The gristle and grunt of the machine is a feature of this first and only album. Gears blur, snares grate into melodies as percussion pierces all.
Within every genre there are the darker purveyors. The blackened stalwarts of techno, the seedy perverts of house; electro is no exception. Coming from the grime and grit, from the coldest recesses of electronic music’s coldest sound are Ultradyne. Their one and only album, Antarctica, is a pure description of their moon surface and dehumanized style with a repress of that 1999 scourge, by the very difficult to track down Exterminador Records, having just hit shelves.
Twelve works of varied shapes and sizes make up the 2LP. Howling horrors, BPMs spinning out over 150, smooth synths and jagged rhythms, this album maps what Ultradyne were and what the twosome would mutate into. The gristle and grunt of the machine is a feature of this first and only album. Gears blur, snares grate into melodies as percussion pierces all. “Darkmoon Rising” is breakneck fast, the rapid fire beats setting an unstable and unsettling premise. “Cities in Ruin” and “Robot Speaks” maintain the same dizzying acceleration, this time rinsing drums are caked in static to produce a menacing and macabre vision of the future. “Predator” comes from a similar yet distinct place. 909 machine gun rhythms are draped in distortion as a minimal, and fiercely aggressive, work of stripped down mechanics is laid bare. There are milder moments in this maze of shrapnel filled mines. The opener, “Ice,” is a lonesome and reduced work of psychological atmospherics with “Terrorist” dropping the racing rhythms for a piece of ice clad glass-work. “Aurora” is part of the modern electro canon. Ice-like, the track builds slowly, frosted currents building to glacial grandeur. That same grandeur is present in the finale “Antartica (Symphon’s Orchestra).”
Antarctica has lost none of its harshness, it’s a record that’s just as angry as when it landed nearly twenty years ago; a bitter and boiled commentary with little respite. BPMs fly in the face of modern expectations meaning pitch shifts might need to be employed from time to time, but at its core this is an album of aggressive ambition and cruel visions of a technological future, one which we now inhabit.