Pure Ground | Standard of Living
Pure Ground - Standard of Living
Pure Ground – Standard of Living

[dropcap]I’ve[/dropcap] dreamed about it, hoped for it, and got it. The past twelve months have been really nice to me, a lover of monotonous sequencers and raw analogue sounds driven forward by pounding drum machines. I was amazed by a whole flood of electronic newcomers. Among them were, of course, the almighty Youth Code, who took the legacy of Front 242, early Wax Trax! stuff and a good dose of HC Punk and unleashed two filthy bastards called “Youth Code” and “Consuming Guilt”, Weird Candle with their more minimal wave-laden approach on EBM, heavily reminiscent of early Ministry, released their debut as well as High-Functioning Flesh, techno acts like Silent Servant, along his Jealous God label giving away really good mix CDs to their really excellent releases, remembered quite a few people that weird european music driven by slightly detuned synthesizers is still cool and well – here’s Pure Ground, fitting exactly into the scheme of new bands from the US that dug deeper into the crypts of (european) underground electronic music.

Pure Ground

Being very productive from 2012 on, Pure Ground are about to release their 3rd album very soon, called “Standard of Living”. Owing a lot to acts like Absolute Body Control/The Klinik, Front 242 or Portion Control, the indegredients of the sound Pure Ground create are quite basic – minimal rhythms, arpeggiated basslines, scraps of melodies and some noise, rarely sounding like more than four tracks. Already thinking that you need to hear that? Well, even the best indegredients put together can be ruined by awful cooks, but not this time. The two-piece band creates something really tasty (despite leaving behind a somewhat chemical aftertaste which I really quite adore), Atmospherically Pure Ground are not unlike The Klinik or Bourbonese Qualk, who have been brought back into the public eye lately – monotonous and nightmarish, somewhat disturbing. We’re now awaiting the inevitable post-nuclear war landscape that is being sung about.

Yes, this is not the most positive record I’ve heard in the past few months, but a goddamn good one and if you happen to like the bands I just mentioned – get this one. Tracks like the opener “Second Skin” or “Centuries in Gold” reminiscent once again of Klinik and their minimal, yet harder approach on EBM and Industrial – “The Glory of Absence” even nods over to power electronics pioneers Whitehouse and Genocide Organ, while “Tides” or “The End of Days” evoke a more melancholic minimal synth feeling, “Poison” is a formidable EBM stomper, intelligently building up and evolving to a subliminally experimental, analogue driven track that might have well been released in belgium in the early 80s. Tasty as belgian fries, and equally addictive.

Overall, within their clearly defined field, Pure Ground released a very versatile album. The songs are well-composed, giving away just the right amount of monotony and some minor changes actually adding a lot, the vocals are energetic and the production, oldschool-ish as it sounds, is crystal clear, perfectly displayed in e.g. “War In Every House”, building up on a bassline repeated over the whole song, before throwing in minor changes in the drum pattern, some slightly disharmonic, never completely repeating arpeggiated melody lines, underlining a rawly shouted vocal line partially drowning in delay. This album is absolutely very well done—and clearly a candidate for one of the strongest releases this year.


  1. Second Skin
  2. Watch The Lines Grow
  3. War In Every House
  4. In Silence
  5. l’Image
  6. Poison
  7. The Glory of Absence
  8. Centuries in Gold
  9. Tides

Get it here