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act 157 · synapscape · hands on centrozoon · cd-ep


pop killer, girl of the week, little boy smile, healing the land, bigger space.

this happens when two worlds collide.

on one side the unique world of centrozoon and on the other side the incredible synapscape - both poles lead to a special collaboration which lead to more than just "remixes".

so they decided to call it "hands on". it's five times a mutation. but mutations always go their own ways, so no method is comparable to the other.

you can find everything between calm variations of the original tracks and severe mutilations - everything between dark ambient and heavy rhythm tracks. this is another step in synapscape's progression.

centrozoon is an amazing duo consisting of bernhard woestheinrich and markus reuter. they met eight years ago to create experimental improvisations. their aim is to create all music in real-time in order to realize the instant flow of inspiration.

markus plays touch guitar and manipulates his sounds with a bunch of extraordinary effects, creating sounds and loops which do not resemble guitar-based sounds. bernhard plays synthesizers, programs rhythms, and makes treatments.

their music varies from unearthly atmospheric soundscapes to tribal rhythm pieces that sometimes reflect a hint of pop - in their own unique way. centrozoon's live performances are very energetic and always different because they do not reproduce their recorded tracks but create new improvisations or unexpected variations of existing centrozoon-tracks. centrozoon are always open minded towards other musicians so they have participated in various collaborations; bernhard and markus made some recordings with phil nova, and bernhard made an album together with p.muench called "show of exaggeration". they recently started work with tim bowness (singer of no-man), mixing the unique centrozoon-style with song structures and decadent lyrics.

synapscape discography 06.2k3
hands on centrozoon. cd-ep. ant-zen act157. 2003
raw. cd. ant-zen act137. 2002
positive pop. cd. ant-zen act117. 2001
positive pop. boxset. ant-zen act117.7. 2001
screenwalking (w/imminent). cd-ep. ant-zen act103. 2000
screenwalking (w/imminent). 12". hymen records y023. 2000
so what. 2cd. ant-zen act87. 1999
remix item (w/imminent starvation). 10". ant-zen act78. 1998
neuklang 8.11.97 (split w/p.a.l). cassette. fich-art fich040. 1998
rage. cd. ant-zen act67. 1997
helix. 7". ant-zen act57. 1996
synapscape. cd. ant-zen act37. 1995

synapscape website:

centrozoon discography 06.2k3
the scent of crash and burn. cd-ep. burning shed. 2003
the cult of: bibbiboo. cd. burning shed. 2002
centrophil. 12" (promo). centrozoon. 2002
sun lounge debris. cd. burning shed. 2001
blast. cd. din records. 2000

centrozoon website:


synapscape is well known for its industrial and noise sounds. this ep is not a new record by the band but a collection of reworks they did for the electronic pop group centrozoon. according to the liner-notes synapscape manipulated and mutated the original songs. the new version of 'pop killer' is indeed extremely mutated. this version has nothing in comparison with the original version. the quiet pop song is turned into a rhythmic industrial track. 'girl of the week' sounds very dance-like but with a rhythmic noise feeling to it. the nicest song is 'little boy smile', which is quiet and beautiful. it is a welcome intermezzo because the next two tracks are loud and heavy again. 'healing the land' is a good noisescape with a nice structure. the closing track 'bigger space' is a harsh industrial dance song with very poppy vocals. a weird combination that works surprisingly well. hands on centrozoon is a nice ep. synapscape really has taken the songs under construction, and have not just done another lame remix. due to this new tracks are created. this is a nice ep while waiting for a new album. (martijn van gessel)

