmen elektronischer Musik befreiten Art und Weise eine dem Menschen zu eigene Kunstwelt namens Bewusstseinzustand. Dieser wird bedächtig, aber bestimmt, von seiner gewohnten monolithischen Stellung verrückt und eine angenehme, leichte, triebsteigernde Schizophrenie dehnt sich wie ein folgerichtiger Fleck eines umgestossenen Glas Wassers auf einem Teppich in der Selbstwahrnehmung aus. Was bleibt, ist eine eigentümliche Verschattung auf dem Boden der Tatsachen, der wir bei Betrachtung Sinn einverleiben, in dem wir ihre Form interpretieren. (Weil der Verstand uns dazu zwingt.)
Zak Roberts (Cdatakill) must now be considered as one of the pioneers of the breakcore genre. He has produced numerous releases on labels such as Suburban Trash, Low Res, No Room For Talent, Zhark etc. “The Cursed Species” is his second full-length album, following his debut “Paradise”, also on Ad Noiseam, from 2003.
Given his long experience in the breakcore genre, it hardly comes as a surprise that he has progressed beyond typical breakcore on this album. What may be more of a surprise, though, is the incorporation of old-school hardcore techno! The result is pretty far from what you would hear on a typical rave party, though. Zak has mixed hardcore beat structures and bass lines with dark, menacing atmospheres that we can recognise from his earlier works, and a healthy dose of smattering breaks. What comes out of the speakers is an exceptionally raw, imposing sound that grabs the listener by the throat and doesn’t let go until the tenth and final track echoes out. The tempo is generally quite high throughout the album (with a few exceptions) and the beats are pounding, but what makes the music truly hard is the dark, dense, almost suffocating soundscapes, of which the beats are merely one component. The most prominent feature, in my opinion, is the sharp, acidous bass lines that cut their way like razors through the tracks and take place in the very fore-front of the overall sound, demanding attention from the listener.
Here is a remarkably solid album that works equally well on dance floors, as for personal living room exorcism. The tracks form a well thought-out unity, even though there are highlights like “How to kill people and get away with it”, “Reclamation song” and “Predatory behavior”. In a time when a lot of acts lean toward a catchier, more joyous sound (which by all means have its own qualities), Cdatakill turns the other way bringing forth his meanest and darkest effort yet. “The Cursed Species” is a furious, in-your-face burst of raw energy, that still carries a complexity and depth that bears the evident marks of a highly skilled musician and adds an introspective dimension to the music. This is a much-recommended album and a welcome new take on the whole breakcore phenomenon.
This CD wasn't what I was expecting... But in a good way. I'd predicted something a little noisier, but while "The Cursed Species" is far from being ambient, it certainly holds more surprises and covers a broader musical range than your typical rhythmic-noise or breakcore outing. The breakcore
influence is there alright, but the overall sound is much more organic. Hell, some of the beats almost sound like they came from real drums. I mean, they didn't, but they could have done, if the drummer had six arms and was animated by means of a complex arrangement of levers and pulleys. The marriage of the biological and the mechanical is reflected in the beautiful packaging, which features collaged anatomical engravings of skeletal machine-creatures, all rendered in earthy parchment tones with a cursive font. Very classy.
Going for upbeat head-candy rather than club-driven monotony, Cdatakill's Zak Roberts gets his kicks weaving gradually-mutating rhythms and synthesiser patterns through dirty scraps of unplaceable sounds and mangled vocals. Quite often he hits a pretty impressive pace, particularly on the warped electro of 'Reclamation Song' and the vaguely jungle-flavoured 'Graceless'. But the notional crowd is too confused to dance; I'm not kidding about unpredictability. I'd listened to the CD several times on my walkman before I realised it was skipping on a couple of the tracks. I thought it was done intentionally for effect. Here and there the chaos does get out of control, with beats slipping out of time with each other in a way that sounds more like a mistake than a bold attempt to explore the limitations of traditional approaches to rhythm.
Credit where credit's due though, there are some interesting experiments with song construction on this album. I get the impression some of it is improvised electronically over a pre-programmed structure, perhaps with the aid of arpeggiators and realtime MIDI controllers. The music progresses in an evolutionary manner, by and large, with several songs sounding quite different by the time they come to an end - an approach skilfully touted by Exclipsect recently. However it has to be said that for my money, the most memorable tracks are 'Reclamation Song', and the closing number 'A Death Worth Reliving', an eerie adventure in sinister ambience, both of which are at the more internally-consistent end of the scale. Comparisons with Black Lung and earlier Download are in order, and it's perhaps telling that both of those bands have always known that chaos begets order, and that a little control goes a long way.
