CMJ New Music Report Issue 627 - July 19th, 1999
Organica - Irregular Records
Thanks to its witty sampling and industrial/ darkwave hybrid, Kill Switch...Klick has made
a name for itself in the electronic music community. While Organica, the final KsK release
for the foreseeable future, isn't exactly the ultimate in sinister dancefloor domination, the
album is a pretty fine rethink of the KsK formula. Having tired of working with only
synthetic sounds, the group's mastermind, d.A. Sebasstian, has taken to using only acoustic
instruments, recorded in his studio and sampler- processed appropriately, to write new
songs and recreate older KsK material. The convention-busting instrumentation makes
Organica a surprisingly flirtatious, personality-driven album. Just listen to "5 Hotwheels In
My Box," which rhythmically alters a sample of a child blurting "five" and juxtaposes the
soundbite with the bleating of bagpipes. Organica is a testament to the ingenuity of
Sebasstian as well as to the viability of acoustic instruments in making great dance records.
- Cheryl Botchick
KILL SWITCH...KLICK - Organica (CD)
KILL SWITCH...KLICK bringen uns hier ihr fünftes Album ins Haus. Es enthält von sechs alten Stücken neue Versionen in einem völlig neuen Kleid, es gibt die sogenannten "Organic/Acoustic Versions" zu hören, was hier wirklich interessant rüberkommt, es ist, als habe man eine neue Band im CD-Player. Es handelt sich bei den Songs übrigens um "Celebrate", "Go Man, Go", "So (Fucking) Happy", "Huddle Hobble", "Decanonized", "Follow Me" und "Living In Your Hell". Dann gibt es aber noch weitere, neue Tracks, insgesamt 13 Songs. KILL SWITCH...KLICK sind bei Elektronik-Fans ja garantiert keine Unbekannten mehr, obwohl der Bekanntheitsgrad in Deutschland glaube ich trotzdem nicht allzu hoch ist. Das sollte sich schnell ändern. Man sollte vielleicht nicht gerade mit diesem Album anfangen, denn "Organica" ist eigentlich mehr eine Spielerei mit vorhandenem, oder ist schon mal jemandem in einem KILL SWITCH...KLICK-Song ein Dudelsack oder eine Mundharmonika vorgekommen? Für Leute, die die Band schon immer mochten, ist die CD wirklich sehr genial, das ist wirklich mal was anderes, für Neueinsteiger nicht unbedingt zu empfehlen. (H.H.)
METRONOME: the music reviews
Kill Switch... Klick - Organica
This, reportedly Kill Switch... Klick's final album, is a bit of a departure. A departure, because the Seattle industrial group (well, not group-KsK is, or was, primarily one guy, dA Sebasstian) who once proudly proclaimed on every album's liner notes "No Guitar," on this album uses almost nothing but. And, what's even more atypical for an industrial band, acoustic guitar. That's right-as the album title implies, Organica is basically entirely acoustic and organic. None of KsK's staples-none of the standard electro-industrial instruments, and not even Sebasstian's invention the slambar-appear on this album. Instead, we have acoustic guitar, bass and drums, with the occasional banjo, trombone or bagpipes. Yes, bagpipes. Ah, some would say, how the mighty have fallen! Kill Switch... Klick once founded the Northwest Elektro-Industrial Coalition. Now this?
Well, that's what some would say. I say, fuck them. This is a great album. It shows off Sebasstian's not-insignificant musical talents very well, and is probably the best-sounding KsK album. Every other one, incredible though they were, had this muddled, muffled, recorded-in-a-closet-under-some-clothes sound about them. Not this album. And the comparisons between synthetic and organic become easier to make, since Sebasstian thoughtfully spent half of the album remaking songs off of the first album, Beat It To Fit, Paint It To Match. One one hand, this is really cool-it's great to hear songs reconceptualized and recontextualized in this new unplugged fashion. On the other hand, did I really need a fourth version of "deCanonized?"
Criticisms aside, this is an excellent album, both old and new material. Not for industrial purists, perhaps, but who the hell cares what those closed-minded fucks think anyway? I'm only sad to see that it's the final Kill Switch... Klick album, though I will certainly look for whatever Sebasstian does next.
Kill Switch ...Klick - Organica
Organica, the 1999 release from the Seattle based industrial group Kill Switch Klick, was a step in a different direction. Instead of avoiding guitar entirely, d.A. Sebasstian, the main force behind Kill Switch Klick, decided to make the acoustic guitar the primary sound on Organica. The new sound of Kill Switch Klick is representative of KSK's change in labels, from the established electronic/industrial Cleopatra Records, to Sebasstian's own Iregular Records. Organica marks the first release from Kill Switch Klick on Iregular Records and hopefully is a preview of what is to come from KSK and Iregular Records in the future.
