As an avid music fan, I consider music to be an experience, one that can go to many noisy extremes. Techno Animal is a project that many may turn their noses up, you might say its "noise" or not music, but to do so would miss the point. Music is sound that purposely provokes an emotional response, and that response is not always warm or positive. Music like this explores the dark side of life, through depraved torturous sounds and noises fit for the darkest of scenarios. It takes a certain mindset to embrace this exploration, and the enjoyment one can get from it is unusual and fascinating. On my map of dark and experimental music, this seems like a potentially progressive record given the pre-internet times, however its over a decade since Throbbing Gristle, an extremely important English group born out of the Punk movement who could be considered an early origin for Industiral music, and inspiring darker depraved styles. Techno Animal is a project composed of Justin Broadrick of Godflesh and Kevin Martin and "Ghosts" is their first release which notably is on Virgin Records who at the time may have been taking chances signing experimental and unconventional artists.
Ghosts is a hit and miss record for me, for this we are going to go through the track one by one. The album opens with "Burn", an ugly abrasive song with a snarling scream accompanied by a punchy drum kit and strange hits that builds an atmosphere I felt the drums were cutting through and spoiling what it had to offer. With "Walk Then Crawl" what sounds like a Godflesh outtake on an odd time signature is repeated over and over, as eerie, ghostly haunting screams and moans building up in a twisted progression that leads to an unusual climax. "White Dog" is another noisy exploration with another industrial kit punching through the songs atmosphere, for me the drum kits were too comfortable and familiar for the twisted experience the sampling bring. "Freak Fucker" is a gem, What sounds like a quote from a Nazi rally is repeated over and over. Distorted and twisted as horrid, slimy, scissoring sounds snake around in the background, it feels rather poetic, as if the twisted noise is the dark underbelly of Nazism. "The Dream Forger" is a pleasant break from the devilish onslaught, an unidentifiable wind like instrument hums a gentle, yet unsettling melody that eerily drifts into a warm haze of sound. "Tough Cop / Soft Cop" Gets dark and heavy, this time i left the drums nailed it. An uncompromising rhythm guides you through a wall of hateful screams and screeching saxophones and distant voices that feels like you're being dragged to hell, a grabbing listen. "God VS Flesh" brings 23 minutes of gentle spooky ambiance, building a immersible soundscape that is chilling and dangerous. It progress with craft, never feeling safe, but always moving towards a dramatic conclusion towards the end. "Spineless" is my favorite track, layers of distant screams, groans and whispers build a distressing intensity that broods menacingly, theres an occasional heart beat dropped into the track, creating an air of human fear, ending this one with a lasting impression.
Overall an immersible, unsettling listening experience that explores dark and depraved places. Only spoiled by a couple of tracks where the drums just ruined it for me, this is a great record for anyone looking to be confronted by what they don't want to hear.
Favorite Tracks: Freak Fucker, The Dream Forger, God Vs Flesh, Spineless