Press & Reviews
Scene Point Blank review of Open Aeon
July 26, 2006
The alternative electronic world is a strange one. In a realm of, literally, limitless possibilities, beats and effects and bound only by human imagination, there is a clique of acts that all sound the same. These acts make electronic music in the same way that punk bands make punk music. There are, of course, a few exceptions to that rule but not enough to represent the infinite boundaries possible with electronic music. The fact is that most of the electronic world is a banal and damp place, rank with the fetid stench of what could have been but was never made by the few capable of making it. The alternative electronic world is a strange one, dominated by a clique of bands that are all influenced by each other. It is an insular community that, all too seldom, attempts to look beyond its own boundaries for inspiration.
Empty, for example, carry the obvious influences of Dismantled and Front Line Assembly. Formed by Aaron Potter and Daniel Brunet in 2003, it is easily understandable for such a relatively young band. Without delving into the futurepop worlds of your VNV Nations and Apoptygma Berzerks, or the EBM world of your Covenants and Assemblage 23s, Front Line Assembly have dominated the electro-industrial world for a decade now. And Dismantled? Dismantled is easily one of the most interesting outfits in any genre today.
What Empty do is imitation. Empty do imitation so well that the only song on Open Aeon that couldn't be interpolated into the eponymous Dismantled debut ("Scarred") would fit rather snugly into Assemblage 23's Failure. Empty do imitation in the way that Haujobb do imitation. They do it in that way that their imitation is so good that they forgot to create their own sound and their own definition and end up making decent music that will never be seen as decent because its all been done before.
Opener, "Ghost Beside You" shows nuances as diverse as Air and Fatboy Slim but never leaves the Dismantled / Front Line Assembly soundscapes long enough to do anything other than tease. These varied gradations are interposed throughout Open Aeon, but it's never really enough to give it the originality and definition it lacks, just enough to give a shufti of a bigger, brighter and better world. Too often, these glimpses are lost within the vocoders and atmospheric soundscapes that are just too reminiscent of where Gary Zon was three or four years ago. And it's a pity because Empty actually make good music.
Open Aeon is another minor disappointment within the dark electro world. While there are hints and shades of two artists that know where they want to go, everything they have done here has been done before and done without the excess of random influences thrown in to add substance. Good in itself and an excellent starting place for an act still in its infancy but an admirable beginning that will be lost if Empty chose not to move on from here. - Neil F.
Rating: 6.7 / 10 (67%)