#38: Add N To (X) – Revenge Of The Black Regent (1999)
A great, hulking slab of record. Something as if recorded by wasps, or perhaps a retinue of pissed-off samurai who fell upon a cache of obsolete, analogue synths in the antechamber of some geisha holding pen, purely by chance. Often dismissed – horribly unfairly – as wilful hipsters or attention-seeking art-school hangers-on, Add N To (X) were a deceptively important act. A central core of three musicians with a healthy fetish in home-made electronic hardware and the darker recesses of the human psyche, there’s was a sound complimented by dexterous collaboration (Alison Goldfrapp included). Unusually for an electronica outfit, their sound on both record and on stage was marked by a nod to a brutal live percussion, fleshing out their sound and sending it in frequently shadowed directions… which leads to the other obvious observation; that unlike their contemporaries in the dying embers of the last century, this is an aesthetic that doesn’t sound rooted in a particular pre-millennial reference point or waylaid by vogue; there’s still something fresh, questioning, challenging to their five studio albums.
This is from 1999 album Avant Hard – their début for (the then) iconic Mute label (i.e. back before EMI arrived to stink out the joint). The title is an acknowledgement to ‘The Black Regent’, the band’s first ever single – although in this particular outing, there’s something in the composition that stalks, that gallops, that suggests being left alone with this record on a windy night might not necessarily be the most prudent course of action.
Add N To (X) / Revenge Of The Black Regent