NOIR is the project from American musician Athan Maroulis, already known as the lead singer of electro industrial/EBM outfit Spahn Ranch. He has published Under this moniker an album called Darkly Near (2013, Metropolis), a series of singles and a digital remix album called RE:MIT:TENT where he focused on the more melodic and synth-pop tinged aspects already present in the last Spahn Ranch works.
Now he returns with the 4-track digital single Just Fascination, a self-released effort consisting in a cover of the famous Cabaret Voltaire song and three remixes from We Are Temporary (Mark V. Roberts), Push Button Press (James Walker) and Aeon Rings (Chuck Flores, Davey Partain).
Here we find sounds linked to experimental synth music with pop and melodic elements, from synth pop to atmospheric version with club undertones and from guitar elements to throbbing retro renditions.
The main track is a respectful but personal take on the original number from Cabaret Vltaire, where the refrain is placed upon a steady bass-line accompanied by robust kicks and moody synth sounds in the background. Distant female choruses add a solemn take with orchestral and epic soundscapes.
We Are Temporary reworks it as a more club-minded episode starting with cinematic and somber melodies. Then, various elements are slowly added until we reach dance moments ready to explode in a majestic synth-driven affair with beautiful melodies and an enthralling mid-tempo.
Push The Button and NOIR conspire together in order to give us an electro-rock version full of pathos and well placed passages with an acoustic quality. The mood is quite looping and hypnotizing, capturing the attention of the listener quite well.
Finally, Aeon Rings end the single with a irresistible 80’s version recalling the heydays of EBM via throbbing bass-lines with a militant feeling and melancholic synth sound crushed by 4/4 distorted kicks. A robotic and “sci-fi” take with a strong rhythmic structure.
All in all, a well accomplished single in which every track as its place and reason, maintaining the main elements of the cover, but at the same time offering their own vision and variety. Recommended!
Release date: January 5th, 2021.
Text by: David Pappalardo