The only impression I had of cut.rate.box prior to this record was one of casual dismissal when a bunch of the local goth types came back from this year’s Convergence gathering, proudly sporting cut.rate.box garb. Oh, the hazards of elitist snap judgments! On the strength of this five-song offering, cut.rate.box are in the midst of elbowing their way to the forefront of the darker, Wumpskut-inhabited regions of electronic music. The most exciting part of blueiceblack , for me, was the use of different vocal effects for each song, creating completely different atmospheres and rendering each song distinct. Surprise-hit opener “heart break cinema” hosted a harsh static voice screaming the chorus and a serpentine, feminine vocal oozing the verses, over bubbling synth patterns. “pill” utilized varying degrees of Skinny Puppy-esque distortion, while the uptempo “disease” reminds me of the more metallic shades of Klute, early Fear Factory, with the clean bits coming off SO 80’s Dave Gahan. Or how about the Killing Joke touches on “gravity”? I think I’ve made my point. Clean production and instrumental backdrops that echo both the repetition of Suicide, the darkness and fuzz of early Skinny Puppy, and Depeche Mode’s interlocking keyboard lines. Closing track “pressing the little” is a harrowing experiment in power electronic that seems to linger like a past-life trauma. Logically, it should only be a matter of time before these folk are snatched up buy a bigger label. But for now, you can buy the independent release and pretend that they’re your own personal discovery.
diesel picnic, P.O. Box 15840, New Orleans, LA 70175-5840