Figure Study / Inhalt :: Double review (Dark Entries)

2013 looks to be the most productive year to date for Josh Cheon’s Dark Entries. Alongside a spread of superb re-issues is an exploration of the contemporary.

figure_study-inhalt_dblIt’s been a long time since Dark Entries released a 7”, by memory it was during the label’s beginnings with the excellent Death Domain. Time to return to the micro-vinyl format with the duo of Nathan Antolik and April Chalpara aka Figure Study. This New York duo came together after meeting through the legendary Wierd parties. Their sound comes from that Wierd vein, a lonely and removed expression reminiscent of Xeno and Oaklander. The opening track is reduced minimal synth. Analogue plinks and metronome beats are deepened by Chalpara’s hollowed vocals. “Pirouette” maintains that cold slant. Haunting lyrics swirl amongst vintage machine sounds. A 7” painted with cold neon with faint odours of rolled cigarettes and late night chill.

Inhalt graced Dark Entries with their excellent EP Vehicle in 2012, a record that immediately caught my attention. Now the Euro-American outfit have decided to employ some political commentary to bolster their fast paced wave sound. “Panopticon” adds synth lines and a snapping beat to Michel Focault. Vocals are auf deutsch and uncompromisingly powerful. Catalysts are added for the accelerated analogue pop of “Black Sun.” Amongst the multilingual gymnastics is an EBM undercurrent, a rumbling arpeggio akin to Front 242. Language becomes a tool for musical exploration, a tool that allows for socio-economic rhetoric rooted in crisis clad Europe, austere Britain and shutdown America. “Programming” is sleek, chic and cold. Chords rumble and rise under a Francophile tongue. “Occupations” closes the 12”. Beats are sharp, edging on industrial, as rich synth lines soar into vocals. An excellent end to an exemplary outfit.

Dark Entries hasn’t gone down the contemporary artist avenue on many occasions, but whenever the San Francisco label has explored the modern interpretation of Synth Wave and Post Punk the results have been sheer quality. Figure Study expound a sharp and structured sound, vocals imposing the human condition on the clean curves and lines. Inhalt melt that line between larynx and live circuitry. Synths and strings map out a scheme of angst and energy and ultimately excite the listener with their product.

Lesson One and Occupations are both available on Dark Entries.

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