REVIEW: Apocrypho - "Spiritual Cannibal"

By Marcus Pan

Chain Border

Spiritual CannibalOur Washington state friends ADSR Musicwerks are just pumping them out these days. This time we are greeted to another debut release from elektro wonders, Apocrypho. Made up of Lups Sobre-Vega (electro synthesis, direction and album concept), Brian Von Gross (vocals and electro synthesis) and Sir Warren Deacon-Wren (film/graphics production), Apocrypho have been making major waves in the scene with tracks spun over dancefloors and reviews of high acclaim. Their debut, Spiritual Cannibal, is an original and fresh hybrid of trance, industrial and synth-pop, blending the three with flair and aplomb.

Rather experimental in places, Spiritual Cannibal provides a lush and heavily filled soundscape of intensity. With a spiritual in-depth overtone that isn't bound to one religious promenade, but instead seem to overflow over a multitude of ideals throughout, Apocrypho's Spiritual Cannibal maintains a diverse collection of movements for your mind. Musically it is wide-spread as well, going from the groove-laden Catch My Fall to the heavier industrial sound of Blame, they move effortlessly across the EBM and heavier industrial genres well and apply a nicely arranged ambient synthetic background from one to the next.

Highlight tracks of this debut release include the opening Catatonic/Dreaming Of Sin. The former is an opening windy ambience with meaningful vocal samples and a binding melodic keyboard melody that is slow and flowing, sliding from note to note. In the latter, subtle vocals swap from left to right for a surrounding effect. Vocals don't like to come from both speakers at once often. Another favorite of mine is the lush and rhythmic Connect. An interesting mirage of vocal effects and layered samples, Connect is reminiscent of later work by Shpongle or other ambient-trance artists and is featured in the film A Deeper Sense of Surrender: a Spiritual Cannibalism documentary.

It seems that my favorite tracks found on Spiritual Cannibal reside mostly in the center. Following Connect, which occupies the fifth track on the debut, is Beautiful Mistake. A moving, beat-centric piece with a sliding and underground bass line and whisper-masked vocals. Following this is Falling Down, a heavier, stompier ensemble with vocals that sink below you, deeper into the atmosphere. Bass/drum/something-or-other hits punctuate the track along with the bubbly bass track. Closing the CD with the nominal Spiritual Cannibal (red curry mix), Apocrypho end with smooth keyboard layers and populate the background with deep-seated chants.

So what do we have in Apocrypho? A new, fresh blend of music with a wide array of flavors. Like discovering a new drink at your favorite club - something different than others, but with flavors you can place from elsewhere - well-blended and arranged in your aural glass. Is it a good drink? That depends on your mood - sometimes it might be too soft, other times too tangy. But it's a flavor you can get used to and grow to like as you drink more.

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