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Blush Response – Human Augmentation

Published by Davide Pappalardo on April 8, 2017

blush-response-human-augmentationCyber punk, techno, industrial, EBM, rhythmic noise: all elements used by Joey Gonzales in his project Blush Response, both in music, image, atmosphere. We have talked about his previous works plenty, and we had the pleasure of talking with him in an interview; now we are going to review his last EP on Sonic Groove (Adam X’s label), called Human Augmentation. This work is no u-turn from what he has previously offered to us, but, once again, his style shows a progressive evolution, where the many faces and aspects of his music find new ways to express themselves; this time, we have modular synths and hard techno attacks, while keeping a futuristic, dark atmosphere, and the usage of distortions and rhythmic patterns.

Beyond flesh opens the work with a crawling, hypnotic rhythm, upon which samples and effects are layered, following a minimalistic, enthralling crescendo. The repetitive techno songwriting is aptly mixed with a deep, dark atmosphere, giving us a perfect fusion of flesh and steel, soul and machine: this is music for the dancefloor, but this doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have any appeal for a solitary listener.

Unclean spirit is one of the highlights of the EP, starting with a strong beat and developing a modular path full of sharp sounds and abrasive rhythmic rituals, the real definition of techno industrial as it should be. Monolithic, frantic atmospheres and grizzling samples complete a strong track full of distorted basslines and syncopated, intricate rhythms.

Machine god is a dystopic, almost acid number, upon which the progressively added elements build a mesmerizing, disturbing groove: for sure, the lessons learned while working on his more rhythmic noise and dark ambient oriented works have not been forgotten, instead many of their elements are here present in a new shape, adapting to the more “straightforward” songwriting used in this occasion. Anyway, rhythms and danceable basslines are not forsaken. We have here the sonic equivalent of a smoky, dark club, full of ravers in a not so distant future.

Instrumentality closes the doors with a distorted bassline which follows a minimalistic, but ingeniously developed, rhythmic pattern, upon which sonic structures and sound designs are built on. A noisy architecture could be perceived, just as well as a soundtrack for an unreleased cyberpunk movie (let’s think about the almost synthwave passage we can hear after three minute and half, presenting itself in a groovy fashion). The electro / EBM reminiscences of his first sound meets the techno industrial of late in a fortunate marriage, which shows once again his skillful usage of different elements and ideas in a coherent songwriting.

Never boring, never all over the place, Blush Response is synonymous with quality, hard, dark techno industrial with a clear concept and a set of skills and experience to back it up; of course, Joey is not unaware of what is happening in Berlin, where he lives, or in the rest of the world, and he is not hesitant to use some influences coming from his environment in his music. But, at the same time, he has developed a sound of his own, which can’t be mistaken for any other, with a specific atmosphere and a trademark sound design always growing and developing new forms, while maintaining its roots. Another great work from a never resting project.

Label: Sonic Groove

Rating: 8