buy this item on itunes
buy this item on emusic

act 267 · synapscape · traits · cd

01 host
02 fate decoders on your head
03 first came the floods
04 slowdive
05 downfall
06 deerstalker
07 authority's my son
08 conditio sine qua non
09 commute
10 revolving horse
11 berlin
12 snapcase
13 hiller
14 rise

since their debut album, tim kniep and philipp münch have consistently impressed world wide audiences both on stage and with a wide number of high-octane releases combining distinctive vocal treatments, experimental electronics and rhythmic industrial with a touch of the unexpected - executing their own blend of both pounding beats and complexity. synapscape's layers of sound reveal themselves in a number of different ways on repeated listens, often with unforeseen results and this mixture of the basic and the detailed has been a constant characteristic on this project's work from day one. on previous albums they mixed in complex idm flavors and technoid beat structures in order to create new points of interest - 'traits' continues this fusion of harshness and subtlety in a most brilliant way.

the album takes the listener into a varied world of rhythmic textures ranging from the complex to straight energetic beat blasts accompanied by a multitude of synth treatments. the moods range from claustrophobic and ice-cold up to a peak of fiery fierce aggression, intensified by tim's versatile use of vocals. influenced by straight upbeat rhythm-based industrial, electro-clash, intelligent dance music and dark ambient, synapscape always maintain their own authentic style - from the cold ambience of 'conditio sine qua non' and 'hiller' to the pounding bass sequences and disturbing high frequencies of 'slowdive' and 'deerstalker', from the crystal clear sequences confronted with distorted beats on 'host' to the fevered singing and sulphurous body sequences on 'authority's my son'.

the journey that started 16 years before now, once again finds a remarkable and unique way of continuing on. listen well, and forgive us for worshipping the intellectual mind!

also available:

synapscape. traits. t-shirt. ant-zen ikon105
black t-shirt w/ frontprint in charcoal metallic & silver backprint

synapscape discography on ant-zen 09.2k11:
traits. cd. ant-zen act267. 2011
again. cd. ant-zen act227. 2009
now. cd. ant-zen act217. 2007
scenes from a galton's walk (w/ asche). cd. ant-zen act192. 2006
act!. cd. ant-zen act167. 2005
the incredible three vinyl trilogy (w/ imminent). 3x7". ant-zen act183. 2004 / 2005
hands on centrozoon. cd-ep. ant-zen act157. 2003
raw. cd. ant-zen act137. 2002
positive pop. cd / boxset. ant-zen act117 / act117.7. 2001
screenwalking (w/ imminent). cd-ep. ant-zen act103. 2000
so what. 2cd. ant-zen act87. 1999
remix item (w/ imminent starvation). 10". ant-zen act78. 1998
rage. cd. ant-zen act67. 1997
helix. 7". ant-zen act57. 1996
synapscape. cd. ant-zen act27. 1995

synapscape websites:

ist es eigentlich arrogant, sich dafür zu entschuldigen, mit seiner kunst den intellektuellen geist zu verehren zu wollen? jedenfalls tun dies synapscape im rahmen ihres neuen albums mit dem satz "...forgive us for worshipping the intellectual mind". vielleicht mag es mancher denken, aber wenn man in den letzten 16 jahren so viele eindrucksvolle veröffentlichungen hervorgebracht hat, dann wird so ein satz auch erlaubt sein. vor allem, wenn sich abzeichnet, dass man dieses niveau mit dem neuesten album auch weiter halten kann. dieses hört auf den namen traits und will es dem hörer auch tatsächlich nicht leicht machen. dieser kann es zwar tun, aber würde damit dem anspruch des albums nicht gerecht. wenige idm-alben sind erstmal so zugänglich wie dieses. wenn man diesen begriff verwenden will, denn traits ist deutlich mehr: zwar ist das album dem bereich drum'n'bass/idm usw. zuzuordnen, allerdings bewegt man sich sehr weit: da sind tanzbare stücke wie first came the floods und authority's my son inklusive harscher beats und shouts, dann genau so ruhige stücke in form von conditio sine qua non und hiller mit ausgedehnten klangflächen und rituell anmutendem charakter. trotz aller eingängigkeit wird schnell deutlich wie vielschichtig die einzelnen stücke sind. will man sich wirklich in die tieferen strukturen des albums reinzudenken und reinzuhören braucht man seine zeit. ob man es nun als tiefgründiges oder eingängiges album hören will: traits ist beides und der verehrung des intellektuellen geistes tut es ebenfalls genüge. (tristan osterfeld)

