‘Errata’ is the second solo release by Gin Devo, former member of the Belgian oldschool industrial group Vomito Negro. This album marks a distinct shift from his first solo album ‘Surface’, written back in the late ’80s that was much more ambient-focused. ‘Errata’ is a pounding tour-de-force of oldschool EBM hooks and song structures with a dark, atmospheric tinge that is always hard hitting, yet ultimately somewhat repetitive.
The methodology for this album is rather intriguing; in a world full of soft synths and plug ins, Gin Devo claims to have created this album entirely with vintage hardware gear and traditional methods of recording and sequencing. While this may be the case, it’s not always so clear that this is the case – the album definitely sounds ultra-modern and carries the well-polished sound we have come to expect of most computer-produced music these days. The production really is exceptional: crystal clear, sharp and punchy. The bass synths are all top notch and the attention to detail and quality of both the hooks themselves and their sound design is obvious.
The vocal style shifts almost entirely from song to song: from the warbling, near-Aggrotech style croning of “Out of Control” and “Twisted Heads” to the reverb-soaked, hushed but cleaner vocals to the German-tinged singing style in “Scope of Desire”. Vocoder is sometimes used to the effect that the words are incomprehensible, rendering the vocals more as an extra instrument than singing.
With most tracks clocking in at over 6 minutes, with a couple stretching to 9 or 10, the main bass hooks can become rather tiring, especially since most of them do not change from the start to the end of the song. We are used to this from other classic EBM acts, so it’s a marmite issue as to whether you like this kind of thing or not. While it may work well for the dance floors, personally I am not fond of listening to 2-bar bass hooks for six and a half minutes even if there are other elements going on around it. Make no mistake – there is a lot going on in these tracks, from the excellent drum machine programming and the varied vocals to other synth lines and soundscape elements. Undeniably, many of these bass hooks are really quite good – but the maxim “less is more” comes to mind, and more variety in the bass lines and song structure would make for more interesting listening.
There are a couple of notable departures from this formula on the album, most notably the closing track: clocking in at over ten minutes, the final track “Errata” evokes Skinny Puppy more so than Nitzer Ebb like the rest of the album does.
Standout tracks to check out would be the opening three songs: “War of the Machines”, “Out of control” and “Salted Flesh”, which are perfect examples of the style and aesthetic of the album in whole.
This is a solid release sure to please all fans of oldskool EBM fans.