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Controlled Collapse - Babel

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Polish dark independent scene is visible in the international arena. It's a fact, though quiet and not very conspicuous. Something really special is needed to be able to stand out among the mass of other productions, often inferior in quality and music, but, after all, recorded in the West...
So far Controlled Collapse is one of the strongest and certainly the leading representations of our country on the international alternative scene. Opponents would accuse that the productions signed CC are not different from those served in other countries. I might ask: so what, they have to weave in folk music, hire Jarzębinki, make it more "our"? Genre has its own rules, a consequence has more. Let's look at the disc. Will the music defend itself this time, will it be a worthy successor to previous tracks from the works of CC?
The first song, Pain, introduces us to a trance with dry beat intertwined with layers of dirty electro, to immediately bring the heavily distorted vocals and a more danceable rhythm. It’s expressive, heavy and fairly melodic. A good choice for the first track on a disc.
Numb introduces a slightly different vibe - it's still rhythmical, but this time the bass line is the main source of melody. We now have more layers of electronics, there are also much more distinctive vocals. Much less danceable and more climatic proposal than the first track. In turn, Change the World surprises from the first bars, in which there are melody lines of a diversity resembling... Bach fugues, or at least a distinctive basso continuo part played on the harpsichord. For those who are not fully aware of the topic, I recommend... no, not Bach, but precisely Change the World track, this should be enough to get an overview of the topic:) Moreover, then a distinctive rhythm of waltz appears! One two three, one two three... Surprisingly, creatively, skillfully. This is one of the best items on the disc.
The next proposal is Dzień Sądu, the piece constituting perhaps a textbook example of the genre. There are a lot of layers, strong bass, expressive dance rhythm and... Polish lyrics, which is a very nice exception to the rule of musicians who are trying to force fit into western standards and sing only in English. Of course, text's message provides an accurate description of everything that the Day of Judgment is associated with, but you shouldn't expect lines in style of Baczyński or another Leśmian. What for? Good electronic music is far from sung poetry, because we expect it to be.
Fragment of Time seemed to be promoted in a way that could suggest to be the strongest track on the album - strategic "center" position, cooperation with Aleksandra Burska... If that was true, it's hard to agree with this decision. Unfortunately, the song does not defend itself too strongly in any way. We get too little of everything - starting from infernally false electronic layers in the introduction that haunt us throughout the whole song, through completely unnecessary treatment of male and female vocals in unison, and finally to building vibe like, "Jak się masz, kochanie" - very predictable and not really creative pop style beat. One could argue that "that was it" but just remember that listening to music one doesn't guess what the writer / composer had in mind, and... exactly. We listen to music and it has to defend itself. Fragment (...) is just not interesting enough compared to the rest, maybe not completely thought out piece.
Next proposition, Runner, reminds us of what happened previously on the disc - a gentle introduction (pretty keys), then expressive, danceable beat and multiple layers of music. Lyrics, as in other songs, are not too demanding, because they don’t have to be - but it fits into the whole, so it's basically a plus.
Cube... and a little surprise here. Track is made up of exactly the same sounds as the previous one, Runner. This time, however, we have other means to performance used, overall it is more efficient, faster and more rhythmic. The vibe is back, the one which we value in Controlled Collapse.
Alone is a partial move away from the vibe, built earlier. We observe extensive musical patches, reminiscent of ambient treatments. Listening to the song you can't help feeling that if the vocals wouldn't pass through such a strong digital processing, it would be actually similar to the one of the sentimental Depeche Mode songs or another classic of electronic music. Very skillful interlude in the course of the disc, brings a fresh breath - it's important to avoid listener’s fatigue motif.
Demons also start quietly and musically; incoming beat only adds to the ambience. It's murky, rhythmical, melodic, interesting - it has the vibe and meaning, this time lyrics appear to be at the forefront, and the vocals are not altered digitally so much (at least up to a point). Maybe it lacks fire a bit, but it's nice and harmless to the ear. We can include it into retinue of tracks giving a rest for the listener.
My Fault, on the other hand, lures with many layers of dirty electro, just after the entrance of vocals there is a good, expressive melody line. The vibe and the power, that's how it should be!
Too Late is a song ending the entire disc. It starts quietly, rhythm and sound patches interacting well. Melodic line builds up slowly, gaining more and more layers. Vocals appear, bringing along even more layers. Amazing vibe, it's a mature and well thought out piece. Thumbs up for it!
Does Controlled Collapse with BABEL have the opportunity to appear in a wider circles than our domestic market? Definitely. The album is consistent and generally well developed, and the fact, that there are better and worse songs - it's be hard to not find CDs of even the greatest artists that don't have those...
If they play in your town or vicinity, that in good conscience I can say: there is a chance of a good show. And what will come out in practice, you'll see for yourself!


01. Pain
02. Numb
03. Change The World
04. Dzień Sądu
05. Fragment Of Time (Feat. Aleksandra Burska)
06. Runner
07. Cube
08. Alone
09. Demons
10. My Fault
11. Too Late
Translator: kantellis
Add date: 2013-07-30 / Music reviews

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