Data Void is the new project from Don Gordon (NUMB, Halo_Gen) and James Mendez (Jihad, Trial by Fire) who both have long histories in the industrial, dark electronic music scenes.
The sound of Data Void combines the driving rhythms and strong, evocative sound design sensibilities of NUMB with the dark melodicism of Jihad. On their first release, Strategies of Dissent, they seamlessly integrate elements drawn from a diverse range of contemporary electronic music influences - industrial, drum & bass, dark ambient, post-punk, experimental, EDM, dub, psychedelica - into a coherent sound that both seduces and challenges the listener. The album also features a strong lyrical focus that is reinforced by Data Void’s use of 2 lead vocalists, allowing for shifts in perspective and emphasis between and within individual tracks.
The songs on Strategies of Dissent draw their themes from our current era of chaos rather than presenting a faded cyber-dystopian future. This is a world projected in JG Ballard's view that “the advanced societies of the future will not be governed by reason. They will be driven by irrationality, by competing systems of psychopathology.” But rather than a bleak, nihilistic rant, the album explores the place of the individual in a world where powerful social and technological forces drive uncertainty; where cults, conspiracies, ego and irrational faith hold more sway than trust, facts and reason. Where words and actions have become untethered from consequence and where corporations and late-capitalist agendas hold more power than governments. Strategies of Dissent is “a soundtrack for the dispossessed”.
The album's opening track Nothing Changes is an adrenaline-fuelled hell-ride through urban wastelands by drum and bass inspired propulsive beats and syncopated arpeggiations which drive home the urgency and frustration arising from an inability to effect change in a world where power is diffuse and normalising.
The broken bass arpeggios and rhythms and dense, textural melodic hooks of This Night Goes on Forever evoke fragmented images and an intense emotional response that is reminiscent of the NUMB track Blood. Thematically it projects a dark uncertain future that echoes our collective past ignored and asks “how will they remember us, as blind and impotent”.
A Failure of Language is a sonic triptych in which the central main musical theme is bookended by dark ambient tone poems assembled from twisted electronic psychedelia and experimental, abstract textures which combine to create a disorienting aural collage. This track includes the most beautiful and yet darkest and powerful moments on the album and questions if we have arrived at a new Babel while leaving the listener to ponder its consequences.
So Alien is futuristic bass-heavy dark techno aimed at the dance-floor. Taking the recent protests in Hong Kong and Myanmar as a source of inspiration, this track reflects on this from the level of the individual while asking how you will respond when the revolution comes for you?
The tracks Control and Crash, Burn and Resurrect are heavy electronic grooves in which the mechanisms of control are embraced - through the machineries and algorithms of distraction and instant gratification whose goal is to distract, seduce, anaesthetise on the one hand, versus the use of fear and threats of violence on the other. Orwell versus Huxley run through the technologies and late-capitalist imperatives of the moment.
What’s Left Unsaid is an hypnotic syncopated groove aimed at the club which further looks at the use of language, impossibility of satisfying desire and what it means to “fall out of history”.
Seven Seconds is a slow but intensely heavy groove that exudes an anthemic quality in its scathing critique of those who “sell dogma and deceit” in order to incite an ill-conceived end of days.
Echoes of Ritualised Performance is the album's only instrumental. Dense, cryptic and obscure textures, gothic noise, experimental sound design collide with metal influences to immerse the listener in a surreal soundscape.
From the opening distorted electronic textures and percussive assault, through to the haunted echo tails of the final track, Strategies of Dissent never releases the listeners attention.