Memmaker’s 2008 debut How to Enlist in a Robot Uprising felt very necessary at the time of its release. Released just as industrial was emerging from the long shadow of aggrotech and entering a phase of artistic renewal, the collaboration between Iszoloscope’s Yann Faussurier and Guillaume Nadon hit the perfect balance of fun, clubbable bangers and off-kilter humour right as audiences seemed primed for it. Arriving some eight years later, Let There Be Lasers is cut from the same cloth as its predecessor, emphasizing dancefloor thrills to excellent effect.
Those listeners looking for spiritual sequels to minor classics like Robot Uprising‘s “Get Your Ass to Mars” and “Robot Buzz” needn’t wait very long, from the jump “Doom Ray” hits the exact right notes, built around a monstrous industrial-body groove overlaid with samples from cult Brit sci-fi comedy series Hyperdrive. Similarly, “Sex With a Robot (Are You Gonna Do It)” builds almost exactly from the first record’s template of tight sequences, extensive vocoding, and very crunchy percussion. As a formula it’s all aged remarkably well, although it should be noted that at least part of the appeal comes from how very clever Faussurier and Nadon are at assembling these songs, weaving new sequences in and out of the mix, and varying the style of their percussion, as on the pulsing break that pushes “Machine”.
That knack for arrangement really might be the most versatile tool in Memmaker’s arsenal; there’s a lot of depth to some of these songs beyond their most immediate charms. Detroit Diesel collab “Race to Space” starts off doing the industrial-trance thing decently enough, but adds some subtle melodics to the track’s climax that really put it over the top. “Sunstorm” emphasizes twinkling synth breakdowns that give the song a shape and form more complex that the uptempo steamroller it starts off as.
Focusing on these minor construction details might seem odd in the grand scheme of the album’s high bpm club ambitions, but the overall effect is critically important to the album’s success. Entire records of DJ candy can be exhausting to listen to and get very samey very quick, thankfully Memmaker’s production chops and sensibility give Let There Be Lasers a lot of versatility. It’s not a major leap forward in style or execution, but when you have your approach this dialed in you can afford to let it ride.
Re:Gen Magazine 4/5
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2008
By: Vlad McNeally
In a nonstop mix techno, power noise, and sci-fi cult classics, Memmaker have produced an addictive dance album for the noise generation.
It may be a bit of a shock, but that young contender for the power noise label crown Hive Records has put out an incredible EBM album. Though not as chaotic or as grim as most Hive releases, How to Enlist in a Robot Uprising effortlessly straddles the line between heavy EBM and techno.
Though it still retains a bit of Hive’s characteristically acerbic edge, Memmaker astound by adding something unusual to their concussive mix: humor. How can a proper sci-fi geek not get a chuckle out of “Get Your Ass to Mars,” a track dedicated to a catch phrase from that early ’90s Schwarzenegger film Total Recall? Like a monolithic rubber ball trailed by a clatter of snare echoes, this half-rave anthem trounces through, leaving silvery whistling synths puzzled in its earthquake wake. Though lacking a famous Austrian, genre fans will probably recognize the “death by stereo” quip from The Lost Boys in “Death Audio Blow Your Brains,” where its catchphrase is looped into a monotone android shimmer. Armed with occasional breaks and ripples, this piece takes its cues from the power noise camp, presenting a marriage of relentless bass thumps, eardrum-scraping textures, and spastic electric arpeggios. It may take a moment to recognize, but “Robot Buzz” may strike a familiar note among Nirvana fans, as the grunge messiahs also covered Shocking Blue’s “Love Buzz” back in the early ’90s. Though instead of marble-mouthed grimaces and yard-sale guitars, this Canadian duo opt to assimilate this track into their robot collective. In lieu of traditional rock, its vocals have become a buzzing synthetic memory, while its guitars and drums have been re-rendered into a sizzling synth riff and junkyard breakbeat clatter. Though there’s little solace from their stomp-friendly whimsy, in “Insomnia,” Memmaker slow their drum automatons down to a sluggish factory funk, allowing snares slide through like sandpaper to a lazy bass heartbeat. “Deception” tries its best to appeal to noise’s more intellectual corners. With some tranquil futuristic lounge twinkles added to its acerbic cinema, it gets close to ambience without distinctly leaving their noisome methodology.
How to Enlist in a Robot Uprising may be a bit of an oddball for Hive, but it’s one of the current highlights of their catalog. If Memmaker can be faulted for anything, it’s that there isn’t much variety from club anthem to club anthem. Perhaps it’s best viewed as a party album for the power noise set, infusing a genre that usually takes itself so seriously with a needed dose of humor and outright fun. For fans acts like Soman, Modulate, or even Combichrist, Memmaker should make one’s play list no later than the present.
