Derek Rush is awesome and is involved in a lot of amazing music right now." This piece builds on that, but that original statement is the one that holds the most weight. It's simple and succinct and is all you really need to know.
The album cover above is for Dream Into Dust's first album in nearly ten years, and is the first work I've heard from this duo of Derek Rush and Bryin Dall. I briefly met Derek at a Cremation Lily/Natural Assembly/Alberich show a few months back, and he contacted me via email about this stuff. I'm ever so thankful that he did, because this album has really mesmerized me, since the very first listen. The thing that grabbed me right away was their ability to meld heavy experimentalism with pop structures, while remaining authentic and still sounding heartfelt. Granted, the pop structures here are challenging and difficult, and many wouldn't even consider them "pop" territory, but the use of melody on the record is so damned brilliant that it seems like an appropriate term. On the surface, So Beautiful and So Dangerous is an industrial/darkwave album - and a brilliant one at that - but there are so many other textures and sounds that play a a significant part in the recording. The songs are dark, romantic, and very hypnotic, and in a lot of ways remind me of the best of The Cure, Depeche Mode, and a bunch of the best industrial artists from the 80s and 90s. And while I think that all those things have had an influence on these songs, it doesn't feel like an album from that time period. It sounds new and fresh, and what's more - it sounds quite unique.
The heartbreak and sadness in Derek Rush's voice sits atop the guitars, electronics, percussion, and noise to really steal the show. Heartfelt and full of passion, it communicates beyond its limits. At times, I imagine the songs being stripped completely bare of everything save Rush's vocals and acoustic guitars, and despite the predominant electronic feel of the album, I still think that could work, and rather well at that. That is a credit to the songs themselves, as they are written well and never sound too harsh to get away from the overall organic feel of the record. It's also worth saying that the album is never too melodic or poppy; the melodies, while catchy, aren't overdone. Subtle is perhaps too strong a word, because they're obviously there, but they're perfect for the atmosphere of the record.
For more info on Dream Into Dust, check out the Chthonic Streams website here, and to buy the album, go to the Chthonic Streams Bigcartel shop, here. Celebrating the 10-year anniversary of its release, you can also grab Dream Into Dust's The Lathe of Heaven, also on sale now in the shop at a special price.
And it would be criminal not to also mention Dall and Rush's first A Murder of Angels album since 2002, Before Your Eyes (also available in the Chthonic Streams webshop, but released by Theologian's Annihilvs label, and available in digipack and "black bag" editions here). It's a terrific album of dark ambient/neoclassical/electronics, coined as "damnbient," which is about as fitting a label as I can think of. I'd love to say more about it but there are only so many hours in the day when one has three children. But to suffice to say that if Lee/Theologian is involved in it, it is by default brilliant. And this album certainly is. CD packaged in a LP-style gatefold with a printed inner-sleeve.
Also check out the new 4xCDr of Compactor (Derek Rush's solo noise project) material available from Chthonic Streams (but out on Waste Management). I haven't heard it yet, but it promises to be brilliant. And if it's anything like the Desensitization Reprocessing CS also avalable from Chthonic (out on Out-of-Body), it is a must-have.