CD Review

CEOXiME - Demo

By Marcus Pan

CeoXimeImages of decay, corrosion, rust and brittle cracking metal carcasses of days gone by. Echoes of loss and despair blowing like subtle breezes through the back of your formatted and unpartitioned mind - Detroit's CEOXiME bring a computeresque yet breezy feel to their music. Survivors of previous band Format C:, CEOXiME are the trance-inducing nightmares of decay and desecration of hEADaCHE on machines and Tatiana on vocals. Their music is a strange hybrid of industrial synths, jungled drums and high-floating vocals that come together to create an eerie landscape that has a Bladerunner sensation riveted throughout. It's not quite strong and gut-wrenching - yet it's not quite ambient and melancholic. It's somewhere in between. A stasis between joy and hell, love and despair.

CEOXiME are part of the Detroit Electronica Coalition, a series of industrial and electronica artists from the Michigan area. It wasn't until I discovered D[electronic]T (reviewed in a previous issue) that I discovered how strong of a scene Detroit has. The groups are seemingly woven together, like a patchwork steel quilt, with one band sharing members with other bands and with this kind of thing going on you know that the scene is going to be strongly supportive of each other. This has bred a strength into the Detroit electronic music scene that surpasses many others and is beginning to rival even the European masters in countries across the pond in its power and influence.

Let's discuss their music now. CEOXiME use a blend of a number of things, creating a trance-like nightmare. I'm used to happy trance - trip hop. You know: My Scarlet Life, Brian Eno, AFX - stuff that typically makes you feel good. CEOXiME is different in that their flavor of trance is more touched with sorrow and is not suited for the happy X-taking crowd. Instead it's trance goth style, with a morose blend of chords and sounds that twist around a darker entity. One of the closest sounds to come from a recent band, just to give you some semblance of an idea, would be Collide.

CEOXiME creates the type of music that can be remixed and recreated at a very basic, underlying level without losing the gist or direction of the original arrangement. Indeed much of the work here on this demo CD are remixes of older work - and they invite on another of my Detroit area favorites, Esion. Track two holds the song Horror Inside, which is in some ways brightly moving in the keyboard arrangement with a toy piano melody kicking off the track. But with a unique sense of contrast, hEADaCHE wraps the bright melody with windy synthetic chord choruses that wrap around to create a near-nightmarish ensemble. The rhythm is always changing - a consistent quality of hEADaCHE's machinations that you'll see as the CD moves to other tracks. Tatiana has a sultry flavor to her voice - a sexy, succubus feel to it. It almost joins the arranged chords played on the keys to become a multi-faceted chorale.

Now an example of what I mean by the "mixability" of CEOXiME's creations. After listening to track two, the original Horror Inside, you can now jump to track seven, where Esion delivers his version - which remains the same in idea, but is extremely different in make-up. Esion has a more computeresque and industrial approach, keeping much of the chord progression in the background but adding in a more solid metallic-riff style to the front. Tatiana's voice isn't as plentiful, Esion only taking certain samples of her (such as "Scream…!") and applying it. The toy piano becomes more of a data-blip sound. But still - the contrasting intention of Horror Inside is shown with the metal-against-wind quality of the chords.

Innocence, which starts this demo CD I have, is one of those trance-like songs that has many, many counterparts and sounds to it stitched together and held in place by a strong beat track. It is an example of their more floaty work, the depressive-trance style I foreshadowed earlier in this column. A softer and more rave-friendly remix of this track is found on track 5. While Esion remixed CEOXiME's song Horror Inside, hEADaCHE has taken Esion's song Touch the Sky and remixed this into a very fast-moving electronic/techno hybrid. It is swapping mixes like this that shows how strong and supportive the Detroit scene can be.

CEOXiME - now I'm not quite sure what the name is supposed to mean definitively, but I am quite sure I know what it means musically. You can not have love without despair nor joy without sadness. CEOXiME will bring you a set of dance/trance style music that has a darker edge - and that makes it more real. Somebody has to bring these X-ers down - not everything is lights and euphoria. Balance your dance diet with a bit of moodiness - it'll make you more whole.

Contact Information:
Post: CEOXiME, P.O. Box 2541, Dearborn, MI 48123