July 14, 2024

DEAD SEA APES / ADAM STONE / BLACK TEMPEST – ‘DATALAND’ – how to make records and alienate people

CARDINAL FUZZ 29th January, 2021

Recorded remotely during 2020’s successive Covid lockdowns, this embodies the alienation of the times and the alienation of modern post-industrial society. Atomised units working remotely whilst an unlucky few provide services to maintain the isolation. Adam Stone’s words add to the anomie created by the bands.

The six lengthy tracks meditate on the modern human condition in the ‘developed’ West. Electronics, guitar and drums coalesce, despite having been worked out in isolation, like the lives of the makers. A feeling of absurdity, cynicism and weariness drives the monologues, whilst the music moves from smart sequenced patterns to guitar workouts to soupy angry washes of fuzz.

‘Lost Hours’ is set in the middle of the night, lost and dark, reflecting on wasted time doing pointless things. A sequencer, droney semi-choral effect and electronic guitar sounds add to the mood of resigned desperation. ‘Formica Desk’ sees more alienation, so disconnected from life that Adam compiles lists of his favourite lists. Adding up the possessions that define him. Sequencers squelch and geological forces crash up against each other. Music extends to illustrate the satisfaction in repetition that might become tedium.

‘Shop Soiled’ rejoices in a bass line very like Jah Wobble in PIL’s Poptones – itself the epitome of repetition. Drums splash and dubby effects build up the presence. For the title track, ‘Dataland’, we go a bit Kraftwerk, with glassy keyboard patterns – “Feed the data in, see the knowledge grow”, then dystopia creeps in: “Enter in the numbers, we just need to know”. Empty Streets delves deep into boredom and darkness amid clashing synths and underground thumping.

There’s an ineffable coolness about the attitude and as Beckett said: “You must go on. I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” There are only 500 of these vinyl beasties so run, don’t walk and consume one.

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