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Into the Unknown: Death in Vegas

Death in Vegas – Your Loft my Acid

After listening to a regularly reliable machine based radio show The Electronic Tonic there it was: The return of Death in Vegas.

We all know what happens to bands after their first album, they get rich and fat, start frolicking with some modern fancy that was the fit one in a TV show where people sat around moaning about being hungry and slagging each other off. But ultimately they often stop releasing exciting, edgy music. It’s not true of all bands; with Radiohead and The Fall being constant exceptions (there are lots more) but it is a recurrent theme that’s difficult to put your finger on. Fortunately Death in Vegas have joined the gang bucking the trend.

bands after their first album, they get rich and fat

With the band project Black Acid behind him Richard Fearless, the man behind DiV has rediscovered the equipment he used on the influential Contino Sessions and in some ways started again, think 909s, 808s, Korg synths and a dusty old cupboard of racks. It’s pushed him in a direction he knows well, but the real art is to be yourself whilst being different.


Death in Vegas have always been a band that produce progressive songs that don’t bore, but inspire. Nowadays though, it’s hard to be a band that do ‘buildy’ songs without disappearing into the hinterland of stark banality, and unfortunately up your own arse. However, DiV are pre- and present masters, and know how to add atmosphere and flow without boring the listener.

progressive songs that don’t bore, but inspire

The Underworld-esque droney atmospherics loop and lull the opening of the track, soon joined by harmonious pads and gentle claps. Hi-hat percussion adds its rhythm a little way in and the track begins to find its groove. Standard fare you think. But then the sucker punch comes, an old school house bounce of the highest order mixed with a 2011 twist and suddenly you’re in the mood.

The buoyant loop is coupled by the aforementioned hi-hat that adds the groove, is dance music anything without a Hi-Hat loop? Slowly the percussion ups the tempo, revealing again the dance music influence, when in come the vocals and they’re somewhat reminiscent of …Death in Vegas.

definitely DiV, but not old men looking for a pay day

The tune does sound self influenced but is fresh and new at the same time, definitely DiV, but not old men looking for a pay day. The vocals begin dry and without effect, pure and present 'I can feel'. Then gradually, 'Fearless' ups the tempo and the vocal begins to disappear into reverb and wash with decay, backed up by rising tides of keyboard pads and loops, an omen to a much greater presence later in the track.

The voice is that of the Canadian solo artist Katie Stelmanis, her ethereal vocal gives the track its edge over contemporaries. The repetition of the lines highlights again the influence of minimal dance music alongside the timed drop of rhythm that allows a breather before the enjoyably suffocating vocal bathes its warmth unto the listener.

the influence of minimal dance music

Stelmanis’s voice pushes through the octaves as the arpeggiated backing track pushes through the filters. The summit is nearing. Key layers are added and melodic dives accompany. Fearless harmonises the vocal with itself, as is all too common, an intoxicating recording destined for the movers and shakers.

It’s the song the DJ waits to play, the one that makes you wait until 5am, never sure but always hoping for that elusive play. When all around you are losing energy and beginning to think of bed it drops, bringing back that elative mood boy and girl all yearn for.

From the album Trans Love Energies released back on September 12th.

Liam runs the small but potentially revolutionary radio station Different Class Radio, he just needs that one idea.


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