enochian apocalypse
'traits' basically picks up two years from where this duo's last album 'again' left off. opener 'host' starts off in fine distorted beat form only to lead onto the excellent 'fate decoders on your head' with high pitched vocals cut up and pasted amongst the relatively straight forward rhythm sections with simplistic electronics folded in for good measure, its not rocket science but adds a slight electroclash edge to the proceedings and is a thoroughly enjoyable affair. 'first came the floods' yet again takes the distorted beats and shifts the focus toward hyper electronics and harsh vocals that yet again hark back to a time reminiscent of the 'wax trax!' era of industrial music, a merging of modern versus old if you will that flows into the electronic mid based beat driven 'slowdive' and the slender idm'isms that are on the edge of 'downfall'. what i do like about synapscape is that they're prepared to venture from the formulaic norm with old school power noise being hashed up into more electro territory more often than not nowadays; 'authority's my son' and 'berlin' sound like they were taken straight from a ggfh album and more power to them for it, ggfh happen to be one of my favourite artists so it's a win. all in all 'traits' has everything really if you like the heavier side of industrial, harsh electro, broken beat, distorted beat... whatever; it's fun and accessible and more importantly modern. (tony young)

vital weekly
the machine called synapscape works brutally well, even sixteen years after the self-titled debut released back in 1995. this time the two machinists behind synapscape, philipp münch and tim kniep, seems like momentarily slowing the tempo slightly down in comparison to earlier efforts but the expression is still as crushing and destructive as we know them. being one of the pioneering acts of the power noise-style, the twosome knows exactly how to combine grinding noise textures with catchable rhythm textures. tim kniep's processed voice into pure cynicism adds a perfect addition to the atmosphere. many great moments on the album, however one of the trippier ones is the dark instrumental drone-piece "conditio sine qua non" remindiscent of the amazing track "cracked brain" from seekness on the legendary "teknoir"-compilation (hymen records, 1999). in contrast to the introvert aforementioned track comes the experimental-club track "commute" built on cool electro-beats and voice-over samples. the track develops and moves in extremely effective manners like an ongoing train. also the claustrophobic instrumental track of ghostly sounds and buzzing drones is outstanding. another remarkable moment is the ten minutes long and beautiful deep ambient track, that stylishly shows a new quite interesting talent of the german duo. awesome new album from synapscape. (nm)

a review in russian language can be found on the machinist's webpage:

