May 2014 08

Klangstabil - ShadowboyKlangstabil
Category: Electro / Hip-hop / Industrial
Album: Shadowboy
Stars: 3
Blurb: While some of its more polarizing choices diminish the narrative, Shadowboy effectively redeems itself and further displays the poetic and imaginative spirit of its creators.


Spawned 20 years ago, Boris May and Maurizio Blanco have sustained their unstoppable vision of sheer artistic freedom under the powerhouse known as Klangstabil. Appealing to a host of listeners, the duo has traversed sectors ranging from ambient, power noise, industrial, electro-pop and experimental, affirming with each release their reluctance to fall into creative stasis. Aided by seminal figures like Ben Lukas Boysen and Daniel Myer, Shadowboy builds upon the sundry design of 2008’s Math & Emotion that, while may sometimes mystify, stands as a respectable entry into their dynamic voyage.

Despite previously renouncing categorization, the constant shifts in both sound and mood can be quite bemusing at times as the album juggles elements from electro-pop to techno and even hip-hop, which carry moments of heartfelt solemnity to borderline whimsy; it’s understandably polarizing yet still manifests the duo’s ever evolving resolve. For example, the haunting “I create, you destroy!” spoken word-esque decrees in “Shadowboy – The Awakening” roil with metallic pads, cosmic synths, and even power noise, foreshadowing a keen conceptual focus while the saccharine ‘80s-inspired synths and flippantly rapped quips in the misguided “Pay with Friendship” detract from its gravity. Boris May emphatically shrouds his audience with baroque and overpowering messages that are clearly very personal and hold much importance to him, but there are moments where its weight is lost like in “Cinecittà” with its minimalist and apathetic tone and “Arbeitstitel,” which, strangely enough, utilizes distracting clown horns and forgoes the lyrical maturity one expects from this seasoned project. However, the album greatly atones for its missteps with the impactful anti-social media ballad in “1 of 100,” the absolutely captivating EDM track “Schattentanz” swelling with infectious techno waves and choral hymns, and the concluding vigorous dirge in “End of Us” that vastly epitomizes the duo’s more triumphant attempts at genre crossbreeding.

The concept of Shadowboy, which is elaborated on in the companion book by the dedicated German author Christian von Aster, is a hearty and thoughtful account that touches on themes like human interaction, friendship, loneliness, survival, and existentialism, displaying great potential beyond its covered mediums. After reading Boris May’s engaging introduction via digital booklet, it becomes apparent that he has much to say about the story, which, unfortunately, doesn’t always resonate cohesively throughout the album. Despite some questionable genre hybridizing and erratic moods, the more fleshed out tracks give much life and easily justify the listener’s investment while further asserting this German duo’s creative vehicle as boundless as ever.
Track list:

  1. Shadowboy – The Awakening
  2. Pay with Friendship
  3. Cinecittà
  4. 1 of 100
  5. Schattentanz
  6. Arbeitstitel
  7. The Bottom of Your List
  8. End of Us

Klangstabil Website
Klangstabil MySpace
Klangstabil Facebook
Klangstabil Twitter
Klangstabil ReverbNation
Klangstabil Bandcamp
Ant-Zen Website
Ant-Zen MySpace
Ant-Zen Facebook
Ant-Zen Bandcamp
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Zachary Locke (ZLocke)

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