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Friday, January 6, 2012

Crash Course In Science - Signals From Pier Thirteen

Name: Crash Course in Science
Album: Songs from Pier Thirteen
Style: Minimal Electro-Wave
Similar Bands: Gang Of Four, Aphex Twin, Delta 5, Ghostwriters
"One Word" Review: Sterile-Dance-Alarms
Based Out Of: Philadelphia, PA
Label: Press Records
Songs from Pier Thirteen - Cover, Sleeve & Record
Songs from Pier Thirteen - Back, Sleeve Notes, Record

Songs from Pier Thirteen (1981)
  1. Cardboard Lamb 2:32
  2. Crashing Song 2:48
  3. Flying Turns 3:04
  4. Factory Forehead 3:04
Album Rating (1-10): 8.5

Members & Other Bands:
John Wicks - Producer
Mallory Anne Yago
Dale Felliciello
Michael Zodorozny

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of this band. But just from looking at the cover, back and sleeve artwork, the black and white electrical tech manual and industrial look makes me believe this to be some sort of industrial, techno weird-electro album, much like the excellent Ghostwriters. On the sleeve, the contact address was changed from NY to Philadelphia, which is where the Ghostwriters were from too, so I am expecting the music to be very good/interesting as well. Also it's good to note that when I bought this record, it came warped. I had to invest in some heavy glass and I melted the record flat in the oven. Now the warp is gone, but a few small sections of the grooves melted together, making it skip. But, the end result still plays better than it did before the flattening.

Album Review: “Cardboard Lamb” is a electronic beat sounding like a neon rubber band being stretched and plucked. In the background are all kinds of industrial effects like hissing gaskets and steam whistles and brrrpt effects. The singing is female and much like Gang of Four or Delta 5, it is minimal and just a word or two sung at specifically chosen intervals. It is a very dancy and catchy hook
“Crashing Song” quietly creeks into existence with cold and ominous computer sign-on blips and screeches, almost like the metallic windy whine from tuning into a radio station. Or it sounds like the electric pulses and powering on a mad scientist’s laboratory. Then a skipping, Aphex Twin drum beat begins and mingles with the powering up machine, which then emits static discharges in rhythmic blasts. The hypnotizing sound then loses the elements in reverse order that they turned on before the whole experiment ends completely.

“Flying Turns” begins with a skipping tinny drum beat and factory steam pistons pulsing in the background. Rhythmic a-sexual sing/speaking adds its own unique rhythm to the mix in short, sharp intervals. This song is not as dense as the other two, but is very motivational and is a minimal dance track. The zooming of an energy field taking off and then landing down oscillates in the foreground too, continuing the driving beat.
“Factory Forehead” enters with a dense, pounding electronic alarm sound and a neurotic drum beat to back it up. The female vocals almost mock the warning, and have a synthesized, wavering echo about them that makes them feel outdated like a pre-recorded warning. But at the same time, it feels like an electronic version of a Gang of Four song. It is simple and stripped down, yet dense and synthesized at the same time. More effects like a heavy metal bell rung and a variety of little wisps complicate the atmosphere, but do not distract the singular pounding rhythm tempo.

Stand Out track: Cardboard Lamb


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