Download Iii


Nettwerk Records, 1997

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I am not a big fan of music in the electronic genre - nothing against it, but it's just not my style. Still, I try to keep an open ear and mind when I receive an album of this style in the mail, and I occasionally have found an electronic album I enjoy.

I can't, however, say this is the case with Download. Their third album, appropriately titled III, is an experiment gone terribly wrong created by people who should know better.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Download is a collaboration between cEvin Key, who co-founded Skinny Puppy, Philth and Anthony Valcic, who counts work with Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails among his credits. Since their first album came out in 1996, they have been earning quite a bit of critical praise and buzz in the industry.

But on III, the usual definition of electronic music is thrown out the window; the key word here, instead, is minimalism. Their on-line bio calls this "sound sculpture"... I call it boring.

And it's not my previously admitted indifference to electronica that puts me off this album - it's that there is really no substance to these songs. It gets so bad that I can't tell when guest musicians Peggy Lee (no, not of "Lady And The Tramp" fame) and J. Vizvary add their contributions. From the lead-off track "Toooly Hoof," III maintains a cacophany of near silence. Even an introduction of some bass levels would have been an improvement.

Although one or two tracks like "Flight Of Luminous Insects" and "Cunning" do occasionally peak some small amount of interest, the remainder of III is incredibly difficult to listen to. The minimalist textures make it difficult for me to imagine any of the tracks here being remixed for the dance floor.

So what happened here? A big clue can be found on their on-line bio in the statement that defines electronica: "Evolve or die." In one sense, you do have to admire Key and company for trying to break out of the busy-sounding noise that makes up some electronica today. But I do believe he took it too far. He only needed to turn the volume down a couple notches, not camp on the "mute" button.

Maybe had I followed Skinny Puppy closer, Key's evolution to the sound on III would be more understsandable. But this is definitely not the album you'd want to select if you were looking to get into electronic music. My advice: press the "cancel" button on this Download.

Rating: D-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Nettwerk Records, and is used for informational purposes only.