d-side web
la musique industrielle a désormais largement dépassé la trentaine. ses derniers avatars connus, dus à l'hybridation avec la techno ou le breakbeat ont eux même atteint l'âge adulte. et pourtant, trop souvent, ce n'est pas une maturation que l'on assiste, mais bien à une stagnation, à un blocage en boucle sur des schémas désormais obsolètes et rétrogrades. rien de nouveau sous le soleil de rouille ? eh bien si justement, car il subsiste un projet qui, bien qu'il ait posé les bases de l'industriel rythmique, avec quelques autres, au milieu des années 90, n'a jamais cessé d'évoluer, ou plus exactement de donner à chaque nouvel album une redéfinition du genre. et si l'on retrouve, depuis les débuts de synapscape, les tropes dominants de l'indus, ceux-ci ne cessent de se voir interrogés, examinés sous un autre angle par le duo, qui semble vouloir donner sans cesse une nouvelle réponse aux questions essentielles : pourquoi l'agression ? quelle dose de rythme ? quelle place donner à la voix ? traits, comme ceux qui l'ont précédé (et sans doute même un peu plus) remet à plat les éléments et reconstruit la machine, à sa manière. franchement agressif (<< first came the floods >>), ouvertement techno et répétitif (<< commute >>) comme un kraftwerk moderne qui aurait été laissé trop longtemps dans une atmosphère confinée, électrique et rampant (<< conditio sine qua non >>), ambient et cosmique (<< hiller >>) quand il n'est pas minimal et cradingue (<< berlin >>), traits est un patchwork (il n'est qu'à écouter << snapcase >> pour s'en convaincre) qui tient pourtant debout grâce à la personnalité inimitable de synapscape , capable de se nourrir de tous les genres, puis de les régurgiter en une matière âpre qui n'appartient qu'à eux. le son de 2011 est enfin là! (jean-françois micard)

connexion bizarre
a note, a pause and then, bang!, synapscape are back with another brutal album of powerful rhythmic industrial. straight into it, no messing about with ambient introductions this time, they can be left for later. following hot on the heels of 2009's "again", "traits" will not let any fans down at all, showcasing perfectly the german duo's inimitable blend of complex rhythms and tense atmospheres. in addition to that fine contrast of distorted beats and clean synths we've come to know and love, there are of course a few new surprises to be enjoyed here. one of synapscape's great strengths is the way the compositions are skilfully crafted, the percussion complicated without ever being unnecessarily virtuoso, never veering off into drum 'n' bass routines so beloved of other acts on the scene. the way the bass lines, atmospheres and lead synths are fitted over the top always displays a subtlety in the balance of different sounds and textures. opener, "host", can barely be faulted, though some might find the sampled voices in "fate decoders in your head" a little annoying. then, on "first came the floods", tim kniep lets rip with his harsh vocals, another example of some hard-to-define, special character within synapscape's work, standing out somehow from "terror ebm" or power electronics vocalists. this seems to be the point where we can really tell this album is going to be a good one. "slowdive" and "downfall" are a great pairing of tracks, following a harsh instrumental with a more atmospheric vocal tune, but repeating this on the next two pieces is quite the album highlight for me. "deerstalker" is classic rhythmic industrial, a weighty barrage of beats and noise, followed by the remarkable "authority's my son", a brooding dark electro anthem hinting at certain great bands from the past while retaining synapscape's trademark stamp. after that we're definitely in need of a rest with some fine dark ambient sounds, on "condition sine qua non", building to a noisy finale, more of which can be enjoyed later with the smoother and more rhythmic ten-minuter, "hiller". "commute" is softer and more delicate in places, a frantic electro piece perfectly representing crowds of scuttling workers; the almost eponymous "snapscape" shows more of this over its brittle, shattering percussion. finally the closer, "rise", sends us away with a final burst of crunchy industrial and some peculiarly thought-provoking religious samples pleading forgiveness for "worshipping the intellectual mind". definitely top ten albums of the year material this one! (nathan clemence)

bereits seit 1995 veröffentlichen synapscape ihre alben auf ant-zen. das ist auch dieses mal so. sie gehen ihren weg konsequent weiter. ihren typischen sound haben sie weiterentwickelt. wobei das bedeutet, dass tim kniep und philipp münch sich noch ein stück weiter von "industrial" weg bewegt haben. es kann vielmehr einfach als elektronik-album bezeichnet werden, das zahlreiche anleihen und facetten beherbergt: z.b. industrial-techno, elektro, dark ambient, techno, idm, industrial-ebm... überraschend fand ich, dass mich einige tracks an den technosound der frühen 0er-jahre erinneren. wer sich in dieser zeit in dem bereich nicht bewegt hat, wird das sicherlich nicht weiter registrieren. ich finde es zugegebenermaßen etwas "irritierend". schön ist, dass auch auf diesem album wieder ein stück enthalten ist, das im kopf hängen bleibt und ganz klar heraussticht. war es beim letzten album "again" das grandiose "who painted my cat black", ist es nun das abschlussstück "rise". funktioniert auf der tanzfläche und im kopf.

