Released: 2005, D-Trash Records
Reviewer: Gabriel C. Zolman
Somewhat of a special occasion for the cult D-Trash label, Canadian Experimental Digital Hardcore troup Contra find all stops pulled out on packaging, and all systems go, production-wise, on this, the band (and label)'s finest hour yet this year.
Sandwiched between a pair of ambient pieces, Contra meld circuit-breaking post-Industrial with remarkably restrained Digital Hardcore and clever atmospheric passages into what will surely be a favorite with the pierced and tweaking Industrial Nation anti-scene.
"Young Nation" sounds like something KMFDM alum FM Einheit might pull out on a solo platter. Hell, "Faiths In Decline" isn't all that dissimilar in spirit from what KMFDM itself has been increasingly notorious for including as album filler of late. Only here, it isn't filler; in this dark Radio Shack of the soul, such sub-poetic ambience is center stage.
More disturbingly (and deceptively) "tranquil" and ambient than previous releases, ENTER THE WINTER is a harsh, unforgiving record that doesn't desire human ears--and, in fact, only berates them as hopelessly inadequate "meat pleasures" to be phased out with the next available comet.
"In The Bloodstream" sounds almost racially loaded, in an abstact sort of way. It's like an angry Zulu, spear and all, was hopelessly uploaded into some chirping, rhythmic harddrive of Zeta-Reticulan design. Combined with the slow build of "A Minimal Future," it gives the album's mid-section the hollow, spacy feel of a long-lost SETI transmission into distant voids unfathomed. "Strain is positively jarring.
Imagine the drifting, scattered signals wafting into the blackness of cold space. Now hit the record button, and you have the new disc by Contra.
Mainman E. Coli takes sound loops, tape splices, and "found sound," and makes these "scattered signals" into art. It's not new, and you can't dance to it (well, you could almost bob along to "Slime"...), but it's way ahead of what you presuppose it might could sound like.
This is not an "easy" listen; it does not reward the casual listen. It is likely reserved for genre aficianados, who collect the off-kilter esoterica of the World Serpent, Eibon Records, and Cold Meat Industry labels, as well as the Industrial and Trance-Rock of the Metropolis roster, with an eye and ear toward merging these oft-separated scenes.
Ultimately, it's Experimental Digital Crossover that could be on any of the "major" genre labels, yet doesn't care the least...an echoing furnace of spite that hates its own listeners. Love it or hate it, you won't find anything quite like it in the cold dead space of Commercial Counterculture and big-label Harsh Noise. If aliens discovered this in space, they'd grip their hypercephalic earholes with their bulbous digits, spin their ship around, and flee. And if it scares off Grays, it's a must-purchase, correct?
If nothing else, it's great for making coworkers despise you. Do you really need another reason to look this up? No...I didn't think so.
I never called it "music." But I also never called it junk. It's noise. Go use it against someone tonight.