Review Summary: Do you even Bach, bro?
The side project of Italy’s Master Boot Record is a really interesting one. In taking a step away from their very interesting style within synthwave, under the name of “Keygen Church” they successfully managed to “dehumanize” classical music - yet again. Nearly three years later after their first groundbreaking album, they finally released their second LP (with another perfectly readable title), another brilliant computer generated ceremony
Just imagine: Bach found a time machine and travelled to the present time, releasing an album with church organs while in the background an old computer was booting from floppy - seriously, this is pretty much how this sounds. The key element of Keygen Church’s music is how they insert classical music written for church organ and piano into a far more modern context. Adding anything extra to classical pieces like Toccata and Fugue in D minor
from 1707, may look like an impossible challenge, but this is far more plausible as it seems! For example, many artists all over the internet showed us that Bach’s music could be transported into metal music (ever heard of Rob Scallon? - He wrote a really awesome Bach composition for guitar), so perhaps the main concept of Keygen Church isn’t that crazy at all. Although the way they executed ░█░█░░█░█░█░, is really satisfactory. I’ll explain:
░█░█░░█░█░█░ has many elements of what makes classical music so captivating: it has complexity, virtuosity, a certain ceremonial atmosphere, and rhapsodic flow. These attributes may feel even more prominent due to its computer-generated nature. The album is very-well written from an instrumental point of view. It contains interesting song structures and has good production (high-quality and clean instruments), moreover the songs have distinguishable characteristics. Despite the fact there are no guitars involved, this is pretty metal as well (see more riff-driven songs like “Baregeresk”). What makes this music so interesting is how the computer-generated distorted machine sounds (imagine an old computer running on DOS) have a subdominant role in creating an unique sonical experience. They don’t just deliver the “riffs”, but also have an important part of the album’s rhythm section, accompanied by simple e-drums. These industrial factors constitute the music’s bones and skeleton, where the classical instruments (the church organ and the grand piano) constitute the flesh of this creation, calling it to life. The result is a well-flowing album, where the interesting synergy between the more unconventional elements create an interesting and adventurous vibe.
Keygen Church is a really fun act. Just the idea to bring together the style of classic composers like Johann Sebastian Bach (or Ludwig van Beethoven) with electronic music and industrial metal is really weird, but the thing is: somehow, this works really well! It is rhapsodic and entertaining all the way through - a truly memorable musical experiment.