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Without Control

Letzte Ausfahrt Leben, female-powered act from Germany, presents her sophomore album for Raumklang – and it comes as quite a surprise: The musical scope is much extended, successfully fusing the repetitive rhythm noise of her well-received debut with a wealth of ambience, downbeats and subtly nuanced composition. Female artists are regrettably a rare occurrence in hard rhythmic music, but Nina has established herself in the scene properly as a devoted producer, promoting herself and friends via her own netlabel. In 2014 her Raumklang debut “Mirrage” (and the accompanying remix album) propelled her into the spotlight and got her a number of live bookings as well.

On “Without Control” slow, crackling rhythms seething with distortion like venomous serpents meet dark cinematic atmospheres for a unique interpretation of the rhythm noise genre. It all has a very personal handwriting, a distinct female subtlety. Nina uses prominent sounds to brand her tracks: Organic, ritual downbeats on “From the Inside”, oriental sounds on “Fragment” and “Desert Flower” and plaintive strings on the Enigma-tic “Obsession”, interacting smoothly with the coarseness of “Burn Out” or “Monotonie”. Abrasive, mechanical beats dominate the title track or “Déjà vu Effect”, a brisk crossover of industrial and doomcore.

“Without Control” is one of those rare albums that manage to draw from a variety of influences but combine those into a coherent, immersive listening experience. It constantly oscillates between the enjoyable and the unsettling, and remains enthralling throughout!

  • Artist
  • Release Datum
  • Dauer
  • Format
  • Katalog Number (physical)
  • Katalog Number (digital)
  • Label
  • Mastering
  • Cover
  • Layout
  • Letzte Ausfahrt Leben
  • 03/2016
  • 50:13
  • CDR + Digital
  • raum-cd-23
  • raum-net-57
  • Raumklang Muisc
  • A. Dietz
  • D. Geiger
  • D. Geiger

Zusatz Informationen

CDR + Digital


Fluxproject [04/2016]

Power is nothing without control. So read in the mid-90s an advertisement by a famous Italian tire brand, and it is no coincidence that its background music was a piece of electronic music that today we would define as industrial techno, with a rhythm in 4/4 peppered with claustrophobic breaks. But this should not mislead the listener, because Without Control, the new album of the German musician Nina Helbling, better known by the monicker Letzte Ausfahrt Leben (last voltage output), differs quite radically from her debut album Mirrage, also published just two years ago by the German label Raumklang Music of Dirk Geiger. Her latest album, under review here, was released on March 7.

Nina Helbling choice is a very courageous and different one, whether we think of the revival of industrial techno with artists like Ancient Methods, whether we think about who thought that she would have produced another rhythmic industrial work mixed with tougher and claustrophobic IDM elements. Although some songs, like the title track, Deja Vu Effect and Monotonie, work as a bridge between the present and her previous production, she uses here noise elements differently, with a much more personal approach less tied to the influences of the masters, of research, if you will.

Without Control is a very personal album that reinterprets the rhythmic industrial adapting it to a straighter and more techno 4/4 approach (though never binding it to a clear genre) from a strictly rhythmical point of view, and that presents many reflective ambient moments. Even the more rhythmic parts sound radically different, freed from the claustrophobic auras and nervous characteristics of certain works of this genre (even the previous album Mirrage). Just listen to the opener to realize the change: it is a slow and ambient song with a soundtrack feel and a tribal component that rather evokes a walk in a gray forest (a metaphor borrowed from the cover artwork). Belief brings back distorted rhythms, but instead of being fast, syncopated and ruthless, it is slow, redundant, martial and heavy as a boulder. Listening carefully, it appears here that the noise-sound research carried out by Helbling is separated from the more danceable dimension, in order to embrace a more spiritual approach.

In the next Fragment continue with IDM subdued tones, clearly inspired by the more ambient Raumklang productions, also enriched by a spiritual background, linked more to the East than to Germany, the country of the musician. The same distorted, martial, redundant and spiritual rhythm is found in the next song Burn Out, featuring the whispers of the musician in the background. This is also a song that makes us reflect about the introspective nature of the rhythmic industrial genre, not to be misunderstood (at least here) as aimed to the dance medium, but as a mean to think about ourselves and our ego. Then there is also room for a short, clanking, “classic” rhythm, but what matters the most here is the search for new sound solutions, always linked to noise elements.

The aforementioned Monotonie is a song that partially recovers, although in a more “rational” way, the work done by Nina on Mirrage, presenting a syncopated (but controlled) rhythm combined with a range of alienating sounds. The song title reflects both its monolithic nature, both the monotony and repetitiveness of everyday life. Let’s us not forget that the distorted movement of rhythmic industrial is, also and especially. a social metaphor about life in the industrial cities, in which machines and factories are an eternal leitmotif.

Desert Flower is certainly one of the most successful songs of the album, with its industrial rhythm that gives a nod to distant lands and different cultures from European one. This meeting between syncopated (but controlled) rhythms and ambient is also an encounter between cultures: on the one hand there is the incessant repetition of the same operations by machines (and the repetition of the distorted rhythm emphasizes this alienating element) while on the other there is a culture that is different from ours, well represented by a musical flow that doesn’t know “techno-like cages”. Even Without Control, which gives its name to the album, is a rhythmic industrial (definitely the “old school” song of the album) that also appears controlled with Swiss precision. Here we find a distorted rhythm with a martial crescendo and a particularly dark and highly cinematic, oppressive melody.

Obsession is introduced by the vocals of the musician and by a melodic riff that sounds like a music box. It’s a very introspective mid tempo. As already mentioned, with the next somg Deja Vu Effect we go back for a moment to rhythmic industrial 4/4 based sounds, redundant and alienating, that serve as perfect counterpoints to the ambient atmosphere of many of her new songs, indicating the repetition of mechanical gestures that belong to huge factories in full operation. The closure is entrusted to I am empty, a song with a strong ambient flavor and with a strong cinematic element (which sounds once again evoke a distant universe, made of African rituals), another very special episode.

Letzte Ausfahrt Leben’s Without Control is a rather atypical work for the genre previously proposed by her, and certainly worthy of the attention of the listener closer to the multiple nuances of noise music.

Rating: 8


01. From The Inside
02. Belief
03. Fragment
04. Burn Out
05. Monotonie
06. Desert Flower
07. Without Control
08. Obsession
09. Deja Vu Effect
10. I Am Empty

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