Fuel Rod:

"I'm hiding in the past... Where it's safe to be human."

Hive Mind
The second release by this guitar-fueled Electro-Punk project by Data-Bank-A producer Andrew Szava-Kovats.
Sounds like a cross between Nirvana and Front 242 and Nick Drake.
Power chords and drum machines behind DarkWave Goth Vocals.
Check out samples at Amazon and CD Baby.

Download Album $ 8.99

The debut release of this hard-hitting darkwave side project by the producer of Data-Bank-A, Dominion, Fossil Man and others... Has a 1980s flavor, but seasoned with a modern darkness in the aesthetics. Electro-Punk, if you will, with a twist. Elegant sonic textures that float on electronic beats, with grinding guitar rhythms and Dark Vocals that sing of the modern dilema: Why Live when we don't matter?
Check out samples at Amazon and CD Baby.

Download Album $ 8.99

SPENT – a record review by George Nicholas Koumantzelis

TRACK 1: "Drill, Baby, Drill" - Great percussion, sound effects, and lyrics! A simple but powerful, repetitive riff that drives the apocalyptic theme of planetary ecoside home. There’s no safe place on this here planet, indeed!
TRACK 2: "Epidemic" - Instrumental. Cool bass line. Very analog-sounding, warm, and “phat.” The rhythmically-clipped-sounding reverb-tail is really cool. The spacey, slide, lead guitar is mantra-like and magical.
TRACK 3: "Epitastrophy" - Another awesome beat from this master of rhythm – Andrew Szava-Kovats – a true, natural born drummer at heart if I ever knew one! Dark lyrics about lost love – accentuated by the effected vocals. Very cool drum sounds that do not sound like your quirky old uncle’s ancient drum machine from the late eighties. This would make a great soundtrack song to a future dystopian science fiction film.
TRACK 4: "Showdown" - Really cool acoustic guitar, especially the way it is run through special effects and enhanced by panoramically spacious synthesizer chords in the background. Very majestic instrumental piece. Uplifting, beautiful, and intensely lyrical in nature for a song with no lyrics.
TRACK 5: "Pseudo-Retro" - Not your typical dance-beat, trip-hop, acid-house, techno-dance-floor groove. Very Data-Bank-A-ish for the hard core fans of Andrew’s first and most famous band. Righteous anger is alive and well here. This one will satisfy those loyal, lifelong, die-hard, True Age Records fans the world over. Great guitar and bass work! Andy just keeps on getting better and better every year, like a Zildjian K-Constantinople, vintage, hand-hammered, ride cymbal. The longer you have played on it, the better it sounds. “Access Denied” on steroids!
TRACK 6: "Midwestern" - Very beautiful and elegant guitar work and fingerpicking on this charming little gem of an instrumental. Short and sweet always does the trick.
TRACK 7: "Merchants of Doom" - This song is a hit! … It has all of the elements of greatness and musical mastery. Wow! What a great song! The mood of the music perfectly matches the message of the lyrics. The electric guitar is, truly, metanoically ecstatic. The vocals are powerful in a classic sense of the prophetic calling-out of danger ahead. Melodic to the max! If you like the rock band, U2, when they are at their best, you will love this great song! … Save the settings on this one, Andy, and mind those knobs in your notes and track sheets! You want to be able to reproduce this recipe for masterpiece here. Again, this song is a hit!
TRACK 8: "Innocuous" - Another strong song that stands on its own two feet: one foot being the thematic melody that you can ride on all the way through till the end, and the other foot being the rhythmic percussion groove that supports that melody perfectly. ASK is getting really good at combining the elements of both analog instruments and digital instruments together in a way that is balanced and beautiful with no eclipsing of either one by the other. Perfect!
TRACK 9: "A Swift End" - Another hit! … Believe it or not, this is a really fun song! The philosophy major that he was in college, Andrew has had a tendency over the decades to be serious and epistemologically “heavy” in his use of beats, of effects, of lyrics, and of deep, dark, and even spooky vocals at times. Not so here! This piece is kinda funky, kinda punky, and even kinda spunky! No kidding! It reminds me of DEVO when they were at their best. I dare you not to smile or even dance along to this fantastic and totally uncharacteristic song. The lyrics are so cool! The vocals are excellent. The mood is effervescent without coming off as corny, sappy, or nonsensical. I want more!
