~reviewed by Matthew J.
It’s hard to describe Redzone, because their style is such a confusing mixture of things it’s hard to tell if they’re brilliantly eclectic or just have a short attention span. Despite the weird blend of trip-hop, techno, psychedelic pop and industrial noise, however, the duo – composed of vocalist and programmer Ami and multi-instrumentalist J – has managed to create a distinct and recognizable aesthetic, a fact that becomes even more apparent when viewing the enhanced-CD video footage that accompanies this album.
The music itself is dark and sinister without quite being goth and heavily electronic without quite being EBM. “Rewire” is a bit like Curve, with Ami’s vocals layered over a big beat drum pattern, while “Six Numbers” simmers with cymbal-heavy hip-hop rhythms. “Euphoric” is the closest thing to industrial, if only because the samples of a self-styled Satanic stripper are reminiscent of something My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult might throw into the background for extra flavor, while the grumbling ambience of “Lucid” segues into the dark breakbeats and wavering processed vocals of “What Is Me.” Straight-up techno influences are more apparent on the old-school electro of “Condition Of Human” and the drum ‘n’ bass-influenced “Corporate Whore,” but the digital funk is balanced out by a healthy dose of creepy gothic wailing and apocalyptic futurism.
The interactive video portion of the disk really adds to Redzone’s whole cyberpunk aesthetic, starting out with a gritty black and white film clip of a man sitting walking into a warehouse, smoking a cigarette, and then plugging some sort of electric prod into himself to “access the data” of the actual video clips. The videos themselves are typical computer effects stuff – lots of fractals and blurry psychedelic shots – but the interface is so cool it makes the whole album.
Too techno for goths, too stony for industrial clubs, and way too dark for the whole Brit-pop crowd, Redzone are too slippery to pigeonhole into a specific genre. The fact is, there aren’t really even any other bands to compare this to, but if you’re into Collide’s gothic down-tempo electronics or Pigface’s more melodic, female-fronted stuff, Digital Flesh is worth checking out.
Label: Phasechange (self-released)