Plastic Noise Experience: Neural Transmission Reviews

You know you're in for something good when the first few lines of an adrenalized cover of Bronski Beat's "Small Town Boy" lunge into your ear canal. So goes the opening of Plastic Noise Experience's follow up to -196°C. What follows is not necessarily a one hundred eighty degree turnaround,but definately an alternate route. They ease up on the chaos somewhat, and leave us with more restrained,almost majestic aural experience.Neural Transmission does have its moments of unrestrained energy,such as "Kill The 6", but PNE have become much more adept at creating electronic soundscapes. What keeps the proceedings from straying into showy pretention is the attention to song structure, though the real madness to their method seems to be an almost Kraftwerk - like precision. PNE are not intimidated by their electronics,but they seem to be driven by at least a moderately controlled musical work ethic. While many electronic musicians are trying desperately to propel into the future, PNE continue with the noble task of enhancing the here and now. - Haki, SECONDS Magazine

PNE's latest US release "Neural Transmission",is a backcatalogue of material and is an excellent introduction to the band. They open with some 242 influences,but quickly develop their signature minimalist approach to EBM. The dark and dreamy quality to the voicing of their instruments stands out as do Claus vocals. PNE maintain a particular style of EBM that holds up in the present day. Recommended. - Ken Holewczyski, ARC Magazine
[PNE] also dabble in synthi-sounds, but being proper Europeans, their influences hearken back to the cyber purity of Kraftwerk. Neural Transmission is a catch-up record for American audiences, compiling their debut album Transmission, club hits and unreleased material. Their sparse sound, powerful beats, dark atmospheres and gruff vocals belie many of the catchier Cynthia numbers (especially their cover of "Small Town Boy"). When they leave synthi behind it's into a darker world of foreboding electronics, moods and beats. - Jo Anne Greene, Pandimonium Magazine
This band changes directions like the wind, sounding like they were spawned from the Blonde era one moment, to techno/noise transient the next. An interesting experiment for those who like their music to be different every time they listen to it. I think this will be great in a party background atmosphere, if you want to be artsy. - Tom Brignall, Urban Warfare
The last time we heard from these guys on 1994's best of collection, -196°C they sounded mighty pissed off. But they seem to have mellowed out since then, and this disc has a decidedly more somber and atmospheric vibe. Though thoroughly industrial, with the requisite ingredients of treated vocals, sound effects, and electric rhythms, Neural Transmission finds Plastic Noise Experience using these elements with care; the beats are neither as sharp nor as loud, the vocals are low-key, and the effects are used more for ambiance than aggression. They were good when they were pissed; they're better now. - Paul Semel, Huh Magazine
Do they want to be Kraftwerk, Die Krupps, or Depeche Mode? It's hard to tell with Neural Transmissions. As the disc opened up, the familiar strains of Bronski Beat began plink-plunking their way out of my speakers - at first I thought, "oh no, they've sampled Jimmy Sommerville and now what will they do?" But then, sure enough, along came the lyrics to "Smalltown Boy"! The vocals were nothing, however, if not the polar opposite of The Great Soprano One. A growly monotone German voice had taken the forefront, and to be honest, I don't know what to think. I have to give credit to anyone who covers Bronski Beat, they were one of the boldest voices Queer power ever had on the dancefloor; but I have to say I just couldn't appreciate what they had done to "Smalltown Boy" - after all, it was always the feeling of understanding and fierce protection that had made the song work, and now it was, well, cold. Throughout Neural Transmission, it's hard to pin this band down. Sometimes harsh blips and free-yows get all stirred up with ambient leanings and toughguy distorto-vocals. Vince Clark-inspired synth lines vie for attention occasionally, but never quite enough to make it stick. Not on the top of my "must have" list, but a decent addition for any fan of the harsher euro-tech. - Felch, Permission Magazine
Plastic Noise Experience reminds me of everything good about the minimalistic German electro - pop movement, before the industrial revolution's fusion of metal and noise propelled the concepts to hasher levels. Sharp electronic sounds, stark ethereal ghosts and repetitive synthetic percussion make the 20 - song Neural Transmission a mostly mellow, moody yet danceable effort. The duo - Claus Kruse and S.M. Kalwa - use synthesizers and thick, Germanic - accented vocals to create music reminiscent of genre pioneer Kraftwerk. Neural Transmission is a compilation of Plastic Noise Experience's efforts(with afew previously unreleased tracks) since the band formed in 1989. Rather than push you around with overwhelming beats,many of the songs (like "Metamorphosis" and "Who") pull you into a metronomically hypnotic, introspective world of aural soundscapes. But "Kill the 6" and "Das Ritual" break things up with a hammering edgy urgency reminiscent of Front 242. Also included is a cover of Bronski Beat's "Small Town Boy". - Michael Hopkins, Magnet Magazine