TRACK 10. "Ripples" - Another elegant instrumental piece that evokes images of majestic, domed cathedrals and oriental Taj Mahals. Very architectural in its sonic majesty. The perfect blend of analog strings and digital synths. Brahvo!
TRACK 11. "In Motion" - I love the drums on the introduction. There’s nothing like the powerful, warm, deep, resonant, rich, and reverberant sound of a well-hit tom-tom drum! I always said that if I had Charlie Watt’s snare drum, Ringo Starr’s tom-toms, John Bonham’s bass drum, and Nick Mason’s ride cymbal, I would be the perfect drummer. Something to aspire to! This is an instrumental piece for the bopping beatniks of beatitude the world over. Dig it! Another gem.
TRACK 12. "Muddy Bottom" - Another short instrumental piece that begins with a crash cymbal panning from your right ear over to your left ear in a long reverb tail that sounds like a sexy woman sensually whispering sexy “Shhhhhhhhh-es” in your ear, preparing you for the erotic passion that awaits you just around the corner. The percussion is way cool. The melody is bouncy and bright. …. Before I forget to mention it, this whole album needs to be listened to on a good stereo system – or through a decent pair of headphones – to be fully appreciated. I listened to it more than once through headphones, over a little boom box iPod player, and through a good stereo with quadraphonic speakers. The headphones did it justice. The stereo speakers brought it to larger than life. But the boom box player could not capture the true beauty of this recording. The sonics of this record are outstanding. Don’t cheat yourself of the fullness of its sounds!
TRACK 13. "Stick in the Mud" - Don’t let the title fool you: there is nothing “muddy” – either sonically or metaphorically – about this joyful and ecstatic piece of instrumental music that is reminiscent of both the best of the ambient works of Brian Eno and the melodic mastery of Michael Hedges.
TRACK 14. "Spent" - The title song: sonic images of the inside of a nuclear reactor and its pool of coolant water – as depicted by the photograph on the back album cover, indeed! Another instrumental work that bridges the gap in perfect equilibrium between analog folkiness and digital iciness. The ice is melting – and so may be the reactor coils! This song is haunting in the best of ways. It neither frightens nor terrorizes. It neither suddenly surprises nor horrifies. It simply reminds us with its gentle nudges of repetitive and trancelike waves of sonic massage that there is danger ahead to be heeded by those who would be wise to what the composer already knows!
TRACK 15. "Trilobyte" - An upbeat, fast-tempo piece to end this excellent album that comes to an end all too soon – like a great movie that just seems to seamlessly fly by even though it is three hours long. All the more reason to hit the replay button. If this piece does not raise your spirits above, or make you forget about, your earthly troubles for just a little while then I do not know my music after sixty-one years on this earth. Great drums! Really cool acoustic rhythm guitar melody. Passionate delivery. No simple repetition of the chorus here, either, but a well-developed work of sonic architecture that is played with passion and heart – all the way through. If there is any computer looping going on here, I cannot even tell.
This record smacks of perfection! No doubt about it: there is not a dud in the batch. ASK has struck gold with this latest album of his, and I think he has found a niche that no one else I know has filled, or even possibly discovered. He would be wise to follow-through on this great album with something else created in a similar vein. He has hit the Mother Lode with this one. Listening to it back-to-back, over and over and over again, it does not get boring. It just gets better and better with every listen. I have most, but not all, of Andrew’s prolific catalog of musical releases over the years – from his first cassette tape, to his first vinyl record album, to his first compact disc – and I say with all honesty that this latest record might even be his very best yet. It's that good.
Copyright 2016 George Nicholas Koumantzelis / Paw Print Publications (All Rights Reserved)

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