CD, Square Wave Media, 2005
Already having with a few releases in netlabels, the debut “physical release” by NY-based circuit-bending wunderkind Sabastian Boaz doesn’t feature many surprises for those acquainted with his previous body of work. Except for Sabastian doing vocals in this album, that is.
Musically, Boaz seems to be rooted in the 80’s and early 90’s, drawing influences from a variety of underground electronics: Synthpop, Darwave along with some EBM and Industrial experimentalism (as is admited in the track “Everything”). Adding to this his experimentations with circuit-bending for the creation of his analog-driven sound, and the end result is anything but an emulation of his influences. Boaz’s songs are incredibly catchy and somewhat bouncy, without being bubblegum by any means, but they also have a darker edge and a certain “playful seriousness” (noticeable in the lyrics as well) which contribute to make them (and consequently the album) more credible.
Sabastian’s intervention as a vocalist truly sets “Head Drone” apart from his previous netlabel releases. Granted, his deep and ‘spoken-rather-than-sung’ vocals may be something of an acquired taste and a turn-off for some people, but personally I feel they prove adequate to the music in to which they are integrated which is pretty robotic in itself.
What detracts from this album is that, despite each song being pretty solid and memorable when on its own, when taken together, they become too similar with none in particular standing out after the first few tracks. Consequently, shortly after its beginning “Head Drone” loses a bit of pace, only picking it up again in the end with the remixes. “Distractions”, “Trans-Message” and “Head Drone” become, by default, the standout tracks and “Drama Queen” or “New Wave Vector” being overlooked.
All in all, this is a good and solid release from a young talented musician who shows a lot of potential for the future. Even though it is something of an acquired taste, it should be checked out.
— Miguel de Sousa