Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Baikonur (album) - S.K.E.T.

Baikonur is an epic ride through a high-powered, sometimes bleak, industrial/hard techno/breakcore landscape, all of S.K.E.T.’s own creation. A colossus of a work, Baikonur is crafted with absolute love of, and attention to, detail. It’s named after one of the most important USSR/Russian launch sites for space satellites.

This album is almost entirely high-BPM industrial and tech-breaks, except for the beautiful slow-break jam of “Meteor 2-5”, a psychedelic affair of layered beats, scratches and plaintive vocal samples.

The rest of the album is high-tempo, with the only breaks from the often danceable beats coming in portentous pauses before the storm hits, often overlaid with pained vocal samples, dark synths, machinery samples and scatterings of hi-hats.

Sometimes the minor chord synth chord progressions can teeter on the edge of camp happy hardcore such as at the beginning of the opening track. But the casual listener will be convinced within the first few tracks that Baikonur is a serious effort at a cohesive industrial album.

After the first two rousing tracks, S.K.E.T. slam the listener's ears with fast-tempo breaks, crunchy beat drops and pensive/doom-like synth chords in the trilogy named "Vostok I - Gagarin's Flight Path I-III". Then they hit with a beautifully-tempoed classic, "Elektron (Behind the Truth)". Just when the listener feels like taking a breath, precisely engineered percussion refuses to relent.

Perhaps the best track on the album is "Proton-K", where the doom-laden chords meet an exquisite pastiche of percussive vocal samples and glitchy electro.

In tracks like “Tsiklon-3“, this strange mix of emotional vulnerability and hard, high-tempo percussion continues at apex level.

However, Baikonur barely pauses for a dull moment throughout its entirety.

A soaring, immaculately -produced and -engineered opus, Baikonur deserves its place among the few industrial/electro classics that come along each decade or so.

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