Openly inspired by the Future Garage genre as much so as the every day factory and robotic sounds encountered as an IT engineer, the brand new album from DenkMensch – an aptly-titled History Of Industrial Revolution – makes for a fascinating, all-encompassing and surprisingly melodic journey; one that experiments with the very fabrics of time and space as they weave their audio worlds around us.
In many ways, this is something entirely different from artist and producer DenkMensch. In some though, it still represents those core values of exploring the connections between sound and life itself – it simply digs even deeper into the concept, by means of nine beautifully original, engrossing new compositions.
With Critical Analysis we’re propelled into a fairly colourful realm, complete with meandering solo melodies and an engaging rhythm, a few layers of detail and insight. Intro follows and softens the mood a little, featuring fragments or echoes of melody and keys amidst a gentle yet industrial drum-line.
Before then proves a deeply interesting piece, designed to represent the possible creative realm that composer Bach would have embraced had the industrial revolution emerged during his time. Ergo, we witness retro electronic synths and rhythms alongside of complex keys arranged in chaotic yet melodically immersive ways; building up beautifully, embracing the listener in this strangely familiar yet also absurd and uncommon new aura.
Then, in a fairly complete switch of gears, Beginning lightens the room in an instant, with reverb-soaked, dreamlike delicacy and a mellow, reflective pace. This track was designed to represent both the elation at the invention of the steam engine, and the artistic age of romanticism of the same era. The increasing movement of the piece and the consistently joyful energy it emits encapsulate this concept beautifully.
For the fifth track, things take a decidedly striking turn towards darkness and uncertainty. Electrical Transformation surveys the realities, the implications, of such drastic societal and worldly change, and incorporates spoken word segments alongside of familiar, descending and increasingly intense piano-work.
There’s a personal touch to this composition, as DenkMensch writes of the overwhelming sadness during creation, on realising the heartbreaking connection between the beginning of the electrical age, and the subsequent wars and masses of lives that were lost. You can feel this ache and melancholy quite distinctly here, particularly in light of the optimism that came previously.
Transit follows, and the audio transports us to the appropriate space, as the producer explores the rise of capitalism through new computer technologies – those which, ultimately, led to the means for which music of this nature is now created. The consequences of this shift have impacted life and the environment in seemingly unstoppable ways, and have also imparted an unquenchable level of greed within much of our species. Again, there’s a sadness here, a chaos intertwined with distance and stillness from the observer.
Automation brings in more intensity, sci-fi-like distortion and weight, heavy rhythms, to take us by the hand through realms of conflict and inequality amidst humanity. Beautiful piano-work contrasts the relentless industrial pounding of the beat, to showcase the ultimate juxtaposition between a heartless industrial process and the very essence and freedom of being human.
Future was the first track to emerge for this project, and its unusual rhythmic style and sense of space and echo presents well the idea of an impending apocalypse – the shift in which machine takes over from man. It’s a surprisingly gentle piece, ambient and hypnotic – a personal favourite to let play.
Then to round up the experience, and indeed the array of ambient details, sounds and samples that crafted the collection, Outro pairs calming melodies with heavy, unnatural rhythms and refrains, to create both an emotive, passionate realm, and an uncomfortable sense of detachment and the unknown. A powerful track, the perfect way to end the album, and another highlight for the sheer heart and soul that manages to connect amidst the colder strike of each drum and factory sound found elsewhere.
As suggested, a fascinating project, and one that’s more than worth escaping into, even with just a fragment of each underlying intention. The music works its magic in classic DenkMensch fashion, and proves to be one of our generations most thoughtful and poignant offerings yet.