The Melbourne producer CORIN calls Manifest her “cyberpunk tribute,” and the tag is apt; this is some powerful electronic body music. The artist has been honing her craft over the past few years with a series of EPs and performances. Her debut album is hard-edged, yet accessible, reminiscent of old school industrial with a new school twist. It’s hard to stay “underground” after seeing press in The Guardian, but CORIN’s authenticity has allowed her to retain the adjective.
Perhaps the most surprising fact about CORIN (Corin Ileto) is that she is a classically trained pianist. This doesn’t preclude her fascination with cyberpunk, but it does offer balance. Many industrial acts referenced by Manifest are keyboard heavy, and the knowledge of patterns and counter-patterns comes into play here. The big opening chords of the title track might well be played by cellos and violins, an overture to a grand symphony. But the most memorable parts of the album are intricate, beginning with the chimes of “The New Flesh,” reminiscent of Intermix and related acts in the FLA collective. The deep bass prefaces the first hint of drums. Now we’re ready to dance.
Ileto waits until the third track to unleash her first club stormer. At nearly 160 BPM, “Catalyst” is likely to inspire a lot of hastily finished drinks. This track’s ebullience is tempered by the factory timbres of first single “Dissect,” which lends the album a darker tone. The battle between darkness and light has always been crucial to the understanding of industrial music, and CORIN honors that tradition here. When the chimes return in “Maria’s Dream,” it’s easy to imagine angels and demons circling about, fighting for territory. Who will emerge victorious? In this genre, it’s not important; were either side to triumph, the music would lose its central tension. Ileto refers to the set as “the reconciliation of the dystopian and utopian;” her music is a perfect distillation of this concept.
If there’s an area of growth for CORIN, it’s the length of the tracks. Nothing here is over five minutes long (unless one counts “Ingest” and “Rivalry” as a single track), which is great for singles, less so for clubs. A couple remixes would be incredible ~ perhaps from a like-minded artist such as Pan Daijing or JASSS. It wouldn’t take much to extend these grooves to 12″ length. If so, CORIN might conquer another market. Manifest is a love letter to cyberpunk, but is poised to ignite a new (underground) movement. (Richard Allen)