In the shadowed alcoves of Bucharest, the strands of forgotten analog days are set to be weaved into the modern fabric of dark electronica. On November 10, Control Club witnesses a rare union of Kontravoid and Kris Baha—two luminaries set to conflate their respective echoes of Toronto’s industrial past and Melbourne’s EBM legacy into a single, all-encompassing now.
Under the moniker Kontravoid, former Crystal Castles percussionist Cam Findlay resurrects the essence of an era steeped in analog synthesis and unfettered electronic experimentation. His work revives the spirit of a lost 1980s tape, weaving a soundscape that flirts with the inventive boldness of Cabaret Voltaire and the pronounced beats of Das Ding, reminiscent of a time when digital had not yet dimmed the analog’s raw buzz.
Following his tenure with Toronto’s Parallels, Findlay donned the unsettling charm of the white mask of Kontravoid, a visage that claimed a permanent place in his artistic voyage. His inaugural 2012 self-titled album is a testament to this transformation, a dark pop opus hewn from the depths of analog synthesis. His transition into a solo entity also brought forth a sophomore effort some seven years later, Too Deep (Arrtofact Records, 2019), tracing a lineage of shadowy synthscapes and a distinctive amalgamation of pulsating beats, haunting vocals, and a post-punk industrial edge that is at once reminiscent and forward-thinking. The voice that emanates from within is both chilling and captivating, an underwater growl that is the stuff of sonic legend, balancing the introspective with the physically electrifying.
Kontravoid’s music conjures a world that’s as bleak as it is magnetic. It’s a dimension where warped vocal effects and arpeggiated synthesizers craft an atmosphere thick with dystopian drama. The echoes could call to mind contemporary mavericks like John Maus, but the comparison ends there. Kontravoid’s realm is far murkier, where gothic shadows dance with the flickering lights of pop sensibility, crafting a creature not easily caged by genre. It is a sound that can also be heard across his 2018 Undone Ep (Fleisch Records) and his most recent album, Faceless (Arrtofact Records, 2021).
Parallel to this is Kris Baha, Melbourne’s electronic trailblazer and Berlin’s adopted sonic alchemist. As the mind behind the city’s Power Station brand and a prolific producer and DJ, Baha’s influence has rippled from the underbelly of Melbourne’s rave culture to the heart of Berlin’s electronic milieu. His discography, including a well-received entry on the Bahnsteig 23 series, interlaces the Germanic zest for electronic music with cosmic melodies. At the same time, the provenance of his music traces back not just to the industrial complex but also to the throbbing heart of Berlin’s queer party scenes like CockTail D’Amore, Sameheads, and Panorama Bar.
Baha’s debut album Palais threaded through the variegated fabric of the EBM revival, showcasing a fidelity to its origins while charting a course through the multifaceted realms of modern dance music. His tracks, notably Steel Sands and Dead to Romance, and remixes for Red Axes, Khadija, Boys Noize, Bell Towers, and more, distill the essence of dark dance floors into potent anthems, embodying an alchemy of aggression and allure. These anthems came fully realized with Baha’s breakthrough EP, In Your Arms (She Lost Control, 2019).
Not to lose focus on the future of music and society, Kris currently transcends the boundaries of time and space with GHOSTS IN THE MACHIИE, a cyberpunk saga released on Fleisch Records that narrates the tale of a future where humans, reduced to binary code, struggle to reclaim their erased histories and warn their past selves against a dystopian world dominated by AI.
Together, these two artists’ narratives intertwine. Kontravoid brings the shadowy intensity of Toronto’s electronic scene to meet with Baha’s polymathic EBM industrialism, creating a story told in the visceral language of throbbing beats and immersive rhythms. Here, Baha’s studio mastery intersects with Kontravoid’s commanding live presence and the intimacy of his masked performance. This collaboration has been heard and felt in particular form via the relentless coldwave of 2022’s The Judgement.
Control Club is set to be the crucible for this alchemical exchange, the space between the boundaries between the moody introspections of Kontravoid and the unyielding beats of Kris Baha. It is here, amidst the interplay of shadow and sound, that the two artists present a rare spectacle of dark artistry and compelling grooves that will resonate far beyond the walls of the night itself.