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
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.