Aesthetic Perfection

There are some things that you don’t know exist, but if you did you would want them. But if you find out they do exist you get excited! And then you get them (and in this instance it all happened in under 5 minutes); they just grab you. And they might help you rediscover something you already know. This album is one of those things, for this listener…

Okay, lets take a few steps back…

Aesthetic Perfection might be considered an acquired taste. Having made an impressive dent in the genre known as “Aggrotech” (a sub-genre of electro-industrial for those after tags and labels), who then moved into a more EBM stance, albeit maintaining a distinctly dark and still fairly edgey feel to it. Not to mention a dark side project with a lot less aggression, but a lot of emotion; under the title of “Necessary Response”. All of which is the brainchild of a certain Daniel Graves, who Rock Regeneration have had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with.


Well this reviewer had heard of a one off gig a year or so ago in the States where material from both Aesthetic Perfection and Necessary Response would be played in a small intimate setting, and acoustically-yes, acoustically! Dark hard electronic aggression delivered acoustically. One more time for luck; acoustically!

Unfortunately the pockets were not deep enough to jump on a plane for one night (the gig was in California).

Back to where we started…

So imagine my surprise when a new album by Aesthetic Perfection appeared in the mailbox. A live album recorded from the aforementioned gig. You could argue this is almost a covers album, where the performing artist has re-interpreted their own work in a different, albeit, special way.

Aesthetic Perfection

Interestingly enough the album plays in a number of different ways. The first is the alternative representations of electronic and aggressive tracks on predominantly piano or guitar. For example, “Inhuman”, captures the tempo and feel of its original, and piano keys are plucked at recreating the style of the original. This leads to the more EBM tracks translating in an easily recognisable manner, synths to piano – easy when you think of it. But the power, as well as tenderness changes the meaning of some of those more aggressive lyrics; giving them more depth. “Antibody” opens and is easily recognisable, but the rhythms give it a totally different feel-perhaps more punchy.

To quote Mr. Graves;
Graves said of the experience “I was more musically vulnerable than I had ever been before. The whole experience taught me that it’s ok to be vulnerable, it’s ok to be flawed, it’s ok to make mistakes, it’s ok to relinquish control and put your trust in others. Though much of this has been part of the Aesthetic Perfection “philosophy” since Day 1, putting that into practice is easier said than done. As a self-confessed control freak, it pushed me to the brink of madness. Now that all is said and done, I’m not stressed anymore. I’m just proud of what my friends and I accomplished, and I’m grateful to them for their hard work and creativity that made my vision come to life. I’m grateful to the fans who came and showed their support for an utterly absurd idea: An acoustic “industrial” show. And now, I’m excited that I can share this little piece of Aesthetic Perfection history with those who were unable to be there or wish to see it again. Who knows? Maybe we’ll do this again sometime.”

The originally caustic “The Pale” is beautifully offset with the female vocals playing the darker alter ego. Somehow this makes the track less dark, but almost giving a glimmer of hope to our protagonist. Just for the sake of comparison;

As Daniel says, between tracks; “You know we’re just a bunch of like, goth kids going nuts over a lounge show!”

Closing the album is “Spit It Out”, a particularly venomous track in its original form (and a favourite of this listener). But one that is completely softened by the acoustic guitar. Even during the chorus there is hardly any indication of the original aggression. The only indication being the lyrics.

The real highlights come from some of the older AP tracks (“The Pale”, “The Great Depression”, and especially “Spit It Out”) as they are almost at odds with the acoustic nature of the instruments. Which is interesting as the softer Necessary Response tracks come across equally well, but are less at odds with themselves when compared against their originals – “Devotion” is a beautiful track in any interpretation.

This may not be the best album to discover Aesthetic Perfection by; but it is a great album, and one that every AP fan should get. It might seem like a novelty album, but it is a clever re-imagining that you could argue crosses genres. It brings added depth to the lyrics; and for some, possibly makes those lyrics easier to comprehend! But the move from electronic to a stripped bare acoustic setting is not an easy transition to pull off – especially if your fanbase are used to hard hitting EBM. Daniel has said that

…and for anyone who might take anything too seriously, just check out the albums cover.

The album is out on the 18th May, and there is also a DVD, with an interview and live videos of;

The Great Depression
The Siren
Big Bad Wolf

Line Up
Daniel Graves on vocals
Lauren Krothe on piano and backing vocals
Marquis Howell III on upright bass
Tim Van Horn on drums
Tim Skold on acoustic guitar

Track Listing
The Great Depression
Hit The Streets
The Siren
Spilling Blood
One And Only
Big Bad Wolf
Spit It Out


Words by Jon.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to MySpace