Berlin // Crater V2
Funded by the fans on Kickstarter, mastermind Shikhee has released yet another thrilling chapter in the Android Lust saga. In particular, this album is actually is a sequel to her 2013 release Crater Vol.1. That album she states, was her “New York album” and reflected the sounds of an American city. Though this time around, she wanted to do something a little different by capturing the sounds and atmosphere of the German metropolis. By definition, we’d have to expect her to create something that might sound a little closer to the thick sound of German industrial, right? Well, you’d be correct. Though it isn’t quite “untz untz” as you may expect, I don’t think it would have served the album to be. There are more than enough German industrial discs that sound similar and Android Lust have always been something a little bit different. Ever since discovering them on Projekt back in 2003 with The Dividing, I knew there was something special about this act. At one time I’d even considered Android Lust the feminine equivalent of Nine Inch Nails. Yet, just as NIN have undergone several changes (and I quite liked their recent EP, surprisingly) so have Android Lust, though not escaping the harsh fragility that they’ve been known for since my teenage ears first tuned into many years ago.
Berlin seems to focus quite a bit on electronic atmosphere, where it greatly excels. Shikhee’s sugary, yet delicate vocal approach is an added bonus that makes the disc even more exhilarating. It definitely has it’s touches of pop, but is more intelligent and far less of a verse/chorus affair than we might expect from the genre. Even a catchy little number like the bustling “Crawl” seems a little more muscular in terms of song structure, and it doesn’t suffer from the ridiculous amount of over-singing that plagues as many pop albums as it does American singing contests. Shikhee takes a very subdued approach to vocals, which allow the effects to shine as much as we’d want them to. She seems like a navigator in some aspects, her vocals merely guiding us through the bustling highways and byways of this German labyrinth of smoke and asphalt. In many cases, there are tracks on the recording that do not even contain so much as a hint of vocal. This I also feel was a good idea, as it allows us to see not only that Shikhee can sing (we all know that) but that she can craft magnificent soundscapes as well. Though Berlin is not very long, it doesn’t need to be either. It captures the kind of experience that it was meant to, and delivers that with flying colors. I’ve no doubt that fans of electronic atmosphere and industrial soundscapes will be willing to give this one a listen at a moment’s notice. The queen of industrial shows here that there’s just no slowing down for her, as we’re treated to yet another intriguing piece from the long-standing outfit known as Android Lust.
If for some reason this name happens to be new to you, you’re in luck as all of the artist’s previous albums are available online for your purchase and you can support the band for a mere sum of five dollars a month, getting all of their discs as a thanks. This is a wonderful spot for new fans to explore her music, but it’s also a release that I feel will be celebrated among longtime fans as well. The German cityscape has never sounded more vibrant.