Urbanfailure is the solo turn of Michal Lichy, the Slovak electronica genius who last showed up around here on the four-way split Instant Satisfunction in 2012, though we have heard him on team-ups with Jamka, RBNX, and The Gross. His new album is Radical Rest (URBSOUNDS URB042), pressed in red vinyl and issued with a cover drawing depicting a grey metropolitan Hell of some sort, either tower blocks multiplying wildly and growing in impossible dimensions, or the interior of a horrible factory. As ever, Urbanfailure exhibits considerable skill with very simple means – sequencers, beat-boxes and electronic noise all colliding to producing an unsettling, grim form of techno that is deliberately intended to evoke unpleasant science-fiction destinies for mankind; in this instance the movie Tetsuo The Iron Man is referenced (in the press notes, at any rate), and there’s even one track which comes right out with it and calls itself ‘Dystopian Future’.
Michal Lichy has been making this stern-faced noise since the late 1990s, and we are reminded by the label that his creative outburst coincides almost exactly with the collapse of Communism and subsequent upheavals in Eastern Europe, when Czechoslovakia split into two separate countries. Well, things still aren’t very settled evidently, as the restless music of Urbanfailure continues to testify. Might be interesting to compare this LP with some of the recent outpourings from Poland’s Zoharum label, although there aren’t that many Zoharum releases making such aggressive use of beats as Michal, with the possible exception of Genetic Transmission’s industrial blat (which is mostly reissues anyway). While not excessively noisy, Radical Rest is still a pretty “punishing” listen…I’m already feeling pretty hammered after just 30 mins of listening, and the tight, airless nature of his sequenced sounds is starting to hem me in. At the same time, there’s still a lot of chaotic energy in play, which adds to the general sense of uncertainty. From 2nd November 2018.