November 27, 2008

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Ohgr, Devils in My Details
SPV Records, Nov. 4
T. Raumschmiere, I Tank U
Shikatapult Records, Oct. 14

Two flavors of industrial techno here, Skinny Puppy frontman Ogre being as carelessly playful with his newest music as he is with his moniker, all while not-yet-legendary German tech-punk DJ T. Raumschmiere walks the wire between Goldfrapp’s electropop and Combichrist’s mecha-death-goth. Of the two, most listeners will identify more readily with Raumschmiere, who, by adding the “schaffel beat” (example: Marilyn Manson’s “Beautiful People”) to the software-based dance-music palette, performed CPR on the dying genre (or so the bored elite say, and will continue to insist until no one can hear them over the din of 10 billion computer-enslaved people rebelling by making the laptop the new stun-guitar — or are we already there, I hope?). Though it’s often heavy march-of-the-androids stuff, Raumschmiere’s album still evinces a grown-up-ness that keeps it from being (completely) Wumpscut-like.

While all this is going on, as with anything Skinny Puppy or Ogre, one or 10 listens isn’t enough to get a firm grip on Devils and thus I have no business reviewing it right now. Album opener “Shhh” is sinfully good airborne-assault industrial that’s as cannibal-techno-crazy as Foetus Thirlwell in his Wiseblood days, but at the end of the song’s cliff is an airless freefall into eerie, rhythm-less torture chambers (“Eyecandy”), sadistic assembly-line whack-job patterns (“Three”), a psycho-circus waltz (“Feelin’ Chicken”), fun and ingenious junk like that. And so the Cliff’s Notes here is that Ohgr’s for the headphones and Raumschmiere’s for the dance floor, top-drawer choices both. Ohgr grade: A-; T. Raumschmiere grade: A-Eric W. Saeger