Dark and spacey, Subzone’s Paranoid Landscape creates encompassing industrial sonic environments with what seems like little effort. Subzone’s elaborately layered and scrupulously produced tracks induce strange new worlds while its forceful beats and reliance on building atmosphere allows Paranoid Landscape exists in a reality of its own. As comfortless as it may seem at first, it’s a reality you’ll never want to leave.
Front man Andrew Mullen combines elements of electronica and the trippy side of rock. His Subzone seems influenced by everyone from dirty glamour of The Crystal Method to bitter moodiness of Nine Inch Nails to the future-thinking of Tangerine Dream. As it journeys along, Paranoid Landscape snatches bits and pieces of many different musical genres while never settling into one.
Despite the predominantly oppressive attitude that is produced by the total of these songs, there’s an element of beauty in each of them, from the driving “Tunnelvision” to the unearthly “Somewhat Forgotten”. Mullen has an intuitive understanding of the music he is creating, and lets each track go on just long enough, and although there is plenty of experimentation, these tracks do maintain a structure that keeps them and all of Paranoid Landscape together.
While Mullen features his own vocals on several tracks, as well as those of others, they mostly just contribute to the ambience rather than stand out as significant portions of the songs. It’s nearly impossible to discern what is being sung most of the time, but the effect of these vocals is always still there. Rather than placing all the meaning on the words, he places it on the sounds he is building. Subzone’s greatest strength is their ability to put the significance on these other elements.
Even though Paranoid Landscape is going to be a harsh, alien journey for most listeners, there’s enough recognizable to hold on to. With Mullen’s command of creating new sounds, Subzone comes across as the music of the future. We should just be lucky we get to hear it today.
// Notes from the Road
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