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Specimen13: Echosystem

It's hard to tell if Specimen13 are a band or an art project, drummer, percussionist, vocalist Denis Rodier also being credited with "visuals" amidst promises of graphic novels, visual art and "web TV type videos" to work alongside the debut EP Echosystem and a forthcoming full length release. Grand ideas indeed but with Rodier already a renowned comic-book artist with his resume including stints working on the Batman, Superman and Captain America characters, if anyone can carry them off, he can. His main partner in crime in this venture is Martin Vanier (guitar/bass/"soundscapes") however any notion that the music itself could, with such wide ranging plans, become a side thought are banished when a quick squint through the names of collaborators on this EP include Trey Gunn, Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto and Markus Reuter. That list should also give you a strong steer as to what you can expect here, with instruments such as touch-guitar, warr-guitar, chapman-stick, traps, buttons and "noise" all employed to make unsettling angular sounds that never become trivial enough to be called songs. Instead, this is a conglomeration of sounds and ideas used to skilfully convey themes in a dense, uncompromising fashion.

The driving forces behind much of what goes on in System13 are beats, drums and percussion with all possessing the force to hammer into your head in a thoroughly dizzying, yet seductive style. Allowing the instrumentation to swirl angrily as it does on "Juggernaut", or to grate, grind and snarl as it does on the ten minutes plus of "Citoyen Robot". Although it is the ambient swirl and washes of "Torngat" that captivates the imagination most strongly by restraining the more avant-garde moments.

Watching Specimen13 grow as a multi-media entity should be an extremely intriguing journey. As a starting point Echosystem is hugely impressive.

Track Listing
1. Sheer Force
2. Icarus
3. Juggernaut
4. Citoyen Robot
5. Torngat

Added: June 8th 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Specimen13 Online
Hits: 2168
Language: english

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