EP CD-R, self-release, 2004
The preliminary release from South London industrial dance unit Concept 7 offers a few tracks that are worthy of the dancefloor, if leaving the listener wanting more. Their website (smart and not too hard on my dialup connection) conveys the impression that “the 7” balances organic rock and more formulaic, techno-styled elements. While it’s simply not true – the reality is a promising one. The Extract EP is urban rather than industrial, synthetically made, sweat on your skin as much as metal on metal.
The opening track “Functional Concrete” starts with a foreboding hit followed by a driving guitar line that veers away from the palm-muted nu-metallers and bounces off city walls with energy, backed by a plastic beat and delayed, dramatic vocals that fade in and out but aren’t missing aggression and bite. The track slips into “Subversion,” layering thick, smoky chords that choke a listener with claustrophobia. The sampling here is uncharacteristically subtle, and seems like a throwback to Front 242’s “Welcome to Paradise.” A bubbling counterpoint makes synthetic vowel sounds and wells up black liquid at your feet. This is a slower track, and shows that Concept 7 are very conscious of balance but don’t hold back so much as to be inhuman-sounding.
“Corporation Tank” is the strongest track of the three – the sound design of the other two and mixing can be a little weak – and some layers and instruments that want to jump up and bite you sound thin and flat. But this is a floor-killer that scatters a light breakbeat over swirling keys hinting tension. There’s a soundtrack quality to it, with a sputtering techno line and sense of speed and drama. The only letdown is the vocals, which are just a little overdramatic in parts, showing a Flint-era Prodigy influence but build a climax to an otherwise boot-stomping piece of electronica.
Overall, Concept 7 give warm energy and positive aggression in their music, but control it tightly and coolly – there’s no excess but lots of personality and punch. Hearing that in three dimensions, with more of the kick that the EP hints at will seal the deal. Check them out at http://www.concept-7.net
— James Ryan