Memmaker is the creation of the two Iszoloscope-members Guillaume Nadon and Yann Faussurier. After several compilation appearences, “How To Enlist A Robot Uprising” was the first official release by this duo originally released back in 2008 on Hive Records. 2010 sees the album released once again on Artoffact Records and comes in a deluxe edition with the bonus disc “How To Remix A Robot Uprising” featuring remixes from wellknown bands such as Rotersand, Autodafeh, Xotox and Fractured.
The album is a true Electro/Industrial assault with distorted sounds and mixing the heavier trance with driving rhythms and industrial beats. Noise is also a part of the onslaught but stays on a low level so the music remains enjoyable and melodic but still in a harsh and powerful way. The music is more or less destined for the dancefloor and as the information says about the album ‘Memmaker are here to destroy all human eardrums and interface with your women, undermining earth society forever’.
With fast-paced electro tracks like “Death Comes (Sale Traitre)” or “Robot Buzz” fused with more dancefloor stompers like “Death Audio Blow Your Brains” or “Ascent” the album is great. As my favorite you’ll find “Insomnia”. A seven minute long journey into the open as the first three minutes offers a lot of experimental industrial and noise soundscapes before it turns to a beautiful melodic track with an amazing atmosphere and classic retro sounds together with great rhythms.
Lively, insane, pumping and mind blowing, extremely full of energy and buzz. First I wanted to write that this release seemed quite unusual for Hive Records and then changed my mind when I re-listened to such bands as Prometheus Burning and Pneumatic Detach. However Memmaker is different – if there’s any aggression then it is of another kind, as the insanity and energy are of the other kind as well. Memmaker is a collaborative project of Guillaume Nadon and Yan Faussurier also known by releasing CDs under the name Iszoloscope. But as Iszoloscope is mainly Yan Faussurier’s project, Memmaker is Guillaume Nadon’s brainchild, he’s the one who defines its artistic way, the one who is responsible for melodies and structures while Yan Faussurier is the one who is in charge off technical side like mixing and adding effects.
And certainly as would be expected Memmaker has a ring of Iszoloscope sometimes, concerning the background ambient patterns (track The Cydonia Complex, for example), bass lines or breakbeat rhythmic structures – all those things Iszoloscope is so good at and loved for. Otherwise Memmaker is much more dancefloor oriented (can’t help mentioning that bpm of each track is indicated near each track which makes the job of a dj a bit easier): with brighter, pronounced and more splendid melodical component, repeated and easy to remember, less complicated rhythmic ornaments that doesn’t allow a listener to get lost in them. In tracks like Insomnia Memmaker calls up another robotoid project’s album, Tarmvred’s Viva 6581 release that differs from other ones having 8bit elements (which has much to do with robots).
This debut release is inspired by different pieces of art that deal with science fiction. The title of the CD – How to Enlist In a Robot Uprising is inspired by 2005 Daniel H. Wilson, an American writer, television host and robotics engineer, book: How To Survive A Robot Uprising and among “thanks to” one can find a film director of 1929 movie “Frau im Mond” (“Woman in the Moon”) which is considered as the first “serious” science fiction film; the samples in Get Your Ass To Mars track sound like borrowed from Total Recall (1990) with Arnold Schwarzenegger and the speech sample in Insomnia track is a quote of Ronald Reagan. In the track Robot Buzz one can recognise “Love Buzz” song originally composed by Shocking Blue and already covered by Nirvana in 1988.
In one of the interviews Yan and Guillaume told that a remix album is getting prepared. So we have nothing else left than to wait for this collaborative work that is going to feature such musicians as Cenotype, Cervello Elletronico, Grendel, Liar’s Rosebush, Rotersand, Stendeck, Terrorfakt.
On the other hand, Memmaker’s album “How to Enlist in a Robot Uprising” is about as far away from minimalism as one could go. Memmaker is a dance-oriented project from the members of the rhythmic noise outfit Iszoloscope. “How to Enlist…” shares more genetic similarity to mid-to-late 1990′s hard trance (a la Jon the Dentist, Choci, or Oliver Klitzing) than it does any Industrial/EBM/Elektro outfit. However, the drum work is crunchy enough and the melodies dark enough to land it on a genre map under the wide Industrial/dark electronic umbrella. But make no mistake; this album is club-driving dance music through and through. The album delivers track after track of high-tempo floor-killing songs with thick trance-style synth work and pounding four-on-the-floor drumlines. From the early days of Signal Aout 42, plenty of groups have been bridging the gap between dance and industrial musical styles, but Memmaker’s hat in the ring may be the best standout to date.
