~reviewed by Brian Riggs
Ms. Shikhee and co. have been taken off my Christmas Card list. At first listen, the New Android Lust release reminds one immediately of quality early 90’s EBM post-industrial along the lines of NIN’s Broken and some Thrill Kill Kult, with a bit of Eric Serra (!) chucked in (think “The Fifth Element” soundtrack. Ok, ok, I’m sorry) This would be acceptable if the early 90’s never happened. Oh dear.
It doesn’t necessarily fall into all the obvious traps of current drum machine-based electro. Some of the drum lines are a bit “big and in-your-face,” if you catch my drift, there isn’t a lot of range to her vocal delivery and the lyrics are your fairly standard tortured gawth silliness. This is nothing new; nothing original or refreshing is presented here, and the overt references I have read about in other reviews citing Android Lust as merely one in a whole cadre that ‘credit’ Skinny Puppy with influence is just depressing. And yet, somehow, utterly unsuprising. This reminds me of the post-Carcass death metal acts that crawled out of the woodwork with names taken directly from Carcass song titles. Who will save us from fandom.
The vocals are enjoyable I suppose, as is the rhythm, but I am given the sense that the shiny and crystal clear production form part of a device to disguise the lack of any real singing or songwriting ability. It actually sounds sort of doodling, almost improvisational; there are brief flashes of pleasant harmony amid the boom boom thump thump, but those looking for a genuine artistic statement should sniff elsewhere.
In all honesty, my first thought was that it sounded like a remastered Too Dark Park with Shikhee taking over as ‘lead raspy whisperer.’ I’m being a jerk, though. There’s nothing not to like about this music if you are the average LA Gawth Club Denizen that this kind of music is obviously geared for. Once again, I find myself being overly critical with something that clearly was not designed to withstand serious musical criticism. It’s competent dance music targeted towards modern Gawths, period. If you are an ethereal/darkwave/gothic/EBM DJ, you might as well throw this in your bag with the latest Apoptygma Beserk or VNV release. It’s full of nice, simple melodies that are sure not to put anyone off who might be frightened or confused when confronted with refreshing, energizing music. D’oh. I’m not the only guy that reviewed this, you know. A bit of Googling will lead you to much more relevant and in-depth reviews from people who actually like this kind of music and think it’s, uh… music.
The ultra-modern presentation and packaging is not misleading. It is along the lines (and drawing from the same basic color palette, I see) of A Perfect Circle’s Mer de Noms, though the bands share little outside this and the obviously rather tasty production values. We’re living in the Atomic Age of the Dollar, Billy, so you better get tough and fly right like those Japanese ‘cause it’s a rough and tumble world out there.
It’s not total poop, but it just reminds me of all spooky electronic euro-pop. It would probably fit in quite comfortably on european MTV rotation. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing; european MTV is at least a little more varied in presentation, but they still suck my ass, to a degree.
The more I hear, the more it sounds like the second coming of Too Dark Park. They use a lot of the same vocal distortions and time signatures, and it’s hard not to think about Ohgr and co. when she’s screaming about sex and mutilation on track 10 (which is titled, curiously, “Sex and Mutilation.” I guess I shall have to solve that one another day). It just sounds derivative and boring, reminding you of that band you used to listen to when EBM was The Brand New Thing, like practically all of today’s dark electro-rock bands popping up like whack-a-moles out of their whack-a-mole holes. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: This is the unfortunate end product of capitalism, Billy. The spirit of the musician has been inexplicably wedded to the business man, and now both realms will suffer.
Android Lust is Shikhee
~reviewed by Mike Ventarola
The electronic underground was privy to a new phenomenon that began in the autumn of 1995. This was the point where history was made as Android Lust embarked on a musical path that heretofore was simply crowded exclusively with male artists.
Shikhee, a.k.a. Android Lust, has a background ranging from classical to contemporary music. Her attempts with several traditional bands proved less than satisfying, causing her to take a major musical rethink and become a solo artist.
After her successful and well received releases, Android Lust takes us even further into the world of mechanized and organic style music. The Dividing, which was two and a half years in the making, takes on post modern industrial music and weaves a scalpel’s precision of elements ranging from punk, pop and rock, forging yet again new territory with what could best be described as neo-industrial. The songs tackle emotional elements such as loss, discovery, regret and carnivorous loathing. This DarkVisionMedia release also boasts a special CD-ROM packed with photo’s, lyrics and a bonus track.
