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CD Feature/ ESA: Devotion Discpline and Denial

img  Tobias

Let’s not – ahem – beat about the bush here: The short press release uses the word “beats” four times in just eight lines of text and after the opening minutes of the brooding “Manipulating God” are over, the bass drum keeps pounding incessantly until the last track is over. In a word: “Devotion, Discipline and Denial” was written with the clubs in mind. And yet, there is much more to this album than flickering strobe light thunderstorms, twisted bodies emerging from impenetrable mists of dry ice fog and DJs turning these tracks up to the point of eardrum explosion.

For one, there’s the immense care which has gone into the sound-design of these eleven tracks (plus a remix by long-time companion scrap.edx): Not a single hihat, kick or snare sounds the same and even the evil atmospherics, rhythmical ramifications and pure noise frequencies each have a voice of their own. Despite the considerable amount of distortion used in the process of pitching these tunes to perfection, all individual patterns are still clearly descernible in the mix, which explains an important vocable contained in this record’s title: Discipline and the ability to create a sense of chaos and madness without actually loosing yourself in them. While these acoustic contrasts provide each piece with a unique personality, the arrangements are of equal importance: Everything here moves towards a climax, a resolution and towards the moment when the harshness and brutality suddenly ascend to a higher and more sublime state. You can definitely not understand what ESA are about by simply scanning the first few seconds of the tracks, there will always be a majestic melody rearing its head in the end or a passage of clarity, when the hypnotic bass lines lurking underneath the aural violence are brought to the surface. And finally, the album is divided into three segments, each with its own flavour and aesthetics. While “Devotion” focusses on deliriously marching mid-tempo hymns, “Discipline” is all about technoid, speed-thirsty and over-the-top dance anthems. In the final chapter, the pieces are suddenly longer, more open and lean towards the atmospheric, with the closing seven-minute “The Misconception of Zen” a harmonic sci-fi dreamtrip with glistening melodies and choral voices.

Another word stressed in the press release is “songwriting”. While that may be overstretching things just a little bit, it does, however, correctly underline the fact that the music of ESA is not intended to just be part of a DJ set but meant to be appreciated in its own right. Even though “Devotion, Discipline and Denial” is certainly aimed at the clubs, no livingroom is safe from it either.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: ESA (Electronic Substance Abuse)
Homepage: ESA at MySpace
Homepage: Hive Records

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