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Dead strong EP from minimal darkwave experimenters Grebenstein & Seefried on Downwards. The mercurial, industrial pop fetishism of ‘Raging Tender’ forms the 3rd and most impressive EP from producer Jan Grebenstein and vocalist Christine Seefried for Karl O’Connor/Regis’ Downwards label. Stepping on from 2016’s ‘Strong Proud Stupid and Superior’ LP, Grebenstein’s sound is now tauter, more spacious and seductively strung out, finding a sublime tension between quicksilver slow/fast drum programming and deadpan gothic delivery. Their means of production is still bare-bones minimal in an economical Berlin style that has served the duo very well thus far, from their self-titled debut for Downwards in 2014 thru to more recent outings on experimental D&B labels Horo and Osiris Music UK. Title cut ‘Raging Tender’ zips up fanged arps and needle-toothed hi-hats under Christine’s close mic’d vocal with hypnotic poise and force, before ‘Breathe’ diffuses and unlocks that anaerobic tension with tantric 808 rhythms. After lulling listeners into a false sense of security, ‘Arab Icon’ raises the heart rate again with jarringly atonal electronics and an unyielding rhythmic grip, while the title and feel of ‘Body Electric’ speak to the duo’s most prurient desires, with Christine’s opiated, any-hole’s-a-goal mantra of “I Sing The Body Electric” set to knackered, bummed-out pads and oozing bass. These are uncompromising, virulent songs about sex, death, and dancing that will surely resonate with knowing connoisseurs of the contemporary darkside.
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