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Fake Youth Cult  - White Light / Black Noise

Review

White Light / Black Noise by Fake Youth Cult

Goth meets Techno

Fake Youth Cult is the solo project of Richard van Kruysdijk, a Dutch artist with a vibrant history of music production (in bands like Dead Lights, Sonar Lodge, Palais Ideal and Strange Attractor). After joining Industrial rockers Phallus Dei in '93 the shadow of Goth has hung ominously over his wildly varied output. It may be inaccurate to describe his music as Goth but judging from his 70+ releases there's clearly an insatiable hunger for exploring all the Goth subcultures, whether that's EBM, Coldwave, Trip-Hop, Jazz or even Ambient*.

One pervasive fact from digging into van Kruysdijk's back catalogue is that songs feature prominently, even though he's never the lead singer. Backing vocals yes, but his key contribution is usually of the electronic form (drum programming, synths) coupled with guitars (bass, baritone). Unsurprisingly then, his solo projects revel in those elements. On new release White Light / Black Noise we have six instrumental tracks that power through rugged chords, heavy bass and regular rhythms - think JK Flesh, Orphx and Broken English Club for a reasonable comparison.

It all started with closing track Pulsar, an evolving eight-minute Techno track, originally written for a ballet performance that Shipwrec Records founder Ferdi attended and consequently enquired about releasing. This encouraged van Kruysdijk to pursue this form of electronic music further.

Incorporating string quartet parts and a live drum performance Pulsar is an undeniably powerful closing statement but it's quite unlike the other five tracks. As a result, it feels like it's been tacked-on at the end when, sequence-wise, it works better as the first track. Firstly this is because the romping pace of the first five tracks abruptly stops for nearly five minutes while the skittering rhythms quietly transform into pounding Techno. And then (abruptly once again) it's over. The tough chord sounds that open first track Visitor also provide the perfect contrast to the dying moments of Pulsar. (Yes, you could just hit repeat). Secondly, Pulsar is, conspicuously, the only Techno track (fast too at 155 BPM) while the others explore more familiar (to him) forms like EBM and Industrial Rock. In saying that, Scorched plays with a sort of air horn refrain with underlying ghostly voices while Management, with its strident rhythm and looped chord, sounds like a radio-friendly Gesloten Cirkel, especially with the vocal snippet. I particularly like the inventive drum programming (or is it bass guitar programming?) on Messing.

At just 25 minutes, the 'is it an EP or an album?' question made me realise that it's the perfect length for a "Techno" release. And another fascinating facet of the ongoing van Kruysdijk evolution.

* Interestingly, in 2000 he released a now unavailable EP on Delsin as Cellvoice (with Sandor Caron).

If you only listen to one track

Management

RIYL

JK Flesh, Orphx, Broken English Club, Gesloten Cirkel

Label

Shipwrec Records

Artist website

Fake Youth Cult

Release date

25 Mar 2024

Tracklist

  1. Visitor
  2. Scorched
  3. Messing
  4. Smear
  5. Management
  6. Pulsar
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