Male or Female

[And Failed Destruction sleeve]

"And Failed Destruction" (EP, 2002)

Alfa Matrix

Follow-up to ...Recalled Moments that is part remix, part extension, part sequel. After the impact of ...Recalled Moments, And Failed Destruction is less of a revelation and thus carries less impact. But there are more obvious shortcomings in that unlike its predecessor, here some of the basic conceits are taken too far and weakened as a result. It's generally more chaotic throughout - though this is obviously the point when played alongside its predecessor. But too often this begins to blur the track distinctions and the final article is less appealing. Nevertheless, the (again) largely instrumental journey still has more surprises than most of the possible competition.

This is more manic than before and there's a definite air of fun about some of the tracks - above all when the driving guitars are to the fore. Other moments, partly down to the breakbeat percussion, sound like perfect material for the next generation Wipeout game. Where there are interpretations of tracks from …Recalled Moments, on She Moves In Circles / Submission or Skeleton Toy / Psyquence for example, in every case they are inferior to the earlier release versions. But this is all relative you understand? If this were from a bunch of unknowns we'd all be extremely excited. As it is, and they've only themselves to blame, Male or Female have already been there and done that… but better. Another nice digipak design too. 6/10

Rob Dyer

[...recalled moments sleeve]

"...Recalled Moments" (Album, 2002) !DSO Recommended!

Alfa Matrix

Definitely something of a coup for fledgling label Alfa Matrix was signing this progressive electronic music project featuring Daniel B. and Patrick Codenys of Front 242 fame. It being many years since I'd heard any new material from Codenys (in particular), I was looking forward to getting my ears around a Male or Female release. Then, in the space of a few months they've released a rash of material culminating in this album, an EP (and failed destruction), and just recently a double album invented scenes / naked. My anticipation was tinged with trepidation, skeptically worried that the Male or Female project was just going to add another dance-edge-to-former-industrial-artists generic release to the pile of other disappointments out there.

Jesus, were my reservations unjustified! Male or Female have managed to produce a colossal work of art here that transcends not only genre but probably eighty percent plus of the ideas currently over populating the electronic music world. Whilst there's evidence of everything from a vast selection of electronic music sub-genres slotted into the (largely instrumental) ...Recalled Moments, what is surprising is just how well Daniel B, Patrick Codenys and Elko Blijweert have managed to demonstrate their mastery over the technology they utilise. Although technically at the cutting edge (the displacement of sounds around the speakers is remarkable) Male or Female's talent ensures that their firm grasp over the material never suffers from production wanking (usually a sign that the source material needs saving).

The scant guest vocals are terrific. Each bring an individual style of their own to the songs be they, please excuse the pun, male or female; although Marc Meyers' drawling American twang on She moves in circle \Not for me/ (sic) is my favourite - partly due to the sheer David Lynchian undercurrents. But then again, Daan Stuyven's wonderful y'all voice is so perfectly suited to the Southern twang of Louder than Silence that it's hard to choose. Meanwhile, tracks like Automat sublimely bridge the gap between classy, emotive soundtracks by the likes of Cliff Martinez or Nick Bicât and electronica. Music that really throws down the gauntlet to all-comers and sets new standards to which others should aspire - and an essential purchase. 8/10

Rob Dyer

Official Male or Female website:

See also:

Front 242