Nic Endo 

Cold Metal Perfection

Nic Endo is probably best known for her affiliation with Germany's Atari Teenage Riot, the Alec Empire-led DIY group that combines acerbic, politically motivated lyrics with shrill, skull-splitting music; a blitzkrieg of hardcore punk, speed metal, jungle, industrial, techno, and noise rock. The American-born, German-reared Endo is the band's chief "noisemaker."

Cold Metal Perfection, Endo's third solo release, continues down an experimental path, emphasizing harsh, off-kilter synth tones and eerie, contemplative, effect-laden textures. It is her most impressive solo work yet, though upon initial listens it feels relatively awkward and unfocused. But dig deeper beneath the stark, trebly arrangements and sharp, digital squiggles and you'll uncover a calculated, masterful album. Cold Metal Perfection is an impressive synthesis of way-out-there avant-garde jazz and up-to-the-minute experimental electronic music; she seems to assimilate Sun Ra-inspired free jazz with the music of John Cage. Along the way, Endo -- a classically trained pianist -- tosses in sly references to Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi's Dead" (listen carefully to the first few notes of album-opener "Man-Eater"), '80s electro ("I Didn't Exist"), horror film soundtracks, and tinny industrial. Whooshing gusts of metallic glitches, tinkly keyboards, and knuckle-tightening half-melodies also punctuate the tense, uneasy mood throughout the album. Cold Metal Perfection's sinewy production (recorded, engineered, and produced by Endo) provides the perfect soundtrack for someone winding down from a long acid trip while watching a psychotic puppet show.


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