Soft Crash is the new music collaboration formed by Hayden Payne, aka Berghain resident Phase Fatale and Pablo Bozzi of Imperial Black Unit. Attempting to throw off the dark and authoritative stereotypes of the current music scene they helped foster, Payne and Bozzi look to their core influences of synthwave, disco, and early techno to carve a new path as italo body music pioneers. Soft Crash brings melody back into the fold, creating intelligent, melancholic hooks combined with sensual, pulsating rhythm. It can convey the artists’ emotions in a picturesque way that just words themselves cannot. Music that would fit perfectly in the largest concrete techno halls as well as the sleaziest lab disco nights.
Scanning Backwards, Phase Fatale’s second full-length album is music about control. Using the connection between weaponized sound and psychological manipulation as a conceptual foundation, Hayden Payne explores the ways in which music – and sub frequencies in particular – are used to influence thinking and to synchronize emotions and behavior: from military technology to sound systems and the physicality and sexuality of queer techno culture. Known for his innovative post-punk takes of dance music, the Berghain resident draws on his background as both a guitarist and sound engineer to create a heady mix of broken rhythms, noise-, and shoegaze-inflected techno, often at slower tempos. The result is music with space and pace to expand, highlighting the intense rushes of frequencies found in both sonic warfare and functional dance music. Over eight tracks named after a combination of historical and fictional narratives from literature and science fiction, Payne’s rhythmic excursions explore different manifestations of sound as power – specifically within the context of seeing Berghain as an instrument itself. This is also reflected in the album artwork, taken from an early flyer for the SNAX party series and an obvious ode to the fetishization of power dynamics.
Phase Fatale (Hayden Payne) and Silent Servant (Juan Mendez) started their collaboration in 2016 performing together live at several Jealous God showcases across Europe, such as Berlin Atonal, and then working together on Payne’s Redeemer Extended Mix 12′ from his album on Hospital Productions last year. The Confess EP on BITE is a studio documentation of those aforementioned live performances and harnesses the cathartic energy of the stage into a physical medium.
‘Redeemer’ is the brutally seductive debut album by Phase Fatale, a key player in the recent charge of EBM and post punk-informed industrial techno infecting ‘floors from his home city, NYC to his DJ residency at Berghain. In Dominick Fernow’s Hospital Productions, Phase Fatale finds a fitting home for his personalised brand of clinical, rictus rhythm programming and searing synth and guitar lines, adding a vital streak of black and blue electric energy to the legendary label in its 20th year of cultish operation. In seven parts, ‘Redeemer’ follows the direct, his deeply personal realisation of weaponised sonics, upholding a strong tradition of techno as a prophetic exercise or ritual to gird dancers and listeners for the onset of future war. It presents Phase Fatale as an ultimate emissary of electronic violence and domination in the process, steeling the limbic system and muscle memory thru a fine-tuned disciplinarian approach to pharmacokinetics and biomechanics.
Berlin-based New Yorker Phase Fatale debuts on Unterton after strong releases with respected labels Jealous God and aufnahme + wiedergabe. Originally coming from a Post Punk / Cold Wave band background Hayden Payne stated in a recent interview: “Techno resulted from a development of Wave and EBM genres and its movements. Punk and Techno share the same mindset, this connection has always been there for me.”
Jealous God arrive at their tenth issue and it’s yet another label debut, with Berlin-based New Yorker Hayden Payne getting his most high profile release to date under the Phase Fatale name. Once heavily involved in New York’s cold wave scene, Payne’s move to Berlin and the adoption of Phase Fatale has seen him develop an EBM flavoured style of techno that is eminently suited to the Jealous God cause. Lead cut “Steel” sounds like Silent Servant hocked up on steroids, contrasting nicely with the stealthier pump of “SOL740”. On the flip, the rhythmic construction of “Cut” is reminiscent of Jam City reworking Front 242, whilst “Castor” is pure sonic brutality.