S.T.A.B. Electronics – Instrument for Operating on mutant
S.T.A.B. Electronics – Instrument for Operating on Mutant
Women – CD – Unrest Productions – 2023 – UNPRCD17
1. Instrument for Operating on
2. First Her Then Him.
4. A Little Transgression.
5. Ex-Fat (For S.G.O.)
6. The First 45.
7. Defaced (Burnt with Acid).
8. Nothing More I Can Give (Marco’s
S.T.A.B. Electronics has been releasing
since 2010, but had been around since around 2007, forming from the ashes of Einheit
731. In that time albums have been released on Unrest, Filth and Violence, Antipatik
and Urashima, which builds a good cv. When I listen to this project, I hear a
streetwise aspect to the sound which really came through in the project’s
London live performance for the release of Enemy of Pigs. I also feel Stark/Bagman
treads a parallel path to that of S.T.A.B. Electronics. Aspects of the self are
woven into the discography along the way. 2019’s Enemy of Pigs is in my opinion
and one of the best examples of the Death Industrial genre as it stands today
and Day of the Male before that is pure destruction of the self and their
enemies made sonic.
Recent years have been busy with several
reissues of earlier S.T.A.B. releases, new recordings such as the Perdition Trilogy
on Unrest (the final part is coming this year), a split release with Maskhead, appearing
on Resonance FM, many compilation appearances and numerous live performances.
Instrument for Operating on
Mutant Women was originally released on vinyl LP, it was limited to 99 copies
on Urashima in 2014. The album took inspiration from the film Dead Ringers, the
spate of Acid Attacks in London around that time, leading to the idea of
turning somebody from beautiful to ugly so no one else would desire them at
all, media manipulation of the self-image of young women and men, jealousy and
gang warfare. AS you can see there was a track to mourn the death of Marco
Corbelli of Atrax Morgue in 2007, an event that saw the immediate beginning of
S.T.A.B. Electronics as a project. Unrest have re-released Instrument for
Operating on Mutant Women in a digipack CD format.
Vocal samples masked by buzzing
drone introduce the album’s opening Title
track, the depraved vocal takes over the vocal dominating the humming the noise
stands no chance as the dialogue is spat out. As far as the original family of
Unrest artists, I thought Iron Fist of the Sun was the master of concise,
calculated electronics, but this is equally successful at those methods of
control. I like the bile of the vocal too as it is easy to mask a vocal in PE voice
effects, but the rage of the dialogue never stops. Precise methods continue
First Her Then Him, the vocal is screamed out here in contrast to the opening
rant. A minimal palette of noise is executed in a calculated manner and the
vocal is never killed by the sound. Aggressive
orders are barked out by sampled dialogue, noise hums and meows over it, a
warbled vocal steps in as lead performer. It is noteworthy that the assaultive
vocal on this album had several targets in the sequel to this album Day of Male
that had a clear hate running throughout it, this isn’t far off that, this is Aggressors.
At this point I find myself asking which tracks are drawn from the artists real
life and which are themed from outside topics, it is hard to tell as each track’s
performance is consistent and convincing. The vocal is surrounded by noise and
drops into it during silences between lines and then explodes out of the noise
on A Little Transgression. It is as if the vocal uses the noise to fill gaps
and explodes out of it. The resonating shouting that erupts as the track blows
up was a frequent weapon in later albums, the fits of temper make S.T.A.B. veer
into inhuman sounds.
Sampled dialogue re-enters, it is
female and less aggressive, but the humming drones that eclipse it are. Cut up
shouting screams over everything, it is as if each noise element wants to
eclipse the next. The vocal on this (Ex-Fat) is the angriest yet, the way it is
cut into makes it seems like an angry stuttered rage of diatribe. Powerful
drones feel like waves of energy cursing through my head as The First 45 goes
off, screeching echoes cut over the drones and the shout uses this as a
platform, this is mildly treated with effects in comparison to the previous tracks.
On this the vocal and one element of the noise eventually end up fighting each
other, which doesn’t lessen the vocal, it only emphasises it more.
The news broadcasts of Katie
Pipers story is sampled on Defaced (Burnt with acid), I always thought she
stayed beautiful and radiated a beauty that eclipsed her attackers intentions,
she showed strength beyond strength (to me, she became perfection.). This track
takes on the disturbed mind of the perpetrator and the sickness in the vocal
mirrors the possessiveness that brings out the worst in people – it is effectively
disturbing. Through the samples it shows her individual strength wins out in
the end. Nothing More I Can Give (Marco’s Lament) seems to have a spiritual radiation
to it as the vocal chants in the background and the looped synthesisers
resonate. The lead vocal barks over this, I never saw this side of S.T.A.B. on
another album other methods can be noted on other albums or were developed, but
this track is a complete one off.
The intentions of the album are
blurred, like all great Power Electronics. It maims its’ own detractors, some of
its themes and continually strives to explore the wider picture. When the project
goes in on its’ own experience that’s is when it is at its’ nastiest, but also reaches
conceptual high points across this album and later works. I like that.
We know how great this album is, it
sold out quickly, goes for high prices online and the high quality of S.T.A.B.
Electronics output has remained consistent. This had to be reissued. But we
need to talk about its’ new home at Unrest, formerly of the UK and now in
Sweden. That label dominated the UK Industrial scene in the 2010’s. You had the
label, sub label (Unsound), the United Forces of Industrial Festivals, the individual
gigs and the distro. They were a powerful force in the UK with the impressive work
of S.T.A.B. Electronics, Am Not, Shift, Iron Fist of the Sun and Kevlar, that’s
my era that I followed and reviewed parts of along the way. I’d discovered
other artists before this from Europe and America, but these artists really
captured my attention. In my opinion there was a sense of menace to the label,
they didn’t really network, you had to find them, they kept to their own. The
label moved away and continues its good work in Sweden, will the UK ever have
it this good again? I don’t know, but I now own this slab of greatness.
One and alone, 2023.