This band hails from southern Spain and have been creating their unique blend of electronic music since 1992. The original members consisted of Josua and Wolfran when they brought their own talents and past experience together for a brand of a mix of trance and EBM. They worked with many collaborators over the years to be able to bring out many different styles and musical expressions. They started releasing singles and EPs in the early years, all self-produced and released. The band lineup has changed over the years including the addition of Salvador Maine on vocals and later the departure of Wolfran, leaving only Salva and Josua to continue on with Distortiongirl on live keyboards.
1999 saw the band being signed to the prominent German label Out Of Line for the release of their single Manifesto and their album Reflex. This was really just the beginning and was well received by fans around the world. In my opinion it was 2001 when this band really refined their sound with Revenge and launched their career in the right direction in a way that fans could really connect and opened the door for more fans worldwide. They released an EP in 2002 which was also well received but really just set the fans on edge waiting for the next full-length which didn't come out until mid-2005 with Reborn. But the fans would end up waiting another five long years for the next release, in late 2010 with their album Spirit. Once again the band proved how their sound continues to mature in so many ways.
The musical style of this band have changed quite a bit over the years. The real turning point was Revenge when they shifted styles the most dramatically. Before this release the band experimented quite a bit with trance, EBM and bits of Industrial. While they still use each of these styles, the way they are mixed has changed dramatically to a point where "futurepop" is the end result with hard-driving beats, catchy synth lines, solid vocals portraying the message of the thoughtful lyrics. Pre-Revenge the music is more like euro-trance, less melodic vocals and sporadic and repetative. Post-Revenge, for fans of Covenant, VNV Nation and Assemblage 23 the music is something they can really relate to and enjoy.
Be sure to check out this band and their latest tracks on the club radio show here. Also, jump over to the band's website for the latest news and info.
Spirit - Review
Here's the latest, great dance-friendly album from this electro-pop group from Spain. It's been a very long wait for this new work and it's been well worth it. The disc comes packaged in a standard jewel case with a nice booklet with the song lyrics and some artwork. The album is packed with eleven solid tracks from this group that are all memorable and sure to be great dance tracks for a good while.
The heavy beats kick off right from the start with "Sieged" which features the band's great blend of melodic synths, layered electronic loops and moving danceable percussion all providing the backdrop for Salva's clear vocals. This track along with others with these same elements and structure stand out as favorites with their pounding beats and uplifting lyrics and vocals. The first few tracks jumped out at me from the first listen with the melodic synthpop and dance-friendly beats. "Blind Man" has some great synths that build over each chorus and various loops remain strong build and fading throughout the piece. "Dead Second" cuts back on the overall intensity but turns up the thick emotional moods that come out in the simplistic song structure and heavy vocals. "Drum Machine" also became a quick favorite with it's simple, laid back structure that really builds on the layers of swooshing synths for a powerful effect on the chorus. "Never Again" takes much of this intensity fright from the start and just keeps it up steadily throughout the entire piece.
The album moves along nicely bringing all of these pieces together in a solid, energetic package with some slight variation as we get into the disc several songs. Near the end of the album we have a couple of pieces that have a ballad-like structure with a mid-tempo beat. "Silence" is the first of these with it's somewhat dreamy electronics providing the backdrop for the smooth vocals. The album wraps up with "I Found You" which very slowly builds from very somber moods across heavy, pulsating synths, building up with more and more layers and a gradual, moving, mid-tempo beat. This piece wraps up the album perfectly, leaving the listener satisfied with a plethora of excellent club tracks along with a slight variety and great, intelligent lyrics portrayed through solid, clear vocals.
I can't leave this review without touching on the band's cover of an all-time favorite song "Love Will Tear Us Apart" from Joy Division. This piece has been covered countless times in the goth-related genres, so it takes guts to attempt a new cover, but I believe the band was able to really pull off a great version here. The powerful synths build well and keep all of the original power and style while Salva does a good job with the vocals, portraying the spirit and emotion very well.
In summary, it's a great album, well worth the wait. This is a powerful, well-composed and well-mixed album, highly recommended for all electro-pop fans. Don't miss out.
Interview - October, 2010
We had the opportunity for Salva Maine to sit down and answer our questions in a short interview. We tried to stay away from the plethora of standard questions which you can easily find around the internet as they've had many recent interviews. We hope you enjoy...
GP - What has been your favorite experience in being part of Culture Kultür?
Salva - The best part has been being able to bring about a song from the first idea to it's completion, especially those songs that are hard because they just don't quite click. The satisfaction is great when all the pieces finally come together and you think "we've done a great job".
Another satisfaction is being able to get to know people from all over the world that love music (like you for example). Being able to travel, get to know people and the fans that love our music... more than anything, that's extremely satisfying for me.
GP - How about your favorite experience in creating this latest album?
Salva - Finishing "Sieged". It took us dozens of versions and many changes to finally get the song to it's completion. Also, during the process of the creation of the album a lot of things have happened (both bad and good) and Josua and I have become closer as friends. That's also important.
GP - At what point in the creation of the album did you come up with the name Spirit?
Salva - We had about half of the songs composed when Josua proposed "Spirit" as the name of the work for the album. Later he said he wanted to change because it reminded him of the character from the comic of Will Eisner. But for me, the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. Looking at the dictionary you realize the number of meanings that the word has, and they all seem to relate with our songs: without form, ghost, angel, demon, interior strength of human beings, the meaning of a concept, including God. When we added to that idea the magnificent, evocative graphic work from Ricardo Marichal, it was clear that we would stay with that name.
