(Hau Ruck!, 2015)
Natascha Schampus (a pseudonym inspired by the kidnapped Austrian woman Natascha Kampusch) is an Electronic, Industrial and Ambient (among other styles) musician also active for example in the groups Exploding Mind and Naum. This new album by him and William Lee was introduced to me by Albin Julius (of Der Blutharsch in case you are unfamiliar with him), also released by his Hau Ruck! label.
The theme of the album seems to be a Cafeteria kind of dreamlike atmosphere, and keeping all the more avantgarde and artistic sides of the Industrial genre (throughout the years) in mind, the album indeed feels like sitting in a living museum-like surroundings of some Café, occupied by weird characters as in a dream, with paintings alive on the pulsating walls each showing a different side of this musical style working as a basis for all things truly bizarre.
The first song features weird liquid clicks and drips, like a clock ticking next to your bed while you astrally travel, and church-like male vocals / chants by Gábor Szohr, on top of Ambient soundscapes. A very trancelike and ritualistic start for the album. The second song consists of more vintage electronic synths, basses and bleeps/keys, and vocoder-vocals, while being just as trance-inducing as the first song. A comedic spoken sample of Glenn M. Wallis fits the atmosphere of the song perfectly. The third song continues with the analogue synth-feelings of the second song, with more violent Industrial sounds accompanying the very Tom Waits-like speech of Peter Hope.
The fourth song is a more calm, eighties-reminding and spacy piece with the vocoder vox returning, keeping the vintage synth-theme of the album so far intact. The lyrics (and speech) of Eric Random gives the song a COILy feeling as well. The fifth song is originally recorded live, with additional synths and hammond added later by Albin Julius. Again a very eighties and Tangerine kinda song, also with nineties IDM-vibes in the logic of the song, full of atmosphere. The sixth song starts with a nice piano-part, reminding us of the musical Cafeteria-mileau theme of the album, before going again more harsh and noisy realms with the synths, featuring a very improvised and live-like feeling with spoken parts by Barbie B.
The seventh song is a mixture of very classical Industrial “Gothic” feelings and organic tribal percussions, resulting in a very cool outcome indeed. Once more, the drunken vocals of Peter Hope fit the song splendidly, echoing of the beginnings of the genre in their aesthetics and lyrics. The eighth song is also equally harsh and very eighties and nineties-sounding piece with a slow snare-driven beat and the familiar vocoders. Again, a strong nod to the historical development of the genre in general. The album finishes off with a sibling-version of the first song, featuring the same soundscapes and vocals, leaving a fantastic taste in my mouth from all the drinks served in the Café by this album.
If you are into the not-so-recent currents of the Industrial scene by reasons of nostalgia, or a younger person interested in the more vintage aspects of the genre, or just an Electronic music freak in general, I definitely recommend you to spend a night at the Café summoned in a lucid dreamlike existence by this album. It is totally worth your time.