The Dividing also features guest musicians such as Lew Del Gatto (Saturday Night Live Band) on Flute, Christopher Jon ( I, Parasite) on live drum performances, Scott Slapin (the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra) on viola, as well as touches of Shikhee’s acoustic guitar mixed within the palette.
“Division” opens with a funereal style organ as Shikhee drones and self harmonizes, crafting an interchange between man and machine. The organs manage to coalesce and dance with a touch of Celtic flavor, demonstrating from the outset that there is a decided organic yet electronic interplay going on.
“Kingdom Of One” slams in with the trademark noise electronics while the keyboard percussion rushes us into a maelstrom of fuel injected beats. Shikhee’s vocals take on an urgency and overwrought intonation whose drive hasn’t been heard since the early punk rock days.
“Panic Wrought” adds layers of electronic gloom that bubble and coalesce, making it rather dark with a “goth” feel but not necessarily “goth.” The percussive beats elevate the track to club floor status while Shikhee infuses an almost desperate and lost soul delivery of the lyrics.
“Follow” sends out electronic laser beams on a seek and search mission. The track is mid tempo and adds so many interwoven elements that accompany her sotto voce delivery expertly.
“The Want” has been featured on her site on Mp3, but quite frankly, if one has only heard this track via a regular modem, you are missing a lot. The electronic percussive elements are intact, as is Shikhee’s desolate and subconscious delivery. However, the high and low ends from the fully mastered song simply bounce from the cavernous spaces, daring the listener to take a voyeuristic look into her world.
“The Stained” tackles dark electronics with atmospherics that are haunting and quite delicious. This is one mid-tempo sexy groove, that it would be unthinkable for any DJ NOT to feature it at some point in the night. We are also treated to an almost pop crossover vocal intonation, demonstrating the strong range that Shikhee possesses.
“Unbeliever” once again percolates underneath as sound and spatial atmosphere lead us into a dark electronic world. The vocals undertake a melancholic and pensive feeling, painting a hybrid backdrop between outward calmness coupled with internalized angst and uncertainty, earmarking this track for the club set.
“Another Void” flourishes with touches of classical elements, as though strained through a space-time continuum. Percussive and marching drum effects pick up the pace while other electronic elements bounce off of each other and the vocals.
“Fall To Fragments” opens with a beautiful flute rendition which segues to Shikhee’s sensuous vocals that are then cut up in razor blade fashion. Throughout the hypnotic percussive beat, the flute remains the counter point and base line where everything else is wrapped around it.
“Sex and Mutilation” veers into the familiar Android Lust territory of icy electronics. Imagine Die Form thrust 35 years into the future to get an idea of just how calculated this track was constructed.
“Burn” begins with a classical moroseness that reminds one of a gloomy and rainy day. The soulful element and lamentation is given an Elizabethan twist where Shikhee can be envisioned at a spinet, pining away for lost opportunities in life.
Having heard the entire back catalog of Android Lust, clearly this is without question the best work Shikhee has created to date. The songs take on more than just an electronic element, as she has interjected many comprehensive atmospheres, elements and intonations. Most of the songs are destined to be club hits, but there are also tracks meant for moments of introspection as well.
Unlike many of the male counterparts in the electronic realm, Shikhee doesn’t need to compress her vocals down to some white noise element simply because she CAN sing. Being female also allows her the extra liberty of taking emotional feeling beyond just the parameter of rage to bring to the table something that most male fronted acts cannot or will not do. That, coupled with her uncanny ability to hear music in everyday sounds and take on the task to recreate it into a viable musical medium demonstrates the precision and astuteness she brings to her craft. It is precisely her ability to bring an emotional component to the neo-industrial movement that will once again make her work a benchmark for others to emulate in the future. Android Lust is anything but dull and one never knows what else Shikhee will pull from the stratosphere to taunt, tease and bedazzle us with. Do seek out this recording as it conveys sound and music unlike anything on the market at the present time. Rest assured, there will be many imitators though few will be able to connect with the organic and electronic elements the way Android Lust has.
The current live Android Lust members are: