May 2012 23

Portion Control - Pure FormPortion Control
Category: EBM / Industrial / Electronica
Album: Pure Form
Stars: 4
Blurb: Exploratory synthesis merges with danceable abandon as the electronic pioneers return to the experimentally raw spirit they are most regarded for.


Very few bands are granted the opportunity for a second run at success, and even fewer find greater adulation the second time around. Portion Control is one such band, having earned a marginal amount of recognition in the early ‘80s with their fusion of experimental synthesis with raw punk-inspired energy, putting them on par with the likes of Front 242 and Cabaret Voltaire as an influential force in underground electronic music. After returning from a 17 year long silence in 2002, the duo of Dean Paviani and John Whybrew has risen to become one of the most prominent acts in the scene, continuing to break down the boundaries between audio exploration and musical rigidity. While the band’s previous album, 2010’s Violently Alive saw a simplification of sound toward a more straightforward EBM approach akin to the very acts they have influenced, Pure Form marks a return to form for Portion Control.

With the moderately paced and malevolent atmosphere of “Blows” beginning the album, we return to the aggressive blend of raw power and sonic adventure as twinkling synth arpeggios resonate above industrialized beats and samples, Paviani’s throaty vocals adding to the oppressive atmosphere. To listen to later tracks like “Deadstar,” “Skins,” “Last of the Breed,” or “Katsu,” all of which feature punchy beats and bass lines that are sure to be the envy of any of today’s electro/industrial and EBM stars, pulsating with pure dance floor power and searing synth leads, one would imagine that Portion Control is taking the path of least resistance yet again. Of course, as one of the progenitors of the style, it would be dubious to fault the band for acting as the standard bearers; especially when considering how well they do so. Even within these EBM floor killers, there is a great deal of synthetic tweaking and audio manipulation at play, owing more to the bygone days of early industrial than to the simplified sounds of today. And then there are tracks like “Terex Pure” with its mild trip-hop beat, throbs of distorted sequences, and washes of spacey ambience to make for a track as soothing as it is unnerving, while “Elite” even hints at some elements of proto-dubstep with intricately programmed drumbeats that gradually step in and out of place, producing an effect more wobbly than the bass.

With Pure Form, Portion Control reintegrates the best of both worlds, from infectiously danceable EBM to the uncharted realms of software synthesis. Never ones to leave any electronic stone unturned, Paviani and Whybrew continue to investigate new forms to bring into their diverse range of styles and sounds, making Pure Form an apt title befitting Portion Control’s aesthetic. From the aggressively danceable abandon of “Point Blank” to the heady noise trips of “Something Fierce” and “Chrono Form,” Portion Control give the listeners all it can, making Pure Form one of their finest releases to date.
Track list:

  1. Blows
  2. Deadstar
  3. Terex Pure
  4. Point Blank
  5. Skins
  6. Wreckage
  7. Chosen Seed
  8. Slow Release
  9. Something Fierce
  10. Katsu
  11. In Dark Places
  12. Last of the Breed
  13. Elite
  14. Chrono Form

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Other Sounds
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3

Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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