Blackharvest Zine has been around since around 1997 in paper booklet format covering all aspects of the alternative music scene such as Industrial, Noise and Electronica… Times have changed and so has the format. Whilst waiting for reviews to be written it became apparent that many a music lover, artist and label had to wait an uneccesary amount of time to see the fruits of our reviews.
In this update we have a bumper edition of reviews after taking a short break… New releases such as PNEUMATIC DETACH, DETRITUS, SCRAP.EDX, THE OPERATIVE, KEEF BAKER, UNTER NULL, NITZER EBB and much more
The live section will be updated shortly…
check the NEW REVIEWS section for more info
This UK electro- Industrial Act have just released their 12 th Album, SqueakyPete caught up with the man behind it all, Martin, for a chat. Check out blackharvest #4 for an earlier interview with Attrition late 2004/early 2005.
SP: You have just released a new album Dante’s Kitchen, could you tell usmore about it, the title is intriguing?
MARTIN: It’s our 12th album…or something like that, depends what you count!…and it took some time to complete…probably the longest time I’ve taken…I wanted to take time, I needed to. I needed to do something a little different to grow a little. It was time for that. I was also going through an intense emotional time with my relationship breakdown a few years ago and having to drag through the courts to get to see my children again. I won that battle but it took a lot out of me. Dante’s kitchen is about that period in my life and it is the sound of my crisis but it is also the sound of some hope. well these things happen to all of us. Or things like this. So it should mean something to others as well. I do think the album works on the whole and i am proud of it. It’s also getting a very positive response, which I’m pleased with.
SP: How important a part did each of the contributors play in the making of the album? Was this done with the intention of making the sound of Dante’s Kitchen link back to previous Attrition releases?
MARTIN: Well I spend most of my time on every album…so it’s mostly my heart that I’m tearing out and putting on there! but Julia added a lot through her vocals. She always has understood what I am talking about…. that’s very special to me…. but occasionally she doesn’t come up with anything…like she’s not getting it…and that’s probably as much my fault as it tends to be on tracks that are less well formed initially… so I look to other collaborators who may also work with me… and on this album I got a lot of people involved… it wasn’t done intentionally and certainly not done to link this record with any previous one…it just happened and that was partly because the album took some time to make so there was time to try out different people and different things…!
SP: This new album covers a lot of ground in terms are issues it has dealt with- are these universal themes that you have addressed or more specific issues? Thematically the album also has a philosophical bent- could you expand upon this? Was this the intention?
MARTIN: There’s always my ongoing struggle with life and love and sex and death. I guess we all have to deal with this. The important things rarely get talked about in this world and if we did we would hardly find the words so I use my music like any artist does. So yes there are universal themes and of course all these issues are both philosophical and spiritual… I don’t think there is much difference. This album is perhaps more inward looking than some I’ve made as I was searching myself for answers to how I wanted to live my life after the crisis in particular. Looking at who I am. sometimes it works and I do get answers.
SP: A sample from ‘The ladder’ espoused a Platonic view of the true nature of objects regard the ideal or perfect version of a thing. How close do you see your art and philosophy?
SP: You have recorded over 10 albums, do they get easier to do over time or does each one require the same from you? How much does having your own in house recording facilities help?
MARTIN: They never get easier! oh yes technically they do.. but artistically, creatively I think they get harder to do… as each one I must go a little further or there seems like no point in doing it at all… and that is difficult to do… sometimes I achieve that new step…sometimes I don’t…yes, having my own studio is fantastic as it frees me up from technical/financial restraints… there is a danger of spending too long on things but I’m not TOO bad at that after all the years of strict studio deadlines…!
SP: Dante’s Kitchen has a wide array of instruments present on it. Do you feel that this adds an edge to the release? Was it intentional to have this range or did it just form out of the recording process?
MARTIN: Yes I did experiment with instruments I’d never worked with before…double bass for example on “Still life?” the album closer… and there are 4 different female vocalists in all! and a violin as usual… it’s still very much an electronic album though… the sounds are mostly electronically generated…but I really enjoy working with the sound of traditional, acoustic instruments in the mix… it’s that complimentary opposite I use a lot in the same way I use male and female vocals… the combination opens up a lot of sonic possibilities that you can’t get from restricting yourself…it adds unpredictability… so yes maybe it adds an edge.
SP: How do you see the use of purely digital electronics, mainly computers in today’s music scene? Does it make things too easy for people or does this open things up to more people to make it beneficial?
MARTIN: It DOES open up the possibility of making music to more people. which is good. no question. But most people don’t go very far with it… their PC and software is merely a modern equivalent of an acoustic guitar or a set of bongos in the corner of the room, ready to get out when there’s nothing on television. But that’s ok… I don’t have a problem with that either. It’s still not easy to make music that means something.
SP: What are your live plans to support the album? You’ve played on gig in London to support Tuxedo Moon- how did it go?
MARTIN: The album has been out in the US a little while but we are expecting the European release in October…so we are just now starting up our first live shows in a couple of years… we plan to tour Europe and the USA over the next year in support of this album… and a possible remix follow up in the spring…Yes we opened for Tuxedomoon at the Slimelight in London last week and it was fine… probably one of our best shows there…
SP: When performing live do you adapt of improvise your songs at all? I imagine older songs were created using much more primitive equipment. How do you over come this in a live setting?
MARTIN: Well I wouldn’t say our old analogue equipment was “primitive”!!! more Classics perhaps! we still use some of the old equipment… especially live when I will take out my Korg MS20…but yes… for our live sets I rework older material and basically write a live version of everything… more stripped down and make the older songs work together with the new ones…which needs some thought sometimes! and we use prepared backings so to compliment this we do have a lot of room for improvisation over that… even our sound engineer with effects loops etc…
SP: Some bands in the electro/ industrial scene get derided as being merely ‘karaoke’ (I’m mentioning no names); how ‘live’ is Attrition? Does this matter if the overall show is good?
MARTIN: It doesn’t matter at all. the divisions between DJ’s and live artists have already been broken down in the dance scene with DJ’s adding in live instruments and electronic performers doing “laptop” sets.. It really doesn’t matter to me. we have three people on stage all performing live and a sound engineer (very much the fourth member of the band) adding to that too… as I said we use some prepared backing tracks which is an alternative to me bringing my computer and entire studio along and that doesn’t play “live” anyway!!!… I go to a show for the experience and the communication. not to worry about how it’s all done!…
SP: Many thanks for the interview, if you would like to add anything else Please feel free to.
MARTIN: Thanks Pete, do check our website for up to date release news/tour dates etc…!