Plastic Noise Experience play programmed electronic music in the vein of early Frontline Assembly. While the music on Neural Transmission isn't necessarily anything groundbreaking it does have its moments, especially "Metamorphose", "Who (Creates Our Needs), and "INXTC". At times good. - Ink 19 Magazine
I have known more fans of progressive rock to be more interested in this band than industrial connoisseurs. The most popular comparison is to Kraftwerk, but I wouldn't say PNE's sound can be described so simply. I think there is an obvious influence but just because they don't sound like Leaether Strip doesn't mean that they aren't making modern industrial music. Neural Transmission is a collection from their 1992 CD Small Town Boy, also a Jimmy Sommerville song, the 1993 Transmission CD and the 1995 double CD Transmitted Memory. - Terra Industria
Neural Transmission culls its tracks from PNE's past European releases,Transmission,Transmitted Memory and Small Town Boy, making this an decent a great follow-up to -196°C. Either way, you can't go wrong. - Tunnel Magazine
The "Neural Transmissions" from Plastic Noise Experience, come mostly from earlier releases not immediately available in this country. The feel of the music, however, sounds like it's from a much earlier time. Songs such as "Small Town Boy" could have come from the early eighties roots of electrodance, rather than from a mere four years ago. The descendency from Kraftwerk sounds second generation, not third or fourth. The lighter sound decreases as the CD progresses (passing from 1992 through 1993 up to 1995). "Schachtende" is filled with trickling electrorhythmic sequencers, a bass beat, and a choppy backing keyboard whose chords become a part of the rhythmic pattern. Because there are no flowing chords to fill in the nooks and crannies, the song has a sparse feel to it, despite being filled to bursting with electronic patterns. Vocals are only mildly distorted, and mixed well to the rear. - Michael Mahan, Alternative Press
This retrospective digital masterpiece from one of the second generation's most prolific bands, P.N.E., skillfully combines an early 80's New Wave sound with the aggressive edge more often associated with rivet head culture. The album's most marketable track, a cover of Bonski Beat's gay anthem "Small Town Boy", is actually one of the weakest offerings. Instead it is the dance oriented cuts like "Kill The 6" and "Das Ritual" that make this record a sheer EBM classic. If you're sick of all the damn metal cross overs flooding the market these days, pick up this Retro Tech offering from Van Richter and get ready to move. - R.M., Cybersell Industries
Neural Transmission culls its tracks from PNE's past European releases, Transmission, Transmitted Memory and Small Town Boy, making this a decent back catalog of this minimalistsic electro-outfit's material. A full 20 tracks fill this CD and while there are some not-so gutsy numbers that border on sounding like Depeche Mode ("Metamorphose" and "Who"), other cuts show why they rank with other great dance industrial contemporaries. "Kill the 6" and "Schachtende" are reminiscent of early 242 and Claus's vocals are well-defined and gutsy. Near the second half of this CD things tend to stay in their dance-mode and the music really kicks in Das Ritual. Neural Transmission is either a great intro to PNE, or a great follow-up to -196°C. Either way, you can't go wrong. - The Tunnel Ezine
A solid compilation of releases from this German duo from '92-'95. A new wave feeeling with tons of simple drums and string-like synths start out this 20 song CD. Moving towards the middle, things start to get a bit tougher. "Memory Flow" sticks out as a hip tune and things just get hipper from there. Definately a Eurobeat thing going on. I really enjoyed this CD a lot. Although there was not one thing that blew me away, the best part of Plastic Noise Experience is their ability to keep their songs short and sweet, which is why I don't think I'll ever tire of this band. A great starter kit for the PNE future fan. - Gear Magazine
Take synth-pop basics, speed them up, and add some dancy tech-noise and vocals with a touch of industrial raspy-ness to produce twenty beautiful synth-core masterpieces. From the melodic, flute propelled symphonies of "Metapmorphose" and the elekto-darkness of the drum machine ridden, Leaether Strip-y "Gold" to the synthesizer rich but hardcore "Treat the World" and poppish, dance inducing, melody filled "Doom", Plastic Noise Experience definately create a wide range of "plastic noise" that's accessible to all fans of electronic music. PNE must definately be considered a staple of any synth-pop or electro-industrial fan's collection. It should be required by law. - Goyie, Fad Gadget Magazine
