Review Summary: Strangely enough it's probably one of my favorite albums in the genre.
I first heard of the “generation Cable” project is 2009 when a friend of mine lent me a mix CD of some of her favorite, rather obscure, Industrial artists. Included on the mix was genCAB's “Expired Inside” and from there on the impact it had on my life is rather crazy; installing Ubuntu, downloading Ergo Proxy, delving into what remains of the cyberpunk movement, all these events happened because of that mixed album and that one song.
genCab is the solo project of David Dutton and has been around since 2003, though you might be hard pressed to find any of the early E.P.'s anywhere. The bands debut album was released by Hive Records and co-produced by Isaac Glendening of Cesium 137 fame, which begs the question; what has II transMUTER got going for it besides a desire for random capitol letters?
The first true song “Perish The Thought” does a splendid job of showing off the ambiance that the listener is in for throughout II transMUTER
, the screams/cries of what sounds like a baby mixed with slighty hitting beats, all accompanied by a produced sound repeating in the background. Around 1:12 the synths reach for new heights before a scream enters, lasting for a few seconds before growing distorted and abruptly becoming intelligible as the opening word in the line “why am I the one resenting everyone I loved
.” It's moments like these that litter the album and make each listening experience different as each person will walk away with some variance of the same song stuck in their minds.
There is a lot of variety on II transMUTER
, each track has a feeling all its own and the instrumentation varies accordingly. The listener is constantly being introduced to new sample bits, distorted/muted vocals, electronic bits and bytes, and whatever genCAB decides to through their way. The lyrical content on the album seems to focus on personal issues (e.g. frustration) and it's a nice change to have lyrics that make sense rather than being vague allegories to events. Tracks such as “Of Love and Death”and “Let Live” showcase this variety, in the former vocals are absent until the 2:18 mark, entering backed by synths hell bent on making an attentive listener move their head. The latter focuses more heavy beats, fast yet slightly distorted vocals, and contrast between the two with a cleanly sung slower chorus.
The only thing keeping the album from transcendence is the inclusion of a few tracks that don't live up to the variety that is prevalent elsewhere on II transMUTER
. Both “Siren Song” and “Frozenpause” are situated next to each other and neither of these tracks are per say bad, they just feature a lot less variance in vocal delivery and instrumentation which makes them pale in comparison to the rest of the album. Even with their drawbacks both are enjoyable tracks, and neither can be considered a true “skip-able” offering.
“Expired Inside” sees genCAB at one of their slowest yet most ambient gorgeous tracks yet. After a brief instrumental section a woman's voice utters the words “self destructive” before a piano enters, adding to the slight build up to the vocals. The chorus on the track is one of my favorites in the genre with the lines “don't try to tell me I'm blind when your the one who can't see... I've never asked for your help I'm just expressing myself, maybe one day you'll see that every song's a clone of itself
.” The female vocals follow with a few brief lines before a rather angry, distorted rant begins against the singers self worth. The anger is expressed even in the instrumentation as repeated sounds grow louder and louder, coming closer and closer together until the songs abrupt end. The contrast between the slower opening and the self loathing intermixed with the dislike for hypocritical people found in the chorus makes this track truly unique and an absolute favorite of mine as the entire track is one huge crescendo.
From the opening “Perish The Thought” to the beautiful piano centric “Right Eyed Gemini” genCAB have created an album that truly deserves the superb moniker. The variety, heartfelt lyrical content, and ambiance present makes II transMUTER something that everyone who is a fan of the genre should listen to at least once, as there is nothing else quite like it.
See track list