After a break of nearly eight years, Rachel Haywire has returned to the music scene. Alternative Technology is Experiment Haywire’s newest studio length album, which is a collection of harsh electronic industrial anthems about the world. It is her latest audio assault upon the dance floor and beyond.
The album begins with the title track, an upbeat, bouncy manifesto introducing the concepts addressed in the album, showing an interesting funk influence in parts, something not normally found in Experiment Haywire material.
Next, we come to the deep and droning “Optimized”, which includes heavily sarcastic lyrics influenced by Haywire’s personal experiences with Silicon Valley’s culture laid out over EBM beats. Then we have a new take on Haywire’s earlier “Butterfly”, with a strangely primitive-sounding intro reminiscent of the early days of electronic music. Haywire’s rhythmic vocals on this track compliment the pace of the music so perfectly one may find one’s self-moving to the beats unconsciously.
Following is “Cool Hunter”, which slower and more bass-focused, sounding almost like more mainstream club fare (which is not a criticism) if it were not for Haywire’s lyrics decrying society’s efforts to co-opt the cutting edge to water it down for commercial purposes. An updated rendition of Haywire’s classic “Blacklist” follows, bringing the danceable sounds, coupled with driving beats and Haywire’s delightfully acerbic vocals, with an appeal to a wide range of aficionados of different styles of electronica, from hardcore industrial fans to the harder end of rave.
Next comes a new version of another earlier Experiment Haywire song, “New World Order Show”. It is much more distorted, chaotically edited, and up-tempo than previous incarnations of the song yet keeps the feel and message of the original and its critique of the society of the spectacle and its connection to the death of privacy. “Will to Glamour” brings with it a more martial beat, almost a march, a tone that both complements and contrasts with the lyrical content where it aggressively challenges the listener’s approach to image, authenticity, and attitudes towards beauty.
Then we have “Autist”, a view inside the artist’s own head and how her autism has shaped her views and attitudes, giving the listener more insight into the content of the album itself. Next comes another new tune, “Reality Is Dead (Virtually)”, with Haywire ranting about destroying reality in order to replace it with her own creation, which is a battle cry for the creative mind. Fierce, driving, and aggressive, this song sums up Experiment Haywire’s history and brings the act into the present, and beyond.
Transhumanist Prototype Grimes cover “We Appreciate Power” comes next, picking up the tempo more, sounding like a blend of the overall styles of the previous pieces, with Haywire’s almost-growling voice backed up with distorted vocals the suggest a classic 80s electronica influence. Alternative Technology concludes with “New Empire”, a blistering, fast-paced pure industrial track in the form of a call to action, ending the album on a triumphant note.
Alternative Technology is a solid album with an appeal to all who enjoy industrial and related genres, with crossover appeal for more serious fans of lighter electronic music fare as well. What truly sets it apart, in keeping with her earlier releases, is Haywire’s lyrical content, critical of the mainstreaming of the cutting edge and of the pretensions of the cutting edge itself. I highly recommended this album to any fans of thoughtful and intelligent electronic music.
Available on Bandcamp through No Devotion Records here: https://nodevotionrecords.bandcamp.com/album/alternative-technology
Paul Hyson is a blogger tarot reader, chaote, chef, and flow artist who resides in White River Junction, Vermont, with his wife and two cats. He spends his spare time going to local music shows, events, and hanging around with strange people at an oddity museum.