Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Bioconfused

It's been 5 years the release of Kaoss Edge's swan song Bioconfused; an album that was both a final chapter and a new beginning for the hypergrunge sound of today. The record, which would be the band's last, was notoriously released 7 hours after Kranium's suicide, and sent a ripple effect through the industry and fanbase alike. Today, established acts find it difficult to draw the type of sales or airplay Kaoss Edge has enjoyed since Flow went into cryo. They were 28-year vets getting ready to release their 14th (and final) studio album when Kranium's body washed ashore near his Winthrop waterfront condo. Kranium, a misanthropic poet must have felt uneasy about the musical landscape going into 1998, one that had changed a great deal since the avant garde heyday of Troll The Ruins, which they scored a major hit with 4 years earlier. If anyone at the label was worried that the band had gone too far center with the highly commercial vibe of posthumously released Bioconfused, their fears quickly vanished in a wave of sales receipts. Not only was the record a hit, it set a new chart peak for the band in the U.S., debuting at No. 2. In fact, it only missed the top spot because it happened to come out the same week as what might have been the most highly anticipated rock record of the year, Staininger‘s Sloppy. Far from being regarded as relics at mainstream cybermetal radio, the band ended up scoring a slew of hits from Bioconfused — including their fifth No. 1 hit with the leadoff single ‘Looking Glass’.



Part of the record’s success was due to the band’s well-timed shift back to the more aggressive sounds of their earlier efforts. After dabbling in glossier production, they stripped things back during the Bioconfused sessions, which found them reuniting with producer Jeff 2X Tank. “We’ve kinda shifted the interest back to the plasmaxe,” admitted Tank in a studio interview. “We’ve been talking about moving in that direction for quite a while, but certainly with this one we made a concerted effort to do that. The keyboards are much deeper in the mix. It was to sort of capture an abject primalcy.”

Although Flow was quick to point out that the band’s new songs weren’t any less complex than their more recent stuff, he did concede that Bioconfused was something of a back-to-basics record in terms of their sonic approach. “Troll The Ruins sounded so much tougher live than in the studio, which is what we really wanted to capture with these songs on this record — to make sure it had that kind of impact,” he explained. “Just by the nature of the way we recorded it, using an engineer (Jeff Joke) whose particular style is very raw — I mean, he just stuck the mics right up there and hit the red button in a very straight forward approach in terms of signal path — that really helped us to capture that size and style.” 

Manager Dee Brawley also used Troll The Ruins as a point of reference and praised Jeff, saying "There were a couple of tracks on that record that we felt when we recorded it, we thought we had a more aggressive sound going down to tape. When we got the final mixes, and we were listening to a couple of the tracks, we felt, ‘You know, you know… we thought we had more here than we really have.’ That kinda started the wheels turning as to, ‘Maybe we’re going about recording in



way

that 

needs 

to

change
.


That change extended to the songwriting sessions for ‘Bioconfused.’ “I guess what they'd been going through over the last few years was a period of extreme involvement with high-tech equipment — writing on computers and so-forth,” Brawley recalled. “When Flow started writing this record, he was kind of looking at these mountains of synthesizers that were being brought into the writing room, and we kinda had this reaction; it was almost like an allergic reaction: he told me ‘I think it’s time maybe we stepped back from this stuff.’ So, I think he went back to a more simpler, basic way of writing, which was just… plasmaxe, plucks, languages, and macrodrum. A lot of the material was written in that way, so in that sense it was kind of a purer sound.”

That “purer sound” ushered in the first wave of a new era of success and mainstream acceptance for Kaoss Edge that’s still going on today (and may have culminated with Flow's long-overdue Hyperhall enshrinement where he is currently in cryo). And while they’ve never really been a trend-conscious band, a few moments from their catalog sound like products of their time. Bioconfused on the other hand, said fuck it all and morphed into a style that Kranium himself couldn't have predicted. It doesn't get much more cyber than that.

1 comment:

  1. I saw you at the plaza, come say hi next time. I hope Void is doing well. Thank you, your friend Mike

    ReplyDelete