Hanin Elias – Future Noir (CD)

Some of the same industrial-infused rock that was present on the last Alexander Hacke album, albeit couched with the same fuzz that marked a number of pop-industrial tracks of the mid-nineties. “After All” has a Bowie-esque feel to it that is bolstered by its Massive Attack-esque arrangement. Tracks like the self-titled go on the disc use an oddly-stacked backing beat to create a dance track in one of the most unlikely places. Using what sounds like a hydraulic release of air for the “drum” beat on the track along with some of the unabashedly fake beats found, Elias’ ennui-ridden vocals seem the perfect fit for the track. The distortion on “Future Noir” maintains a certain common thread throughout the disc in creating what can only be properly termed a “poor person’s Chemical Brothers”. In fact, the tempo on the average “Future Noir” track is probably the only thing that divides Hanin’s music from the large masses of dance music and amount of distortion that finds its way onto each track.

The disc is an extremely close shatter-shott of Hanin’s influences – by the time that “Iced Icon” rolls around, I had already felt that I had heard this track in the past. Hanin may change around some of the arrangements on each of the tracks, but the formulaic nature of “Future Noir” really stifles anything in the way of creativity. “Fight Together” shows Hanin move slightly out of eir comfort zone and achieving a vocal quality not unlike that of Lolita Storm, but it is just another sad story to see when the tepid backing-beat comes through in its seventh minor alteration. I understand the necessity of creating an album “sound”, and the higher incidence of repetion and use of samples in much of industrial music, but even that has its limits.

Hanin Elias on eir “Future Noir” may have an impressive way of couching eir vocals throughout the disc, but the lack in spontaneity in regards to the instrumental arrangements on this disc is one of the largest reasons why this album sinks like a stone. Hanin’s intensity is never in question, but the fact that there is only one song archetype used throughout the entire disc really makes the re-play value and even any desire to pick up this album suffer. Maybe this is a mid-career slump, but I would suggest one pick up an earlier solo album or even pick up an ATR album before “Future Noir”.

Top Tracks: None

Rating: 3.5/10

Hanin Elias – Future Noir / 2005 Cochon / http://www.fatal-recordings.com/artists.php?id=1 / http://www.cochonrecords.com / Reviewed 05 April 2005

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