Tracks such as “Energon3″ and “Robot Buzz” represent the most retro trance style pieces, while tracks such as “The Cydonia Complex” or “Deception” pay a bit more homage to Memmaker’s rhythmic noise roots. It’s all in-your-face, love-it-or-hate-it boldness, and I count myself in the love-it camp.
Review by: 9000
Hive Records has already proven to have a real good nose for great new-coming projects in the electro scene. Memmaker is one more to add on the list and according to me one with a real huge potential! Behind this project hides Yann Faussurier (of Iszoloscope) and Guillaume Nadon. The info sheet announces that the destruction is imminent: Memmaker are here to destroy all human eardrums and interface with your women, undermining earth society forever. When listening the 2nd track entitled Ascent I directly understand why the destruction is so imminent! Memmaker produces a hard and merciless mix of dark electronics and powernoise. Some spoken samplings in French language add a cool element to this power bomb! I really like the way this project remains harsh and powerful without going beyond the limit of pure experiment and other noise improvisations. Memmaker is the right sound for electro dancefloors. The compositions have been elaborated and I was rather surprised to discover a project in the genre that takes that much care of the song writing. A track like Sneaking Through The Totalitarian Filter perfectly illustrates this great knowledge in song writing by outstanding effects and deep, groovy, filtered bass lines. Going a bit further in the tracklist the Get Your Ass To Mars-track even reveal some distant dark EBM structures with a few repetitive vocals. This song is a good appetizer for whats coming next. Robot Buzz is the absolute attention grabber of this album. This is a real powernoise-dark electro assault and for sure a club hit! The vocoded vocals perfectly fits to this track and the robotic-concept of the album. The last part of the album is devastating. Starting with the some more techno-minded Energon and the even more techno influenced The Cydonia Complex Memmaker excels in danceable powernoise without loosing this feeling for well-crafted song structures and a great production as well. Deception comes to close this album with a more brute and industrial piece with a vague techno touch on top. This album sounds as one of the best album on Hive records to date! A must have! (DP:8/9)DP.
MEMMAKER is described as being the alter-ego of well-known Rhythm’n’Noise project ISZOLOSCOPE, hailing from Canada. ‘How To Enlist A Robot Uprising (Deluxe Edition)’ is a re-release of the duo’s debut album, originally released in 2008. The album is opening with a darkly distorted vision in sound, named ‘Prophecy’, building slowly to unleash complex noise cascades eventually. Somehow, you can sense what ‘Ascent’ is going to become by only hearing the first seconds of the track: A genuine dance anthem! The beat structure of ‘Death Audio Blow Your Brains’ has been kept as simple as possible to guarantee that no one stumbles and falls over any edges. Feels like that to me. The same robotic voice as on the previous one re-appears on ‘Robot Buzz’ and a buzz in your ears is guaranteed after that monster has passed you by. ‘Insomnia’ is not particularly something you could play in a club with its literally nightmarish atmospheres and intricate structures.
‘Exodus Maximus’ is nothing but a sinister soundscape in the beginning, but earthquake beats disrupt the thick perimeter, built up before, strangely without robbing its intensity as is happing frequently. The second CD, which is only available digitally, gives opportunity to various bands to show their perspective on songs from the album, starting with STENDECK and ‘Insomnia’. The changes are not that hard to me, but Zampieri added an own twist with his very own way of approaching music. AUTODAFÉ removed all the dirty layers from ‘Death Comes’ and thus made it a very clean sounding floor filler. The remix LIAR’S ROSEBUSH did of the original album’s opening ‘Prophecy’ comes over even more complicated, but those of you who like being challenged will love it for its ambitious nature. Fellow countrymen of FRACTURED might have taken away some of the original’s violence, but therefore have infused a few very engaging sound gimmicks, waiting for you to unravel them. Also, it’s overall much cleaner.
The collaborative effort of FAMINE and IT-CLINGS ‘Beware of Memmaker’ that ends this review has so many ideas you could have made at least 3 other songs of it. All combined with the, only seemingly, mad rants of the aforementioned IT-CLINGS, it’s not an overstatement to call it one of THE highlights on this CD. Well, I cannot get into all of the compositions on the album, yet you hear that a lot of work has gone into making this and that has to be acknowledged. The digital remix CD features something for everyone in my eyes and shouldn’t be deemed as mere compilation of half-baked works by any means. All in all, a release to check out!