Entre breakcore souple et électronica trouble, Zak Roberts aka Cdatakill s’emploie depuis deux albums à mettre en relief les formes les plus aériennes de la techno industrielle. Puisant sa douce et sombre frénésie dans l’esthétique sonore digitale de la body-music ("Reclamation song"), dans son goût pour les beats déstructurés ("Exorcise the demons") et les échappées atmosphériques tortueuses ("How to kill people"), The Cursed Species offre moins de prises noisy et expérimentale que son prédécesseur Paradise mais affiche une densité rythmique accrue. Pour les amateurs de bande-son électro baroque.
Zak Roberts presents his second full-length album here, following on from his noisy debut, Paradise. This time, Roberts concentrates more on breakbeats, with each track providing kicking beats that surround themselves in throbbing cyber bass lines, crunched up samples and power keyboards.
Roberts tries his best to vary the themes within his strict, break-driven routines, How To Kill People And Get Away With It has a live percussive feel, whilst the following Eve Ill is a bewildering chowder of bristling loops and complex programmed sounds. This is a man who is obviously in love with digging into the pit of his programming capabilities.
The dark, echoey broodiness of Cursed Species predictably sees the album flirt with the sensibilities of the Industrial music scene, but it’s thankfully varied enough to withstand the plagiarisms attached to that genre, introducing new elements that at least give it a sense of originality, even though Roberts occasionally loses himself in a self-indulgent haze of manic programming; I’m not sure he ever stops to consider a prospective audience, which is usually a good sign.
Elsewhwere, the madcap, rhythmic flurries of Graceless, when merged with the barely-comprehensible vocal samples that menacingly envelope it, are a particular highlight, whilst the closing A Death Worth Re-Living is the furious sound of machine grinding machine into the dust; authentically destructive in a Terminator soundtrack kind of way.
I wouldn’t go overboard, but The Cursed Species is definitely an album that will appeal to the user-friendly powernoise enthusiast that might be looking for something a little more leftfield.
Most of the greatest figures from the original wave of artists referred to as "breakcore" have dropped the recurring gimmicks of this genre, in order to "hybridize" their complex broken rhythmic patterns with other major musical forms. And it's a good thing that they did, as it would quickly have become tedious. Of course, hopes were high with CDATAKILL. With "Paradise", they had focused on darkness and (a demanding) fury, and created an epic and magnificent album which was already moving on from the standards of breakcore. "Brazilian Nightmare" was a long, arrhythmic, dark ambient and introspective drone, which fully revealed the versatile virtuosity of Zak Roberts .
"The Cursed Species" explores new territories again. Without any doubt, CDATAKILL has reached a new maturity. Complex rhythms constitute of course the core of this creation, an elaborate exoskeleton supporting finely crafted compositions. Listen closely and repeatedly to a gem like "Reclamation song": the falsely binary beat intensifies and coils into round bass, as you're being hypnotized by haunting, repetitive scrolls of sounds, and on the last part of the track, just when you're beginning to assume that the deed's done, some sampled Arabic chanting gives the song its second wind, still more hypnotic: what astonishing skill this shows. Without a single trace of pretence, this track, in its evolution and conclusion (infinity suggested through tenacious threnody), is a model of its kind. By the way, what would Muslimgauze have sounded like nowadays? This track might very well give us a good idea of it.
Another significant instance is « predatory behaviour », which takes us miles away from the usual clichés of the genre. What kind of alchemy does miraculously hold this monumental masterpiece together, with its spiralled beats continuously hopping onwards, its old school drones, and its (falsely) lo-fi but so enthralling sound? This title is in fact a real pandemonium, an infernal Pandora box which viciously locks around your senses.
The variety of sounds used to create this album also participates in the unique identity of CDATAKILL. One could well be tempted to reduce these to being simply old-school, but can the act of leaving behind the current glitch and electronica tones be termed old school? In this case the answer is clearly "no", and we can doubtlessly state that far from dealing with some long extinct creature, we're facing a rare, bizarre and hybrid species, as suggested by Aurélien Police's splendid artwork.
The Berlin based Ad Noiseam label specializes in various kinds of electronic dance related music, be it breakcore, be it hip hop or be it clicks and cuts. Their recent autumn campaign shows these various interests very well. Somehow I missed out the first CD by CDatakill, aka Zak Roberts, but 'The Crushed Species' leaves a good impression, even when I am not a lover of breakcore per se. If I decide I would like to hear breakcore it should be in a concert hall with the amps turned up in a way I can't do at home. Then it makes much more sense. But listening to Cdatakill on my set of simple speakers at home may not be the real thing, I did enjoy the broken drum & bass beats, but above the somewhat darker undertones, hoovering below this set of beats. As said, I haven't delved the genre to the bottom, so I couldn't possibly say wether this is an original set of breakcore, or following standards. Quite nice for a change.
