[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
Around a decade ago I worked with a guy who had an expression for everything he was sick of and wanted no further interaction with: over it. This could have very easily wound up being the title of what the band have done this time around.
The universal acclaim which greeted ‘New World March’ will not be coming back to play with ‘Blendwerk’, I assure you. Now well into their third decade of existence, Haujobb demonstrate yet again how indispensable they are to the underground. Their often angular style of writing has grown more fractal with differing facets in the matrix phasing in and out of focus at blinding speed; if you look at the chronology of their work you won’t find any kind of pattern and indeed even if there was one only Dejan and Daniel know what it is. Only two tracks have been made available for fans to check out prior to release date and already the sniping has gotten underway. The one complaint I’ve read most often is that things have gone too minimal… oh really.
I guess headphones are too much to ask when listening because there are so many bristling layers of electronic misanthropy going on that it becomes difficult to maintain focus when I’m hearing this. Yes, the melodies have for the most part been stripped out and there’s a venomous artistry to these pieces – “Destroy” is especially thuggish- but don’t go losing your shit industrial boys, you’re in for some of their classic rhythmic twists and turns. Haujobb don’t take the ‘set it and forget it’ stance so many others out there build entire careers off of. The filters and effects are what drive everything and if there’s any doubt of just how effective they can be then wait until you hear “Information Space”. Easily the band’s most overtly political work yet. It isn’t some critique of their scene, sorry name droppers. I about split my sides hearing Daniel mocking the leaders of the East and West, distilling all their rhetoric down to what it really is about:
“Be aware, mine… is bigger than yours.”
Actually, all the purported anger this album supposedly contains is mainly confined to “Complete” , “Little Miss Danger” and naturally “Meltdown”. At least on any kind of interpersonal level, that is; there are some incisive jabs being thrown around on other songs and yet they don’t come across as the temper tantrum pablum you generally get from the rest of the pack. Speaking of that pack, I really feel sorry for any of the others out there who are trying to establish themselves because the production of ‘Blendwerk’ is second to none. This is more than just experimentation, Haujobb are shearing away the layers of emotion and electronics with microscopic attention to detail. The lead single “Input Error” did what their singles always do: prepare the ground and confound the listeners before achieving complete capitulation; it’s tame by comparison to what else is going on here, incidentally. Get ready.
I’d really been hoping they’d push it into the red again and with their latest they most definitely have. ‘Blendwerk’ does not win you over instantly, it is an album which like ‘Ninetynine’ gives the individual sound priority over catchy jingoism and club hooks. The crazy thing though is that you could hear some of what is on here on the floor but it would be an empty, bitter place with everyone on the side waiting for what they’re hearing to end. “Produkt” would see to that handily, giving popular culture the pasting it so richly deserves. The followers of fads have been put on notice and those who endlessly post their youtube clips as mixes better watch their backs; there’s just one thing about this album which disturbs me: is “Leaving” being literal? You two never give much of anything away about the creature that is Haujobb and something is telling me that you are with this.
Don’t take my favorite pair of synthetic chameleons away from me!