Stray
Abuse by Proxy


4.0
excellent

Review

by Acanthus USER (46 Reviews)
May 27th, 2012 | 22 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Cold, yet utterly personal.

Stray is Erica Dunham, a female producer who is best known for her main aggrotech/industrial project Unter Null. Though Unter Null focuses on the harsher side of Ms. Dunham's vocals, Stray is decidedly beautiful and at times poetic in nature. This change in style is slightly shocking at first listen, but proves to be a welcome reprieve from the wails and metallic screeches that are lovingly placed in the majority of her other works.

Abuse By Proxy is cold, an album filled with lonely synthesizers, empty soundscapes, and soft yet impersonal machine beats. It recalls the beauty of early future/synth pop albums, yet retains its own identity when the vocals enter into the mix. Here Ms. Dunham's voice, one so often heard in a harsh tone, is utterly gorgeous and decidedly feminine. The personal nature of the lyrics is accentuated by the sense of longing found in her lines, only to be swiftly melded with an inflection of loss the next. A slight use of reverb on certain tracks (see “Hold On”) only heightens the emotions that the soundscape and vocals portray, making the listener keenly aware of the albums more personal subject matter.

Though softly starting the album picks up pace around midway, with “Intoxicate” waking the listener from their dreaming daze. A fast, almost frantic synth line gives way to a (relatively) heavy drum line as modified high hats tick away in the foreground. Ms. Dunham's voice is heavily filtered here, sounding as if it's coming across a vast chasm, hiding in the background amidst the various instrumentation. Though the words are hard to distinguish the vocals take on an almost classical quality, soothing the listener once more only to have the vision swiftly shattered as Ms. Dunham brings back her trademark rasp. This duality is the first break from the aforementioned colder nature of the album, proving that the track was aptly named.

Though the vocals are a highlight, Abuse By Proxy could easily stand on it's more instrumental moments as well. “Lost Command” could have been from Vangelis's Blade Runner soundtrack, or have been featured in Michael McCann's Deus Ex: Human Revolution score. The use of flange following the vocals on “Break Me Free” brings the track to another level entirely, while the slow sweeping nature of the synth lines on “Fade Into You” bring back flickers of 1980's sci-fi flicks. Moments like these can be found in every track, giving the avid listener little moments of blissful reminders of the artists prowess.

Abuse By Proxy is truly an album to get lost in, caught in a swell of emotion brought on by the vocal performance, lyrics, even the sound alone can bring tears to ones eyes. Erica Dunham not only proves that she can do more than Unter Null, she shatters expectations of what side projects should be, melding science fiction like synthesizers with cold soundscapes to great effect. Though not something the average listener could listen to constantly, Abuse By Proxy is something fans of electronic beauty should not let pass by.



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user ratings (10)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Acanthus
May 27th 2012


9545 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Any issue's hit me up!

For the collectors this also comes in a two disc version, piled high with remixes.

Digging: MO - No Mythologies To Follow

Willie
Moderator
May 27th 2012


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome review. I'm surprised that you didn't review the new one instead.

Digging: Mors Principium Est - Dawn Of The 5th Era

Acanthus
May 27th 2012


9545 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I just learned about it through bloc, I'll probably write one for it too if the mood sticks with me.

Had to revisit this one and saw it didn't have a review so I thought I'd write one up.

Willie
Moderator
May 27th 2012


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's really good. I wanted to have a release-date review but I just don't have the time anymore.

Acanthus
May 27th 2012


9545 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I wanted to review either Omega Lithium's debut or a folk metal album but the words just wouldn't flow; this however just came to me so I ran with it.

Willie
Moderator
May 27th 2012


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Omega Lithium's debut is good, but could have been better without the growls.

Acanthus
May 27th 2012


9545 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I voted for them constantly when they were up for possible MTV awards, the album just price dropped so I might order it through the bands page. I really didn't like them changing styles however, the metal suited them better imo since then they at least had an identity.

bloc
May 27th 2012


35024 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Nice work Cant, that was fast! : )

Acanthus
May 27th 2012


9545 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah I was kind've feeling inspired, working on one for Letting Go now as well.

Willie
Moderator
May 27th 2012


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah. The gritty goth pop doesn't suit them.

Acanthus
May 27th 2012


9545 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It could have IF I wasn't attached to their debut, and IF I knew they switched sounds for other reasons besides the (then) popularity of electronic/future(ish) pop.

Willie
Moderator
May 27th 2012


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Maybe. I thought it was kind of average no matter what.

Acanthus
May 27th 2012


9545 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Indeed, I thing the nail in that albums coffin was the single "Dance With Me."

Willie
Moderator
May 27th 2012


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh god that was terrible.

Acanthus
May 27th 2012


9545 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yes it was, I really shuddered when I heard it. You can use dance with me as as lines in a track (IM the Supervisor by Infected Mushroom did it) but definitely not as prolifically as Omega Lithium did.

Willie
Moderator
May 27th 2012


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There were a few decent tracks on the new album, but I haven't heard it in so long that I can't remember which ones.

Acanthus
May 27th 2012


9545 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I really enjoy Vicious Delicious more myself.

ItsOnlyWords
May 27th 2012


369 Comments


Review is perfect gonna check. Pos

Eclecticist
May 27th 2012


3863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I prefer her other project Unter Null, but this rules too.

Acanthus
May 27th 2012


9545 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Oh I like Unter Null better too, but tbh I enjoy her voice enough to listen to about anything she releases.



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