Zak Roberts aka Cdatakill says about the thought process that germinated his second full-length release, The Cursed Species, that he wanted to reclaim old school sounds, to make them his own and retrieve them from the tyranny of "happy hardcore." Harder, faster, louder than Paradise, his previous Ad Noiseam release, The Cursed Species eschews atmosphere and noise for the giddy power of the dance floor, redrafting the euphoria of rave parties and endless disco nights into a menacing 21st century beat explosion.
The nearly ten minute centerpiece of the record, "Reclamation Song," takes the rave aesthetic -- endless rhythms running straight through till dawn -- and twists it into a knot of Gordian pulses as broken beats and staggered percussion eat themselves in a continual generative loop while miasmas of menace drift through like clouds of burning poison. "Graceless" slashes through a spoken word transmission, a radio signal that is cut and sliced by the digital hammer of breakcore, smashing the vocal line into an unintelligible patter that loses its linguistic impact and becomes just a rhythmic sequence. "Hymn of the Siamese" slams a gabber rhythm into a crowded room of innocent ravers while "Swarm of Vicious Insects" builds from a chaste bell tone and piano melody into a stomping, snarling soundtrack for an insect plague, replete with strangled air raid sirens, subsonic rumbles from giant wings, and pestilential eruptions of percussion.
By the time "A Death Worth Reliving" finishes its calamitous disintegration of your speaker system (opening a hole in your floor straight down to Hell, naturally enough), this party has been turned into a stroboscopic nightmare of epileptic fits and grand mal seizures. And I say that like a good thing.
After last year's "Paradise", Zak Roberts' Cdatakill strikes again with his second CD release, "The Cursed Species". The darkly abstract artwork and nihilistic titles pretty much give an idea of what mood one can expect, but the real treat starts soon after hitting "Play".
Saturation levels of breakbeats that'd put jackhammers to shame collide with eerie samples and synths throughout the album, while slower and darker moments of ambience are spread among tracks, serving well the purpose of chilling you down (or creeping you out, for the fainter of heart). However, don't expect 5-minute long interludes and such, since there's just too many drumloops running around (or rampant) for the listener to have enough time to cool down.
My favorite characteristic of the album is that while there are enough differences between tracks to discern them as such, the album plays much better if you listen to it from start to end as a whole, a task easy thanks to Roberts' unique blend of continuity and variety in sound. Indeed, the album plays out very smoothly, reminding me of a martial artist's moves, the graceful flurry of rhythm and beats punching you around and giving you just enough breathing time to survive until the final blow, which is just how the final track, "A Death Worth Re-Living" can be described as: leaking with aural malice, this multi-layered wall of sheer noise is meant to cause aggravated ear damage and nothing less.
An album that'll be adored by the breakcore and IDM crowds, but with enough aggression and "oontz" to appeal to the more powernoise oriented folk, "The Cursed Species" is a brilliant display of talent. Let us hope that Cdatakill keeps up the good work.
Obwohl die Beats schneller und gehetzter geworden sind, die dunkle Synthetik herum die selbe geblieben ist, entpuppt sich CDATAKILLs Wucht beim zweiten Album als eine andere. Keine MCs, kein Hip Hop Flavor. Dafür viel trockenes Beatgestrüpp. Als fusionierten zwei artfremde Schichten, die sich in Zeitraffer tektonisch gegeneinander verschieben. Oben die zappeligen Breakcore-Beats, unten drunter ein Mix aus Dark Ambient und IDM-Electro-Substrat. Das hört sich in der Beschreibung ein wenig zusammengestoppelt an, ist als Musik aber dagegen äußerst locker konsumierbar, wenn auch auf den ersten Hörschein hin etwas verstörend. Das liegt aber mehr an meiner Erwartungshaltung, als an den Tracks selbst. Wenn man auf rollende Beatwände und Bass-Schwaden eingestellt ist, auf denen ein MC surft, dann ist die eckige, experimentellere Breakcore-Laptopia-Legierung schon ein anderes Kaliber. Teilweise hört es sich auch nach live eingespielten Drums an, die das jammende Moment einer DOWNLOAD/SKINNY PUPPY Liveshow ausstrahlen. Andere Tracks treiben sich lieber im HRVATSKI Fitzel-Noise Universum rum. Und wieder andere ballern dir mit Sägezahn Proto-EBM Elektronik und elastisch rotierenden Breakbeats um die Ohren. Stilistisch ist CDATAKILL in die Breite gegangen. Das hat ihn vielleicht etwas eigene Note gekostet, beweist aber einiges an Mut zum Experiment und eiterentwicklung. Die Beatverschachtelung ist komplexer, das Sound-Design sperriger und weniger vorhersagbar. Und direkt auf die Fresse gibt er dir immer noch. Mehr kann man doch nicht verlangen.
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