A&P’s new album is a cyborg’s electric sex dream simulated to perfection.
Words by Sean Wright (@stainedglassrevelation):
“Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave,” says Batty, the Replicant from the 1982 Ridley Scott classic dystopian film, Blade Runner. It seems like that’s the world we live in today: coronavirus and all of its variants, Draconian lockdowns, big tech brother, massive surveillance via social media on citizens, corrupt politicians, standards of living and inflation skyrocketing, the threat of a new cold war looming over, and chain supply shortages. Geez, it almost sounds like we’re living in an actual 80’s sci-fi film. It’s 2022 and things don’t seem like they are going to be changing for the better, but that being said, it’s not all bad. Today, the bio-mechanical terrorist Tristan Shone of Author & Punisher released his new album on Relapse Records called Krüller. The album title is a made-up word for the most part that Tristan Shore had given to the imaginary world that adorns the album artwork by Zlatko Mitev. The artwork itself feels like a tribute to said futuristic sci-fi flicks of yesteryear, only in more vivid technicolor much like some of the visuals one might see in a film like Brian Yakuza’s From Beyond. That’s a bit more on the horror side of films, but in terms of colors and visuals, watch it and you’ll get the gist of what I am referring to. That might be a bit of a sloppy, amateur-like and ham-handed description, but I’m not a graphic artist nor do I have an extensive knowledge on color schemes and what-have-you, so sue me.
A&P isn’t really like a lot of other bands. You cannot accuse Tristan of sounding like the same ol’ stuff that’s gotten shoved down music fan’s throats these days. He is part of a lineage of artists and bands that have combined man and machine to create dense hellish noise. While the concepts of man and machine and industrial/electronic music is not original, A&P is different in regards to it. Classic industrial metal bands such as Ministry, Godflesh, and Fear Factory had multiple members and used samples and loops and killer guitars. Industrial electronic acts such as Skinny Puppy, Front Line Assembly, Front 242, and KMFDM all relied heavily on MIDI-sequencing and at times, theatrics. A&P is the sound of one man using his body with actual machines to create something modern yet fresh and also a nod to industrial’s avant-garde roots that members of SPK and Einstruzende Neubauten would take a look at and give a smile to. A&P take the idea of Man & Machine, instead of putting each other at odds, combining them into a single vision of sonic fucking heaviness.
Tristan Shone has pushed not only his body and machines to a bio-mechanical threshold, but has evolved his music from a bleak and calculated oppressive entity to something more surreal. As the years pressed forward, Tristan has added and then stripped and updated his technology to be able to operate within the present moment. Krüller is the industrial/drone/doom sound finally seeing actual color and calmness in what used to be a painting of corrosion, soot, dirt, and smog. The biggest shock here is Tristan’s vocals. Prior releases showed a man confined in a technocratic world hopelessly enslaved by the very tools he created to help him reach out and connect on a cathartic level. Tristan’s harsh bark and bellowing is reminiscent of Justin Broadrick (Godflesh). On Krüller, it seems as if Tristan has stopped struggling within the very Matrix surrounding him and accepted his fate, giving way to an eerie Chino Moreno (Deftones) croon. It fits the new material because Krüller is FAR more melodic than anything Tristan has done with A&P prior.
The first song/single, Drone Carrying Dread, is a massive wall of melodic soundscape that sounds like somewhere between Type O Negative, Deftones, and Godflesh. Add the synthwave sounds in the background and what you have is almost like a revisioning of A&P. It’s still the same A&P, now it just adds more color to the pallet. Incinerator is what you might think: a complete and total slow burn to an explosion of white ethereal heat. Centurion has moments that harken to David Lynch’s Lost Highway soundtrack where it becomes ominous and downright dissociated. That mood intensifies over the course of the next 3 songs, Maiden Star, Misery, Glorybox, with nothing but reverb, delays, glitching, and amazing synths. Blacksmith endlessly blends into the title track which ends the album on a rather depersonalized heavy note.
Listening and seeing how far Tristan Shone has come with Author & Punisher has been quite an experience. Am I saying that Tristan Shone is original sound-wise? That is too much of a stretch. Originality in 2022 is a long shot, so let’s not bullshit ourselves and others. Yes, one can see parallels to France’s industrial-doomsters P.H.O.B.O.S, but Tristan is way more textured rather than downright oppressive. Is Tristan’s music so edgy that only 50 people can enjoy A&P? Would it take a good decade or so to build and find his niche audience? Hardly. Tristan Shone is someone who took what came before and with his experiences as an engineer, went back to the drawing board with the original blueprints and drafted up a new machine. Tristan doesn’t HAVE to do a lot or even remotely prove himself at this point because he said fuck the rules and burned the envelope. He’s focused on himself, his music, and his ability to create dystopian and interesting music with the very same tools he crafted by his very own hands. Welcome to the machine.
Krüller is available now via Relapse Records. Order your copy HERE.