CD, Kvitnu, 2009
There’s industrial music, and then there’s this. “Piranha” is a serious confrontation for conventional stompin’ rivetheads and a massive paradigm shift even for those with more of an intellectual bent. Forget about four-to-the-floor electro-tinged hits that make goth girls giggle. Don’t even consider the possibility of agonised, harsh vocals screaming of sexual deviancy and drug abuse. In fact, just let go of all your preconceived notions regarding industrial music and its role in the world of electronica today before even considering listening to this album.
A bizarre blend of drum’n’bass, technoid and distorted percussion, Sturqen delivers a lesson in contemporary sequencing genius in ten short chapters. From the first 40-second introduction that is “Xwartz”, you just know you’re in for a rough and challenging ride, but by the time you’ve made it to “Alk” (after getting through T7, NL42 and other gems that wouldn’t seem out of place on a 5F-55 record sleeve, if names are anything to go by) you feel elated, energised and excited that there are still artists willing to push the envelope, without straying entirely to the abstract and dangerous world of experimental noise – a realm fellow Kvitnu artists like V4W.ENKO and Zavaloka seem at home in.
“Piranha” instead represents the more accessible side of Kvitnu – albeit in a form that your average listener may well shy away from, in abject terror at the concept of music without cut-and-paste loveletter lyrics, or throwaway jingle melodies. No, Sturqen is anything but commercial or mainstream in its approach, but the end result is one worth digging through layers of raw sewage in forgotten third-world alleyways to find.
So if you’re sick of crashing, numbing beats, and need something more stimulating, Sturqen has what you require. Alternatively, if you’ve already delved into the possibilities of harder drum’n’bass, such as that of Yuki Tendo, you’ve come to the right place. “Piranha” is frightening and unconventional but quite brilliant.
— David vander Merwe