CD: DTA Records 008 [2002]

CAD [Computer Aided Destruction]
Frame Rate Override
Virtual Violence
Pb [Lead]
Broken Toy
Cyber Saints
Monofilament String

The latest release from busy German solo artist Martin Steinebach on DTA Records is presented as a pastiche of computer-game gun culture, with appropriately cute artwork marred only by a spelling error on the back cover. The intro track, a promising swathe of digital noise, is reminiscent of Converter, although the rest of the album shows more variation from the unrelenting four-to-the-floor assault that such a comparison might suggest. We are certainly in similar territory here, although much of this album is mid-tempo or splices machine-ambient passages into the beats in a dancefloor-unfriendly manner.

Monoid's modus operandi is to layer simplistic repeating melodies over busier mechanistic rhythm tracks and a bed of off-white noise - Steinebach seems to be an unashamed devotee of the cult of copy-and-paste sequencing. The rhythm programming is much more sophisticated and confident than the synthesiser lead work, which often comes across (e.g. "Newbeatrevival2020") as cheesy and childish. To an extent however this is excusable given the video game aesthetic, particularly on "Transformation" and "Frame Rate Override", whose name suggests a performance adjustment for a 3D graphics card. The album works better where the synth lines are kept minimal and the rhythms are allowed to pull the tracks along like malignant hordes of machines on the march, such as on "Inkubation" and the title track. The dissonant ambience of "Cyber Saints" is rather fetching too, despite the terrible name.

This is not particularly attention-grabbing music but would make good wallpaper to hack collision-detection code in C++ to. Someone should commission Steinebach to write the soundtrack for a shoot-em-up.


[Monoid] / [DTA Records]

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