CD Review

Chiasm – “Relapse”

By Marcus Pan

RelapseI first heard of Chiasm on the DEC(1) releases. Also five years ago their self-titled review was about(2), of which staff writer Govella wrote: "Chiasm immediately stands out as more intellectual than your typical electro fare. Leaving behind the tyranny of the beat..." A truly invigorating and truthful quote and Emilie has done nothing but improve her intellectual style since then with the release of Relapse.

The subtly breathed Embryonic that utilizes surrounding electronics as a driving factor and only very minimal rhythm make up open Relapse wonderfully. The classical style, slow dirge piano that opens Still is also pleasantly if simply arranged. X-Ray really does come across sounding like that in some futuristic hybrid surrealist way. The spurts of fast-hit rhythms are attention grabbers and Emiliegh's vocals, while always angellic, take on an even more effervescent quality. Track seven, Incision, sounds like it might be so pretty at its outset but is so severely scratched on my CD submission I can't do naught but wish for it.

Delay laces garbled voices into its introduction before opening into lower-octave song than we've seen thus far. It drags across the floor schtoppily to a minimal rhythm that will cut out without warning leaving you clinging only to Rohn's concise alto voice. Phobic speeds things up nicely before we get a little low-down dirty with the following Needle on track 9.

Needle bubbles up from a deep growl below, saturating above in a strange ethereal twisting mass of interestingness. The Relapse CD closes with two remixes of previous tracks – Rewind and Surrender with different takes on each. The Floating Tears Mix (by Zentriert ins Antitz) is somewhat lengthy, but pleasing to the ear with very bubbly synthetics and high pitched melodies coalesced against darker rhythms. The high-octave melody versus the low-octave rhythm formula has usually made pretty decent material.

I really dig Relapse, for its modern make-up and bar-pushing creation. Rohn doesn't stick too close to convention and pushes on what synths can do, showing their qualities as much for melodic intonations as for rhythmic percussion. Better than I remember the previous self-titled release and much wiser in its make-up, Relapse is sure to please both electro/industrial fans as well as those looking for a new diva to follow blissfully behind.

Contact Information:
Chiasm
Post: PO Box 130684, Ann Arbor, MI, 48113-0684, USA
E-Mail: chiasm@chiasm.org
Web: www.chiasm.org
(1) Detroit Electronica Colation – the 1st was reviewed in Legends #95, the 2nd reviewed in #119 and the last review (thus far) was in Legends #148.
(2) This was reviewed in Legends #100.

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