Chasing The Ghost - Collide

reviewed by lec** | Sunday, August 10 2008 @ 21:31:59 GMT        

Cover art

Chasing The Ghost

Release date: October 31, 2000
Length: 48:46
Genre: Industrial, Darkwave

  1. Transfer
  2. Wings Of Steel
  3. Razor Sharp
  4. Dreamsleep
  5. White Rabbit
  6. Frozen
  7. Halo
  8. Monochrome
  9. Ocean
  10. Like You Want To Believe
Reviews » Music

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Collide is a Californian band/music project active since 1992, consisting of two unusual people: kaRIN and Statik. They met at an industrial club, became friends and soon began "creating music they wanted to hear" - and Collide was born. The band's name even comes from this "collision" between two different people into a whole. kaRIN is responsible for the lyrics and singing, which actually sounds more like something between whispering and quiet singing; her performance through the several albums they've released is continuously disquieting. Statik does the music, and the results are some of the most unique sounds I've heard in a very long time. The two have actually described what they do as "not playing music, but styling soundscapes"; indeed the songs feel more like sounds in your own mind than any music I've ever heard.

You may not even have heard of Collide, unless you listen to the industrial/darkwave genre very extensively (and even then, it's possible to completely elude them, some say). I'd in fact never listened to this genre before finding out about Collide, so it was pure accident (and immense luck) that I came across them at all. Someone mentioned this band and this very album on a forum I was browsing, so I searched for it, intrigued, and came across some nice mysterious cover art. I don't know what I was expecting (probably something operatic), but I couldn't resist getting the album. I actually wasn't immediately impressed; firstly, industrial music was a genre I'd never listened to before and felt rather let down even after I played two or three tracks. I didn't discard it though, and carried it on my iPod for a month or two without ever listening to it. Finally, I started listening (with Halo) while I was in the car one day, and discovered it was actually quite pleasant to listen to. As I listened to it more, I finally came to comprehend the value of the album. I daresay I've never loved another Collide album as much as this one, though they're all so good. I'd better say something about the music now that I've kept you reading my own personal experiences for so long.

Collide's sound is really unique. Practically every track has something of a creepy, dreamlike quality to it. The overall sound is like a soundtrack for a weird dream you're having in a coma, something quite unearthly and unassuming, while dark and mysterious. Like most industrial music, it's rather mechanical and features repetitive percussion and the extensive use of noise. However, unlike industrial, it's got a kind of passion that's not easy to describe, and it's rather elusive. For the sake of music tags, this album has elements of gothic, industrial, some edgy electronica, darkwave, ethereal pop, rock and trip-hop. If I had a slogan for this album, it would be "I just can't put my finger on it". The tracks are like vapour, uncertain and undefined. The overall mood this type of music creates is amazing; the optimal way to listen to this album might be to come home on a stormy night, turn off all the lights, and get comfortable in an armchair, with nothing but the soft lights of your audio system and flashes of lightning to distract you. This is some dark dreamy mood setting music at its very best. Collide say this album was "torture to make", something you will likely be able to discern also: every single sound sounds so meaningful and perfect, there are no rough edges here. You can tell this was the work of professionals, and that it took enormous effort and polishing to make it such. There are no bad tracks. Also, no track can be mistaken for any other, as each is so unique, while not protruding from the setting. The tracks all have a somewhat quiet, sexy, tribal feel to them. kaRIN's voice is rarely louder than a speaking level, so there's an unsettling feel to the singing, like she's whispering to you something she doesn't want someone else, who is standing closeby, to hear. The tribal feel is especially pronounced in «Halo», it feels like a private dance in the dusty plains around a dying fire, after a long tiring day, so you're no longer sure where reality ends and dream begins. An awesome, cryptic, uncanny something I've never heard before.

I honestly feel I don't have the power to convert to words exactly how each song functions, what the impact is on the listener, but if you get this album and start listening to it, you'll understand the power Collide have in their possession, and how immaculately they focus on details. «Halo», «Dreamsleep», «Razor Sharp» and a few others compete for best overall song, in my opinion, though you won't find a song you don't like here. The Jefferson Airplane cover «White Rabbit» sounds so much more unnerving than the original, a quality that should really be brought out here (think: The Matrix - "tumbling down the rabbit hole"?), as a strong association to dreaming, the ethereal, unknown, materialising spirits and such.

Though Collide are a relatively unknown band (this mystifies not only me, but even dedicated fans of somewhat similar bands), those who hear them always seem to love them. Chasing The Ghost may well be some of their finest work, though the other albums demonstrate approximately equal levels of excellency. The main problem that may stop you from enjoying this album is not being used to this type of music. I know I wasn't, and didn't like it immediately. The best you can do is approach it with an open mind, understanding this is supposed to be setting a mood, like a private underground gallery of disturbing artwork, a dream, or anything you can associate it with. Just let the sound enter your head, and take control.

A wonderfully comatose setting, this is a barely believable album - I keep thinking I just dreamed it, and that something so smooth and wonderful can't exist.
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Collide make fabulously dreamy electronic-industrial music, they're one of my favourite bands! Give them a chance to take control of your life - myspace | youtube - "Euphoria".

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