Since 1997, many trip-hop and goth-electro fans have waited on pins and needles for the follow-up release of duo Collide. The release of the remix album Distort and, a year previous, 1996's Beneath the Skin and the single Son of a Preacher Man, complete with a surrealistic masterpiece of a video that depicts a gang of cowboys fighting it out with a gang of people dressed in various animal costumes; this has set duo Statik and Karin up as greats within the trip-hop electro field of sound fusion.
The dawn of the millennium brings us now Chasing the Ghost. The album ends a long wait for Collide fans, and delivers tenfold on the promises that the moody duo has set for themselves with previous releases. Moody, rhythmic and infused with a maturity that shows how the two have grown together on a personal, professional and musical level, Chasing the Ghost is, in short, a fucking masterpiece. Not only can you hear the maturity of their music, you can see it in the release of Chasing the Ghost on their own self-made label, Noiseplus Music. Available at CDBaby, Amazon.com, and direct from Noiseplus of course, this is a must-have for any lover of previous Collide releases. It is a further step in the duo's analogy and no collection of trip-hop or similar music is complete without it.
Statik's control of the instrumentals have reached a new high, with more control and less of a noisy stance. The rhythms are smoother, more subtle, even cerebral at times and with the exception of some tracks that push a high-brow drumbeat they have a deeper arrangement. Karin continues to laud us with sultriness and erotica, crooning with a combined sound of malice, finesse and lust. "This album was torture to make," says Karin about Chasing the Ghost, the perfectionism of the duo manipulating each track to higher levels of form.
Some favorites include the slow, moody and sultry Razor Sharp, with vocal effects that give Karin a devlish/succubus sound, dragging "s's" and consonant sounds as they chant through the membranes of your soul. Statik's groove is slow, funk-driven and sexy, pulsing bass that are wrapped with melodic, sharp-intoned keyboard licks. Jumping to track 5, here Collide cover Grace Slick with the 1966 White Rabbit. The rhythm is lifted up and injected with more fervor, speeding along with guitar chords that are mechanized yet retain humanism when surrounded by Karin's deep vocals. One thing you will notice on Chasing the Ghost is that she seems to supply less of the diva-esque vocal qualities and more a deep-chanting quality, with even soprano notes spoken with assured intonations and less of a belting wail. The latter computer-bass rhythms and guitar-style riffs performed by Statik further on surrounding Karin's "ooo yeah" closing vocals are excellently balanced without a highlight, providing a blend of instruments that play along with each other rather than one against another.
Also here is Halo, a true trip-hop bass-sliding style. The mixture of bass-level sounds throughout Halo allow Karin to shine with her singing, as it allows her to appear just above the bass lines with higher-octave sounds, though you'll find her voice still remains within an alto range for most of the song. Chorus areas are intoned with a keyboard chorale style that, while stepping up to the higher octaves, are low-cut enough to still allow Karin's vocals to retain control of the track.
Overall, Chasing the Ghost delivers on a promise made about three years ago when the last Collide release hit the streets. Back in June of 2000 Rat B. reviewed the previous works of Collide* and closed by saying, "There are plenty of Front 242s, Leaether Strips, and FLAs in the world, but only one Collide." And indeed, Karin and Statik remain true to their sole vision - Chasing the Ghost, and Collide in general, is not a band where you can easily pin their influences on the jacket sleeve. Trip-hop, electronica, EBM, euro-industrial (a la Kraftwerk and not Ministry) - it contains facets of all of these, while still being a sound of their own.
* Legends No. 99.
Post: Collide, P.O. Box 565, North Hollywood, CA, 91603
Phone: (818) 506-1868
Fax: (818) 506-5127