2CD, Tympanik Audio, 2010
Lucidstatic is making quite the name for himself as a purveyor of quality dark electronics. His brand of industrial-meets-glitch-meets-breakcore (delivered in grand style to an unsuspecting public in the form of his first full-length recording, “Gravedigger”, in 2008) has already garnered many positive responses, and “Symbiont Underground”, his third release on the Tympanik label, is no exception. It’s quite difficult to classify the record: while neither an album nor a remix compilation, but more a hybrid of the two, the two discs span a collection of ‘unfinished’ material, polished and completed by a variety of other artists, including Scalper, Mothboy, Justin Brink of Pneumatic Detach, and many more. This approach makes it more of a collaborative effort than purely a Lucidstatic album, but the initial impetus and composition is all his, so that justifies releasing it under one artist instead of as a ‘various artists’ compilation.
From one point of view, this does make for some interesting and varied listening, as each contributor brings their own flavour to the proceedings, but another viewpoint could easily be one of disappointment – not enough of Lucidstatic’s own style, fresh from the icy wildernesses of Alaska, comes to the fore. Personally, I’ll go with the former, but not all listeners share my taste for the eclectic. Thankfully, the brooding atmospheres and bristling vocal sampling that punctuate his earlier work are still firmly embedded across the board on “Symbiont Underground”, so the core of fans he has built so far will still be presented with all the Lucidstatic sound they could wish for. The only really negative aspect I can draw from the “mix ‘n match” nature of this release is that it makes for really difficult choices when isolating individual tracks across the daunting medium of two discs – possibly a case of too much information at once to assimilate efficiently.
Karloz Manufactura’s take on “Burning Embers” is some of the darkest downtempo music available today, while Pig Fat produce absolute excellence in the form of “Invocation” – the contrasts between melody-driven composition and beat-driven, throbbing menace on this are a thing of genius, and a collaboration of which both artists can be proud.
In all, despite the fluid shifts in mood each contributing artist brings to “Symbiont Underground”, this double album/compilation/remix disc is a pleasure to listen to, gathering influence from a broad spectrum of genres and laying it all out over two CDs of what remains, in essence, pure Lucidstatic nastiness, made all the more offensive via distillation through the ears and machines of some of the most talented collaborators in the evolving industrial community.
— David van der Merwe