CD: Crunch Pod 36 [2005]
Ltd x 1000

O.peration I.raqi L.iberation
Cleared Channel (Corporate Control Mix)
Global Power Elite
Number 6
Reaction (Orange Alert Mix by S3V3R)
Chemical Skies
Liturgy Of The Free
The Prisoner
Liturgy Of The Free (Burn Mix by Phil Mohr)
Fiebre En La Pasarela (Epidemia vs. C/A/T)

Following the "Worldwide Totalitarian Control" EP [read review here] and years of compilation and limited EP releases, c/a/t releases his debut album through Crunch Pod Media. Ben Arp, the man behind c/a/t, based the album on the concept of control and manipulation portrayed by the cult 1960's TV show The Prisoner, taking the idea a step further to produce an album that is overtly socio-political and using it as a vehicle to comment on America's involvement in the Iraqi war.

Focussed on sharp digital beats, "The Prisoner" makes extensive use of speeches and interviews on war commentary and from the original 1960's TV show itself. The intention is no doubt to draw similarities between the two and build conspiracy theories of various types. Take 'Chemical Skies' for example, which stomps along with hard industrial beats and a disembodied choral backing claiming that the US military are conducting weather altering experiments on American soil. Right from the very start, "The Prisoner" sets the political stage with an extract from a George W Bush speech on the Iraq War, swiftly following it up with explosions, indistinguishable female vocals and pounding beats with more sampled news reports.

The formula continues throughout the album but where it works particularly well - 'Unmutual', 'Number 6' and 'The Prisoner' for example - is where the original TV show is sampled, putting the political aspects into a different context. Particularly powerful are 'Cleared Channel (Corporate Control Mix)' and 'Reaction (Orange Alert Mix by S3V3R)' with their relentless industrial throb and commentary on key political players in the US and US security measures respectively. 'Unmutual' is less aggressive, dancefloor orientated and more industrial trance in nature.

As added bonuses, the album also includes a 'Burn remix' of 'Liturgy of the Free' by Phil Mohr and a collaboration with Epidemia called 'Fiebre en la Pasarela'. Mohr's remix of 'Liturgy of the Free' takes the original dark, rhythmic, sample laden track and gives it a harder, faster, merciless but more positive edge. 'Fiebre en la Pasarela' is a huge grinding mechanical monster of a track that relentlessly marches through a metallic wasteland.

While the political comments are both valid and relevant, their heavy use does tend to distract from the musical content of the album. This might be intentional, particularly if the statement is the important point. Arp's work is however in a state of flux, "The Prisoner" being his first album as c/a/t and his sound is still in the process of being refined, so expect a progression in his future releases. Aside from the blatant political message, "The Prisoner" places c/a/t in a strong position from which he has room to develop and solidify his place on the power / rhythmic noise scene.


[C/A/T] / [Crunch Pod]

Direct Link: http://www.auralpressure.com/review/c/cat_the_prisoner.html

Other Reviews:

C/A/T: [The Rogue Pair]
C/A/T: [Worldwide Totalitarian Control]

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