Plastic Noise Experience: -196°C Reviews

-196°C is the band's first U.S. album, drawing together two previous releases. Many of these songs are in the traditionally sparse industrial-dance vein (a la Front 242) but they truly excel when they move outside this framework. "Dream Destructor" and "Synthesis" are slower sinuous and infinitely more threatening. There is a sense of something evil stalking you in the dark. "Visage de Plastique" with its conventional Ultravox feel is unintentionally sensual - not industrial, but hard-edged synth-pop. But the best is "Frozen Masses" , a dance piece filled with slowly moving synthetic chords, a strongly Kraftwerkian theme and computerized voices. - Michael Mahan, Alternative Press

The brain child of programmer/vocalist Claus Kruse and programmer/lyricist SM Kalwa (can't we just once have an industrialist named Fred?), the first three tracks on this best-of collection have these techno-industrial hybrids becoming steadily darker and more aggressive in the vocal distortion, keyboard tonality, and beats, until they rival Ministry's pre-metalic days. The disc does then calm a bit to a Skinny Puppy level of aggression, and it's there that this duo truly comes into their own. Instrumentation is kept to a minimum, which stresses the noisy tones on the angrier moments, and accents the beats on the danceable tracks, some of which approximate a heavier version of Depeche Mode's pre-pop days. - Paul Semel, HUH Magazine
Taking a cue from such noise masters as Front Line Assemby, PNE serves up fourteen less than subtle hits to the body. From dirge-like "Synthesis" to the amphetamine induced "Why" these guys prove that industrial mayhem can sound just as convincing at any speed. Aggressive Electro-Dance at its most intriguing, this stuff is equally appropriate for dancing uncontrollably, stalking the neighbors, or just sitting around being pissed off at the world. And while their diversity of sounds would please the harshest critic, their songwriting skills make them accessible enough for the uninitiated. Not to be missed. - H., Seconds Magazine
-196°C is comprised of tracks from String of Ice and Visage De Plastique, both released in 1993. From the sound of this album I'd guess that the two members of Plastic Noise Experience have nothing but Front Line Assembly records in their collection - which isn't necessarily a bad thing. They are definately following FLA's footsteps. The brand of shoes are different,though FLA's being of much higher quality? - Andrew Chadwick, INK 19 Magazine
-196°C is the mutant offspring of the unholy union of techno, pop, and industrial. On their latest release, PLASTIC NOISE EXPERIENCE has managed to combine Nitzer Ebb, Front 242, KMFDM and even a little Kraftwerk into a refreshingly interesting technoesque album. The album is diverse enough to appeal to lovers of dance music, technoheads, who are honest enough to admit that songs in a handbag vein aren't all bad, and those who are biding their time waiting for the wave of affected admiration for Nine Inch Nails to blow over. Both the first track :Escape" and "Close My Eyes/Sex" are reminiscent of Nitzer Ebb and KMFDM at their poppiest. Techno sounds the alarm on the cuts "Visage de Plastique" and "Frozen Masses", while visions of Kraftwerk float around in "Souls of Eight Seconds". If you're thinking of expanding your musical horizons this year,why not plug into two of the coolest, -196°C, sounds around - techno and industrial, your ears and feet will be glad you did! - Mimi Adams, GLASS EYE Magazine
PLASTIC NOISE EXPERIENCE, eh? They're not as stiff as all that! There's actually plenty of flexability on this album: don't let the first dull track put you off: keep listening and the songs get more varied and lead into interesting forays into complex electro noise. They even spice it up with weird melodies, like the track "Frozen Masses", which has a catchy melody line running through it like a vein of flinty mica. -196°C wants to be really tough, but you can still listen to it without getting too bruised. - Nick C., B-SIDE Magazine
Van Richter - self billed as "your Aggro-Industrial label", specializes in "dark wave" techno-goth with a European tilt. These are not ten minute excursions into the art of "mix-down". These are songs that have been designed on computer to follow the "pop" idiom with three and four minute digital tunes, except for the eight minute song "Frozen Masses", which is more like Euro-Techno dance music. Over all there is an austere minimalism to this product, which gives away its European origin, as opposed to the fuller sound coming from the States these days. If solid Euro-Techno sound is your thing, you can find this record at POB 13321, La Jolla, CA 92039-3321. - Paul Hirsch, FAD Magazine
