CD REVIEW: Skalle - Contrasistema
By: Cyrus Rhodes
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Tecno, Chill Out, Dub, Electronica, Urban Industrial
Sounds Like: De Facto, Zechs Marquise, At the Drive In, Mars Volta, Omar A. Rodriguez-Lopez
Technical Grade: 7/10
Weakness: More vocal ear candy, Overbearing Mix, Repetitive Catalogue
Monterey Mexico Electronic dynamic dou Skalle just released their latest collection of songs Contrasistema in 2012.Members include: David Adrián; acoustic drums, producer. Carlos X; MC.
The CD kicks things off with “Contrasistema” an intoxicating intro piece that sets the stage rather appropriately for this catalogue of music. After a methodical intro this first piece explodes in your ears with pulsating rock rhythm, against distorted guitar, catchy vocals against a grand mosaic of exotic soundscapes and melody. Track 2 entitled “El Camino” serves up a steady bass driven vibe against infectious movements and musical layering that can be described as captivating, mesmerizing and stunning. Track 3 “Sleepwalker” explodes with a sinister vibe with everything from impressive guitar and Electronica chops, to pulsating keyboard and synthesizer accents. All three tracks provide exotic layers of sound that come at you from all directions. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical textures reminiscent of classic Euro techno meshed with electronica and dub out/ chill type musical textures with perhaps a splash of Urban Industrial, power pop and even hard rock. I suspect musical influences are: De Facto, Zechs Marquise, At the Drive In, Mars Volta, Omar A. Rodriguez-Lopez. The music is extremely melodic and stimulating but definitely brings to the table a lot of musical variety, originality and a high degree of unpredictability. Skalle also brings to the table a wide range of instrumentation. You will notice rich musical textures overflowing everywhere - from guitar ambience, sizzling guitar pyrotechnics, driving electronic drums, to pulsating bass meshed with synthesizers, percussion and impressive keyboard and organ accents. The ambient vocal touches from this duo fill the sonic space quite well and mesh well with this catalogue of music. The sonic overdubbing is packed to the hilt, and is chopped full of exotic soundscapes that lunge at you from every direction. There's not a dull moment on the entire CD. The melodic layering is deep, the sonic ambience is infectious, From rocking “ Existir” to dynamic “Lights, Beat, Dance” to hypnotic “Amanacer” to melodic “Day Dreaming” to mesmerizing “Boz” this CD has something for just about everyone. The music is quite stimulating to the senses and is from another galaxy. The CD ends with track 12 “Erase una Vez” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
The vocal touches could be more effective and pleasurable. I wish there were more appealing world class vocal performances on the production as a whole. Skalle needs to provide more vocal ear candy in their musical arsenal. This could be done from other vocalists outside the 2 core members. CD tends to sound a bit repetitive overall track to track. The mix works but is extremely loud and overbearing thus taking a major toll on the senses. This approach is mainly designed to maximize Radio Marketability but is comparable to listening to a radio commercial for 45+ minutes.
From start to finish Contrasistema by Skalle is a rock solid CD release. It’s extremely consistent, original, and very melodic. It’s strength – it’s amazing songwriting, originality, and rich sonic layering. Make no bones about it these 2 are cutting edge talented composers from Mexico and are not to be underestimated. When the ride is over you will be dazzled by their originality, overwhelmed by their diversity, and want to do it all over again.