Overwhelmingly enough PNE's album Neural Transmission features twenty tracks taken from past releases, T92's Transmission, T93's Small Town Boy and T95's Transmitted Memory and previously unavailable material plus a revamped version of Bronski Beat's hit "Small Town Boy". Fans of noted industrial pioneers Front Line Assembly and Front 242 will enjoy this industrial heavy dance unit. Grab a copy and let your mind travel to far places and start moving that ass of yours. - SB, Delirium Magazine
Experience more primative instrumentation and anolog usage in the 20 track collection from Claus Kruse and SM Kalwa. Fans of Front Line Assembly will enthusiastically follow their minimal synthetic ethics. The sound quality is simular to FLA's early works. It's not vibrant, murky instead. This sound helps to separate this electro avant garde from digital synthesizers cross-pollinating or confusing electronic industrial with techno. Vocals have a fizz effect while the percussion is tinny. Other parts of percussion suggest industrial instrumentation, solid masses struck and then muffled when recorded. The exploration of sound goes beyond awesome in the metal coils struck in "Memory Flow" and the peculiar resonance captured as synths ricochet inside a metallic recording environmentin "Touch Your Skin" - Thomas Albrecht, New Industrial Sounds
Solid electro Industrial dance. Similar to Klinik in some ways. - Isolation Tank
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
Just mix Kraftwerk with some old X-Marks the Pedwalk/Ringtailed Snorter plus a portion of first Front 242 and than you have Plastic Noise Experience. Fans of old EBM/electro-industrial will certainly love this release. "Neural Transmission" is a collection of 3 past PNE's albums (Transmission [1992], Transmitted Memory [1995] and Small Town Boy EP [1993]) on 1 CD, 20 songs ! The CD starts with certainly the biggest PNE's hit to date, their cover of "Small Town Boy". One way order is a real kraftwerian with a touch of today's EBM with computerize vocals, pretty cool. "Kill the 6" is a piece with a coventional old EBM beat, with harsh vocals and a classic synth pattern. "INXTC" is a more recent piece (1995) and their sound is more polish, pretty cool samples here with some well arranged harsh vocals. "Illusions" is certainly one of my favorite, with the tribal beat with some cool piano melodie, a mixture of early Delerium with elements of synth-pop; soft vocals, ambient synths, etc. Doom is another piece with some synth-pop elements minus the soft beat, more an EBM beat. The album finish with "Doom", an orchestral piece very in the vein of Ringtailed Snorter, certainly the best song to finish an album like this one. Overall, this album is a great worth of money, but you have to like early electronic sounds-alike due to their primitive today standard. Well recommended. Plastic Noise Experience are : Claus Kruse, S.M. Kalwa (Your Schizophrenic Pal) - Final Man, Electroage
Basically this is a huge compilation from various band releases. The tracks are coming from: Small Town Boy, Transmission, and Transmitted Memory CDS. For sure you are asking yourselves if you have heard before the title Small Town Boy...I give you just one hint: Bronski Beat. Yeah right! This is a harsh and faster cover version of the Sommerville most famous track. When the ebm meet the synthpop you have got only one result; melody and powerful rhythms. The other four tracks from the Small Town Boy CD are: Metamorphose (an instrumental track that build s a bridge between two sides of horror). One Way Order (the Kraftwerk meets Front 242 kind of track). Serious Times and Who (Creates Our Need) (a distorted and crawling song). The next eight tracks were published one year after the Small Town Boy record. Transmission shows a different side of the band. A side where the voice becomes distorted and even more obsessive almost ebm. The tracks are dark and mid tempos are very intriguing; they seem like another band... The last seven tracks (Das Ritual, Touch Your Skin, Disappear, Illusions, Treat the World, Doom and Deny) are more percussive and tense than before. More into the modern ebm style, maybe. The sounds they use change drastically from the other two releases. From the use of normal synth they use a lot more sample machines, giving to the music more power and more brilliance but maybe they lost a little of the melodies that were characteristics. Anyway this is a good record and it's a must to know the Plastic Noise Exerience. - Maurizio Pustianaz, Chain D.L.K.
Plastic Noise Experience is a versatile group who's sound is comparable to Skinny Puppy, Front 242, and even Wumpscut in ways. Imagine a cross between those bands with the aggression level turned down a few notches. This is a band with a lot of potential, and I must admit they surprised me. I had first heard them on a compilation disk and wasn't very impressed with their sound. But this album has changed all of that. Get this, you will not be disappointed. - Brevity, Tentacles E-Zine