PNE: Last Regression video. This is one of those cool, slow-motion videos that really live within the club scene. Lots of great black and white blurred motion cityscapes superimposed upon singer Claus, intermixed with night driving sequences and odd industrial elements. While this doesn't have the slick film production most of us have become used to because of the ridiculous budgets spent on Empty-V, it does have the essence of the music and video of prime-era Wax Trax and an excellent song to boot. While it's one of the more laid back numbers on -196°C, you can dance to it with a colder - than - thou hipness. An apt mixture of visuals with music. - Ken Holewczyski, ARC Magazine
PNE explore familiar EBM territory that could easily be mistaken for early Front 242 or Front Line Assembly. The vocals are similar in tone and timbre, althoughthe music is much more stripped down to its basic elements. PNE rely on their song writing skills and their beat-driven music to grab you, rather than on any flashy display of buried sequences and sounds. The tracks all move at a respectable bpm but never really kick into a really hard-hitting groove - I'd say that this would've been considered dance floor speeds a few years ago, but don't really reach the level of current standards. This isn't a drawback, though, as I think some people equate faster with better. All you need to do is listen to the music and your body will follow. PNE's music is entrancing and focuses on a style that allows you to absorb the sounds and rhythms with plenty of breathing room. - Ken Holewczyski, ARC Magazine
We have here a very interesting release which can be appreciated only by our american readers. This CD is in fact sort of compilation cause it represents the work of famous German band Plastic Noise Experience with their two albums "String of Ice" and "Visage De Plastique". It's nothing new for European listeners because all the tracks are in the original versions.Its not necessary to write again my opinions to these two albums because they were already reviewed in previous issues. I hope the strategy of Van Richter will help to get a good position for European electro across the Atlantic. Good luck. - Ergo, Crewzine
Ambient electronic beats and pulsating rhythms punctuate -196°C, the new release by Germany's Plastic Noise Experience. PNE's loosely structured songs recall the feeling of the early '80's electronic insurgence. Classic drum machine beats and keyboard patches reminiscent of the Thompson Twins and Thomas Dolby mill about within spacious arrangements - this is a record destined to send fans of retro- electronic music into technical ecstacy. This is the third in a recent series of releases from Van Richter records, the California indie responsible for bringing material from The Fair Sex and Testify to the ears of listeners Stateside. Techheads can score a catalog of current and future Van Richter releases by writing to the label at Van Richter, P.O. Box 13321, La Jolla, CA 92039-3321. - DJ, Foundations Magazine
A second wave from the signature German synth circuit... Remember Kraftwerk? Palpitating, pulsating; not at all unpleasant. Not so pulverized as Front 242 or eagerly FLA. Not as fervent or peevish as Puppy Not as chaotic as. Einsturzende Neubauten... But certainly, the genesis of Plastic Noise Experience was marked by these influences, their offspring, and second cousins. PNE, the combined trials and tribulations of Claus Kruse and schitzophrenic pal SM Kalwa, have obvious fun with noise without ever torturing the listener. Like Bonski Beat, whose "Why" is well-covered here, it strongly urges certain primal instincts triggered by rhythm. I find -196°C leaning more toward the ambient rather than the aggressive side of industrial. They've a definite ear for the source of aesthetic delight and play it to their advantage. I guess -196°C would be pretty damn cold, but I've a warm feeling for this 14-track anthology. - Rene, Permission Magazine
This electronic body music of an older generation, like the days of the Klinik. Most of the songs reflect electro-avantgarde. The synths used are slightly fuzzy and other electronic sounds that are cycled are oddly fashioned. The songs flow with minimalism and dark melody. Plus, the vocal styling brings the early days of Front Line Assembly into thought. Surely, the second half, "Visage de Plastique" through "Soul of Eight Seconds" is worth the price of the CD. Much harsher and willing to show more experimentation, these tracks including the primary "Inter Space" are a cacophonous distinction of Plastic Noise Experience. I can't wait for the anthology Neural Transmission. - Thomas Albrecht, New Industrial Sounds
