Jun 2013 08

Cursed Chimera - On Wings of Tar and AshCursed Chimera
Category: IDM / Industrial / Electro
Album: On Wings of Tar and Ash
Stars: 3
Blurb: An experimental mesh of glitchy and gritty industrial sound design with off-kilter feminine electro-pop that is as attractive as it is confounding.


Since 2008, Benatos Thompson has with his Chimera Central label focused on a diverse range of electronic music, touching on the gray areas between IDM and industrial. With vocalist Emily Steigerwald, his Cursed Chimera project has been at the forefront of the label, exemplifying a melodic yet schizoid style of electro that defies strict categorization. With On Wings of Tar and Ash being the final release from the act and the label, Thompson pulls all the stops to make for a dramatic exit.

With her breathy and ambient voice, Steigerwald provides most of the melodic drive for the music, shown by songs like “Whisperfrost” with its ethereal yet strangely bluesy flair, or “What Works in Shadow” with its ghostly atmosphere, her vocal harmonization creating an oddly android effect that also reminds this writer of the more experimental work of David Bowie. At times, it’s questionable if her voice is on key, though this could be a byproduct of the various effects on display, particularly when set against such stark and distorted music. “Ash Lung,” for instance, is a distinctly industrial mélange of robotic vocals, squealing feedback manipulations, and frantic percussive layers that is sure to please aficionados of earlier Skinny Puppy or Nine Inch Nails, while “Glass Tongue” features an almost retro drumbeat that is immediately catchy with an off-kilter bass arpeggio that brings to mind the earlier works of Aphex Twin. Similarly, tracks like “Lifeless” and “Knifetrust” feature gritty and glitchy breakbeat style percussion amid subsonic bass progressions, the synths often bearing a likeness to chiptune with their skittering tonality and tempos.

Overall, On Wings of Tar and Ash reveal what a shame it is that this is to be the final release from so daring an act as Cursed Chimera. It would be nice to see how much further Thompson and Steigerwald could take this formula into broader territories, but time will tell in their future endeavors. Those with a taste for the experimental mesh of feminine vocals atop electro-pop songwriting and industrial sound design as often explored by the likes of Android Lust, Fever Ray, or How to Destroy Angels will find much to behold in Cursed Chimera’s music. There is nothing common or straightforward about the music on this album, as On Wings of Tar and Ash requires multiple listens to sample each nuanced flavor on display, making for a strange but rewarding experience.
Track list:

  1. Kitsune Trick
  2. Foxfire
  3. Whisperfrost
  4. Ash Lung
  5. Vein Guilt
  6. What Works in Shadow
  7. Cult Killing
  8. Glass Tongue
  9. Lifeless
  10. The 64 You Know
  11. Knifetrust
  12. Sea Village Near the Rising Tide

Cursed Chimera Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Official.Cursed.Chimera
Cursed Chimera ReverbNation http://www.reverbnation.com/cursedchimera
Cursed Chimera Bandcamp http://cursedchimera.bandcamp.com
Chimera Central
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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