synapscape is bekend om haar ritmische industrial en noise klanktapijten. deze ep is geen nieuwe plaat van de groep maar een bewerking van materiaal van de electronische popgroep centrozoon. volgens de liner-notes gaat het om manipulaties en mutaties van de oorspronkelijke nummers. de nieuwe versie van het nummer 'pop killer' klinkt inderdaad behoorlijk gemuteerd. er is weinig over van de rustige en sfeervolle originele versie. het nummer heeft een typische synapscape behandeling gehad, waardoor het nu ritmisch industrieel is geworden. 'girl of the week' klinkt erg dance maar dan met een ritmische noise inslag. het mooiste nummer op deze cd is 'little boy smile', dat sfeervol en rustgevend is. dit mag ook wel want de twee laatste nummers beuken er weer oplos. 'healing the land' is een echte noise scape, een geluidsstructuur. afsluiter 'bigger space' is een hard industrieel dansnummer dat door de poppy zang heel apart is. hands on centrozoon is een leuke ep. synapscape heeft de nummers echt onder handen genomen, en geen slappe remixen gemaakt, waardoor er nieuwe nummers zijn ontstaan. een goed tussendoortje. (martijn van gessel)

a new synapscape ep sees radical re-workings of new centrozoon material, on the ambiguously titled 'hands on centrozoon'. the ep offers dark ambient and heavily rhythmical industrial tracks, with synapscape shoving everything through a hefty mangle. there are some nice ambient moments to be found, particularly on the melancholy 'little boy smile', a real highlight. otherwise, the harder stuff doesn't really do it for me, as the essence of the tracks seem to be over-processed into an unrecognisable mish mash of distorted beats and tuneless warped atmospherics.

rythmn noise gurus synapscape have combined their unique banging and screeching compositions with the abstract sounds of centrozoon in this five track release. like the title suggests this is a remix album of centrozoon tracks manipulated, crushed and fucked by synapscape. the result is a noise buffs wet dream. the album consists of the staple synapscape repetitive and infectious beat structures that are focused around centrozoon's airy soundscapes and primal rythmns. some of the tracks on this disc could actually be dancefloor pleasers as the rythmns are paced just right for dancing. the album also has it's tinge of ambience as "little boy smile," is nothing but reverberating synths that give the sensation of traveling through a tunnel of light. this track is only about four minutes in duration and is sandwiched by "girl of the week" and "healing the land," which are both heavy bass beat oriented, the latter being more random in structure, a truly nice piece of rythmn noise. the last track is rather bizarre for synapscape and the influence of centrozoon is really felt as their are lyrics that sound like they would be suited for a synth-pop track. the loud drums add a nice yet strange touch to these vocals so the experimentation of synapscape as they meld this sound into their own is a real unique experience. the only downfall i can find about this release is it is only five tracks long! i was left really wanting more chances to fuck up my speakers, but this album just didn't have the length. so to compensate i put on synapscapes rage and really pissed off my neighbors! still it is a fantastic release from ant-zen and the chaps of synsapscape and centrozoon. (stephen sodergren)

centrozoon is the duo of markus reuter and bernhard woestheinrich who came together nearly a decade ago to make experimental improvisations. reuter manhandles a touch guitar and an array of a thousand or so effects, transforming the output of his instrument into something eerie and otherworldly. woestheinrich simulates the reach of an octopus as he handles the programming, the synthesizers, and the treatments. so, already they do work which gallops across a wide range of possibilities. now, they hand off five tracks to ant-zen's synapscape for further mutation. it's hard to say where one ends and the other begins, and the abrasive pop song qualities of "pop killer" defy aor expectations while seducing you with a catchy beat structure. throw in the added confusion of tim bowness' (singer of no-man) voice on "girl of the week" and "bigger space," and the whole project becomes a creation which lurches and stomps to its own rhythm. "girl of the week" wants to be a bubbly techno tune, a track you'd hear on a tino maas or paul oakenfold record, but there is just a little too much static and fuzz burning in the wake of the beats for the comfort zone of the mainstream. there is a hint of unrepentant obsessions and impropriety to the rhythm and looped vocals as if the girl in question was, shall we say, "lolita-esque." "little boy smile" is full of vapors, synth melodies streaming across a clear nighttime sky. hints of radio beacon signals caper at the trailing edges of the melodies, and everything is pure and untarnished. this is, i have to admit, a surprising thing to hear on an ant-zen record: a robust piece of atmospheric ambience with nary a technoid rhythm to disrupt the expansive chords and tones. of course, the next track, "healing the land," throws us back to that realm of corrosive and explosive beats. think a pack of wolves whacked out on methamphetamines assaulting a torrential river and the water is fighting back. enraged howls of white noise combat thick washes of aquatic rhythms in an incensed battle to the death, and it isn't entirely certain that the river is going to win. hands on centrozoon is definitely a mutated artifact, an amalgamation of parts and pieces which has skillfully been woven into an unexpected pleasure. part techno, part rhythmic noise, part lounge act on speed, hands on centrozoon is a record which you might not know what to do with, but it will quickly limpet itself to your spine, and the part of your brain which likes the unusual things will be prodding you, "hey, man, let's play that one again." (mark teppo)

