Amidst the twinkling stars, there lies another green world. On this world there is a city where crying is a criminal act and emotion is forbidden. On the plazas, through the underpasses, down in the parks where tiny flying saucers the size of pie plates watch your every move, there’s a band that’s creating new fireside favorites to liberate the imaginations of the oppressed. Violet Tremors are on a series of missions, making sounds that hurdle us through a stylized Tommorrowland of the mind where telekinetic romances flourish despite the secret police’s best efforts, ectoplasmic sushi bars are on every corner, people fly around in bubble cars powered by their brain waves, and traveling to other planets in the solar system is easy. All you have to do is step through a neighborhood time-space vortex. But whatever you do, don’t shed a tear or else Rover will come looking for you!
We fell in love with Violet Tremors (LA’s Lorene Simpson and Jessica White) because they seemed to be not as cold and melancholy as a lot of their neo-minimal synth contemporaries. They have a weirdness, an imagination, and a colorfulness that distinguishes them from the beautifully foggy, noirish, affected modernism that we love so much in other similar minded synth droids. There’s something spacier, quirkier, more electrifying about them. In fact, I’ve often said that even though Violet Tremors start out using the template of “minimal synth“, they are going somewhere else with it. Tracks such as “Spirals Inside” and “In Mid Transmission” from their self-released debut Time Is The Traitor suggest something altogether more fantastical that really doesn’t sound like typical minimal synth at all. Recalling in someways certain sonic qualities that we joyfully overdosed on from Electroclash (but minus much of the camp and raunch, of course), Violet Tremors somersaulted out of the mothership wearing silver capes and blasting their laserguns with music that seemed suitably eccentric for us minimal synth misfits, but a lot more ZAPPIER than the forlorn, bangs-in-the-eyes sounds that we were used to spacing out to.
So now, one year after the release of their debut LP, Violet Tremors have a new track for us. What’s immediately noticeable about “Control Submission” is its unrelenting beat and punishing rhythm. When I first heard it, I literally said out loud “YES! Finally!” They’ve made a song with all the drive of a classic Beta Everstrack but with all the signature cosmic wildness we’ve come to expect from them. The bass is heavy, the beat is cracking, and there’s some really amazing synth tonalities flying through it all that reminds me a lot of Eno’s leads that come in at the tail end of Roxy Music’s “Remake, Remodel.” Indeed, “Control Submission” is more of a remake and remodel than merely a remix of “Control Submarine“, one of their earliest, most haunting, and most minimal songs from their debut. Whereas the original seemed to be equal parts a nod to Kraftwerk’s “Radioactivity” and Depeche Mode’s “The Things You Said“, this new version is actually so different from the original that you wouldn’t be able to tell it’s basically the same song unless you were listening closely to Jessica White’s hypnotized vocals. If “Control Submission” is any indication of what we can expect from Violet Tremors in the future, then let’s get a time machine, go to the future, and dance forever and ever, dammit! (And whatever you do, please don’t tell the secret police I said that.)