Cntr | We Are Here

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Electronic: Experimental Electronic: Industrial Moods: Mood: Brooding
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We Are Here

by Cntr

Creates a niche for itself in the electronica genre, combining elements of trip-hop, industrial, glitch, drone and dark ambient.
Genre: Electronic: Experimental
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. if the truth hurts, wear it
4:54 album only
2. tin rain
5:56 album only
3. police helicopter
5:49 album only
4. kate
10:26 album only
5. geoff's poetry hour
3:24 album only
6. f cage
2:18 album only
7. they shone like sinners (mr. moron's lament)
6:51 album only
8. snowblind
5:44 album only
9. love
6:27 album only
10. untitled
3:32 album only


Album Notes
"I hesitate to call the cntr experience music. It's more than that - an artistic form of auditory communication incorporating instrumental or vocal tones in a structured and continuous manner."

- Ishmael Gradsdovic, Journale de Viborisme, Cambridge

Rising from the economic ruins of 2003, cntr is a two-piece electonica outfit that resides in a heavily armed compound somewhere south of San Francisco. The success of cntr stems from its influential tension. Combining elements of trip-hop, industrial, glitch, dark ambient and drone, cntr does more to fill in the gaps between genres than to stand out as an example of one particular genre. Be it an industrial track with groove, a glitch track with organic overtones, or a drone love song, cntr's music offers an unsettling landscape that defies immediate categorization.

Their first offering, "we are here," was released in 2005.



to write a review

Chris Maples - postdawn nurseries

cntr is Geoff Clarke and Todd Elliott and they claim to live "in a heavily armed compound somewhere south of San Francisco". That and their interest in conspiracy and culture remind me of the vibe in Interplay's RPG of 1998, Fallout 2. Their debut full length album 'we are here' has been available since early this year, and they've gotten quite a few positive responses to their work from fans on My first reaction to their request for a review was that even though their musick was obviously loop-based, it had texture and mood in mass amounts and that I'd be happy to write about it. When I finally listened to the whole album, I was more than astounded at how organic and human and interesting the musick actually was for being loop-based and computer generated. Of course, it's not 100% digital, as is evident with all the radio and vocal samples used, as well as the rare opportunities they take in singing along to the spacious and desolate sound they create. Particular care to feel has, without a doubt, been put into this album by both Geoff and Todd.

Track one, 'if the truth hurts, wear it', opens with windchimes and a choral noise build-up that gets just on the verge of exploding speakers or your living mate's patience, and then instantly mellows to a soft pink fuzz that is accompanied by samples of an interview with Frank Chu, San Francisco's favorite protestor, discussing the Zegnatronic Rocket Society. 'tin rain' is aptly named, as it is an attempt at capturing the mood of melancholy by using simple sounds processed through short delay reverbs, giving it a metallic ring. A middle eastern instrument or vocal sample which fades in lazily every so often also has that subtle ring to it. In fact, this metallic sound exists throughout cntr's sonic journey, adding a post-apocalyptic tone to all the sounds. 'police helicopter' soars forward with a high-pitched but filtered squealing that sounds like cicadas in an alien environment. It quickly becomes rich with a pulsing percussive low-end and the tell-tale fuzz that runs throughout cntr's work on this album. Voices stretched tonically wail back and forth across the stereo spectrum. The end is peaceful, yet with an undertone of dread. 'kate', the fourth track, I'm guessing utilizes samples of someone named Kate. A hollow space envelops occasional grunts of pleasure and time-stretched speech. Again, the 'verb on the voice is very short and metallic. By a minute-and-a-half, the vocal samples are being stretched into thin phasing drones of desolation and urgency, and extends into nine more minutes of sub and supersonic gurgles, noise bursts, and saw blade tenacity. This track ranges from academic experimental to an all-out Merzbow-like noisefest. Near the end, we are treated to a casual loop-centered walk in the jungle. Track five, 'geoff's poetry hour', sounds like an overexcited journey into DMT space, drunkenly veering into the jungle sky and including the ancient sounds of priestly adepts before a virgin sacrifice, accompanied by a resonant and crystalline tribal drum machine beat. Track six, 'f cage', seems to me like a definite bridging of concepts. Incessant deep house kick drums and a soft melancholic melody with random and accidental-sounding metal percussion and noise sweeps and tone bleeps. It is at this point that the album starts to move away from the strictly experimental and more toward the multi-genric. Track 7 is titled 'they shone like sinners (mr. moron's lament)' and is rife with fringe elements of slowcore, ala Stars of the Lid. A slow vibrato on a xylophone-like synth and buzzing and creaking swirlies with a tremeloed organ harmony permeate a mood of being alone and disturbed by or absorbed in feverish memories. In the middle, a loping percussion actually appears lending more to the idea of the slowcore influence. Deep jazz xylo tones creep in, giving it that Angelo Badalamenti feel up 'til the end. At around 6 minutes, the drones disappear leaving only the loping rhythm and deep xylo. Track 8, 'snowblind', also aptly titled, begins instantly with a clickety-clack Battlestar Galactica Cylon vocoded voice and metal drone that reminds of some of Skinny Puppy's more abstract moments in the Last Rights era. Voice and drone crossfade into one sound, then split again while leaving the merged voice. There is actually singing in this one too, whisperey and seductive. The distortion gives this song it's name, making a soft pulse-modulated edge to the synth sounds. A lot of the distortion on this album sounds pulse-modulated or bit-reduced. Track 9, 'love', is another Puppy-ish one. Not as in Puppy's track of the same name, but in that same timeframe, maybe 'Cleanse, Fold, and Manipulate' or so. The kick beats phase and the top tones resonate like a dot-matrix printer having a shit fit. A chorused distorted middle-eastern stringed instrument and echoing post-industrial-style percussion, along with a spacey juno synthline fill out the sound. Mood on this one, a little less melancholy than the other tracks and more energetic, even aggressive. Near the end, a dark choir announces the end of the track, and near end of the disk. The last track, untitled, is almost uplifting compared to the other darker and more introspective tracks.

In short, if you like experimental of any sort, or dark minimal that has an organic feel, then this album is not a bad choice to pick up. It's definitely mood setting, but not in the gravitational sense. Sonic themes of future possibilities, paranoia and release, surrealism, space travel, and emotionally torn supermen came to mind several times for me while listening. While it can easily be compared to experimental or minimal "goth/industrial" musick of our times, this album is rampant with textural subtlety and pragmatic mood. Check out cntr and download samples from their website,, or listen at