LLUMEN - The Breaking Waves (alfa matrix)

 Silke D    9 juni 2024

Llumen is a Belgian dark elektro act drawing inspiration from old-school EBM, gothic, techno, and future pop. New album for fans of FRONT 242, HAUJOBB, DIORAMA, ASSEMBLAGE 23, SUICIDE COMMANDO or yet COVENANT.

The album introduces pulsating narratives weaving tales of love, loss, lust, and longing. It starts with the ominous tones of Desire and no it’s not a cover), driven by a sound that reminds me slightly of VNV Nation.

Next one is an up-tempo future-pop exploration and a slice of EBM-infused melancholy of Bring Me Flowers (nothing to do with the piano track from the first Diorama album),

Failing Me reminds me a bit more about the more actual sound of Diorama mixed with some VNV Nation. A bit more testosterone in the vocal section could elevate this track to a higher level.

Die Stille Totgeschwiegen aims at the German music market, has good beats and might even make it.

Just A Thought is an up-tempo track with soft vocals and a nice slow down part that resonates with the piano and the soft vocals.

Torn Skin has good beats but sounds a bit too much like a filler with vocals that sound too soft. I miss a bit of power in the vocals. Make it sound more like Mesh.

Pantomime sound sin the beginning like music that is often used during commercials. The vocals are like a bit too much pushed towards the background.

Mistress Memory has a nice modern sound and a speeded up-tempo.

A Part Of Me With You sounds a bit like some previous tracks and the more I listen to the album the more it’s like a lot of the tracks have the same structure, the same general sound. At some point I even doubt if I simply shouldn’t do like many other “journalists” and just pin some phares to describe the whole album in one go and make it easy for me. This song is sadly about the death of his brother.

You Can Have It All is one of the best track on this album, it has also already been released before, so maybe it grew on me. The beats are good, the tempo is fine and the vocals sound a bit louder, so yes: it’s a match.

Harbour is the last track. It’s an ok track with an ok tempo and dito sound but it’s not the big ending blast. The previous track could have been more fitting. Harbour is symbolizing life's ebb and flow, but I miss a bit of a storm here..

As an extra treat, the album comes with a varied assortment of remixes, edits, and reinterpretations, showcasing a diversity of interpretations that promise to be a treat for listeners and featuring collaborations with GRENDEL, AESTHETISCHE, AIBOFORCEN, NEUROACTIVE, IMPLANT, MIND.DIVIDED, DIMETHOXY, J Wølf, NACHT NACKT and THE SAINT PAUL.

Here we go:

At Nadir gets a more floating sound with this new version. Pantomime gets remixed by Implant and is actually a better version (with a more old school Commodore 64 touch mixed woth some modern pleeps). Die Stille Totgeschwiegen (Grendel rmx) is also putting on some heat over the original, making it a bit better. Desire (Neuroactive rmx) adds a more VNV Nation minded touch to the song and elevates it to a higher level. The Scars I Made (Nacht Nackt rmx) is an ok remix. It’s reworking the original a bit, but does no spectacular changes. You can Have It All (harsh rmx by Llumen) euh: harsh? What is harsh? Not this! Ok, the tempo is a bit higher, it feels a bit pumped up but it’s not like Suicide Commando or C-Lekktor took over. All Things Broken (Aesthetische rmx) brings in a more techno minded touch (typical for the remixer). Did I Let You Go (J Wølf rmx) is a more diskonnekted approach and yes I hear the original sound of the remixer. Is it better? No. I would even say: it’s a boring version, however some things like the relaunch moments could have been fitted in the original. Jan aka J Wølf could have taken over the vocals too, a bit like Breath of Life does when they rework a track. Like My Pain (Aïboforcen rmx) makes the song sound heavier, faster, gives it a modern touch (with Anne Clark influences) and harder and thus did a great job! Now just do something about the vocals and it’s just perfect!

Die Stille Totgeschwiegen (The Saint Paul re-edit) is an ok version, but by now I’m tired of hearing this song. The sound is ok, a bit more floating and a bit warmer. Torn Skin (technoid version by Llumen) is a tehno minded remix with lots of bleeps and details, but doesn’t make it more interesting. You Can Have It All (Dimethoxy rmx) does something to the vocals: colder and making the sound more off to the background, whilst the music is ok, but also sounds as if not properly recorded. Last one is Lifeline (Mind.Divided rmx) is not bad, gives the sound another approach and maybe even a future.

Well: remixes have never been my kind of thing, but here I heard really good things, but also some stuff that felt like a waste of time. Pick out what you want …

Re-reading this all makes it all a bit harsh and hard, but this is how I feel about this double album. I took my time to think about it all, left it taking a bit dust and tried to find new insights. This is the result … When I was told this one ended up in the German charts I couldn’t believe it! I hope LLUMEN reads carefully what I wrote on works on the things I mentioned as bad. I would have chosen other remixers in some cases or just dropped some remixes in the trash and ask for new ones.