Sunday, November 2, 2014

Add N to X: Do you see Louise Brooks?

From 1999, the cover of a 5 track CD of songs by Add N to X. Do you see Louise Brooks?
Add N to X's four-song Revenge of the Black Regent EP mixes science and fiction into a compact version of their inventive electronic rock. The majestically sinister title track is propelled by a toxic-sounding synth bass and Steven Claydon's unabashedly (or is that bashedly?) rock drumming, over which gooey, synthetic strings and Alison Goldfrapp's operatic super-soprano hover, recalling the diva at the Korova Milk Bar in A Clockwork Orange. The rest of the EP's tracks are similarly moogy and droogy; "Is That Alright FYUZ" adds more pummeling percussion to another piece of Avant Hard's synth fetishism, and "Old Lady Ealing Does Man Experiments" evokes a mad scientist's lab, replete with bubbling test tubes, buzzing electrodes, and robotic minions muttering non sequiturs. Finally, with its slightly eerie groove and cryptic French vocals, "The March of Pure Mathematical Evil That Ends and Results in War" recalls Stereolab, if they used their powers for evil instead of good. The CD is also enhanced with the very necessary addition of the group's hilarious video for "Metal Fingers in My Body," a cartoon depicting a Louise Brooks-esque flapper ordering and using the services of a robot gigolo. As with all of Add N to X's work, Revenge of the Black Regent uses quirky, unpredictable vintage technology to describe -- and celebrate -- the ghosts in the machine. ~ Heather Phares

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