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Contrastate, "35 Project"

35 ProjectA 10" record rigidly divided into four different pieces (each mostly around four minutes in length), this new work from the enigmatic sounding, long-standing UK project is mostly centered around the same authoritarian lyrical elements, but each differs significantly in their compositional approach. A complex mix of styles define each piece, neither of which are too similar to another, but are unquestionably Contrastate, and showcases all of the unique sounds they are known for.

Black Rose Records

The aforementioned lyrical elements are quite dystopian "You do not have the right to be free/ you do not have the right to shelter and food/You do not have the right to love/You do not have the right to work" are just a few examples and appear in various stages of processing throughout. The first of the four untitled pieces is classic Contrastate: bursts of noise, sustained digital sounds, fragments of voice, and a significant number of loops layered atop one another. Lush synth passages and bits of conversation are consistent with the trio's previous works. For the second, the use of loops continues, but with hints of melody and cut up percussion pervade, making for a more spacious and restrained feel in comparison.

On the other side, Contrastate introduces third piece with deep, pulsating electronics, melodic loops, and subtle metallic percussion, with the band going even more into ambient realms when compared to the first half. For the final song, things get almost normal sounding. The same voice samples appear but here they're cut up and processed more and make for part of a low bit rate digital mass. Everything else builds to an almost techno throb via complex drum programming that could almost be danceable. Towards the end the piece makes another shift, this time into a jazzy shuffle that's even further "out there" for the band.

The totalitarian themed voices that appear in all four of the songs on 35 Project could end up a bad cliché in the wrong hands, but the occasional bleak humor that appears throughout Contrastate's discography makes this far less of a liability and instead consistent with what I would expect. Almost like a stylistic sampler of their lengthy discography, there is a lot to be heard in the terse 16 minutes of this EP, and all of it is wonderful. It is yet another excellent work from a consistently unpredictable project.

Listen here.