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Cubanate [reviews]
Interference |Wax Trax! / TVT, 1998|

1. It, 2. Isolation, 3. 9:59, 4. Hinterland, 5. Ex, 6. Internal, 7. Other Voices, 8. The Horsetrader, 9. Voids, 10. An Airport Bar


Cubanate's final album "Interference" is a perfect example of industrial music at it's finest. As I've come to know the band better in the last few years, it has been interesting for me to hear how their sound had progressed from more techno oriented production, such as their 1993 debut "Antimatter", to this balls out, jungle infused album that was ultimately their swan song.

Upon my initial listen, the first thing that jumped out to my ears was how noisy it was – however I mean that in the best possible way. One of my favorite qualities of industrial music is the use of noise in the production, and this record certainly exploits noisiness to the fullest. The beats are pushed to the limit, so they are crispy around the edges, and the synths and guitars distort in such a way that it punches the eardrums with industrial rock goodness.

The songs are more abstract than previous efforts, sometimes lacking traditional form in favor of more creative and poetic musings. "Airport Bar" is a good example of this, as lead singer Marc Heal verbalizes his observations of being trapped in the tedium of an airport bar ("It seems like I've been here forever"). It is also interesting to point out that the lyrics for the hard-core opening track "It" where improvised by Heal on the spot when he had trouble coming up with traditional vocals. It actually fits really well into the over the top, distorted feel of the track. Another great song is "Internal", which builds to a devastating peak and delivers a gut punching electronic freak-out at the end – this is definitely a track not to miss.

This more experimental form of songwriting actually works well, and makes for an interesting listen, though I do miss the hooks I found from earlier Cubanate work. That point aside, I really enjoy the tracks on this record for their long and interesting industrial compositions.

Another point to mention is the work of Canadian uber producer, and member of Frontline Assembly/Delerium, Rhys Fulber. The beats are especially reminiscent of FLA work, and take the energy of Cubanate to the next level. Fulber's production work combined with the band's hard edge sound makes a perfect marriage for industrial music fans. This is evidenced on killer tracks like "It", "The Horsetrader" and "Voids" among others.
The CD layout and artwork looks great as well (by the way - the used copy I got from Amazon for $1.50 was autographed by Heal himself – score!), it is an improvement over previous visual efforts, and the psychedelic imagery suits the music well.

It's a shame Cubanate didn't survive the 90's, as they were clearly heading into really progressive territory with their music. I would have liked to have heard further albums from them, though one can track down copies of their unreleased and incomplete follow-up album "Search Engine" online, or pick up a copy of the last two C-Tec albums featuring Heal to get a hint of where the band may have headed. Either way, this is a perfect cap to their legacy, and an enjoyable, hard-edged listen for anyone who appreciates kick ass industrial music at it's finest. (James Chapple)


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