Atomtrakt – Nuklearchetyp

01/08/2009 § Leave a comment

Artist: Atomtrakt
Title: Nuklearchetyp
Label: Mercenary Musik
Genre: Martial Industrial/ Dark Ambient

Track listing:

01 Stahlkern
02 Einöde
03 Brachland
04 Narben des Schreckens
05 Eisenkerker
06 Zeitzeugen
07 Eisenkerker (mpeg videoclip)

Everyone seems to be going post-apocalyptic at the moment. As if Bioshock and Fallout 3 weren’t enough to depress us into following the prescience of our final years on this withering planet, people like Christopher Ziegler are there to show us the fruits of their musical bleakness in the interim. Atomtrakt, Christopher’s industrial/ambient incarnation is on its second embodiment now – sometimes a whining, hissing insect in the ear of martial industrial music, and others a cold and empty wilderness in the wasteland of dark ambient. Mr Ziegler seems to love delving into these sides of himself and along with his other projects, the well-known Vinterriket and the lesser known Nebelkorona, is sure to saturate the underground with many more in the years to come, or at least until the world is engulfed by a giant intergalactic fireball in 2012. What good are your life insurance policies going to be then, eh?

The post-apocalyptic feel of Atomtrakt’s work is very clear from the stark, grainy black and white photos emblazoned on the front of the CD packaging. The three-panel monochrome digipack is replete with images of bombs exploding, twisted undefinable metal structures, crumbling urban ruins and grand, formal buildings standing proud against the rubble. In a way, the artwork harks back to the 30s and 40s with its feeling of wartime elegance and admiration, the Atomtrakt logo looking very art deco and military against the grand architecture. It sets a suitable scene for the sounds on offer and though it’s more than a little clichéd for the martial crowd, when you come to ambient music there’s little a cliché that can be overcooked.

The instrumentation makes full and confident use of keys, percussion and distorted vocals: a slight departure from Atomtrakt’s previous sound on Schutt & Asche. The vocals, which are made frequent use of in the album, are strong, harsh and discordant, though have enough of a reflective feel so as not to detriment the music. Along with the minimalist key riffs and military style of percussion, Atomtrakt are able to provide a commanding atmosphere of the power of gloom and melancholy. The project also makes ample use of samples which fit nicely with the discordant feel of the music to give it a reflective, introspective tone, becoming more authoritative as the album increases the march of its message towards the end.

Where Nuklearchetyp seems to drag is at the repetitious nature of a lot of the songs, and in this way the album works better when listened to as a whole – though anyone with a small grasp of Christopher Ziegler’s music should know that variety between songs is rarely the order of the day. Nuklearchetyp sprawls its doom-laden message over six tracks creating a veil of ambience, intensity and disharmony. It can get a little tiresome in places and after several numbers you may end up being bemused about exactly where on the album you’ve ended up, but it’s still an emotional, competent offering. It would – at some point – be nice to see some more depth and variety within Ziegler’s works, but as far as laying atmospheric foundations goes, the homogeneity of Nuklearchetyp’s threads are also part of its appeal.

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