Over the past few years, Adam Mitchell has focused his efforts on the Traversable Wormhole and ADMX-71 side projects. However, as his latest album shows, his Adam X guise is the one that still plays host to his most visceral and thrilling music. Traversable Wormhole was a means for the US producer to link back into contemporary techno. It’s tempting to posit that Mitchell’s recent ADMX-71 release on L.I.E.S. meant that he retains a visibility among the new wave of American labels, but Irreformable is a far more brutal articulation of electronic music than any new school industrial/wave-influenced artist.
Even the slower tracks, like the rumbling electro of “It’s All Relative” and “Tornado Warning”, are characterised by pounding bass, distorted drums and a sense of claustrophobia, and when Mitchell picks up the pace, the intensity levels ramp up accordingly. “Interchanges (Enter & Exit)” and “Catenary” see Mitchell approach the dance floor using malevolent slabs of bass, noisy rhythms and swirling plumes of pungent acid. On “Catenary”, a man bleats on about “voltage for systems”, but it comes across like an after thought.
The sound of the human voice is also audible on “Sheer Insanity”, but there it takes centre stage as deranged screeches spill over pummelling drums and bursts of white noise. It sounds like what would happen if Ministry’s Al Jourgensen was force fed angel dust, locked up in an abandoned factory and given some metal bars to amuse himself. There are some references to the more studied nuances of the Traversable Wormhole project, most notably on the spaced out drones, crashing percussion and astronaut vocal samples of the final track, “Small Black Object” and the swirling chords that unfold over the stepping rhythm of “In A Race Against Time”.
That said, they are only temporary diversions and the true essence of Mitchell’s musical identity is laid bare on the title track. Equal parts hard techno stomp, EBM menace and deranged scientist rant – centred on the mantra ‘irretrievable… irredeemable…. hopeless’ – it distills a quarter century of music-making into a singular, primal snarl.
3. Binary Possession
4. On The Verge Of Decimation
5. Sheer Insanity
7. In A Race Against Time
8. Tornado Warning
9. It’s All Relative