Record Review: Apostille – Choose Life UK CD

Upset! The Rhythm | UK | CD | 2018 | UTR090CD

Apostille: Choose Life UK CD [2018]

  1. Fly With The Dolphin
  2. Feel Bad
  3. In Control
  4. Hanging On
  5. Without Me
  6. The Mordant
  7. Thirteen Minutes
  8. Choose Life

I had not heard of Apostille when that act was the opener for the last Molly Nilsson concert I saw a few months back, but such was the power of Michael Kasparis’ opening set that I did immediately afterward go to the merch table and secure his latest CD while offering compliments such as only an old hack like myself could offer him. Namely, that his electropunk set had been the closest thing to seeing Fad Gadget that I’d ever had the pleasure of hearing, and that he was making sweet music for these aged ears.

The opening track laid out all of the bait as it’s usually done in these, the end times, where you have to hook ears right up front! No more building an arc of sound via mood and transitions. “Fly With The Dolphin” had a tasty electro foundation that cited a glitchier take at the sort of motorik pulsations from our friend Herr Moroder. But as the song progressed, not only did Kasparis’ mixed metaphor vocals become ever so more unhinged, so did the song’s mix. The middle eight was flat out berserk with sampled noise blocking out the repetitive synth loops for a discomfiting 30-40 seconds before Kasparis’ yelp brought the song back down to earth from its psychotic reverie. The lyrics were examining various exotic escape scenarios, but any song that included the lyric “I’m going to pitch my tent on the shore and watch the soil erode” obviously knows how to get my undivided attention. Hear for yourself.

After that particular gauntlet had been thrown, this album could have gone anywhere. Where it chose to travel was deep into imperial period New Order. “Feel Bad” was the song from “Low Life” that we were all hoping would be there but wasn’t. The chipper tune would be a club monster if there were any justice. Yet every euphoric beat of it was brilliantly undercut by the [yes] mordant lyrics that were better than we usually got from New Order.

I enjoyed the winsome ballad “Hanging On.” The relaxed feel allowed for a more subtle feeling to the song after some manic/euphoric highs. The matter of fact tone belied the very real emotional stakes at stake in the narrative. Metaphors of dirt and safety turned up in more than one of these songs as Kasparis seemed to be trying to chart an emotional course through difficult times.

Just when I thought I had a handle on this album, Kasparis lobbed a final hand grenade of surprise into my direction. The title track, far from channeling either Katherine Hammett or Wham!, posited instead a Cabaret Voltaire drum + bass scenario. The distorted sampled vocals of what sounded like a teenaged evangelist hectoring his listeners had only scant, distant vocals from Kasparis filtered through distancing effects for him to make a mark on the song. It was a jarring end to a brief, but compelling album.

I was hearing a lot of 1983-5 in the album, and not the bad things that usually predominate my mind from that period. This album was drawing energy from works such as The The’s “Soul Mining,” Fad Gadget’s “Gag” and the aforementioned “Low Life.” With a left-field excursion into an Cab Volt late period territory. Here was an artist who was aware of that era and history and was also making a very personal kind of electric music to stand toe to toe with his influences.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

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6 Responses to Record Review: Apostille – Choose Life UK CD

  1. Mark Moerman says:

    Never heard of this artist before, but I liked these tracks enough that I’m now listening to the whole darn thing on Spotify. Very enjoyable!

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Mark Moerman – Glad to be of service. Yeah, I never heard of Apostille until I found out about a week prior that he was the opening act for Molly Nilsson. I’m interested in hearing his earlier material and he’s highly recommended as a live act.

      Like

  2. negative1ne says:

    mr monk,
    thanks for links to check out the songs. not bad at all.

    by the way, whats with the predominantly white and red covers, 2 in a row. if there
    was some blue in there, it would be patriotic for the 4th of july.

    but it did seem to stand out to me.

    later
    -1

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      negative1ne – So you noticed the red and white cover action too. That was just random. Nothing special. I liked both covers a lot, but The Creatures cover way outclassed the music inside for me. Glad you liked Postille. He’s pretty good stuff I’d recommend to anyone who lingers at PPM with confidence.

      Like

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