Hard Wired, London
Constant invention & good old-fashioned songwriting quickly won me over
Artist: Dimension Zero
Format/Cat: CD LIQUID2
Label: Liquid Records
Date of review: 3rd September 2007
Reviewer: Carl Jenkinson Rating:
The first thing you notice about this album, apart from the nice shiny cover, is that you need to work out how to get the damn thing open (& I'm not giving you any clues!). This is only the first of many surprises that this adventurous yet accessable album from US multi-instrumentalist Monty Singleton, who plays everything here with the exception of drums & chainsaw, has in store for you. For example, titling the opening track 'Sex And Murder' might lead you to believe this is a hard EBM album but its haunting violin & piano combo takes completely the opposite path that makes for a short but bittersweet opener before leading into a jaunty cover of U2's 'God Pt.II', which shows Monty's poppier side with effective guitar riffs & complimentary electronic colouring later being joined by some unexpected industrial motifs that, along with Singleton's assertive voice, makes for an instantly memorable opening. The essentially similar 'Static Space' later benefits from the electronic embellishments that add an almost psychadelic edge to this lively number & it's this mixing of inventive sounds, effects & ideas into essentially accessable, at times poppy music (there's even what sounds like some kazoo in amongst the smooth vocals & contrasting abstract effects of 'The Era Of Voyeurism'!!) that is the album's strongpoint, ensuring it never becomes bland or predictable. In this respect it resurrects the spirit of Devo & their ilk while the more new wave-flavoured tracks such as 'Ice Man', 'Replica' & 'R.I.P.' show a more obvious musical similarity although no one track is representative of the album as a whole. 'The Haves', for example, is an inventive piece of lo-fi electronica while the big band style of 'Nascentes Morimur' could have come from a Broadway musical with some funky brass motifs later on making this ideal for all you groovy cats to really dig! The mood totally changes again as a touchingly reflective mood graces the closing 'October', with it excellent accoustic guitar work, looks set to end the album on a nicely laidback note that ably evokes the feel of autumn until the music fades out leaving the tolling bell & gusting wind to leave us suddenly in the depths of a cruel, merciless winter (although it's probably actually a metaphor for the end of one's life!). It's a totally unexpected way to end but, as you may have gathered by now, the unexpected is what Dimension Zero is all about & while it's not the sort of music I would usually seek out, the constant invention & good old-fashioned songwriting quickly won me over & it's improved with each play ever since so if you're feeling adventurous give this a try, it might just surprise you.
In Utah This Week
Experimental goth that gets to the point
Album: Dimension Zero
by: Sam Vicchrilli
The packaging for Dimension Zero’s album "Scythe," though fancy, filled me with leeriness.
The mailing box is the shape of a coffin, complete with a red, soft material lining the bottom. Neat to look at, but costs about $5 to go through the post office. The album cover has cool lettering, nifty shiny material, a clever CD slot and slick liner notes.
All of this bespeaks a great effort as far as packaging goes, but I couldn’t help worry the band was compensating for want of solid musicianship. This is the same reason you don’t go for the guy with the flashy car, or the girl with the carefully sculpted chest and face — they are illusions.
Thankfully, my doubts were allayed from the get-go. Well, the second track anyway.
The opening instrumental piece wasn’t without its moments of joy (like the use of a chainsaw), but is otherwise an amateur piece of gothic tendency that the rest of the album rises above, beginning with the hook -filled sequential track, "God Part II." This p tune would work as well on the radio, singing along to it as we repair to our homes, as it would accompanying us as we twitch and wave at the club.
"The Haves" is an OK ditty I wouldn’t even mention if not for the 8-bit sounds that lead it to its heavenly conclusion. "Static Space" effortlessly bounces between a sound reminiscent of Depeche Mode and a more aggressive electronic agenda. "Ice Man" is an urgent number buried in fuzz, eventually racing to a hopeful crescendo by peppy piano, while "The Era of Voyeurism" is sci-fialienation in the key of 1984. The year, not so much the book.
"Nascentes morimur" (Latin for "from birth we die," or something close to that), is a radical departure from anything that precedes or succeeds it, blending the band’s penchant for synth beats with horns, like Big Bad Voodoo Daddy cloaked in Spider-Man’s symbiote. "Replica" impresses with its unusual orchestration and killer riffs. It also gets bonus points for referencing "Blade Runner" and inviting com-parisons to Radiohead’s song "Fitter Happier."
"October" is a fine choice to close the album. The organ, the bells, the acoustic guitar, the from-the-pulpit vocals all conspire to create a feeling of warmth shrouded in cold, like standing in a dying forest on an October day. Wind blowing. Leaves falling.
Dimension Zero manages to convey a sense of humor without ever making the listener feel jerked around, like the music is a gag. It’s not. It’s sincere music-making minus the pretensions of what an "industrial" or "electronic" album should be. While listening, we recognize the band’s influences but would never accuse it of aural thievery; each song is singular and bears the mark of its creator, not its creator’s creative sources. Eschewing most patterns of songwriting, "Scythe" is an invigorating ride throughout.