around for more than 15 years, tim kniep and philipp münch have been at the frontline of industrial ebm ever since they started synapscape. this is their 8th album and then i am not even counting their collaborations with asche and imminent. both also worked together with ars moriendi, monokrom and templegarden's. philipp münch is even busier, probably having cloned himself to feature in bands like the rorschach garden and rasputeen. a band can't survive for such a long time, especially in the electronic music scene, without developing themselves and thus making sure they continue to surprise us with new influences and sounds. at first they were one of the harshest exponents of this music but gradually they imported other styles such as idm, ambient and techno. at first the album seemed more like a debut album, such is the diversity in styles that it sounds like a beginning band, not having found their own sound yet. only a handful of songs impressed me, like downfall being slightly similar to old school skinny puppy. authority's my son reminded me of no limit by front line assembly but with a the distortion notches turned up. most other songs didn't work so well, too many styles interwoven through each other. but you cannot make your judgement after mere sporadic listening and when i was in an angry mood it all fell into place, the red line is pure anger. whether it be the agressive aggrotech vocals, the thundering industrial beats or the devilish dark ambient pieces, the common factor is pure rage. the harsh and metallic beats of first came the floods reminds me of esplendor geometrico and is aided by agressive vocals. as a counterweight to all those rhythms and beats, snapcase has a lighter idm sound. also there are some very dark soundscapes. conditio sine qua non could well be the first track of lustmord's heresy, complete with trumpets, hornes and bestial screams. hiller is another great ambient track that ends in an amazing climax with some tribal rythms. empusae is not far away here! that could have been a great conclusion of their traits but the good pace is somewhat broken by the ending track rise, getting you all worked up again with some very hard industrial techno. together with the distorted vocals it sounds a lot like combichrist, it's a good song but it sort of spoils the precious song which would have been the perfect conclusion. so there are some minor complaints but the result is still a great album. (chris konings)

chain d.l.k.
'the touch of the unexpected' ' this phrase taken out of the label info-sheet features some valuable content, when it comes to describe the long years of tim kniep's and philipp münch's career under the well-known synapscape moniker. synapscape in the year 2k11 are sounding still refreshing and offer still their own signature, where other, comparable promising industrial-projects have failed meanwhile. 'traits' gives us again some detailed insight into their musically varied sound-design, which features again diverse rhythm patterns between noisy to smooth installed, intelligent produced synth-drones and ' quite important ' tim kniep's vocal performance. they can look back now on more than 16 years of musically activity, but be assured, that they do not offer (abnutzungserscheinungen). this album is filled with stuff worth to mention: 'host' opens this album and gives a harsh, powernoise-driven rhythm-massacre. but the float of the album afterwards turns more to offer progression in their rhythm-textures, 'first came the floods' rather more reminds on more subtle produced electro-clash-structures than the noise-formula. 'downfall' can be pointed out as being one of the highlights here, rather reminds with its rhythm-arrangements as an obvious homage to dive/sonar. deep-drowning dark ambient scenarios you'll get additionally presented through tracks like 'condition sine qua non' and 'hiller', until the album ends after 14 tracks with the wild pounding 'rise', one out of five tracks featuring tim kniep's vocals. 'traits' stands once again for a highlight in the release-catalogue of the german cult-label ant-zen and this productive duo has at least found the ideal path to unite the raw, noisy structures with subtle elements. 16 years of activity under synapscape and no sign of getting bored by the things they do ' let's keep the fingers crossed to have them much longer in front of this music genre. (marc tater)

back - next - overview