"I'm hiding in the past... Where it's safe to
(Catalog # TAR081)
- The second release by this
guitar-fueled Electro-Punk project by Data-Bank-A producer Andrew
- 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
Download Album $ 8.99
(Catalog # TAR079)
- 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
Download Album $ 8.99
SPENT – a record review by George Nicholas
TRACK 1: "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.
- 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
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"
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!
"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
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
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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