CD, D-Trash Records, 2004
Contra is a digital hardcore project of one E. Coli living in Ottawa, Canada. I have to admit that digital hardcore in not a genre I generally follow closely, the only band name that comes to mind in this genre for me is Atari Teenage Riot. However, after listening to Contra’s “Enter The Winter” I have a bit broader view of what this genre implies.
“Enter the Winter” kicks off with a piece consisting of a blend of electronic noises, all chaotically weaving in and out of each other. In a few places I definitely hear human voices buried in the mix, sometimes coming forth a bit more and being almost clear. The voices remind me of what would happen if you had various radio stations crossing signals with each other at a maddening pace. This track is actually really interesting and I almost wish it carried on a bit longer. Electronic noises carry on into the next track however, this time there is a sense of rhythm and an actual beat going on. There is a calm human voice in various parts which is either in a language I do not speak or played backwards.
The fourth track entitled “A Minimal Future”, breaks the mold that the earlier pieces had, instead of starting out mellow and building up, it comes at you full force seconds into the song. A voice asks “Why should I?” and is answered by a barrage of electronic sounds. After a bit of this it mellows out into some almost, (dare I say) ambient electronics before noise beats crash back in and remind you of what you’re actually listening to.
My only real complaints with “Enter Winter” are the fact that it seems to my ears that a lot of the songs are structured very similar and sometimes it feels like I’ve already listened to this track a few songs back. Contra is very good at what he does, I just feel that had a few surprises been thrown in here and there to mix things up, this album would be much stronger. If you’re a fan of punishing electronics (not exactly in the extreme noise/power electronics way), or looking for something ‘hard’ but with fairly consistent beat to go along, Contra’s “Enter The Winter” will probably make you a rather happy person.
— Charlie Martineau