Italian electronic producer Antonio Barbetta has spent the last four years releasing an impressive collection of 12” and cassette releases under his EBM-centred alias Raw Ambassador on labels including Mannequin, and now this latest release ‘Body Control’ on Spanish label Label In Disarray, available either on cassette or as a download, offers up his debut album.
From the very outset there’s an unrelenting, maximalist feel to the seven tracks collected here that sees Barbetta operating in the classic New Beat / EBM territory populated by the likes of early Wax Trax, Front 242 and A Split Second, with hammering drum machines being pushed to their limits against dark arpeggiated bass synths and relentlessly pulsing electronics.
Opening track ‘Multiple Solutions’ takes things off on a chaotic ride through bleeping electronic effects and stomping EBM kickdrums that sees evil-sounding bass arpeggios winding their way like serpents through the mix as urgent alarm-esque buzzes gradually rise into the foreground, the dark arpeggiated sequences tightening into a focused rush as distorted drum machine kicks hammer back and forth.
Title track ‘Body Control’ meanwhile could almost pass as a Ministry studio outtake circa ‘Land Of Rape And Honey’ as jagged sequenced kickdrums add a clenched fist metal undertone to the spiralling bass sequences that power against them, the pulsating electronics gradually resolving themselves into a muscular Euro-EBM stomp.
Elsewhere, ‘Paranormal Activity’ sees processed vocals battling to be heard against distortion-saturated sampled rock drums as icy synths wander against industrial hisses and echoing gong tones, before ‘Pushing’ turns the energy levels up a few notches with what’s easily this album’s most Italo-house informed offering as propulsive 4/4 EBM kickdrums power away beneath a juddering arpeggiated synth riff. While there perhaps isn’t much variation in mood between these tracks, Raw Ambassador manages to party like it’s 1986 in Brussels.