REVIEW: Reflected - Demo

By Marcus Pan

Chain Border

ReflectedHailing from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Iain McLaughlin creates music under the pseudo-name of Reflected. A mechanized industrial sound with a minimal makeup, his works will concentrate on one or two main lines of sound in a song. A solid bass line, or a synth-loop tinged with an acidic metal grind perhaps. Peddling his music via MP3.com, Iain packaged a demo CD for me containing tracks from his two releases available there - Unwanted and theGrimLight.

Reflected's muse is indeed one of an experimental nature. Very mechanical sounding with scrapes, guttural bass and metallic synthesizers, rhythms can range anywhere from fast and powerful to slow and droning. He opens my demo CD with Perfect (Just Like You), a song wound around a synthetic metal bounce. Scraping rhythms and tapping cymbals guide a vocal score that choruses into a screech. Desperation meanwhile is very different from the first - a dronier rhythm that plods along to the tune of a well-played minimal bass line. Guitars and high-hat percussion punctuate choral interludes. Vocals are somewhere between spoken and whispered. The song is well arranged and retains a minimal style without losing itself to boringness. Latter portions bring in a heavy guitar and, again, mechanical keyboards striking you out of the drone.

A poppier beat with scraping percussion, Black is a good dance song for the industrial dance floor. Whistling keyboards float about and the occasional guitar riff keeps things interesting. Mouth is also faster paced, though not as riveting as Perfect was. I love the techno-guitar laced riffs that work great with the synth-pop bass line. An excellent techno-industrial hybrid. Following this Iain breaks the harder core with a near-ambient piece. Unwanted is a study in contradictions, with a bright keyboard melody pitted against another one of his well-made, droning bass and rhythm tracks. Vocals wind inside the toy piano melodies.

The highlight of the demo, my favorite track here, is probably Sadistica. A flute-like keyboard lick joins his almost ever-present bass/drum drone combinations, but the choruses are slammed with a heavy techno-guitar jam. Just dirty enough to be abrasive, just controlled enough to not lose itself in a blare. On Immaculate Nightmare Reflected tones down the techno-riff style into a sustain-laden continuance. Bass lines during the chorus attempt to punctuate vox-laden vocal chants that are just slightly too far into obscure. Not a great track, could use some work. Unlike the controlled riffs shown in Sadistica, the vocal/techno joinings in Immaculate Nightmare do get too blaring. Closing the demo comfortably with another minimal drone-style, The Dark Dream plods along. Unlike Desperation where the bass leads the song, here it is lead more by a strumming, whispering guitar.

Reflected, a.k.a. Iain McLaughlin, is another artist honing his home studio skills and trying to show his work on the crowded streets of MP3.com. He has two releases under his belt however, and has commanded the art of minimal one or two line leads very well. Occasionally his work will travel further to the noisier side I don't like as much, but this is rare and overall Reflected creates a balance industrial-techno style of music with the occasional ambient flair thrown in to brighten the musical colors.

Contact Information:
E-Mail: shark_infested_custard@hotmail.com
Web: http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/41/reflected.html

Legends Online