FORWARD STRATEGY GROUP - Labour Division (Front Cover)
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Labour Division takes inspiration from industrial culture is evident in both its title - surely a contender for a great, missing Swans LP - and on detached, fuzzy synth tracks like "Ident" and the menacing tones of "TTH", or the eerie textures and understated percussive hiss of the Regis-in-experimental-mode that is "Metal Image". But what is more interesting about this album is not its re-activation and presentation of existing narratives as they were, but its wholesale attempt to redefine their own vision for techno. It's a mightily ambitious objective and whether intentional or not, Walker and Matthews achieve this in places. "Mandate" is a relatively standard broken beat track, but is delivered with a rubbery bass and layers of grungy upbuilds, the sonic equivalent of a sack of soot and grime emptied over a glass table. Of more importance however is the fact that Labour Division proves that Forward Strategy Group don't preach sonic austerity because they have nothing else to say. "Nihil Novi" is a stripped back, crackling metallic groove combining the accessibility of Factory Floor with Ben Klock's rhythmic dexterity, "TTH" fuses the atmospheric textures that were audible on "Metal Image" with lithe back beats and "Cultivar", though set against a darker sonic backdrop, relies on similarly agile rhythms. At a time when all around them are marching to the death paced drums of Gothno, Labour Division sees FSG tease new ghosts and fresh horrors from their machines - as the eerie soundscapes and clinking chains on the supernatural "Fading Centres" so ably demonstrates.

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