When I hear Android Lust, the images that trickle through my mind’s eye as I attempt to quantify what I’m listening to into something more visual, more tangible, are those from Greek Mythology. In my mind, if the Furies or the Gorgons were given voice to cry out to the gods of Mount Olympus, they would do it with the vocals possessed by Android Lust. If Persephone ever cried out from Tartarus, Demeter would hear the wrathful and emotionally saturated voice of Shikhee, the voice of Android Lust, howling through the very bowls of the earth, shaking the wheat in the fields of men.
Android Lust saw its inception in 1995, after a series of failed attempts by the “lustful one,” Shikhee, to build a career in music while surrounding herself with a group of musicians and attempting to realize her unique — and oftentimes, startling — perspective on the world around her and the emotions that spin it on its axis. Sometimes, however, the vision of the individual is far too powerful for others, not as devout in regards to its promise, to grip or hold on to for very long. Shikhee struck out on her own in the lonely life of the soloist and donned the identity of Android Lust.
Shikhee’s first, full-length album, Resolution, released in 1998 under the Tinman Records label, is a testament to the musician’s ability to take that which she values from the genres of classical, industrial, and synth-pop and combine them together beneath vocal styling that is haunting, if not chilling in some respects. Tracks such as “Refuse” and “Suffer The Flesh” made it onto some of the more enlightened dancefloors across North America and Europe. While Shikhee did not receive immediate, worldwide recognition for her work, she did turn heads and form a formidable wall of a fan-base around her music. Shikhee took industrial fusion to a new level with Resolution (as well as with her follow-up, remix release, Evolution), proving that there was more to the genre than drum loops and movie samples. Shikhee added a stage presence in her live appearances that is nothing short of impressive to behold. Despite the deception implied by her delicate form and stature, Shikhee moves and sways like a queen wasp while she performs. The overwhelming effect of her movements coupled with vocals that sound as though they’re being hissed from between the widening jaws of a Burmese python alongside hypnotic, infectiously venomous beats and rhythms is, quite simply, hellish… and I mean that in the best possible way.
In short, Android Lust grabbed my attention and has held on to it for about four years now, and that’s how long I’ve been awaiting the return of the wasp queen.
2002 sees the release of Android Lust’s second full-length album: The Dividing. Following up a critically acclaimed EP entitled The Want, Shikhee has undergone a metamorphosis of sorts in the four years that she has remained all but silent to her audience. The sheer sting of her anger is clearer now, brighter now, in its vibrating darkness and depth. The listener can hear and completely comprehend every vowel, every punctuated accusation, which Shikhee spits forth with the voice of an angel. Less emphasis on vocoding and vocal effects throughout The Dividing allows the listener to better appreciate the true talent possessed by Shikhee as a singer, and her programming and musical orchestrations are all but flawless to the ear. Nothing drowns out anything else where the sounds made by Android Lust are concerned. Each instrumentation and every effect serve a purpose and are interwoven into a seamless web of an end result that I can only describe as “neo-industrial.” While Resolution was indeed impressive as freshman release for Android Lust, The Dividing easily surpasses it in regards to every aspect of Shikhee’s classically trained musical and vocal ability.
As a testament to the legitimacy and ability of Android Lust, The Dividing stands like a monolith, casting a long shadow over releases by acts that would call themselves peers and sets a very high bar within the implied confines of the industrial and electronic genres. If you have not yet had the opportunity to discover Android Lust for yourself, then The Dividing is an exceptional medium with which to familiarize yourself with Shikhee’s unique and superior approach to industrial fusion and music in general.
Android Lust: http://www.androidlust.com