Electronic Substance Abuse (ESA)
Themes Of Carnal Empowerment Pt. 3: Penance
After two years of nail-biting anticipation, the third part of Themes of Carnal Empowerment by Electronic Substance Abuse is finally out; and once again Jamie Blacker delivers an electrifying foray into lust and black magic rituals set to thunderous beats that epitomizes the “sex, drugs and noise” axiom.
Part 3: Penance is a robust production that aims to satisfy the many pernickety niches in the dark electronic music scene. The album debuts with pumping rhythms that are certain to galvanize industrial club dance floors. The Tempters Triumph and My Church are laden with transition cues and extended movie samples that are ripe for DJ mixing. Then Master, No Servant slows down the tempo to a dark ambient full of conspiratory whispers; when the drum machine returns, every beat is like the crack of a whip. In the denoument of the lustful auditory experience, Threnody for You is profoundly atmospheric, an occult prayer set to an orchestral score.
Jaime’s music makes great raw material for other noisehead-weirdos to tinker with – and to the listeners’ delight, his albums continue to feature guest artists and obscure partnerships. Over the last few years C-Drone-Defect, Stendeck, Manufactura, Access to Arasaka, Ivardensphere and many others have released prolific rhythmic noise remixes of E.S.A. As you’d expect, the collaborations in Penance are sublime. The arcanely titled Juju Yako (“Wicked Magic”) is an instant favourite with its disjointed drums and cavernous basslines overlain with tribal chanting and bright bell accents – a juxtaposition that perfectly encapsulates the recurrent motif of mystic sex and repentance.
There is an unparalleled dialectic dimension to Jamie’s music; although all three of the recent E.S.A albums have sparse lyrics, his musical medium is semantically charged, wordlessly telegraphing passion, fear, pleasure and remorse in turn. Rhythmic noise is always an eldritch treat and E.S.A numbers among its premier contemporaries. The final chapter of Themes of Carnal Empowerment delivers both perfectly-pressed harsh industrial club tracks and a selection of daring experiments for the dark electronic music fringes.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: ELECTRONIC SUBSTANCE ABUSE (ESA) – THEMES OF CARNAL EMPOWERMENT PT. 3: PENANCE