[Reviewed by Damiano Lanzi]
There’s an interesting story behind this duo based in Valencia, formed by Nacho Artax and Javi Andreu. They’ve been active since the mid 90s and back then they used a really basic instrumentation, consisting of an old Kawai synthesizer, a computer with 386 processor and a 4-track mixing desk. The idea of making electronic music with these means seems almost absurd in the era of VSTs and digital effect processors, and it must have been quite hard also at the time, but their friendship and their passion for music kept them going until they released a couple of demos that blended their two different musical souls: on one side Industrial/ EBM, and on the other Dark Wave/ Post Punk. They played some live shows and their material gained some interest in the independent circuit, being quite uncommon in Spain at the time, but then they split due to family and work reasons, and the project was abandoned. So Pronoise could have ended like many other underground bands when their members grow up and no longer have time to play their music, but that’s not the case. In fact in 2013 their material has been re-discovered by Horizonte Espectral, a Spanish label specialized in bringing back to life old underground projects that would have been forgotten otherwise. So, almost 20 years after their formation, Pronoise released this full length album in 2015. “The Border Crossing” nowadays may sound like a nostalgic revival for fans of Front 242, KMFDM or the Wax Trax!, but it’s necessary to make a couple of observations: first of all this album sounds way better than many revivals and there are some great ideas into it, so it’s worth some attention anyway; secondly, while the influences of these two guys are cult bands with a clearly defined sound, it’s evident that with Pronoise they intended to “cross the borders” within styles and preconceived genre definitions. That’s why these nine songs feature a wide catalog of inspirations, they’re not afraid to put goth guitars upon classic old-school sequences (“Dangerous Games”), to juxtapose techno synths and cavernous vocals borrowed from Sisters of Mercy (“Suzanne and the Sea of Souls”) or to close the album with a short neo-classical suite (“Mil Pedazos”); they play what they feel it’s right to play and I appreciate this freedom from preconceptions. Furthermore, some sequences are just amazing and the use of some modern technologies of mastering probably gives this album an adequate “punch”. It often happens to me when I listen to EBM and industrial music from the 90’s to say “nice, but it’s not loud enough”, because now we’re used to different standards of volume; but when I listen to this record and the synths of “Rapture” or “Evil Machine” kick in, all I can say is “yeah, that’s how it should sound”. And it’s probably how all those bands also wanted it to sound back in the 90s.