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Recoil - Liquid (Mute)

A couple of years ago, some smart-arsed music journo coined the term 'Goth-hop' for the darker sounds that were emanating from Bristol's trip-hop scene. Well, if Massive Attack's "Mezzanine" was 'Goth-hop', then I've no idea what you'd call this. Where Massive Attack had Liz Fraser, Recoil have the Goth icon Diamanda Galas. Don't get me wrong, this NOT a Gothic Rock CD, this goes far beyond that.

Kicking off with the spoken word piece, 'Black Box (Part I)', that owes more than a nod to the Velvet Underground's 'The Gift', it's clear that this is something completely different. Alan Wilder mixes elements of techno, Goth, trip hop, Gospel and atmospheric music to create something dark, brooding, funky and ultimately very disturbing. Back to back on this you'll find a funked up version of an old Gospel song about perversion and God's wrath, 'Jezebel', and a spoken word tale of erotic asphyxia turned to murder over a groovy trip hop backing, 'Breath Control'. 'Last call for liquid courage' mixes it all together, spoken word to rap vocals, Gospel backing vocals and an intense industrial soundtrack. On 'Strange Hours', Diamanda Galas snarls, spits and screams her way through a big brash and funky Gospel-style number.

From then on, the album descends into a very dark pit of perversion, violence and intense music, finishing up with 'Black Box (Pt 2)' that sounds more like a clip from a movie than a song, a movie with a soundtrack by Barry Adamson or Angelo Badalamenti no less. With "Liquid", Alan Wilder has truly surpassed himself, creating something so dark, so perverse, yet so ultimately alluring that it is virtually beyond compare.

by Donnacha DeLong

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