[sic] Magazine

Dead Sea Apes, Adam Stone & Black Tempest – Dataland

Another hook-up with now-frequent Dead Sea Apes collaborator Adam Stone was perhaps to be expected given the success of their recent work, roping in former cohort Black Tempest and tabling a mainly electronic odyssey together as a threesome less so.

Dataland questions the mantra that more data equals more knowledge, satirising social media and the wasteful idea you can live online, your life bought, sold and digitally corrupted outside of your control. Ironically enough, for a commentary on the futility of some near-future, data-driven dystopia, Dataland owes its own existence to IRL internet transfers between the parties involved, a necessary response to the isolation and lockdown of COVID-19 in 2020. A creative fightback too, Manc poet Stone taking on the mundane and mindless consumerism as if the matrix were scrolling before his eyes, his monologue grounding kosichme oscillators and itchy electro repeats like Kraftwerk directing some on-stage version of a Douglas Coupland novel, except even more dour than that sounds.

The analogue begins to wins the battle too, menacing guitar distortion and misanthropic drums ousting electronic patterning, shards of post-punk roaming the totalitarian wasteland, bleak drones stalking the shadows. Dataland trudges along almost obliviously, numb to Brexit amongst other things, late-night hazes turning paranoid as they dwell on people-are-numbers groupthink and seesawing unease.

As universal perhaps as these themes seem, Dataland is nevertheless a product of its rain-spattered home, album highlight “Shop Soiled” bouncing its odd, inner-city dub off brutalist concrete like a lost, early cut from that Cherry Red compilation, Manchester North Of England 77-93. It may take some time to get used to, but there’s a beauty to this binary bleakness if you squint hard enough.

Best track: “Shop Soiled”

~Dataland is released January 29th 2021 via the collaborative efforts of Cardinal Fuzz and Feeding Tube Records.~