Estrato Aurora & Siarem – “Immaterial” EP (Hypnotica Colectiva Records) [March 23, 2022]

A matchup of ideas and meeting of the minds finds Spanish artists Estate Aurora and Siarem slinging darkwave, EBM, and industrial aesthetics into a fine tradition of Spanish electro across their “Immaterial” EP on Valencia imprint Hypnotica Colectiva.

The Hypnotica Colectiva record label seems to flirt with the funkier side of industrial as if industrial machines had soul, perhaps continuing a tradition where you’d hear Chicago funk across the Wax Trax label in the late 80s. Yet “Immaterial” EP proves that Hypnotica Colectiva does not shy away from releasing the deeper, darker, mournful cuts meant to fill a need between the dark, industrial, and broken techno styles and the complex, quality electro beats. 

In recent releases, Hypnotica Colectiva has showcased tough beats from artists like Voidloss and Mslwte as well as stellar cuts from Spanish electro hero, Dark Vektor. The cross-section of these releases, including the most recent offering from HC Records, fits right in line with their cultivated sound with Siarem providing the EBM foundation and Estrato Aurora bringing the dark electro.

“Peace” starts out the “Immaterial” EP with an alien soundscape chased by classic, minimally treated drum machine stylings. “Teleonomia” sets down a long analog pad in a somber mood with a hypnotic, raw grooving drum pattern and an echoed arpeggio melody dripping in pure class.

On the B-side, “Deeper Side” features a strong percussive groove with a bassline progression and vocal bit that would not be out of place in the EBM era of Nitzer Ebb or more darkly driven Front 242. “La Base Medi” immediately lets out a dirtier industrial call and response that’s not too dissimilar from the opening of Kraftwerk’s “Tour De France” while simultaneously rolling with nods to the stylings of Art of Noise and grit of Cabaret Voltaire. The groove is certainly infectious and definitely all Estrato Aurora and Siarem’s own. Meanwhile, “In My Dreams” brings us back down to earth with an ambient field and layers of arpeggios and soothing, deep digital synths coloring up your mind’s inner space.

There’s also a couple of bonus cuts on “Immaterial” definitely worth checking out. The first bonus track, “400 ppm” lays down a flat, 16th note groove and a snare where synths come down precisely to attack the drums, some of which work in tandem to create a strong groove while others diverge, peeling away on diving into the drum elements with nuance. The second bonus track “Vectors” closes out the digital release with a sinister and grooving taste of what Spanish electro is all about: clean, dystopian, plaintive digital synths guiding an electro drum track that has just the right amount of groove and swing and which fills in all the right places. The result is almost anthemic; rest assured you will dance to this.

In summary, artists Estrato Aurora and Siarem along with record label Hypnotica Colectiva have done a fine job of creating a superior quality electro release. “Immaterial” provides enough dark flavors to offer a DJ’s set a bridge between the darkwave, EBM, industrial techno and the chiller versions of dark techno. 

“Immaterial” will be a solid asset to any collection that you’d reach for as a sort of goth, Swiss Army Knife dancefloor weapon. Beyond that, no matter how much you look at it, “Immaterial” is simply a completely ill-sounding electro record all the way through. 

-Sean Ocean

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