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Industrial Folk Music

Central Nervous System
(ITA Incorporated)

Ledenhed is an artist out of San Francisco who mixes a blend of acoustic and electric guitars with all kinds of electronic tomfoolery to create something that can possibly best be described as "industrial folk music." I know that term has been used in description of different groups before (and I hope that if he reads this, he doesn't shudder at seeing it again), but it really does seem apt, as most of the songs could be stripped of everything but an acoustic guitar and vocals and be played to the approval of many a people (which I'm told, he has done as well).

Working with Mark Pistel (who has added his efforts on the past two Meat Beat Manifesto releases as well), the production on Central Nervous System is impeccable and it adds to the somewhat strange atmosphere of most of the tracks. The album starts out with some nice guitar work laid down over a clunky beat with "Didn't." Things sound kind of like a corked-up western track until after the first chorus when the drum beat skitters off into almost drum and bass territory and little electronic pulses rain down over everything. The second track "Super Myth" continues the catchy qualities with a light chiming melody that is given a thick backbone of ebbing beats. Chunky guitars kick in at several points during the song and not only make it sort of an arm-pumping track, but will have you singing along with it as well.

Although it shares the same title as the Spice Girls track, "Wannabe" is nothing like it, instead delving into grimy, slow beats and some more feedbacked guitar. "Mother Nature" is a slower track with more present guitars and has the feel of a track that could be a hit on the radio if it weren't for its nearly 7-minute length. It's catchy and jaunty (and even drops a subtle Snoop Dogg reference) and feels like something that might have come off U2's Zooropa release. A couple of the tracks toward the end of the disc sound a little similar in feel and tempo, but it's really nothing that bogs the album down too much.

The album closes out with remixes of the first two tracks on the album, and neither of them sound enough like the original to get repetitive. The Bass Kittnes remix of the aforementioned "Super Myth" and it gets turned into a sort of dubbed-out, trippy version with even bigger beats than the original while the Pistel remix of "Didn't" gets blasted into drum and bass territory. Overall, the album is fairly inventive and a very interesting listen. Kind of like a less mainstream Garbage with a male lead singer, it's an independent artist that's definitely doing something different.

Rating: 7.25