Eric Stratos – DTA
Artist: Eric Stratos
Type: Full-length (LP)
Release date: 21 October 2016
- Digital download (HVRF, 2016)
Don’t bother counting how many albums Eric Stratos has released – you’ll be here too long. Only PZA and HKE1 rival the New Jerseyite in sheer volume of output. It’s full-lengths for the most part, and they’re original releases, not updates or reissues. Wow.
DTA stands for “Don’t trust anybody”, and they were said by “Stone Cold” Steve Austin of WWE fame. Yep, DTA is a concept album of sorts – one about professional entertainment wrestling. Hardvapour has had an interesting relationship with wrestling (especially WWE), with several artists such as wosX and HKE either expressing enjoyment of the sport or creating characters based off of wrestling figures – as with Michael Tenay and the future funk album Jacuzzi. As with those works, DTA is pretty subtle in its wrestling influence, and one can listen to this album with absolutely no knowledge of wrestling and not be confused about any references. As HVRF says, “you don’t have to be ‘Stone Cold’ to live by the DTA motto”.
Most of Stratos’ releases feature fast hardvapour music. DTA ups the game a bit with each track relatively short. The full release is fifteen tracks in thirty-eight minutes, and six of those tracks don’t make it past two minutes. The shorter songs have an experimental techno edge to them with constantly-shifting percussion and beats. The longer ones are comparatively uncomplicated and wear hardvapour’s gabber influence a bit more. There are a number of non-musical inclusions: tracks incorporate garbled vocal clips (e.g. “Goddess”), TV warning tests (e.g. “Misery Sounds”), and noise/static (e.g. “Panic Complex”). The music will appeal to fans of Leave with Us by Sandtimer, as both utilize similar polyrhythmic experimental techno percussion with unorthodox melodic structures.2
The 20 October 2017 one-year anniversary of DTA was celebrated with the release of the DTA (Above the Abyss Update) EP on HVRF. This featured five additional tracks that were presented as if they were new maps for the DTA “Multi-Player Shooter/Visual Novel crossover game”. These songs feature larger glitch influences and are definitely tied to the video game aesthetic – “DataGrind Perk Has Been Removed from the Game” has a mid-course break of strange electronic squelches, and “SnapShot Perk Added” is aesthetically similar to the original hardvapour albums by the Krokodil Krew on Antifur.
DTA is a strong album for newcomers to Eric Stratos who look at his discogs page and think “whooooa, screw that”. It blends his wonky techno/gabber with the brain-melting dominance of hardvapour. Try it on.
1. Cybercide – (2:51)
2. Cybercide 2- (3:32)
3. Severe – (3:26)
4. DataGrind – (1:17)
5. ABYSS – (1:02)
6. Get Me Out of Here – (2:32)
7. Misery Sounds – (1:30)
8. Panic Complex – (1:50)
9. Green Hair Blue Tongue – (3:02)
10. Believe Nothing – (2:06)
11. Jumped Up – (3:54)
12. No Mercy – (1:48)
13. Beyond Death – (1:48)
14. Goddess – (3:08)
15. Black Heart – (4:28)
1Two artists with three-letter acronyms. Coincidence? I think not.
2Ever played the first Deus Ex game? I’m getting the same vibe.