How much money is your time worth? How much of your own humanity are you willing to sacrifice at the altar of commerce and urban living? At what point do you become one of the drones, falling into the open mouth of Moloch? These seem to be the questions that come to mind when listening to “Working Ecstasy”, the latest double CD release from French Industrial artist Nocturne. For over 15 years front-man Saphi has been honing his craft as a purveyor of French Industrial culture, and with “Working Ecstasy” he has achieved his finest work yet.
The album is split into two titles, “Working” and “Ecstasy”, which articulate what I believe to be the theme of the album. That is, the overwhelming sense of demoralization as a result of living in a post-Industrial society. For some, Stockholm Syndrome takes place as a means of survival and one embraces their lot, after all… arbeit macht frei.
Much of what’s featured on “Working” is composed of layers of delayed synth noise, dense drones, and distorted factory samples, all of which harken back to the early days of Industrial music in both sound and theme. The first disc is book-ended by two live action recordings, titled “No Nature” and “No Lies”. These are a couple of the more abrasive pieces of the entire set, attacking the listener with compressed samples interspersed amongst modulated high-pitched noise. “There Something Brewing”, “So Be It…”, and “Gaseous Depression” slow it down to a rumbling crawl, and this back and forth between high intensity aural assaults and hypnotic drones carries throughout the album. I liken it to fits of spastic panic attacks upon realization of one’s dreary modern reality, or as the liner art states over a field of factories, the “Modern Middles Ages.”