Wednesday, June 6, 2007

XPQ-21 - Destroy to Create

Year: 1999
Genre: Industrial - Synth

Highlight Tracks: "A Gothic Novel (Body)", "Monster", "Synthesizers"
Weak Tracks: N/A

Combining industrial synth style with classic techno beats Destroy to Create is a great album.

The industrial sounds and techno beats make this a very danceable album while at the same time the synth work here is beautiful enough to put this album on while chilling at home. If Underworld ever cut an industrial album it would probably sound like this. That is probably because Jeyenne, the mastermind behind XPQ-21, spent most of the 90's as a European techno god and he brings his bag of tricks from that genre along with him.

Jeyenne also brings a great vocal style. His german accent adds nicely to his range of dramatic vocals. He often shouts, growls, and mutters before busting out into full-on gothic crooning. Whenever a singer goes the goth route on an industrial album they walk a fine line between drama and farce. Thankfully Jeyenne pulls it off nicely on Destroy to Create.

On this album XPQ-21 is a duo rounded out by a woman called Nicque. When I saw XPQ-21 open for Funker Vogt in 2001 it seemed like she was the one handling all of the music while Jeyenne was singing. On this album I assume they share the programming duties.

The highlight of the album is the programming; especially on the awesome instrumental track "Synthesizers" where XPQ-21 unleash an awe inspiring amount of keyboard and synth layers to bury the listener in sound. At other moments, such as on "Aog", the band slow the tempo down into Kraftwerk territory. The band sound like they are having so much fun on every track that really the entire album is a joy to listen to. The song "Monster" is itself a monster dance track that shows off a range of tempo and techno/industrial musicianship that makes your head spin. Meanwhile the album's single "A Gothic Novel (Body)" is a moody piece of synth brilliance being equal parts atmospheric and danceable.

I really love this album. I'm not the biggest fan of the industrial synth movement but this album really works for me. Probably because it is so much fun to listen to. I often think I would like more industrial synth bands if they would lighten up a bit. Destroy to Create is by no means light fare, but its techno elements do make it more fun to party too than some of the genre's other albums. Where many industrial synth groups pull off fun and beauty on an occasional single or dance-floor hit, XPQ-21 managed to produce an entire album of well-crafted wonders.

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