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Legendary Pink Dots, The
& Attrition: The Terminal Kaleidoscope
"Attrition have always been a nexus of industrial fury, gothic drama, ambient structural finesse and classical chamber orchestrations. Stunning in scope, character and intellect, Martin Bowes has been a paragon of true creative prowess, holding in two hands the past and future of music, and smashing them together with a calculated and charismatic menace. Bowes builds his dark industrial music with all the compassion and attention to detail of a classical musician..."
Founded by Martin Bowes in the early 1980's, Attrition was considered an important part of the burgeoning "Industrial/Experimental" music scene (alongside such bands as SPK, Test Dept., Coil, Clock DVA and the Legendary Pink Dots). The group's early albums released on the European Third Mind and Antler labels demonstrated a new approach to sound creation, a marriage of experimental and traditional approaches.
In 1989, Projekt released the retrospective Recollection ('84-'89) , giving America it's first taste of the Attrition sound.
Living and working in Europe, Martin and company toured the continent before settling back in their native England in 1991. With the creation of their own studio ("The Cage") in Coventry , Attrition's musical output intensified. The band released A Tricky Business on the Italian Contempo label, spawning the underground club hit, "A Girl Called Harmony." In 1994, under the careful direction of Martin and Projekt founder Sam Rosenthal, Attrition's back catalog was readied for re-release on Projekt: Archive.
A few years later, Attrition band signed to the German Hyperium label, then in 1996 moved to Projekt. The label immediately released Attrition's 1996 3 Arms and a Dead Cert . That summer, the band played "The Projekt Festival" in Chicago , then embarked on their first US tour.
In 1997, Attrition collaborated with Frank Dematteis, a member of the Paris opera, to produce Étude , an album of classical interpretations of their own songs. A second tour of the US followed, then an extensive tour of the UK., Germany , Czech Republic , Switzerland and Poland .
Bridging the bands many unique sound directions and multi-faceted approaches, in 1999 Attrition released The Jeopardy Maze . An eclectic blend of industrial rhythms, gothic atmospheres, classical, techno and rock influences --- surreal texts and surreal textures... Further tours of the US followed over the next two years, while the band released The Hand that Feeds , their album of remixes… an ambient collection for Russia, Esoteria , the rarities album Keepsakes and Reflections and their first live album from their 1999 tour of the US... After a brief hiatus Attrition returned in 2004 with one of their most critically appraised and darkest albums.. Dante's Kitchen … including the darkwave classic “Two Gods”.. The band toured extensively in 2005. Martin finally founded his own label in 2006 releasing Tearing arms from Deities. 1980 -2005 …a 25 year anniversary collection of rare, remastered and reworked songs from the bands entire career…
Attrition have always been uncompromising, yet accessible, and always unpredictable...
Even longterm Attrition fans have good reason to seek out Tearing Arms From Deities: though Attrition's albums are all represented here, some of the tracks are rare, compilation-only appearances. Fans should again take note that the liner notes feature Bowes's personal explanations of how the songs fit into the overall schema of Attrition and his own life. If nothing else, Tearing Arms From Deities has made me adore Attrition even more. 4 1/2 stars out of 5. - Jack Shear
Requiring the firmest of musical appreciation to get through, especially true for the casual musical fan, Attrition provides a satisfying ride into the heart and soul of imagination. Formed in 1980 and compiling a catalog of 15 albums - studio, live, and soundtrack - plus a batch of collection discs, Attrition makes a case for thought.
The new Attrition collection, Tearing arms from Deities: Attrition 1980-2005 is from newly formed Two Gods label and runs the span of 16 songs that move from the spaces of all of those past gems. The album begins with the classically soft “Prelude,” moves into the newer, metaphorical search of healing for the split parts of good and evil and human existence, a philosophic exploration that plagues many of us, in “Two Gods,” and the electronic funk of “Cosmetic Citizen.”
Bowes employs an operatic female vocal in many of the songs in order to infuse contrast to the often-used dark male vocal. There is a sense of cinematic urgency in many of the songs, all of which, when combined, produce a unique collection that is lyrically challenging and musically clever.
The 16-page booklet is as artistic as the remastered music found on the CD. Filled with intriguing photos of sepia tones, some with visually stimulating nudes and others of gothic flavour, the booklet adds extreme value to the collection. There are notes by Bowes, observations of each song, credits, and interesting cover art.
Attrition plans to be around for quite some time. With that future anticipation of life and spiritual expression, we can obviously expect another collection not too far down the road. Attrition will not be for the masses, nor do they intend to be. Such forays into the far reaches of the heart can only be interpreted by the willing. Attrition has no lack of that audience, and a few more converts would not hurt. But come prepared.
"Forever there will be the speculation that the exploration of darkness as a beautiful place will lessen our fear of it all, east the pain a little..." -Matt Rowe