Organica is a collection of older KSK songs and unreleased tracks, all with a fairly organic sound. Throughout the record Sebasstian uses the acoustic guitar accompanied by good drum programming, organic percussion, the occasional horn and socially conscious lyrics. On one of the more creative tracks, "5 Hotwheels in My Box", Sebasstian uses the bagpipe and the banjo along with his children on vocals. "5 Hotwheels in My Box" is a playful track that stands out as the most divergent from KSK's original sound. It is also because of the more experimental songs on Organica, like "5 Hotwheels in My Box" that Sebasstian was able to create a record with a more friendly personality than his previous releases. Other notable songs are "Follow Me (Semi-Dub)", "Go Man, Go III", and "Huddle Hobble". All the tracks on Organica are good Kill Switch Klick songs. However, if you are looking for a new industrial CD, I would not recommend Organica. The experimental sound for KSK has strayed far from their previous sound. Organica is more for someone who is a fan of Kill Switch Klick, or for someone who is interested in more experimental music.
Even though Organica was a different approach to music for d.A. Sebasstian, it is still a good record and shows the wide abilities of Kill Switch Klick's front man d.A. Sebasstian. Organica is a good all around record. It is a shame that on Iregular Records it could receive minimal promotion, but if you can find it, I would definitely consider picking it up.
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KILL SWITCH...KLICK, "ORGANICA"
The all new album by this northwest industrial act sees this band headed in a somewhat different direction than previous efforts. The songs on this album include a couple of demo versions of their older songs, several reworkings of other KSK songs, and a few new songs. The songs are more minimal than their previous outputs, and there even sounds like some acoustic guitar included (note: KSK pride themselves on not using any guitar, only programmed guitar sounds). A little more quiet and not so intense, KSK have created a more refined sound for those who find industrial a little too hard. - Paul Kustos
I've never heard of Kill Switch Klick before, but from what I gather, they've been rocking the dance scene in the northwest for some time. Actually, d.A. Sebasstian, the mastermind behind KSK, has a number of electronic beat-related projects under his belt, a list that fills a page with tiny type. Got to admire that. Without hearing his other projects, I can say KSK has much more of a band feel. There are elements of electronic and dance grooves here, but this particular album is something new for Sebasstian. Using all acoustic instruments, Sebasstian then sampled and synthesized them to create this sound, a mesh between rock and electronic. Apparently, this is to be KSK's last album, but be assured Sebasstian will be doing something different.
So the question here is, is this an electronic album, a rock album, or something in between? Yes. I'm reminded of the first time I heard industrial, when Nine Inch Nails and Ministry were playing (of course, industrial had been around before that) with electronic sounds and rock instruments. Sebasstian is doing that here, but his use of acoustic instruments and rock structure makes this an interesting listen. What industrial album would use acoustic guitar, bass, banjo, and trombone in addition to samplers and synthesizers, after all? But, the industrial feel is here. The vocals are dark, in a fashion, and the sped-up drum beats and heavy bass set the stage for each song on this album.
"Celebrate" starts off with one of the best bass riffs that I've heard in a long time. Then piano, then this electronic backbeat. And then vocals that totally remind me of Morphine, especially with that killer bass. By this point, I'm wondering what exactly this is, but I like it. "Go Man, Go!!!" has more of that killer bass with acoustic guitar, some sampled drums, and a heavy industrial/goth feel to it without being too fast or depressing. Horns come in on "So (Fucking) Happy," which reminds me more of a KMFDM song than NIN or the slower Morphine. But the acoustic guitar on here lends a lighter feel to the song. Now get this: "5 Hotwheels in My Box" is Sebasstian's children saying "five," sampled into the song, with bagpipes and banjo. You've got to hear it to understand it, trust me. "Treason & Velvet" has much more of a rock feel to it, with normal beats and very little sampling but some cool synthesizer in the background. There's even a steel drum sound and flute in the repetitive "Sa Ta Na Ma." "Follow Me" has a dub beat and feel to it, just a little too slow to make it work perfectly. Whereas "Living in Your Hell" could almost be a slowed down NIN song with acoustic guitar instead of electric. And the album finishes with what are apparently two four-track demos, but the production quality sure sounds good to me.
Judging from the amount of press I've found when researching KSK, I should have heard of this band long ago, but perhaps the Seattle area is keeping them all to themselves. I expect that Organica may not be the best place to get into KSK, because their older music is apparently more beat oriented. But by itself, if you're going to take my recommendation and not necessarily look up the band's backlog, Organica is a good album, full of unique sounds and very unique samples. And it rocks, something I appreciate in an electronic band. Maybe this is going to be the offshoot of the NIN style of industrial.
KILL SWITCH...KLICK- Organica
reviewed in issue #185, 7/26/99
Um, yeah, those are D.A. Sebasstian's kids on the cover. He's doing his own thing now, and this disc does showcase a departure of sorts from his usual sound.
The creativity levels are still high, but there are many more instruments and much less electronic sounds here. The way it's done, though, is a bit more seamless than you might think. Like I said, the complexity levels are still high, and the songs are still assembled. But the feel is more... organic, to coin a term (ahem).
I've long been advocating the mix of "analog" and "digital" worlds. I know I'm using those terms inappropriately, but I think they make the point best. Well, really, this album alsomakes the point quite well. Sebasstian has crafted some addictive and intriguing songs, stuff that will stand up to repeated scrutiny.
That which could also be said about previous KS...K outings. And so, while in some ways a departure, Organica also continues a legacy. One that I hope continues for some time to come.