Italian duo throw out rule book on debut album
Simbiosi’s debut album Elements is a mixed up kid. Being released on Actress’ Werkdiscs label you know this isn’t going to be a standard album, but nothing really gets you ready for that is contained on this triple vinyl album.
Although Elements is one cohesive body of work, it is actually, on closer inspection, separated into three parts. Each part collects four to five tracks that either share a similar theme or sonic quality. The first part is all about tone and texture. Each of the four tracks are multi-layered, abstract soundscapes that convey an industrial feeling, while managing to sound organic and dreamlike. Lead single xxxxxxx sounds impenetrable at first, but after a few listens you start to pick out subtle melodies and through the cacophony and surface noise.
The second part are all variations on the same theme. Hard driving hardcore beats permeate each track. A245 bores right through you and is the musical equivalent of a wrestling submission finishing move. It doesn’t break the hold even when you’re tapping out. The rest of part two is just as unrelenting and punishing. Lights starts off ‘softer’, but as the song progresses, and the BPM rises, so does you anxiety. Playing this while walking around town, and you’d be forgiven if you looked over your shoulder to make sure you weren’t being followed by a cyborg from the future. Srmm 909 takes the soundtrack motif, but mutates it into an industrial version of a block building computer game. Which each completed block move, Srmmm 909 ratchets up the intensity and tension.
Part three is slightly more ambient than the proceeding two parts. This doesn’t mean that the songs are any less potent or powerful, far from it, the tracks simmer with a brooding vehemence. Instead of an unrelenting beat, layers and layers of glitchy surface noise collaborate to create the feeling of one cohesive song.
Ultimately Elements is 45 minutes of hard techno, with abstract leanings. At times it feels like Simbiosi have gone out of their way to make their music unlistenable, but this isn’t true, you just have to retune your ears. Once you’ve cracked their code, Elements is immediately rewarding and infectious. As this is their debut release, not counting remixes, we can only guess what will follow, but whatever it is, it’ll definitely be worth waiting for!