EBM and Industrial music went two directions in the 90s, both of them lamentable. For many of us left transformed by the electric horror film euphoria of Skinny Puppy, the faux-paramilitary theatrics of Front 242, the sexual occultism of Coil, and the hetero-leftist stomp of Nitzer Ebb, “Industrial Music” in the 1990s became either bad heavy metal with drum machines, bad techno with screeching FX processed “singers” wearing goggles in skintight vinyl yelling about S&M and drugs (oooh! How trangressive!), or an ungodly hybrid of the two.
It became silly in the way die hard metal heads must look upon the hair bands of the 80s. As with any popular art form, Industrial/EBM spiraled downward into a cartoon circus of shopping mall cliches fairly rapidly. Industrial clubs came to look more like Comic Con than sweaty musical celebrations of the dark side of technology.
What’s remarkable about 25 year old North Carolina resident Sam Witherspoon’s BY ANY MEANϟ NECEϟϟARY isn’t just his unapologetic, accomplished sonic-tip-of-the-hat to mid-80s EBM/Industrial, it’s also his sheer humility in a world where counting SoundCloud “listens” and monitoring Facebook fanpage “likes” is a cultural bloodsport. He’s like a hobbyist in 19th century sense of the word where one’s passionate pursuit of their pastime is the main motivation of their life rather than any glamorous flash of fame.I even feel a bit guilty writing a blog article on BY ANY MEANϟ NECEϟϟARY lest this delicate cybernetic orchid who’s there programming Stygian synths and sequencers in North Carolina’s humid solitude be ruined forever. But his music is fantastic. It needs to heard. By any means necessary, indeed.
One of the main things that distinguishes BAMN from his equally exciting peers like Houston’s //TENSE//, Belgium’s NTRSN, or Chicago’s VALIS is more of an emphasis on dark cinematic atmospherics amidst the arpeggiating bass lines and clanking, mechanical drums. Sure you’ll hear the obvious influence of classic Skinny Puppy, but you’ll also be surprised to hear the cosmic sweep of Vangelis or Jean Michel Jarre(albeit much darker) in BAMN’s stunning instrumental pieces. It all sounds fresh. BAMN would not sound out of place at some foggy after hours party where the DJs are spinning Mascara or ∆AIMON, nor would it sound alien during some classic EBM night. BAMN’s music is paradoxically contemporary in this world that’s literally beginning to look, and sound, more and more like the cyber-Boschian, retro-fitted future of Blade Runner. Just make sure you play it at maximum volume.- Nove Mura