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Imminent, "Cask Strength"

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cover imageAs Imminent Starvation, Olivier Moreau famously trashed his mixing board after the completion of 1999’s Nord and gave the pieces out in a special collector’s edition.  Now, after spending time with Synapscape and putting out a few 7” singles, he has returned with a new album that shows he hasn’t missed a step in his near decade hiatus.



Imminent - cask strength

I always considered Moreau’s work for the label as the definitive "Ant-Zen" sound:  rapid fire overdriven analog drum machines, raw synths, mutilated samples and a general sense of post industrial malaise.  Cask Strength doesn’t step too far away from this formula, because it’s still a grinding cacophony of noise and beats, and I don’t think any of his fans would have wanted to see drastic change.  There does seem to be an increased sense of experimentation and concessions to the pathetically named IDM sound here though, proving it’s not all just 909s and fuzzboxes.

The influence is apparent from the opening "Seracs" with its polyrhythmic plastic beats that are completely chaotic, but obviously well sequenced, with deep raw synth line that’s a bad trip version of acid techno.  The odd juxtaposition of a stuttering voice, which is reminiscent of how Autechre has treated vocals the few times snippets were present, and a rather unabashed synth pop melody is a unique one covering both the harsh aggressive sound, yet concedes a bit of beauty amidst the ugly.

"Teskede" is cut from a similar cloth, with hardcore rattling beats and synth leads that sound more like radio static than anything else, but with some more warm, gentle synth work buried under the grime.  "Rubbs" also does this combination, but keeps the jagged rhythms more in check, and allowing the synths to be the track’s focus.  Here it’s pretty clear that if one were to remove the rhythms, there would be a rather pretty ambient track hiding under them.

Songs like "Lorsc" keep the rapid rhythms, but lose a bit of the violence, with the rhythms dialed back to recall old school electro rather than power noise, and synth leads that resemble guitars more than waveforms, creating a more diverse sound.  Moreau never lets the sound get too soft though, and for every delicate-ish moment there’s about three more over the top aggressive ones, like the low bit rate synths and drums on "Bock" that sound like being punched in the stomach more than anything else.  The simplistic, but effective "Ila" is the longest track here, but is unabashed monotone thumping techno throughout, with only a bit of tweaked samples and loops for variety.  If there’s ever a track for high speed aggressive city driving, this is it.

The long break between releases hasn’t slowed Imminent down at all, and his sound is still, at least to me, the Ant-Zen one.  However, he’s not just rehashing his old material at all, but using that as a basis to create new variations on.  While personally I’d have loved to hear some even more extreme divergences in sound, the music on Cask Strength is presented so well that it makes it unnecessary.


Last Updated on Sunday, 24 January 2010 13:57  


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