[Reviewed by stark]
I wonder how many Godflesh or Jesu fans are aware of the present or past existence of about 78 other bands, projects and one-time adventures Justin Broadrick has been involved in. No, I didn’t count them, it was a blind shot. I know Techno Animal and JK Flesh, I’ve heard about several others, but I suppose that a majority of them is still terra incognita to me. Like this one, Council Estate Electronics, a completely new name to me, yet it seems that he – along with Dermot Dalton, also known from Jesu – has already released two albums under that moniker, both through his own Avalanche Records. “Arktika” is the third Council Estate Electronics baby, this time recorded for Glacial Movements.
You know Glacial Movements, right? You know that Alessandro Tedeschi’s purpose is to freeze your speakers, to make your room so cold that icicles start hanging from your ceiling and your radiator refuses to function anymore. Basically “glacial” electronic music bifurcates in two directions: deep, often isolationist ambient and minimal dub/techno. Council Estate Electronics chooses the latter one, although not in a very straightforward manner, as these eight tracks of analogue rhythms, synth loops and oldschool atmosphere are also a certain blink towards the electronic classics and pioneers, more in terms of their vintage feel and the sound itself rather than the concrete names. The album is dedicated to the new generation Russian icebreaking ship (this one: https://engineeringrussia.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/129.jpg, impressive, isn’t it?). I’m not sure if the music reverberates it’s power and majesty as in fact it’s dynamism is rather low-key. It’s more like tiny components working for the greater good rather than a huge sea monster crushing the ice as if it was a toy. But it’s swirling, dancing, is very fresh and vivid even though built of old components.
Sometimes the music becomes a bit noisier, like “50 Let Pobody”, but it’s not like Justin recalls the times of glory of his most famous project. The track has some industrial dirt, but at the same time it sparkles with serenity. On the other hand “Liquified Natural Gas” reminds me quite a lot of Boards Of Canada. Which I suppose is a good thing.
And believe me, it is cold, but it’s not an album that glorifies the powers of Nature, but rather explains how people deal with it, using modern technology not to destroy (except for those poor icebergs), but to cooperate and make things easier. “Arktika” may not be part of the Broadrick canon, but nevertheless, it’s an enjoyable album all the way round.