The debut album from the duo called Motor is called Klunk, but it could just as easily be called “skronk” or “smack” or “zoink” or a number of any other words that ends with the letter ‘k’ and either involves the sound of something breaking or the sound of something getting struck. A twelve track, hour-long album of filthy programmed bass arpeggio madness, a mixture of live and programmed beats, and occasionally evil-sounding vocals, it’s like the duo got into the wayback machine and landed right in the middle of the early 90s industrial explosion.
It’s not completely derivative, though, because the emphasis here is on the dancefloor, not the words. Just about every song on the album is structured like a good old techno track, rolling and ducking and peaking, letting loose with glorious waves of dirty analogue noise and crashing beats. Just to prove their point, the disc opens with the seven and a half minute first single “Black Powder,” and it’s basically everything I described above. In it, an increasingly gritty bass arpeggio sequence attacks and falls back while synthetic high-hats and fuzzed-up kicks splatter away and more red-lined synth layers roll into the mix like waves overtaking the original melody.
“Yak” is the heady drug-referencing track and it works in similar ways, winding together multiple layers of juicy analogue synths while bits of broken 8-bit data spits out over the top of it all. Vocals on the track are deep and dark, filtered with just a tinge of electronics, making the robo-voice seem even more menacing as it asks the listener if they know where it can find any “gak.” And basically, that’s about the pace at which the album progresses. The BPM is kept at an ass-shaking level and noise and resonance filters are twisted full-tilt as hardly any noises come through unscathed by some level of fuzz or hiss. The queasy “Botox” is particularly effective, progressing with pitch-fucked synth noises that are downright queasy while alarm-style bursts fire out warning shots over the top.
That the album never changes up styles too much will be a huge positive to some (mainly those looking to fuel a dancefloor frenzy) and a negative to others. Unless you’re working out or doing some serious web-coding, the style tends to blur together after awhile. Fortunately, the duo does have an ear for hooks, and it’s hard not to get sucked into tracks like the relentless “Sweatbox,” which magically (and almost maniacally) works the same blistering progressions to death with a simple kick and well-placed snare bursts. Coming in somewhere between the gothic industrial anthems of Nitzer Ebb (singer Douglas McCarthy shows up for vocal duties on one track here), and the sweaty electronic dancefloor thump of Zeigenbock Kopf, Klunk is all about getting down and dirty.