Advertised as Germany's answer to Front Line Assembly, I feel that Plastic Noise Experience are much more reminiscent of electro industrial done up in 80's synth pop flavor. I think this is a great combo and is very enjoyable to listen to. Still very fresh and untainted (apparently) by the american industrial-metal scene, cool keyboard work and synth drums coupled with a raw and magical style make Plastic Noise Experience one of the more unique outfits today. Remember what industrial felt like when you first got into it and everything was cool? This is the mood of Plastic Noise Experience. - Satyr, Interface Magazine
In Germany, the new industrial age is already in full swing, as seen on Plastic Noise Experience's -196°C. Experience formed in 1989, releasing four albums in Europe, -196°C compiles their last two, String of Ice and Visage de Plastique, minus a few of the remixes. Experience is a powerful mixture of harsh industrial, powerful techno beats, and doomy gothic atmosphere, creating dark visions as potent in your bedroom as they are on the dancefloor. "Visage de Plastique" perfectly captures the band's sound, a tight techno beat with Eurotrash female vocals slipping away into a dark industrial soundscape. Sliding doom-drenched keyboards appear, until all elements finally meld together and begin to ebb and flow through the remainder of the song. Why the Bronski Beat original is turned into a techno nightmare, with Jimmy Somerville's emotive falsetto plea replaced by bitter vocal accusations. - Jo Anne Greene, Pandimonium Magazine
O ultimo CD "Visage de Plastique" e' algo inumano,musicas como "Visage de plastique - Plugged e Interspace" vao simplesmente alem do extase. Aos que queiram adquirir este incrivel trabalho, tente a coletanea -196 C(contem musicas do Visage e do album String od Ice" Outro album extremamente bem realizado e' Neural Transmission sao 75 minutos com 20 faixas de extremos beats,destaque para as faixas Illusions(Belissima),Reduction(Forte) e Kill the 6 (Extraordinaria). Para quem ouvir Plastique Noise e amar , saibam que eles possuem um projecto chamado Gaytron , com a mesma musicalidade,porem muito mais techno do que EBM,na minha opniao Gaytron e' o real conceito de falta de preconceito musical mediocre. A discografia e' basicamente : Transmission,String of Ice,Gold,Small Town Boy,Visage de Platstique e as coletaneas -196C, Neural Transmission e Memory Transmitted , no Brazil provavelmente ainda circula a demo "Our lie,Our Land" distribuida pela New Will productions do amigo Gil do Morgue. Thank you Van Richter for your big information. Engine Electronic Body Music#3 Magazine
Plastic Noise Experience is certainly one of the most prolific electro-industrial band signed on Van Richter. -196C is a collection of two CDs, "String of Ice" (1993) and (I love the name of this one...) "Visage de Plastique" MCD (1993), like Neural Transmission, this album take us into the real realm of the electro-industrial music like X-Marks the Pedwalk, Ringtailed Snorter and old Front 242.
The album starts with Escape a real X-Marks-alike song with mid-distorted voice, EBM-conventional beat and synth sequence. "String of Ice" consists of a distorted beat and vocals with some aggressive elements. "Dream Destructor" is an slow-paced piece in the vein of some Suicide Commando early work, minimalist synth and beat sequences. "Last Regression" is a blend between some X-Marks/Ringtailed Snorter and Suicide Commando elements, with a pretty good refrain, distorted vocals and some cool computerize samples. "Visage de Plastique" is an instrumental piece with some female-voice french spoken words, a very insteresting piece.
"Frozen Masses" shows the synth-pop elements that PNE will have on their next work (Neural Transmission), a slow-paced piece, with a conventional EBM-beat and synth sequences and some computerize vocals. "Soul of Eight Seconds" is certainly one of my favorite track of this release, a blend of Front 242 and old X-Marks with a lot of synth-pop elements; hard EBM-beat, computerize vocals, catchy synth sequences.
Overall, this album, even if it sounds a little bit primitive by today's standards, is a great worth of money for pure EBM/electro fans. Personaly, I'm really eager to see if they will release some new works... Plastic Noise Experience are: Claus Kruse & SM Kalwa (Your Schizophrenic Pal) - Francois Joron, ELECTROAGE Ezine
"Dream Destructor": the haunting futuristic sound of this song makes it a leader in its genre. The vocals and lyrics are just as haunting as the music. A definite must-hear for any industrial music fan. - Gunther G.,