this is the second time the worlds of synapscape and centrozoon have collided. last year's "show of exaggeration" release on the rectrix saw respective members phillip münch and bernhard wöstheinrich create some nightmarish, dark soundscapes; on this release, however, they both return to their forte of up-tempo, driving beats and industrial sounds. "hands on centrozoon" is a remix album of sorts, the two acts taking apart the other's tracks and injecting some of their sound into them. yet, the results are favourably coherent, and not as polarised as i had first expected. opening with the aptly titled pop killer, synapscape showcase a new intricacy to their own sound as they incorporate elements of breakcore and glitch into their disassembling of centrozoon's music, particularly the crooning voice of their newfound singer tim bowness. try as they might to kill it, though, the pop aspect of centrozoon still shines through the colossal beats and swathes of noise and gives a highly effective melodic edge to the harsh structures. this bizarre "pop-noise" is carried over to the next track where bowness' voice this time remains almost untouched. sounding not unlike depeche mode frontman, dave gahan, his vocals bring a mournful aspect to the otherwise uplifting music, an aspect that, somehow, works extremely well - forming a strong juxtaposition to tim kniepp's usual obliterated wails. the disturbingly titled little boy smile then takes a step back to the show of exaggeration material, ripping apart the melodic notes and immersing them in a sea of haunting ambience. fragile tones float uneasily from channel to channel in this glorious deconstruction that melts away all structures into a liquid mass, reducing a song to its base elements to highlight the power of pure tone and timbre. after this brief lull, we are then caught up in yet another maelstrom of abrasive beats and noise that centre us firmly in the classic oeuvre of synapscape - the only suggestion of crooning being the unintelligible gibberish of a circuit bent toy that cries out from beneath the colliding debris. the final track, bigger space, then presents the ep's most overtly commercial piece - the most prominent elements being the repetitive 4/4 beat of a bass drum and the soulful crooning of bowness. beneath this, filling the gaps, we can discern markus reuter's expansive guitar experiments and the evolving electric chaos of synapscape's machines. together, the two acts manage to blend these disparate and antithetic sounds into something truly unique and so off-the-wall that we are unlikely to hear anything quite like this again. "hands on centrozoon" is certainly not a typical synapscape nor ant-zen release in terms of its sound, but in its concept and spirit, it hearkens back to the heyday of the label when the rhythmic noise genre did not officially exist and there was a pioneering spirit in every artist to sound individual and take experimentation further than the last. in this sense, it is the perfect release for ant-zen at this time when they appear to be going through something of a renaissance with a lot of their new releases. for synapscape, too, it marks a bold step forward for them and shows us that they are more than a one-trick pony. bizarre, but highly addictive and enjoyable listening. (gavin lees)

