CD: Fin De Siècle Media FDS13 [2005]

As Time Began
Thirst For Knowledge
The Man Seeking Experience Enquires His Way of a Drop of Water

Formed in 1987 but sadly disbanded in 2000 Contrastate were the quintessential English eccentrics on a music scene stuffily inhabited by poe faced dull individuals and groups without a modicum of talent. Formed by mainstays Stephen Meixner and Jonathan Grieve their eclectic mix of substantial melodic metamorphic soundscapes and abstract gush alienated many, including most music critics who couldn’t tell their arse from their elbow at the best of times, and thus their true worth as pioneering innovators has sadly been forgotten by the vast majority of the record buying public.

Until now. Swedish label Fin de Siècle Media has resurrected the first…of many one prays…recordings by Contrastate…the quaintly comically named "Seven Hands Seek Nine Fingers". Initially released in forgets how long ago it first appeared…on their own Black Rose Productions label the three long tracks, just under 40 minutes in total, on their debut opus defined the Contrastate sound that would reoccur throughout their careers. Suitably dank gloomy electronic mush tunefully woven, added Industrialised beats, mixing in token blasts of randomly generated noise…not of the power electronics variety I hasten to add…and sprinkled electronic bubblings with spoken monologues about strange events added whenever needed to enliven proceedings. Their music always strayed the right side of the avant-garde elitists ensuring that even when they totally let go in a free form debasement way they always stayed within accessible boundaries. Their heaviest touch still confusingly soft on the ear. Ignoring the rules that music has to have set structures…movements straight from A to B without deviations… Contrastate tore up that out dated concept and did things their way. Fifteen years have passed and yet "Seven Hands Seek Nine Fingers" still retains a freshness and approach that has never aged. If truth be told they were far too ahead of their time.

With the resurgence of experimental electronics in its many forms now getting the respect it fully deserves it’s fitting that this release by Contrastate should see the light of day once more. Maybe now those who so witheringly wrote them off so easily will finally acknowledge the debt to music that Contrastate is due. Respect to Fin de Siècle Media for having the intelligent nuance to re-release this gem and to Contrastate themselves for enriching the music scene with their adventurous sound.


[Contrastate] / [Fin De Siècle Media]

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Contrastate: [False Fangs For Old Werewolves]

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