Between Noise And Transmission - Review
SD6 is the trio composed of Brandon Jerwa, Jessica Blackshear and Nicole Edmunds. Hailing from the Northwest area of the United States the bring to us their unique brand of electronic music. Though similarities range from many synthpop and EBM bands, they remain unique in their own sound and style on this, their debut album. Released on the 23DB label, and recruiting the help of Tom Shear (Assemblage 23, Nerve Filter), the result is a well produce disc of great music with an even ten tracks, they launch onto the scene in a good way.
As a fan of great electro-pop and after the positive praise received by fellow DJs, I was excited to pickup this work and check them out. I of course had the impression it would sound a lot like Assemblage 23 and backandtotheleft, which is good, but I was pleasantly surprised that what I heard was actually quite unique and not much at all like those groups, other than they all fall within the electro-pop related genres. Instead, what you have are some nice tracks varying from the harder-driving dance-friendly pieces to some mid-tempo and somber selections. Yet none of these really kick in the "four-on-the-floor" techno beat, but all have a little different percussion make-up.
"Fallen" kicks off the album with a slowly building intro that finally gives way to a driving synth piece with Brandon's solid vocals and a mix of breakbeats that are enjoyable and not overbearing. Once again the solid, but unique driving beats and style shine on "Twilight" with a little bit of heavy EBM influences coming through. However, the highlight on this disc has to be the solid bassline on "Believe" with it's little bit of "swing" put into it. Everything else about this track is solid, heavy electro-pop that fans can really enjoy, the catch melody, the vocals and overall the powerful synths layered throughout.
Taking a different turn is the excellent piece "Untruth" where the female vocals take the lead over the powerful experimental electronics and driven along with the slowly pounding rhythm. Really breaking the mold is "The World Divide" with something of a deown-tempo electronic piece, with light percussion moving it along, the pulsing slap-bass gives it a darker edge, coupled with the moody vocals and lyrics, keeping it well in the darker moods. Picking up the tempo and intensity slightly, yet remaining well within this same style and mood is "Nothing Now". "We Are As One" kicks off another round of mid-tempo rhythms and a mix of electronic loops that remain interesting.
At this point the album takes a slightly different turn with "Timestream". Matching something of the title and theme of the track some ambient trace loops kick in as a woven backdrop for the simple percussion and heavy bass drop that's real fun to listen to with a large subwoofer. This full sound and a new collection of loops move on a dance-friendly manner on "Everywhere", providing those that look for the club tracks a little more material here. And the album wraps up with some real thumping beats and the sample "I hope you don't mind loud music" kicking off the finale to the album "Free". The disc is finalized in club-friendly style with this piece with a steady, moving beat and a combination of electronics that we've now grown to familiarize with this band.
While the album isn't perfect, it's a great addition to any synth-lovers collection, especially if you want a bit of variety in your music collection, they've done a great job with this one.