synapscape waren schon immer für aužergewöhnliche musik bekannt. als meister der harten und stark verzerrten töne haben sich tim kniep und philipp münch diesmal fünf songs von centrozoon vorgenommen und neu interpretiert. das duo centrozoon (markus reuter, bernhard woestheinrich) startete vor acht jahren, um sich experimentellen improvisationen zu widmen. um den gegenwärtigen inspirationsfluss zu verspüren, erschaffen sie ihre musik stets aus einem guss ohne grože nacharbeiten. centrozoon konzentrieren sich in ihrer musik auf manipulierte gitarrensounds und synthesizer, um daraus ihre eigene kreationen zu formen, die sich ungefähr zwischen techno, tribal und pop bewegen. zusammen mit sänger tim bowness und den von synapscape erzeugten variationen entstand die ep "hands on centrozoon". ohne zu wissen, wer hinter dieser ep steckt, würde man synapscape nicht unbedingt als miturheber der auf der ep befindlichen töne erkennen. "hands on centrozoon" beginnt mit "pop killer" sehr verhalten und schon dieser track ist fast zu strukturiert und melodisch im gegensatz zu dem, was man sonst von synapscape gewohnt ist. ohne gesang, ohne starke verzerrungen, trotzdem sehr rhythmusbetont und mit stets wiederkehrender melodie ist dieser song zwar, generell gesehen, nicht unbedingt aufsehen erregend, führt aber gut in das ein, was einen auf der ep sonst noch erwartet. denn gleich der nächste track, "girl of the week", imponiert mit dickem beat und verzerrtem gesang: synapscape meets house. so absonderlich sich diese mischung anhört, so bizarr klingt sie auch. dennoch schwebt dieses kuriosum gekonnt zwischen beiden genres, ohne eines von beiden die oberhand gewinnen zu lassen. richtig sonderbar wird es jedoch bei "little boy smile", einem reinen dark-ambient-song, der durch seine schöne melodie und die damit erzeugte verträumtheit überzeugt. als krasser gegensatz dazu klingt "healing the land" wieder fast voll und ganz nach synpscape. hier konnten sich die beiden herren kniep und münch anscheinend doch nicht mehr bremsen und zelebrieren ihre, ihnen eigene art of noise. das beste kommt bekanntlich immer am schluss. "bigger space" nähert sich wieder der basslastigen house-variante von "girl of the week", übertrumpft diese jedoch noch einmal um längen. der gesang steht hier noch mehr im vordergrund und der bass fordert alles, was das musikequipment hergibt. obwohl "bigger space" bestimmt nicht der weisheit letzter schluss ist, hat der song durch seine einfachheit und den massiven rhythmus eine starke anziehungskraft. synapscape zeigen sich auf "hands on centrozoon" von einer bisher nahezu unbekannten seite, die den einen oder anderen sehr überraschen wird. vielleicht entstehen ja noch mehr kollaborationen dieser art. das ergebnis dieser ep ist allemal überzeugend und aužergewöhnlich zugleich. (veit)

at first i wasn't going to review this cd, due to my ignorance of the band centrozoon, but after listening to the disc a pile of times, and enjoying it thoroughly, i realized that there would be others, surely, that would share my ignorance, and would, upon listening to this cd hear it only for what it is, and not hear it from where it comes from. i realized that though i may be missing the background knowledge, this doesn't interfere in my enjoyment of it. ok. i may have confused some people with that last paragraph, so let me explain hands on centrozoon. this cd is basically a remix disc, with synapscape 'manipulating and mutilating' the music of centrozoon to suit their purpose. the result is a beautifully crafted mix of sounds, and a new evolution for synapscape, who appear to wish not to be pigeon-holed into a genre whose musical influence seems to be fading beneath an onslaught of similarity. synapscape, whose album so what still represents one of the benchmarks of the rhythmic noise genre, is more than skilled enough to pull of a creative deviation, while retaining the core essence of their background. the new sound will loose only those who want a new synapscape disc to sound like an old synapscape disc. hands on centrozoon is a beautiful mix of musical styles, breaking out of the rhythmic noise genre, and exploding over the musical landscape. there is something here for anyone who likes well crafted electronic music, with a range from twisted pop music to ambient and smooth beats and then back to the pounding distorted thumps. the addition of bizarre vocals at first seemed inappropriate to me, but that they suit the overall sound, and add an additional strangeness to the sound. they quickly convinced me that they are essential, and more than welcome. an overall excellent release! (squid)

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