CD Review

Curve - "Chinese Burn"

By Marcus Pan

Hit or miss - the music industry today is like that. You could create the most awesome soundscape, most hard-hitting techno track or the best guitar-driven rock 'n roll barrage you can - but it's still hit or miss. Will you be noticed? Will you hit the charts? Hit or miss baby - take your best shot.

CurveAnd they did. The band is Curve. The place is the UK. The people are Toni Halliday on vocals and Dean Garcia on music and programming. Out of six singles this duo have released, five of them have hit the UK top 40 charts. Their past collaborations includes such heavy hitters as Trent Reznor, Aphex Twin and Future Sound. Their style is a heavy techno dance - the type of ambient mix that is designed to not just play in your head but assault your synapses. Since 1990 Curve have been pumping out albums and singles at a fast rate. The one I'll be reviewing today is Chinese Burn, pumped out of the Curve shack on the 1st of December in 1997.

You may have thought the duo that is Curve were history by 1994. Following a lot of media attention, and misrepresentation might I add, Toni had said that her and Dean were no longer working together. What she didn't say was that they wouldn't work together again in the future. And hence came Chinese Burn and even more thereafter. Goes to show you that you can't listen to everything you hear.

Chinese BurnThe Chinese Burn CD contains six remixes of Curve's hard-hitting track of the same name. Asked about the CD, Toni says that "It's me talking to my alter-ego. The bad person inside me." Even though the bass and rhythm of the Chinese Burn remixes are so moving, loud and brash, you can still hear the darker aspects of the music fusing together deep behind the slamming beats, bass-laden repercussions and metallic riff work. Sometimes, like in the Forbidden City Remix (track 2), the darker side is in the spacey yet strangely soothing synth chords in the background. Sometimes it's in the metal-tinged vocals of Halliday as heard in the Headcase Medipac (track 4) remix. This particular track has a Kraftwerk feel - mostly lent to by the vocals. The beats are jungle-rhythm style. But regardless of what makes each of the six remixes different, that darker theme is always there somewhere, winding underneath the heavy bass and dance-slamming rhythms.

Also included on Chinese Burn are two additional tracks - Robbing Charity and Come Clean. The former has a bit of a slower style - while still purely a techno piece of work and still computeresque with a Kraftwerk influence, it's a bit slower moving. Being a bit generic, it becomes a bit droning by the end. The latter has a lot of noise-tinged guitars and slapping drum work. The vocals are screechily annoying and the whole track is over very quickly at just over two minutes in length - BLAM BLAM BLAM done. Too quick.

Curve has the unique ability to meld their singles into constant and continuous varieties. If you like the pure-techno, computer-blip sound, they can do that. If you like the heavier guitar-riff Ministry style, they can do that, too. It's your choice - just pick the track number and you can find a version of Chinese Burn that you can agree with.

Contact Information:
Post: Curve, c/o MMN, P.O. Box 7022, Red Bank, NJ, 07701

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