- If you love danceable industrial music, Kris Baha's love letter to the '80s is essential.
- When Kris Baha was 12, he was in a band that "only played Rammstein cover songs for almost two years." The music he makes now doesn't sound much like theirs, but that story gives you an idea of Baha's roots: clanging metallic music with a Teutonic bent. The Berlin-based artist cut his teeth in Melbourne, where he ran a party (and now label) called Power Station. Musically, he's in the lineage of his countrymen SPK, the pioneering industrial band who synthesized all kinds of '80s post-Throbbing Gristle music into a grab bag of spiky industrial. Baha's first album, Palais, ties together these strands on an LP that is one of the truest, and most diverse, records of the ongoing EBM revival.
If you're a fan of this kind of music, you'll recognize a lot of sounds on Palais. The tracks don't always add much to what they're cribbing from, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Baha sings with a voice somewhere between Dave Gahan and Nivek Ogre, and the production ranges from rigid machine grooves to velvety synth pop. That's no surprise given the LP has been released via Cocktail D'Amore, a label with tastes that also lean towards the '80s. (Look no further than Sfire's megahit "Sfire2" for evidence.)
It's also one of Berlin's most celebrated gay dance parties, which underlines how Baha’s music is so infectious—it's tough and occasionally angry, but always danceable. In Baha's hands, even the stiffest beats have an irresistible funk. Floor-ready tracks like "Steel Sands" or "Dead To Romance," which you might imagine a DJ like Vladimir Ivkovic playing, are where Baha adds to the musical legacy he's so enamoured with.
It's hard to imagine many doing this kind of music as faithfully or sincerely as Baha. And there are hints of greatness here, as on the incredible closer, "Life, Lust + Death," whose to-die-for guitar riff and vocal hook could be from a long-lost Dark Entries anthem. As with the best songs on Palais, it feels retro yet trendy. It might help position Baha as a leader in today's new EBM scene.
02. Living Nothingness
03. Brink Reality (Part 2)
04. Steel Sands
05. You Told Yourself This Would Get Worse
07. Take Away My Greed
10. Non For The Sane
11. Dead To Romance
12. Life, Lust + Death