CD Review

Geomatic – “Control Agents”

By Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Control AgentsFor once, some sense can be made in a coldwave project, one that takes itself perhaps a bit more seriously than others of its style. Mind control is the theme and muse to Geomatic's Control Agents, complete with cited passages in the liner notes telling of electroshock mind manipulation, which explains the swirling miasma found on the project's murky tracks. Creating a cautionary atmosphere that lends credence to Gordon Thomas' quote on the inner sleeve, "...a world where every human thought, emotion, sensation and desire could be actually controlled by electrical simulation of the brain," Control Agents is as chilling a manifesto as the guinea-pigism it implies.

Auxiliary Transmitter is a surprise off the bat, featuring swaying electronica and a hypnotic, smooth rhythm which makes better use of its external noise elements than other coldwave practitioners. The Mideastern flavor and slinky tempo keeps the track amazingly balanced. Skinner Box, however, is an auditory Chinese Water Torture with its prolonged amplified water drops and pointless coldwave add-ons. The overkill drip concept is obnoxious, but the desired effect of conveying gradual brain control is powerfully realized. Implanted Thoughts ushers in a refreshing scat beat that toys with the vocal sweeps, jangling sound effects and echoing coldwave; the track even picks up into a Nine Inch Nails type of beat that scoops all of the random elements into a cohesive industrial groove.

This beat is sorely missing on I.G.O.S., which is mere hollow eeriness, while Stimulating Electrode Implant is barely audible. The latter track is a strain to hear, much less care about, yet the implication of the infrastructure suggests a benumbed loss of free will. The track finally picks up a beat around the 6:30 mark, ending methodically, as Intruders switches to a calypso beat after a shrill note tweak opens the track, followed by a long haul of penetrating coldwave. Finally, Thoughts Get Louder represents itself true, growing in intensity as it tries to maintain order amongst its fleeting samples and tidbits. The track works pretty well for what it is until it ultimately succumbs to darker frays, leaving for a hopeless finale.

Political as it is expressionistic, Control Agents is no less weird and cacophonous than its contemporaries, but with the unique (unique to this genre, anyway) attempts to take responsibility and guide the mayhem presented on the disc, Control Agents deserves a listen. Obviously seeking to be the Operation Mindcrime of its ilk, Geomatic's dramatic presentation is sure to be pondered by disc's end.

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