Published by Alessandro Violante on August 7, 2017
In the past decades, rock music used to express strong political messages through its lyrics. Nowadays, this phenomenon sometimes also happens in instrumental electronic music. A lot could be written about how it is capable of transmitting such effective messages without a single word, only through samples, when there are any. As an example, this happens in rhythmic noise music, especially during live performances. The context, the location and, last but not least, music, deliver a message to the listener, who feels himself part of a group, sharing similar opinions.
Listening to music at home with headphones, it’s obvious that it can’t have the same effect on people. Since its early days, HANDS has tried to stimulate a critical thought about some topics, see Winterkälte as a reference, and it happens also with S.K.E.T., a German trio which, with its new abum called Capitalism – Continuing Crisis, released during the FORMS OF HANDS 17 festival held in Bönen’s Förderturm (a building recalling the constructivist avantgarde), does it very well. A linkage between the location where the event was held and the left wing inspired artwork and song titles of the album can be traced.
Although their new album is more influenced by nineties electronic music than by Esplendor Geométrico‘s rhythms, if the listener wants to catch it, a connection between it, Futurism (the father of all early XX° century avantgardes) and their 1916 Manifest (“lo splendore geometrico e meccanico, e la sensibilità numerica”), a critical point of view about Capitalism and status quo, the industrial history of Ruhr-area, FORMS OF HANDS itself and the so called rhythmic noise scene, can be traced. It could be interesting to write an essay about these linkages.
Capitalism – Continuing Crisis is a collection of strongly syncopated and hard-hitting songs, full of groove and ideas, both influenced by punk and by big beat(s). Their punk attitude can be found in the riffing used in Dash national states!. New dawn plays with music layers in a way similar to that expressed by Burroughs and Gysin about machines of control, adding noise inserts on the background, having the role of infiltrating through the rigid grids of the system, while showing powerful industrial-like redundant rhythms.
Prepare for the inevitable struggle and Don’t follow – think yourself! have a powerful groove, and they are danceable and engaging. If Alternative facts, with its darker sounds, recalls an Orwellian dystopic scenario and the “Apocalyptic” ideas elaborated by the Frankfurt School about information control, the melodic component (never absent along the songs of the album) is emphasized in They don’t own us – We are working class and in Dump in funny money. Victor Hugo Daza (Water is right rmx) is a rhythmic industrial song with a digital hardcore influence. It has a very fast tempo and a critical message.
All of Capitalism – Continuing Crisis’ songs are very enjoyable and express strong ideas, no matter what’s your point of view about them. Thirteen songs never exhausting the listener, S.K.E.T. have worked for eight years on a complex yet incisive album, showing no weak episodes. We can only hope that The end of capitalim and New dawn won’t remain hopeful song titles, and that they will bring us some luck about the future, whereas we are now dominated by a society slave of the rules of capitalism.
Rating: 8, 5