REVIEW: Collide – “Some Kind of Strange”

By Mike Ventarola

Chain Border

Some Kind of StrangeOne can safely assume that when the next chapter of dark musical history is written, Collide will be remembered as pioneers. They create dark electronic musical hybrids coupled with waves of sensual emotion. Equally, it is at home in the club setting or in the bedroom during those long intimate nights. No other band has been able to pair intense yet physically enticing sound elements before or since.

Collide’s latest release, Some Kind of Strange, joined musical forces with exemplary artists such as cEvin Key, Rogerio Silva, Kevin Kipnis, Kef, Gilbert Levy, X-8 and Danny Carey. Although this recording still maintains a healthy dose of enticing delivery, there is less focus on it. Instead, it explores and creates a strong sense of internalized eroticism coupled with introspection. Lyrically, there is a lot of intentional ambiguity enabling the listener to interpret the rising thoughts and feelings toggled from the subconscious mind.

CollideCollide’s usage of seductiveness is most evident with kaRin’s vocal delivery. Contrary to what some may think, her innate gift taps into that center of herself that is at once Goddess-like and fully aware of her womanhood. Statik and company paint a mirage that embodies sound that moves in one direction and then manages to somehow twist up and hit the listener differently with each repeat listen. The overall work conveys elements that are dark, electronic, wickedly sensual, ambiguous, forthright, surrealistic, forlorn yet positive in a rather unique fashion. Clearly it would be a disservice to try to categorize the CD into any one restrictive genre. It is undoubtedly a benchmark of dark electronic music, yet there is so much more fulminating under the main layers of sound.

Crushed opens with a rather melodic, ambient component while dancing with some of the more distinct edgier industrial sounds. kaRin is vocally in her best element, gently enticing us forward like a siren from one of the seven seas. Statik and company push the edge of the industrial pulse, bringing us closer towards this carefully woven auditory web, carefully wrapped around kaRin’s vocals. This seems to be one of the most alluring trip hop, industrial hybrids to ever reach a recorded medium thus far. Even with the despondent lyrics, the delivery compels us to realize that tomorrow will see us through, particularly if we somehow manage to embody the muse that kaRin seems to effortlessly evoke at will. Euphoria dances with trip hop electronica, adding punctuations of dark sonic weavings which never overrun the song’s velocity. It works as a song of love, longing, introspection and questioning. The lyrics point us toward a cinematic head-set, pushing us towards mental free association.

Somewhere creates a hybrid best described as essences of midnight cool jazz, dashes of Middle Eastern intonations and electronic percussion. It is then funneled through an industrial canvas, while adding the prerequisite sensuality. Somehow it nudges us to go deeper within our personal introspection, while encompassing enough stylization for the club setting. Slither Thing seems to be the most intentionally provocative track to come from Collide’s roster. We are provided with a serpentine type of delivery that is not afraid to be alluringly potent as it meanders across the musical spectrum.

Inside is a mellow trip hop groove that incorporates portions that are warm yet cool. It is the chilly lonesome midnight musing as much as it is a mesmerizing and transfixing endeavor. We are carried towards our personal surrealistic quest of relational satisfaction. Mutation gives a harsher yet still seductive edge for the rivet-head crowd. On one level, we are thrust into the reality of a relationship that is going nowhere and we must wake up to find our own inner center. At the same time, we are given the subtle impetus of trying to be someone we are not in order to make someone else happy.

Tempted at first seems like a track that addresses the eternal struggle between wanting someone or something that we are not in a position to have. Some may find that repeat listenings bring them towards a subconscious self-talk monologue. It somehow encourages us to seek out the answers to the perplexing questions in our lives. If we turn this track with a prismatic fashion, it changes again into something almost spiritual.

WordsShimmer starts off with the harsh guitar elements commonly found in industrial music. Within a blink of an eye, it decomposes into a pseudo trip hop world beat, adding layers of Middle Eastern seductiveness. Sonically, we can actually feel the shimmer of the water or mirage within and from without our own being. Lyrically we are once again brought towards a multitude of meanings of this track. It is expertly evoked from the precise offering of just enough words to stimulate the mind coupled with sounds that are meant to coax a feeling from our psyche. Through it, kaRin delivers the song with her trademark vocals which have fully seduced the listener into basically wanting to do and feel whatever she tells us to without question.

Complicated is interesting because it first encompasses dark ambient and avant garde experimentation along with carefully placed electronic noise elements. It then unwinds to provide an infectious trip hop rhythm while sending out a somewhat coy message that the lovelorn and forsaken will fully understand. So Long is a sentiment of parting while also being a question about one’s state within a stale and inert relationship. Of all the tracks, this particular one wants us to realize the confusion, hurtfulness, desolation, longing and questioning of a significant relationship.

WordsSome Kind of Strange boldly sought to be intentionally ambiguous in a few areas, departing somewhat from the renowned sensual focus of their last CD. Their fans are more than aware of kaRin’s innate sex-goddess vocal delivery, which seems to spring from every fiber of her being. Unlike others who pummel us with sex ploys as a ruse to create sales, kaRin and Statik are humble, kind, highly talented, innately connected and self assured. In spite of their eye candy appeal, they seem unaware that they exude this element of class, distinction and sensuality which overflows into their musical creations. Their ability to deliver emotional truth without pretension or false affectation helps the listener to interpret there emotional psyche through the tugging at the subconscious mind.

Thus far, the one thing which does not seem to have been fully addressed, is the artistic difference between the present release of Some King Of Strange compared to their last release, Chasing The Ghost(1). The graphics on both CDs utilized the remarkable artwork of artist Chad Michael Ward. Chasing The Ghost had an angelic yet naughty sentiment depicted with the graphic and made more emphatic through the music. On Some Kind of Strange there is a concerted effort to not overwork the seductive formula again, showing instead a close up head shot of kaRin. She looks upward, causing us to wonder if she peering heavenward or if she is in the midst of great contemplation. Chad Michael Ward seems innately connected to the band, instinctually knowing how to graphically realize an image to depict the musical contents on the disc.

When not recording, kaRin runs a wonderful side-line shop from their website located at http://www.collide.net/S_&_S.shtml. She creates an assortment of sturdy steel cases for condoms, cigarettes, mirrors, and anything else you might want to store in a secure, compact and sturdy type of casing. The designs are mostly hers, with episodic artwork contributed by other underground musical artists. Aside from his work with Collide, Statik is usually working on or producing music for any number of bands. Popular underground artists as well as major label artists have come to respect his talent, knowing that his judgment and ear to convey sound and emotion in the electronic medium surpasses most.

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Contact Information:
Post: Noiseplus Music, P.O. Box 565, North Hollywood, CA, 91603, USA
Phone: (818) 506-1868
Fax: (818) 506-5127
E-Mail: xcollide@aol.com
Web: www.collide.net

(1) Reviewed in Legends #110.

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