Francisco Goth Synth Industrial Compilation (Denki
by Sonya Brown
very first thing you will notice about the San Francisco Goth Synth
Industrial CD is the tri-fold pop-up packaging where the CD "pops"
out at you when opened. The "Denki-Pak" is registered trademark packaging
from Denki Tiger Design. This unique packaging makes you feel like you
are already in possession of something special - before you ever even put
it in your CD player. Now before I go on, let me explain that Denki Tiger
is the alter-ego and brainchild of Robert Blaque, of the San Francisco
dark synth-pop band, Secret Secret.
Denki Tiger credits the cover art to Katie Miranda, and this artwork fits
the "theme" of the CD perfectly... it's goth, it's industrial, it's robotic.
unique feature, this release is the first compilation CD to include a ROM
section (in both English and Japanese) with detailed descriptive artist
portfolios. The CD includes images, lyrics, bios, release and contact information
for each band. A special section of the CD includes information on
thirty different scene supporting organizations which host an introduction
into the goth, synth and industrial culture.
heard the SFGSI comp in my hotel room at GothCon2002.
It's a cozy late evening, and my boyfriend, Jett Black, & I are sprawled
out (exhausted) on the fold-out couch. Rob is sitting cross-legged on the
floor; his trusty Mac laptop is open before us, spilling forth tracks from
an interesting array of Bay Area musicians including Claire Voyant, Trance
to the Sun, Secret Secret, Bloodwire, Hungry Lucy, Sunshine Blind, B! Machine,
Information Society, Battery, See Colin Slash, Ganymede, Moonlife, Galaxxy
Chamber, Nuit, and Mark Pistel.
must be quite the task to take such a diverse collection of artists, coming
from many different sub-genres, and piece them all together into a medium
of sound that doesn't have you wondering "where did THAT come from"?! The
tracks on SFGSI are arranged in a way that is fluid and consistent, one
feeding into another - yet each with their own unique characteristics.
I know many industrial musicians that do not like gothic music; many gothic
fans that do not care for synth-pop... yet there is something here for
every underground music fan.
like a lion, out like a lamb"? Hardly! SFGSI opens with lovely female vocals
and the ethereal-alternative stylings of Claire Voyant performing
"Majesty"; and closes with Mark Pistel's electro-instrumental
piece, "What you are within, that you will be without". Sandwiched in-between
these talented artists are many more favorites, each with their own contributions,
to best represent the theme of SFGSI.
to the Sun contributes "Black Sea, Black Fish (ocean edit)".
Trance To The Sun endows sexy female vocals and experimental rhythms to
SFGSI. I am fortunate to have seen Trance to the Sun perform in Portland,
Oregon, back in March of 1999. Trance To The Sun put on a remarkeable
performance (along with Written In Ashes and Black Atmosphere) at
Satyricon, for the CD Release Party for the Cleopatra Compilation, The
Unquiet Grave. Their contribution to The Unquiet Grave,
"Slave", is yet another personal favorite.
creator behind the compilation - Secret Secret's "Forgotten (station
mix)", with it's dark synth-pop allure, provides Track 3. This particular
mix has a retro-80's driving beat with a relentless synth bass line, using
male vocals to tell the story.
(featuring Shawn Brice of Battery) follows with "Overdue (spent mix)".
This track opens with sexy female vocals provided by I-Li Chang; then kicks
into dance-laden Numan-esque electronica.
5 introduces us to Hungry Lucy where we pace things down to a more
base spiritual level with "Alfred (haunting edit)". Luscious synthesizers
envelope Christa Belle's vocals which are supported by War-N's backing
male vocals to create an otherworldly experience.
Blind's own alterna/gothic style of electronics feels eerily liquid
with "Silent (modulation mix)" on Track 6.
Machine creates the "Atmosphere" for Track 7, tweaking knobs
and pushing buttons on the "Mijikai Mix".
Society, veterans of synth dance, provide Track 8. The
bizarre "On the Outside 2.1" propels me back into the 80's with wicked
glee. InSoc has developed a gothic edge to their sound, and their
contribution to the SFGSI Comp is a most welcome treat!
electro-industrial beats pound into track 9. If you aren't wanting to hit
the dance floor by now, "This Much" will get you moving.
provides the fun for the SFGSI comp. I love this track! "Hardcore (ctrl-13
mix)" is the track that I will be singing when the CD is over, that I'll
be hearing in my ears tomorrow at work, and that I'll be rushing back home
to play over and over again. The lyrics on this track alone are worth the
purchase price. Be warned. I'll now be stalking this band.
is next with "City Dweller"... synth-pop for the masses... and we now begin
the outer space portion of the disc...
12, Moonlife's "Satellite (lost in space mix)" is space-themed
synth pop's self-proclaimed "brighter side of the moon".
Chamber opens track 13 "Millennium Maddness (glyph mix)" with
trilling ghostly shrieks. This track is "the bomb" - literally.
brings us back to somber shadows with their mix of acoustic and electronic
spirituality with "November Song".
we end with track 15, Mark Pistel's techno instrumental "What you
are within, that you will be without" delivers just the right amount
of bass to put you in the frame of mind to start the SFGSI CD over again...
I'm already wanting to hear See Colin Slash again... and Information Society...
and Battery... and... well, I'll just have to "play it again".
Rob! This one is a keeper.