During the first ten years or so of the 21st century, it seemed like the technology was driving the art, more than the other way around. It's like when a big movie studio hops on board some new tech, just to seem trendy and with it, like some pointless 3D movie that adds nothing to the plot.
Musically, this might have taken the form of pointless remixing of rock artists - again, adding nothing to the plot - or bands hopping on various genres or dropping some synth and drum machine to seem "with it.”
Thank the dark gods, music and tech have finally come together in peaceful harmony with digital media's endless plasticity being melded with traditional musicianship and songwriting acumen to make something NEW and exciting.
Empire's Child is an artful, technological rock band from Kent, Ohio. The holy rock triptych of bass, guitar and drums meld with chopped up zither samples and pitch-shifted propane tanks. It brings to mind the artful sonic experimentalism of early new wave synth pop that notoriously would sample household objects for their dystopian cyberpop, but with a little less “wowie-zowie, look how far out we are," vibe. Empire's Child is more in line with masterful piano pop like Elton John or Ben Folds, or a forward-looking indie band like The Shins, The Strokes or The Postal Service.
It's not that easy to say, definitively, what Empire's Child sound like, as they shift kaleidoscopically through moods and genres, easily and fluidly on their self-titled release Empire’s Child. There's the stuttering, '70s disco-esque post-punk of "Rebel Cry" with its gelatinous guitar pulse, which brings to mind the twee beauty of early Felt. Then there's the outro “Myanmar," a brooding, sci-fi synth voyage, like Vangelis getting together with A Perfect Circle to score an artificial soundtrack for Cheba City.
Amazingly, the piano pop is as good as the indie rock, as is the sci-fi electronics. Hardly any band can master one single genre, let alone three or four (and in the same album, to boot). All of the members of Empire's Child are multi-instrumentalists, songwriters, and eager to musically explore. All in all, Empire's Child is fantastic, and should not be missed! And a close eye and ear should be kept on these Ohioans, who are clearly something special.
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