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Silicon - Album Review: Personal Computer

22 Sep 2015 // A review by Peter-James Dries

Raygun Gothic is an artistic style, extending mainly to architecture, which is best described as how the past saw the future. It’s the future that never was. 

If there was ever an album that captured that Raygun Gothic vibe, it would be Silicon’s Personal Computer. It’s the sound of the co-operation of man and machine, the music of a world where Neo won the Matrix in the 80s. A reflection of this technology addicted world we find ourselves in when we look up from our cellphone screens.

Being a child of the Commodore (64, not the car), Personal Computer brought on nostalgic rememberings of waiting fifteen minutes for a tape to load, a tape that only existed to play a chiptune version of Axel F, the theme from Beverley Hills Cop that was forever tarnished by Crazy Frog. 

In what must have sounded like blips, high pitched bleeps and apeggiated doots to everyone around me, nails on the chalkboard even, I found some sort of comfort, some kind of piece in those modulated notes.

But there was no such comfort in Personal Computer. On the surface there is the guise of sterility, like the soothing tones of hospital life support systems, but underneath there lies the frenetic twiddlings of a fellow insomniac. 

It’s that twitching human side that distinguishes this music as a product of insomniacs, not music FOR insomniacs. Personal Computer is music for dark curtains, but only if there is sunlight behind them. 

There’s a similarity in the sound, and quite possibly the creative process, between Personal Computer and Hesitation Marks, the last foray into music of Nine Inch Nails. 

The big difference between the two is the scope; Hesitation Marks beneath all its intentions was a vehicle for the ego that is Trent Reznor, and would not have been as critically panned if everyone, including Reznor had gone into the album without the expectation that this was another Downward Spiral. Personal Computer feels like it’s separate from any grandiose sense of self and can be seen as a portable, invisible art installation as much as an album. 

I wonder if this appreciation I feel for Personal Computer, I would have felt when presented Hesitation Marks as my introduction to Nine Inch Nails, if I would still find the music like Silicon’s, delicate with flourishes of brilliance, or if the hubris would still bleed through.

You can find Silicon’s Personal Computer on the Silicon website or on iTunes.


About Silicon

It's cold as you ponder if someone is listening. Colder still as the answer alludes you. As you swipe and scroll and remember, you give in. There is romance in a blinking light assembled in China. Never be lonely.

It doesn't go off. Even when the standby switch is clicked, it doesn't really go off. When you delete and cancel and remove, it doesn't disappear. There is romance scorched into a database underground in Dakota. Never be lonely.

This is Silicon. Sit back. Are you comfortable? This is Silicon. Far beyond anything you could ever have imagined, there's an overwhelming reliance on the plastic in your palm. The Sistine Chapel of circuit boards. Lurking amidst Auckland's tranquil waters, bold mountains and dormant volcanoes; insomniac Kody Nielson composes shiny and gorgeous pop-aspersions that loiter in the silence. Eyes never blinking, information never ceasing, it is seduction. Don't stop.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Silicon


Personal Computer
Year: 2015
Type: Album

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