Escalator – Let There Be Lie | Review by Vox Empirea

The Hungarians Escalator, founded in 1988 in Budapest, are formed by two members identified with the codes 2rt+TB and  IGOR404. The music genre covered by the project is substantially inspired by two hypothetical evolutionary concepts: in the first one of them the Man actively interacts with the animal World and computers, while the second one enhances the perception of anxiety originated by the growing, relentless dominance and submission exercised by machines against Humanity. These conditions are musically expressed through an unusual and danceable variant of EBM particularly elaborated by softwares which the same Escalator softwares use to define as “Intelligent Robot Music”, or an high-tech sound style whose compositional register reveals at the same time the cold old-school executions of the Germans Kraftwerk combined with the circular and obsessive dynamism of Front 242, with the alchemical lab strategies of the Clock DVA, with the brilliant industrial/post-punk experimentalism of Throbbing Gristle and with the electronic avant-garde of Cabaret Voltaire electronic. Active on record products since 1989 with the self produced/limited edition tape-work of six tracks titled “No Accoustic Music”, the duo went onwards by an album independently produced dating back to 1990, “Human Experiments”, by which they reached a good level of notoriety in their native land.

“Helicopter”, the next full-length also released in the year 1992 as self-producion, contributed to the further popularity of Escalator. The subsequent “Anthropology”, published in 1993 by the Hungarian label EMI Quint, included new and old tracks, these latest ones extrapolated from the past archives and suitably remixed: the synergy between the high sound quality, the lyric’s meaning and the energy radiated by the tracklist, they favored the rise of this album making it still a must for all the fans of EBM/post-industrial. Continuing, the small label Rockland Bt licensed in 1994 the eight tracks of “Arbeid”, a full-lenght conceptually addressed to the exploration of the Universe and the power of a technology increasingly disconnected from the human control, in which electronic musicality we could hear an hard rise of the psychic tension and of morbidity, both already present in the previous releases. Then, they followed seven years of momentary abandonment of the scene, after which Escalator were back in action with the 2001 self-produced collection entitled “1990-2000”, which tracklist incorporated both new songs and episodes taken from the past albums. That work was followed in 2007 by a compilation appearance on “Lieder Der Berge” , while the completion of a new anthology entitled “1989-2009” took place exactly in the same year 2009 by the German records-home called Electric Tremor Dessau. The attempt of Escalator to obtain a greater visibility and to strengthening their achieved prestige – so to have chance to expand exponentially the number of fans – was mediatically repressed by the Hungarian Socialist government, but it found a positive reply through the album “Out Of My Ego” published in 2011 by the excellent EK Product, the same label that has isseud this new sonic act too, the full-lenght “Let There Be Lie” now analyzed by Vox Empirea: this release is available in digipak CD version and also in the prestigious vinylistic limited edition.

The album consisting of ten songs, eight of them are “regular” and two are bonus-tracks: the album begins by the prolonged silence that introduces the opener “You And I”, which electro/EBM scheme plans a linear, square, midtempo-rhythmic supporting vocals maliciously deformed and soured by filtration, all this wrapped by the obsessive circularity of programming. “Friendly Fire” increases the speed obeying to the necessity of energy, structuring an hyper-danceable Electronic Body Music that quickly flagellates the sound in parallel to the run of sequencing, a percussiveness designated for supporting the dry voice sections and catchy partitions of synth, in a track that owns the incisiveness, the character and effectiveness such to be a potential power-hit. “Everybody’s Lying” spreads a rhythmical base much gushing and faster, which darting timbre build an industrial-punk/EBM core incessantly frosted by the action of keyboard and attacked by an hostile, disdainful chant, to which is entrusted a function glacially decorative. Now is the next track, “Sniper”, which pulsing uptempo drumming flows with straight continuity symmetrically with the programing beats, allowing then to the vocal inserts, manipulated to make them bitter emanations, to punctuate with robotic coldness this EBM/electro song. “God Eat God” is another conceivable dancefloor-hit, created by the uptempo pulses calculated with mathematical precision by sequencing which fluidity, crossed by the metallic sentences spoken by the vocalist, it incorporates synthetic keyboard’s ornaments. Even in “Fuck You Union”, as in the full album tracklist, they are clearly the old-school technicalities of Cabaret Voltaire, now elaborated and processed using percussive sequences nervously and geometrically midtempo, snappy drum-beats and programming that dictate the rhythm to the cutting voice fractionations and to the electronic effervescences. On the same electro/EBM phase of the previous tracks, the efficient mechanism of “Final Collision ” scans a pneumatic, rational, danceable midtempo percussiveness coldly welded to the strobe sequencer, beats and micro-vibrations on which they evolving treacherously the bristly effected vocals, the spatial pulses, the loops and the rapid touches of synth. The great “Houston…Who Am I” propagates a swarm of super-processed electronic signals conveyed in a midtempo race programmed with cartesian accuracy, acoustics that can evoke futuristic atmospheres for interplanetary travels illustrated in this chapter by an advanced sound concept.

As mentioned, the last segment of the release consists of two bonus-tracks, more specifically the remixes of the song “God Eat God”. The first translation, called Aragamix, is reworked by Patrick Codenys, the Front 242 keyboardist: this version features an amazing progression of dance-oriented elements that make it particularly suitable for the d.j.’s, as well as Jeremy Inkel, he since 2005 the Front Line Assembly keyboardist, remixed the same song as Vapour Lounge Dub Edit mode, through structural formulations more complex and effected which will break with success among the fans of the alternative clubs. By “Let There Be Lie “, the duo has made a further progress into the electro scene simultaneously combining among them the sonic expertise, the avant-gardism and the rear-guard: by these principles it resulted a formidable album within which the solid interplay between the EBM of last generation and the past technological solutions develops a compelling dancehall context to listen at maximum volume. Escalator: consider you this project now and forever as a touch of sublime and nonconformist in the electronic music culture.