MVTANT – Electronic Body Horror

I happened to see MVTANT back at the Substance 2022 festival. It was after Jesus and Mary Chain finished their set on the main stage, so I decided to explore the other stages in the Los Angeles Theater. There Joseph Anger was in the mezzanine stage, and I was mesmerized. I wanted to stay longer, but Kanga was scheduled to play downstairs in the ballroom.

A really shitty cellphone pic of MVTANT live at Substance 2022 festival in LA.

The energy he exhibited live belied the tempo and the beat of his music. If the performance was on mute, I would have expected the music to have a really aggressive tempo like Atari Teenage Riot rather than the EBM throwback it was. Once home when I listened to MVTANT, I had to go on YouTube to see the live performance because what was in my memory versus what I was hearing didn’t match up.

MVTANT just released his first proper album Electronic Body Horror this month, almost 40 minutes of EBM horror that made my scarred psyche feel comforted. I don’t know whether it was how much the opener “Disintegration” sounded like a guitar-less Burn-era Sister Machine Gun or “In Dreams” had a “Dig It” style beat. Or the samples on “Trauma Bond” that chugs along leading us to what I assume is an abattoir. And I might be high but I think he might have sampled Mu’s “Paris Hilton” to begin “Pretty Flesh.” But I felt comfort in the horror.

There is nothing manic about the songs. They just propel you closer and closer to this nightmare, not so much a chthonian creature as it’s a scenario, like you are escaping a murderer and make it home to your family but the murderer slashes you up anyway. It’s horrible, yes, but at least you can dance.

As much as I love this album and have not been able to stop playing it, I do wonder whether it is good for me or for the world in general. I really fear living in the past, romanticizing everything about the “good ole days” and not evolving. Fuck stagnation and boredom.

We just had the Cruel World festival where Duran Duran headlined with also featured Blondie, Adam Ant, Ministry playing their first two albums from the early to mid 80s, Gary Numan, Soft Cell. You get my drift. I guess Interpol were there, but they are about 20 years (aka one generation) removed from their hey day, and they were a nostalgia band to begin with anyhow. I just fear we are crossing the line from appreciating the past to living in the past.

Then I take a look at what I’m listening to. Here are the top 10 artists I’ve scrobbled this year:

Besides MVTANT and Filmmaker, that doesn’t look very current, does it?

I get it. I’m getting older, and your musical tastes tend to cement during your adolescence and early adulthood. I’m grateful that there was enough challenging music during those times so that I wouldn’t be so blindsided as to think that Taylor Swift’s music was great.

Maybe that is my horror that this album is driving me towards, that I’ll be meme of Abe Simpson yelling at a cloud. Fuck.

But at least he’s cute.