Conscious Structure
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Conscious Structure

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Conscious Structure
Universal Antithesis
Conscious Productions, 2007
Over the years, rock music seemed to get restless with its formula outlet of instruments. A guitar or two or three, a bass, vocals, a drum set. When that wasn’t enough to get a desired mood, musicians brought in embellishments—and sometimes other genres entirely—to make the sound they wanted. Classical music seems to be favored as a guest genre, and countless bands have added a little cello here, a little piano there, with a dash of violin, and for the most part the formula is working.

A band with a sound that started as an experiment, Conscious Structure are a darker rock band in the same mind frame: guitar is not enough! Previously electronically driven and currently more acoustically driven, they are growing into a sound all of their own. Their sound is multi-elemental; being driven by rock, industrial, classical, electronic, and breezier, more ambient sounds like that of trip hop.

With Universal Antithesis, their sophomore release, they are true talents of the trip hop world. On this album, the sounds they make best are slow, thoughtful and gentle. Though Conscious Structure seem to talk themselves up as being a very rock-based band, but as much as they may try to do that, their real ability lies in the realm of trip hop. Singer Tenoya Bennett’s soprano is something else that works best when used gently. In some songs, generally the more rocked out ones, she stretches her voice in places it should not go; often so high it gets screechy. The lyrics are overall quite nice, though at times (and of course Conscious Structure is not the first, last or only band to do this) the overuse of big words and fancy language does the exact opposite. For instance, in “The Moment”, the lyrics say “…I’m desecrated, forced to watch what I deplore” is overly dramatic and takes away from the mood, because this awkward phrase stops you in your tracks.

Overall, Conscious Structure can certainly pull together a great tune. I see them as being a very successful as long as they accept that their future as a trip hop band is really where their musical skills will shine.

Album highlights are “It’s All In Vain”, “The Moment”, “Holding On” and “I’m Never Coming Home Again”. [Maxine nation]

www.maschinerie.cbj.net
- Maschinerie


". . . Washington DC's Conscious Structure is the brainchild of three multi-talented musicians, who besides being classically trained, also exhibit remarkable expertise with synthetic and electronic soundscapes. In addition to cello, the band also flawlessly incorporates violin, viola, and tasteful guitar passages into their arsenal of instruments. Their debut release Non-Human Figure offers challenging rhythmic Industrial and techno influenced backdrops, dreamlike cinematic interludes, and exceptional mid-ranged female vocals. The atmosphere created is appropriately dark and wonderfully edgy, a plus being that so many bands hide beneath a counterfeit umbrella of derivative 'Gothic' mood. The arrangements are particularly impressive, seeming to opt for a more progressive result rather than a typical dance floor friendly accessibility. While some of these tracks could be successful in a club setting, they may contain too many drastic changes and jagged rhythms to smoothly segue between one 4/4 EBM band to the next. This, however, is all the more reason DJs should pay attention to this CD. Stir things up a bit, and give club kids a dance-step challenge!
"On a purely musical level, it doesn't matter whether this CD receives club attention or not. Non Human Figure is certainly one of the most intriguing 'electronic' based CDs that I have heard these last few months. And while some tracks do not stand out as much as others, there are some that particularly rise to the top and stick in the memory. "Every Time" may be the most accessible and it is a well-chosen track to kick things off. It quickly foreshadows the vibe of the album, showcasing how well the band can seamlessly weave trip hoppish rhythms, subtle electric guitars, and ethereal string arrangements into a successful formula. Crowned with lovely female vocals, the song is definitely a hit. "Malsituation" a decidedly more Industrial track, features male vocals in the lead with peaks of harsh guitar chords and manic pizzicato string accents and valleys of swirling Kronos Quartet like brooding. . .
". . .Conscious Structure's masterpiece appears late in the disc in the shape of the shuffling gloom of "The Last Façade." Opening with an anxious and devilish cello passage, the song waltzes along with a feverish mischief and playful dementia. Sarah's vocals crown the song beautifully, and the mini-quartet provided by layered cello and violin haunt the song perfectly. Breaking only briefly for a short purely classical interlude, the song sweeps along steadily and probably provides the most consistent beat on the disc for club kids to skip around gleefully on the dance floor."
MATTHEW HEILMAN, STARVOX ZINE, 2002. www.starvox.net/crypt/3august1.htm
- Starvox Magazine, Matt Heilman


". . .Conscious Structure's debut release is quite strong, especially considering it was entirely self-produced. Musically, this album is quite diverse; it skips between trip-hop, ethereal, electronic, even containing some breakbeat and dub elements in the composition. Similarities could be drawn to Portishead or a more industrial take on the later works Massive Attack, solidified by the strong and ranged vocals. . .
". . .The additional of stringed instruments (guitars, cellos) help create the broad sense of space that finishes the sound. Standout tracks like "Every Time" and "Frozen" showcase Conscious Structure's talents and are overall well composed tracks. This release may prove to satisfy those who miss the days of the 4AD Record label's heyday."
DJ VLAD, THE CITY MORGUE, 2002. www.thecitymorgue.com
- The City Morgue Magazine


Discography

Universal Antithesis (2007)
The Moment (single) (2007)
Non-Human Figure (2002)

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Bio

Conscious Structure's live show melds well with a variety of other music. The diverse sounds are a nice match for anything from indie, new wave, EBM or shoegazer to hard-edged rock and industrial, or even electronica, trip-hop and downtempo. CS has performed alongside such groups as Bella Morte, Fixer, The Tub Ring, Carfax Abbey, Estradasphere, Infidel, Sapphic Ode, Synthetic Division, Dharmta 101 and Autodrone.

Conscious Structure has performed at a variety of venues including NYC's CBGB's 313 Gallery, Washington, D.C. area's Rock & Roll Hotel, Jaxx Nightclub, Velvet Lounge, The Annual Summer Masquerade Ball, Signal 66 Gallery, U-Turn, and Dr. Dremos; Charlottesville, VA's Tokyo Rose, Wheaton, MD's Ocean Drive Club and Lounge, Pittsburgh, PA's Beehive and Hexagon Lounge, and the 2002 Tri-Flux hosted Fluxfest at the historic 1,000 seat Broadway Theatre in Pitman, NJ just outside Philadelphia.

Conscious Structure has received airplay from WFDU/NYU FM, which broadcasts to NY, NJ and Connecticut, WMUC FM, WRYR FM, George Mason Radio in Fairfax, VA and also George Washington University Radio.

Conscious Structure's music is also popular with a number of club DJs and has been spun in various cities within the United States including PA's club Laga, NYC's CBGB's 313 Gallery, various nightclubs in DC and VA including nationally known venue Nation, and Ascension in Baltimore.

HISTORY
Founded in 2001 in Dave Belazis' studio, Conscious Structure began life as an experiment. A year later, the group released the very electronically rooted "Non-Human Figure" with the intention of limited distribution and a few local performances. Much to the surprise of the band, they soon developed a very loyal local following and soon were playing shows in New York City. In late 2004, Conscious Structure began writing their sophomore album Universal Antithesis and just when production seemed to be wrapping up in 2006 and during live personnel auditions, upon rehearsing the new material with newly enlisted drummer Ernesto Perez, it became very clear that much of the album would benefit from an overhaul. In the seven months that followed almost every track was completely reworked to incorporate a more organic feel, leaving still a tasteful array of electronics, and in September of 2006 the album's mixes were completed and it was mastered in Los Angeles by Tom Baker (NIN, Deftones, Beastie Boys, BT) The new album Universal Antithesis was released on May 1st, 2007