Nothing But Noise, Not Bleeding Red

Lee Smith

By Lee Smith

on 04.19.12 in Reviews

Nothing But Noise is the latest side project from Daniel B, frontman of revered Belgian industrial band Front 242. This remarkable odyssey into beat-less synth territory bears little resemblance to his work with that group, however. Joined by former bandmate Dirk Bergin and friend Erwin Jargot, Not Bleeding Red is a sprawling excursion assembled from hours of freeform analogue synth jams, and veers between ominous drones, widescreen ambience and cosmic atmospherics over the course of nine lengthy, hypnotic tracks.

An assured, intense, endlessly unravelling synth masterpiece

Openers “Marcel Proust (VGLEM)” and “Gravity” kick off in whooshing blasts of static, layering up morose orchestral chords and processed echoes before introducing snappy analogue bass patterns reminiscent of electronic pioneers Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream. This merging of retro naivety, symphonic drama and contemporary dissonance structures much of the album, which effortlessly moves from relaxed prettiness to urgent claustrophobia to hymnal glory, often over the course of a single track. Drawn out and seemingly unharnessed, it’s a vision of ambient music that in lesser hands could come off as indulgent or even tedious. Not Bleeding Red is the opposite; an assured, intense, endlessly unravelling modern synth masterpiece, and a worthy continuation of its forebears’ legacy.