Album Review: Negative Fascination by Silent Servant
Exceptionally Good, Based on 3 Critics
Resident Advisor - 90 Based on rating 4.5/5
The clear link between early electronic, post-punk, noise and the modern brand of industrial-strength techno has become clearer and clearer over the past few years, thanks in no small part to entities like Sandwell District. That collective features LA's Juan Mendez, a vocal post-punk fan (and Tropic of Cancer founding member) whose previous work as Silent Servant has plunged surging Germanic techno into the sludgy atmospherics and gothic timbres of the most obscure post-punk seven-inches. Though a large quantity of his recent work has been disseminated through Sandwell District, his debut album comes from an unlikely place: noise artist Prurient's Hospital Productions, a label known more for its explorations of ear-piercing frequencies and serrated blankets of distortion than techno.
Beats Per Minute (formerly One Thirty BPM) - 78 Based on rating 78%%
Silent ServantNegative Fascination[Hospital Productions; 2012]By Will Ryan; October 25, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGPerhaps the most definitive statement Los Angeles producer Juan Mendez ever made as Silent Servant was a radio mix for Sandwell District back in 2010. The mix in question showed Mendez's hand a little too thoroughly for dance music to ignore, slotting artists like Fad Gadget, Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, The Fall, Suicide, and The Velvet Underground all right next to each other. Mendez's allegiance to prototypical industrial music and gothic leaning post-punk was laid bare for all to see and has since been well documented, but, barring Sandwell District's Feed-Forward, has never found its way into the LP format.
An old man called Bob Dylan once said something useful like, "it may be the Devil, it may be the Lord, but sooner or later, you're going to have to serve somebody." And when you do, it's probably best not to make a big thing of it. That seems to be the driving modus operandi behind Juan Mendez, aka Silent Servant, who's stoically been serving the darkened, after-hours crowd something decent by which to swing and sway for well over a decade. His sizable oeuvre on the Historia y Violencia label, and with the on-hiatus Sandwell District collective, is among the best no-bullshit techno of the naughties.