Dec 2013 09

Deadliner - WardenclyffeDeadliner
Category: Electronic / Experimental
Album: Wardenclyffe
Stars: 4
Blurb: Perhaps Deadliner’s least esoteric and most accomplished work yet, exploring the legacy of visionary inventor Nikola Tesla.


Besides an extensive catalog of remixes, Steve Christie has been releasing music under the Deadliner moniker for a number of years, exploring a broad range of styles and subjects to culminate in a veritable stream of grand conceptual experiences. Each album touches on various psychological and sociopolitical topics through the last century of human history, all self-released via Christie’s own online outlet. With Wardenclyffe, Deadliner’s music is given a deluxe treatment by Juggernaut Media Group, offering 20 parts to a story revolving around a laboratory tower in New York where renowned inventor Nikola Tesla spent much of his adult life and conducted experiments in wireless transmission.

A stuttering and metallic percussive loop giving way to a booming bass line introduces us in “The Eidetic,” rhythmically starting the listener through the tour of Wardenclyffe by setting an appropriately exciting and mechanical mood that is less like a factory and more like a frantic laboratory. Throughout the album, a wide range of electronic sounds are brought together in Deadliner’s usual compositional manner, interspersing the predominantly danceable EBM of such tracks as “Transmitter,” “Alternate,” and “Cathode” with the much more introspective melodies and progressions of “Polarized,” “Near Field,” or “Discharge.” As with all Deadliner albums, the music is densely layered and cinematic in nature, guiding the listener through varying atmospheres that wax and wane with the emotional impact of the story’s content. In the absence of lyrics, these shifts in mood become necessary to maintain interest and keep one engaged, and Christie does well to never linger on a single phrase for longer than is necessary to keep an auditory narrative flow, yet without falling into the trap of too much variety with too little consistency. Such is especially so with the ominous pianos and pad arrangements of “Stationary Waves” and “The Believers” or the almost whimsical and mysterious melodic swells of “The Decay,” evoking images of the lost promise of a failed scientific endeavor. On the more aggressive side of the spectrum is the heavily percussive and gritty “The Doldrum” or the thunderous “Static Coupling,” featuring UCNX to provide the only vocal track on the album.

Throughout Wardenclyffe is a feeling of lament in this writer’s mind; in the lush reverence of “The Futurist” is an elegiac quality that only barely touches on the scope of Tesla’s contributions to science, the promise for unrealized achievement and the ramifications of his vision in the modern world. “Humanity is not yet sufficiently advanced to be willingly led by the discoverer’s keen searching sense,” said Tesla of the Wardenclyffe Tower, and such a sentiment resounds through Deadliner’s audio tribute to this marvel of technology that has become an all-too-common fixture in today’s society, and one that perhaps has lost its value “through the strife of commercial existence.” In this light, Wardenclyffe is perhaps Deadliner’s least esoteric and most thoughtful and accomplished work yet.
Track list:

  1. The Eidetic
  2. Transmitter
  3. The Radiant
  4. World System
  5. Remote Field
  6. Polarized
  7. Bremsstrahlung
  8. Stationary Waves
  9. Near Field
  10. Static Coupling (feat. UCNX)
  11. The Decay
  12. Alternate
  13. The Lichtenberg Figure
  14. Cathode
  15. The Believers
  16. The Alien Property
  17. The Doldrum
  18. The Futurist
  19. Anna
  20. Discharge

Deadliner Website
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Juggernaut Media Group Website
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Juggernaut Media Group Bandcamp
Purchase at:
Amazon MP3 (Original Edition)
Bandcamp (Deluxe Edition)
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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