Obsolete: this is the title that designer and electronic artist Robert Krums has chosen for his latest project under the alias Grauwelt. He chose this title because after completing the album, he realized that the genre it belonged to no longer existed. Krums, who also records hip-hop under the name Earmint, came of age at a time when his native Chicago was churning out exciting industrial and electronic music at an alarming rate. As a teenager, Krums saturated himself with the music of Wax Trax recording artists like KMFDM and Ministry, as well as earlier electronic groups like Cabaret Voltaire and Depeche Mode. While he later found himself gravitating toward the emerging culture of hip-hop, these early influences have never left him. â€œThis is the album I would have made back then if I could have,â€ he asserts.
To label Obsolete as merely an industrial album, however, would be to ignore a myriad of other sources that the album pulls inspiration from. Elements of hip-hop, early techno, and even drum and bass can be heard occasionally emerging from the cacophony of muffled kick drums, fuzzed-out guitars and violent snares that comprise Grauweltâ€™s primary palette. One early listener described the song, â€œThe Long Wayâ€ as, â€œDJ Shadow meets Nine Inch Nails,â€ while the jittery dance-punk of â€œEvacuationâ€ recalls early Devo before the stabbing synths and anxious hi-hats render all comparisons (ahem) obsolete. Other standouts include the big beat of â€œAn Accident,â€ the driving guitars of â€œWarfare,â€ (MP3) and the chattering synths of â€œBrutality,â€ (MP3) which features vocals from Bryan Black, front man of the band Motor and mastermind behind the critically acclaimed Haloblack.
To create the album, Krums was wary of using any modern techniques, as he wanted to maintain what he calls the â€œrawness and harshnessâ€ of a purely analog sound. In the end, he used a decade old computer program to sequence his compositions, but relied on strictly analog methods for his instrumentation, utilizing vintage drum machines and synthesizers layered over stacks of mutilated samples.
Dark, aggressive and haunting, Grauweltâ€™s songs exist in a place where the last 20 years of electronic music are happening all at onceâ€¦or maybe they never happened at all, and the global tastemakers all still have their ears glued to the exciting industrial electro sounds pumping out of warehouse parties in Chicago and Berlin. Itâ€™s the soundtrack to a future that hasnâ€™t happenedâ€¦yet.
PRESS FOR GRAUWELTâ€™S ALTER-EGO, EARMINT
â€œA remarkable juxtaposition of stirring instrumental music and booming hip-hop tracks. 8/10.â€ â€“ Illinois Entertainer
â€œA soulful, energetic, suspenseful touchâ€¦ graces the album from top to bottom. 4/5 Stars.â€ â€“ URB Magazine
â€œA brilliant recordâ€¦ the best abstract hip hop album that Iâ€™ve heard all year.â€ â€“ Your Flesh Magazine
â€œPeerlessâ€¦ get this now. Editorâ€™s Pick.â€ â€“ smother.net
â€œYouâ€™ll be wanting to add this to your collection.â€ â€“ groundliftmag.com
â€œLetâ€™s just hope that with quality comes a little recognition for the dude. 4/5.â€ â€“ okayplayer.com
â€œA strong first album. Highly Recommended.â€ â€“ erasoul.com