CD, Crunch Pod, 2008
Karloz M (Manufactura) burst onto the scene in 2002, being the first release on Scott Strugis’ (Converter) label, Auricle Media. Manufactura’s early work was a mix of minimal ambient and harsh, simple power noise tracks. This double release from Manufactura is a manifestation of the maturity and development that his sound has undergone. While all the former elements of earlier releases are present (and literally so), this release has a more refined sound and much higher production quality.
The past few Manufactura releases have had something lacking, and “Psychogenic Fugue” makes up for these lukewarm releases. A few years back, hearing a Manufactura classic like “Dance of Blood” was exciting as hell. You just couldn’t help but feel an expression of anger through the over-saturated, over-compressed, under-produced 4/4 beats. But this formula grew rapidly stale with each forthcoming release. Tracks from “Psychogenic Fugue,” such as “Defile the Chastity of Your Flesh” and “Somewhere Made For Fucking,” still maintain the same levels of energy as early Manufactura, but manage to incorporate a much greater dynamic range. While these tracks are still quite repetitive, repetition serves well for demarking zones of anger and frustration.
The harsh-pounding percussive tracks are broken up with slow-moving melancholic ambient tracks. These distorted melodic pieces range from the power-electronics-like tracks such as “Indignant Imprints of Time” to the early synth-electro sounds of “Beneath My Hands Death is Love.” The softer sides of the album help break up the movement of the album, and allow it to keep the listener’s interest. “Psychogenic Fugue” is best listened to not as a broken up set of tracks, maybe not even as a unified narrative, but as movement through a range of morose affectivity.
To supplement the finality reached within “Psychogenic Fugue” is an ironically-titled remix disc, “A Damaged Symphony For Depraved Dementia N.2: Regression Through Precognitive Dissonance.” This isn’t actually a remix disc, but more of a reworking of older Manufactura songs, updating them to the same dynamic caliber as “Psychogenic Fugue.” What might be surprising to most (maybe disappointing to some) is that minimal rhythmic classics such as “Pain Provider,” “Dance of Blood” and “I’ll Tear Your Fucking Heart Out” have been reworked to have a much more IDM feel. The rhythmic parts now have more layers, on occasion encompassing breaks, and are supplemented by frailly-distorted string sounds. Though for those that still want a stompy dance track, the CD ends with a fun reworking of “Sacred Sin.”
However, after listening to this collection all the way through, I do have my doubts. Musically I think this album encompasses the fruition of the direction the Manufactura sound has been headed from the very beginning. But the thematic movements of the album do leave me somewhat disappointed. These albums seem to be very personal, mostly focusing on negative experiences. While this is much better then cliché-emoting over poorly-disguised/distorted trance (all too common these days), it also seems to encompass various reified tendencies prevalent within the genre. Blood, drugs, and sexual violence seem to slowly permeate the world of distorted, over-compressed beats. Can harsh electronic music ever (or even should it?) get beyond being the fantasy space of expressing masculine anguish in the face of a retrograding dystopia?
— Lemmy S.