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
And 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.
The 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
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.
Post: Curve, c/o
MMN, P.O. Box 7022, Red Bank, NJ, 07701
Click to Buy!