Martin Steer is a founding member of Frittenbude, a German electropunk band formed in 2006 in Geisenhausen, and also the creator of the label Antime, with over 20 releases and several label nights held. It’s under his own platform that we received the release of Bad Stream, Martin’s first solo album.
Bad Stream is, as its press release states, a soundtrack to the feelings of isolation, resignation and cynicism within the neoliberal cyberspace and to that strangely numbing comfort of bodies transmuting into zeros and ones. What we hear is a cohesive collection of songs that highlights an industrial attitude mixed up with noise and layers of sounds, the loaded ‘Sex Cries’ or the heavily processed ‘Quiet (1986)’ are both prime examples of this.
‘Polyzero’, ‘Black Weed’ or ‘Drown On Mars’ reveal how loud and strident Martin can get, as they unveil some serious drumming and effects. And ‘Megafauna’ and ‘#Angst’ dwell on guitar sounds expanding over layers of synths. The opening and closing titles ‘Transition’ and ‘Transition II’ are both fascinating, the first constructed by textures and a rising wall of noise with some hints of sci-fi, and the second repeating the pattern but beginning with voices that seem to come through a transmission. ‘Already Dark’ is the first single from the album and the perfect sum of all the intentions on this record. There is a nostalgic vibe that can be felt throughout the piano and the processed vocals, an industrial approach that ends up in a rising ode to a transition into digital processing and harsh noise, that’s very well achieved. It comes back with synths and the same pulsating rythm.
This album has a Berlin vibe behind it, and perhaps not the most common one to us foreigners. It’s good that there are people like Martin Steer still exploring these concepts of alienation that seem to get bigger as time goes by.