GP - I'm sure most fans will enjoy and recognize the cover of the classic Joy Division piece "Love Will Tear Us Apart". Are there others that you would like to cover or remix in the future?
Salva - Definitely. We actually began with a cover of "Blue Monday", but we though that with Joy Division we could do something a bit different from the original, but still maintain the spirit of the original song and our own style. Personally I would love to cover one of the 80's Spanish groups like La Unión.
GP - A cover of La Unión would be awesome, I would look forward to that. Besides the obvious influences from the electronic music scene, are there other bands that maybe are not so obvious that you feel have been an influence behind teh music of the band?
Salva - It might surprise you to know that one of our previous tracks is based on a song by Philip Glass. I couldn't name other bands concretely, we just take any concept that seems interesting to us, mix it with our own to come up with our own ideas.
GP - What led the band from being more of a trance/EBM band with mainly chanting vocals or no vocals (ie. Reflex) to more of an electro or futurepop band? Was it just when you joined the group and your influence?
Salva - Yes, I simply could not sing in the style of EBM. For me it would be like dancing with shackles on: that brutal distortion limits so much the ability to convey the emotions and feelings taht the human voice has. When I joined, the songs started to have more complex, melodic structures. If it were any other way, I would be very bored!
GP - I'm sure you have a good local following, the scene seems to do fairly well there in Spain and in other spanish speaking countries, why not include some spanish lyrics / vocals on some tracks?
Salva - I tried! Actually with "Unforgiven". But I just could come up with decent lyrics in spanish. It's much harder to use spanish because the words are longer and the rhythm and rhymes are much more complicated. Also, I don't know why, but for me it just sounds "weird" singing in spanish. I also would like to do an album in the future of remixes of our own stuff, in which we could include a version of one of our current songs in spanish. Maybe one day we'll be inspired to do something in spanish!
GP - What are the roles of past and current members of the band? Have you taken over much of the creative and production process or are the others still involved?
Salva - Wolfran left the band several years ago, so Culture Kultür today are just Josua and myself. Our live lineup also changes because Josua doesn't play, instead my partner, Distortiongirl plays. Josua and I put together the composition of the songs, and the production falls mostly to Josua, since we do it all in his home studio.
GP - What are your plans for the future with the band? Will you be touring to promote the new album? And can we expect to another album in the future, maybe another five years, or hopefully sooner?
Salva - Right now we're preparing our live set: new song mixes and also video projections, created by Martin XM. When this is ready, we'll start the live concerts. Like I mentioned earlier, I would like to do a remix album, varying some of our known tracks, since some time has passed and with our live shows we've added new couhes. Also we'll include some remixes that other groups have done of our tracks during all of this time. It's kind of soon to talk about it, but I hope that it doesn't take another five years! Besides, our 20th anniversary for the band is in 2012, so it will be good to do something to celebrate the band's history.
GP - Hopefully I've avoided all the redundant questions that others ask, but is there anything else you would like to add?
Salva - I would like to thank everyon that has helped with the album and all the promoters from Spain and around the world that have helped to organize concerts; not for the money but just because they love music like us. I hope that you like Spirit and that we'll see you soon in the USA!
Reborn - Review
After the excellent release of Combat and the latest compilation appearances, fans have really been anxious for this latest release. When I finally received word of it's release I was extremely pleased with the samples that I heard. Once I got the disc I couldn't help but listen to it several times over. This album features a dozen pieces and each track is very powerful, meaningful and well produced.
If the listener has picked up any of the latest compilations coming out of Spain lately, they'll recognize the two excellent tracks "Wonder" and "Analyst". But first, to kick off the album is the driving piece "Distress Call" which utilizes the earlier trance styles of this band building into a driving force then dropping off while Salva belts out the powerful vocals and then building up again with the swooshing synths and building drum-rolls. This gradually fades out and gives way to probably my favorite piece on the album, "Wonder". The introductory piano is really cool with it's fading echo and once again the prominent synths begin and play a major roll in this piece and give way again to the pounding beats. I love the deep, heavy beat on this piece and the melodic vocals add a nice touch. "Analyst" starts off with some ballad-like vocals and slowly building up to another stellar and powerful piece that will drive people to the dance floor.
On many albums the best tracks may be done and over with, but with this one they just keep going. "The Only One" keeps the beats driving, but the album isn't all about this moving, dance-floor friendly music. "Coma" presents us with a very smooth piece that brings the tempo and intensity down to an excellent ballad-like piece. After this the intensity picks right back up with the trance-heavy piece "Fading Away" and includes the more EBM-friendly track "Time Wave". There are others along the lines of the lighter electro-pop flavor, but we're also presented with two other ballad-like pieces including the finale to the album "A Few Words", while still heavy with throbbing synths and laiden with emotional power, the tempo is slow and creates a peaceful ending to a great album.
Now I can't leave this review without a word of encouragement to the band to give us a track sung in their native spanish language. I enjoy it when bands from different nations will present us something in their native language which seems to have more feeling from their hearts. So, other than the lack of a spanish track, this is an excellent album that fans really need to check out!
Label: Out Of Line - www.outofline.de