By Sarah Kitteringham
CALGARY — “This year, we decided to release Urban Network Underground, a compilation of the work we’ve been doing over the years. There is some material that was intended for the other first two releases, but never made it, as well as some songs written specifically for this record. So here we are!”
So begins Slava Metalmaester, the founding member of local darkened electronic/industrial act Tekhnotron. Its origins reach back to 2007 when Slava started making digital music, expanding in 2011 to eventually include three other multi-faceted members, including Rissy (production, writing, vocals, synth, design/graphic work), David (keys, production, synth) and drummer Colin Christopher, who books shows and releases albums under his Dreaming of the Past moniker. Their third release Urban Network Underground follows their 2012 EP Essence of Machines and the 2013 self-titled mini-album.
“We are going for really, really cold and really ugly cyberpunk view. We feel the best way to capture that feel is to be influenced by old sci-fi and cyberpunk VHS movies. The best way to capture them is through this sort of noisy and dark music,” explains Slava. “It’s very complex and electronic sounding, with very harsh drums and noises.”
Thematically, the album is rich. Indeed, the title and theme were lifted from William Gibson’s 1986 science fiction novel Count Zero, in which three human’s stories eventually intertwine as Artificial Intelligence units communicate with humans in cyberspace through the interface of Haitian voodoo gods. Tekhnotron then expanded the concept into other realms.
“That’s what inspired the idea for the EP, and it turned out that was a very good way of aligning the new album. The concept of there is the underground trying to break into the cyberspace network that he developed… so we developed on that, and were talking more about current events in artificial intelligence,” explains David.
“In terms of the theme and concept, its kind of [deconstructing] our culture, our age, which is very scientific and computer generated. Computers run literally everything we do in our daily lives. So we took the next step and [asked about] the goods and the bads of computers being such a big influence,’” adds Rissy. She concludes rhetorically, “Talking about computers becoming smarter than what we are, what would our world and reality be like?”
Tekhnotron will have their full-length album available on December 5 at Lord Nelson’s Bar & Grill with Cygnets and Twitch.