CD, Hands Productions, 2010
In the beginning, there was 5F-55. Then there was a split, and 5F-X (currently residing in the human form of one Mike Brun) remained. Not much changed, except that almost all subject matter covered by the music shifted to the extraterrestrial. This latest album, “Flight Recorder 5.0”, is typical of the 5F-X sound – very dance-oriented, highly structured technical industrial. It leans, at times, more to the technoid side than to the harsher ‘noize’ side of the spectrum – but does inahbit, for the most part, a gray area we’ll cunningly call ‘technoise’… Each track (or “audioautical file”, as the tracklisting tells us – the “n” of “audionautical” apparently got lost somewhere in the collective third density consciousness) is introduced by static-ridden black box samples detailing UFO encounters, which are then followed by some serious beats.
It is these beats that showcase a common characteristic of all Hands releases – an attention to detail during mastering that many emulate, but few successfully replicate. The sound quality you can expect from this label is always hands down (pun intended) a winner, and 5F-X are no exception. From the very first kick, the sound reverberates and builds into a full-body experience that is as much felt as heard. Enough to send endorphins racing to the scene of the trauma and spilling over into massive adrenal release and heightened oxygen intake – definitely something every connoisseur of electronic music should experience at least once.
Sadly, for all the positive response felt when dealing with the masterful production presented on “Flight Recorder 5.0”, there is still a negative aspect to be dealt with: the greatest drawback of this album is the over-emphasised distinction between sampled flight recordings and the tracks themselves; the former serve merely as introductions to each subsequent assault. Only on the bonus remix tracks (Sountox’ remix of “audioautical recording 04” and the Flight Recorder remix of “E.d.d.y.-scope.007”) are they incorporated into the music with any real degree of success – and a great pity it is, as they would exhibit, in themselves, excellent textural motifs and incidental bleeps to create more depth in the pounding beats. As it is, they become superfluous: they add nothing to what would otherwise be an excellent selection of industrial dance music. Only at the end of the album, where a manipulated sample delivers messages of peace and goodwill from a Martian ambassador, do they take on an additional role – that of a conclusion.
Apart from this, however, “Flight Recorder 5.0” is, like its predecessors (“5F-55 is reflected to 5F-X” and “The xenomorphians – your friendly invasion”), destined for dancefloor greatness and richly deserves its seat in the feasting, carousing and PVC-corseted valkyries of rivethead Valhalla.
— David van der Merwe