CD, Thisco, 2010
As a music reviewer, I mentally maintain various benchmarks that I use for comparison when listening to new music; when it comes to IDM, Download’s “The Eyes of Stanley Pain” has always been my personal yardstick. That is, until Mikroben Krieg came along and reset the bar with “Final Cut”. While not stylistically typical of the genre, this album revisits the original definition of Intelligent Dance Music and creates a conceptual recording that surpasses the usual glitchy synths and abstracted percussive lines that typify the form. More precisely, Mikroben Krieg fills the gap between the drum’n’bass-styled IDM of the likes of Squarepusher and that of the more dance-oriented IDM of Haujobb, even going so far as to border on EBM.
Thematically, “Final Cut” delivers a far-reaching concept: that of a lone Touareg wanderer in the desert faced by modern civilisation and its various foibles. Mikroben Krieg nevertheless manages to capture, all at once, and (perhaps more impressively) maintain the conflicting senses of wonder, awe, disbelief and even revulsion that one would expect from such a confrontation. The music ranges from clear, bell-like melodies (illustrated on “Jihad”), spacey synths (“Scene Memory” excels in this regard) right through to harsh industrial drums (up in your face from the word ‘go’ on “Sleepwalkers”), but never settles in one place. This dynamism, this heightened sense of the unexpected, is what makes this recording so enjoyable: as a listener, you are challenged both intellectually and emotionally, being carried on the wave of the nomad’s experience, across the entire gamut of his sensory range.
The spoken-word vocals, while not in English – not to disparage non-English speakers in any way – remain stirring and direct; minimal application of textural layering is, once again, a pleasant deviation from the norm.
While not exactly the focal point when discussing music, the cover art also delivers: the juxtaposition of the desolate wasteland landscape with the intricacy of the CG illustrated aurora is exciting stuff. Another positive aspect of an overall winner. Definitely a worthy addition to any collection of IDM, electronica or old-school industrial. Added value, in the form of a number of remixes from artists including Shhh…, Sci-Fi Industries, and Waste Disposal Machine, are also very welcome indeed.
— David van der Merwe