CD, Force Of Nature, 2008
The music scene is in crisis! People are downloading music on the cheap like crazy, causing honest record labels to go out of business and innocent artists to go hungry each day! We must fight to survive! Or at least, certain labels and artists are going one step ahead of the masses and using the internet to offer up extra treats and surprises to make spending your money on their releases worthwhile. “V2,” the debut album of American artist Clint Sand, under the name Synnack, delivers as its special gift a secret code for a supporters’ area of the website. So I typed “www.synnack.com” into the Internet and came upon a well designed and stylish looking website, then hurriedly typed in my code and registered myself as a supporter. Once inside I found a number of extra tracks, including unreleased bonus songs and live performances, as well as videos of Synnack in the flesh (admittedly this is a YouTube link for now). But more interestingly than this, I bought a t-shirt for the ridiculously low sum of six US dollars and downloaded a remix kit, which I will butcher later and shame the band with.
The track in question is my favourite from “V2,” coming surprisingly late on the record, “Systema Adroit,” a great piece of industrial electronica with sinister synths over perfectly arranged syncopated rhythms. This tune probably cannot be improved, only remixed into a different musical genre. Actually, it is generally the final area of the album that works best for me; “BBN” contains more dramatic strings over nervous beats and “Underneath Outside” slows things down to an uneasy glitch and shuffle creeping fear, suddenly interrupted by booming crashes and a distorted, warlike tune. The album closer, “Ants In The Water” is rather claustrophobic and threatening, with a meandering psychedelic bass line and an oppressive ambience.
The earlier part of the album is perhaps less immediate and maybe represents some of the downsides of the experimental electronica genre, with the buzzing, malfunctioning intro followed by the drum machine workout of “Nauvoo,” which somehow isn’t sufficiently engaging for my tastes. But this is certainly as well produced as anything else on the album, just maybe lacking something memorable to stick in my head. However, “L3D” shows how effective Synnack can be when operating at a slower pace and letting the atmospherics creep through, as does “The Locative,” with a minimal approach building up to a more active ending. At over 70 minutes, this is a rather overly long album, and perhaps the eight-minute tracks, “Her Room” and “Rize (5mg),” could have been trimmed to provide the main high points without excess waiting.
With generous extras thrown in as here, and a quality of musicianship outshining some of the minor failings, “V2” is definitely a worthwhile release for anybody interested in the more industrial end of experimental electronica, another good reason to keep buying CDs in this iPod dominated age!
— Nathan Clemence