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Everything You See is Mine

EP Review

Everything You See is Mine by genCAB

Author: Cocaine for Toothaches

Forgive me father, for I have sinned.


For I am ignorant of the names of all modern music micro-genera, and what segregates the subdivisions therein.  For I taketh part not in the quarrels of the youth which subjugates the heretics of the One True Faith of over-classification and over-explanation.  For I boweth not, prostrate not, and genuflect not at the altar of the Almighty Online Gatekeeper.  For I respecteth not the boundaries pertaining to the wisdom of the Ancients, the Masters of the Scenes who have walked this Earth lo these two and thirty years.  
Forgive me father, for I have sinned.  And I will sin again.

 

 

So there’s my prelude, I don’t know the name of every inchworm on every leaf on every branch of the modern music family tree.  I’m too old to keep up with all that.  I have a day job.  But that’s not to say I don’t enjoy finding new music once in a while, in a style I don’t normally listen to, even if I don’t know exactly what the King of Reddit would call it.  And so I was presented with this new EP, via the bounty of the internet:  Everything You See Is Mine by generation CABLE (genCAB).  It is, for all intents and purposes, and for lack of knowing the genus and species of every song in the musical kingdom, industrial music.  I don’t normally listen to industrial music as a go-to.  But I’m glad I found this one.  It’s very synth-driven, with guitars used in most instances as cameos.  The songs have the heart of industrial, the head of metalcore (with synths doing most of the guitar role), the left ankle of breakcore (just a touch in the arrangement philosophy) and the vocal stylings have a mixture of Thirty Seconds To Mars and Linkin Park.  This means there’s sonic pressure but also musicality.  I like musicality, I need musicality, so this project hit me in a pretty good spot, even if it’s not something I would normally pick up blindly.

 

Fives.

 

The concept of ‘fives’ is a curious beast.  In our everyday lives it’s everywhere, the basic subdivision of our base-ten counting/numbering system, and thus by extension currency, measuring systems (at least metric), and even time somehow, even though time is base-sixty.  

But not music.

 

The concept of fives in western music is exotic, weird, mathy, convoluted, pretentious.  Our western musical ears are instinctively trained in threes and fours.  Fives don’t fit.  And it’s not just about meter and beat structure, it’s also true of any kind of phrasing.  Phrasing in fives is awkward, it furls the eyebrows.  Fives are using a pneumatic drill to force a square peg into a round hole.  We can’t dance to fives.  If a DJ plays a song based in fives at the club, any club, the patrons will be incensed, because all the money they spent on libations/chemical enhancers will be wasted because the sober awkwardness of reality will set back in.  Buzz    kill.  Good songs, songs that resonate, songs that connect, aren’t supposed to have fives.  But “Soft,” the lead-off track from Everything You See Is Mine, does.  Yet even stranger, it’s not throughout the entire song, only in the refrain.  Which is even weirder; if fives are being used as a punctuation effect it’s usually during a break or bridge or backwater part of the song, not the refrain.  So what’s the result?  Goodness.  Rawk goodness.  ‘Soft’ it is not.  The track starts with a screaming synth, and then soon kicks in to full-on intense slamming, instrumentally and vocally.  The bridge, however, almost drops completely.  But next, guitars make what seems to be their biggest presence of the album, with double-tracked drop-tuned metalcore riffage that hits just right.  The lyrics, especially during the 5/4 refrain, are belted with the intensity of an ‘us against the world’ anthem, but the actual words seem to be calling the opposite. “You get to miss the first shot/Come at the king, an onslaught/No one could kill us at nineteen/So wrong…You should have seen us at our peak/We got soft”  It’s a strange and creative juxtaposition that a chorus one would really like to belt out is full of lyrics that are basically a self-burn.  But the vocal phrasing here is what makes the fives actually work. They are set up as a call (first three beats) & response (last two beats), which makes the fives less jarring and the intensity can be kept up without undue awkwardness.  Don’t get me wrong, as a fan of progressive rock growing up, I have no problem with music having meters and measures of five, seven, eleventeen, whatever.  It’s just hard to pull off and make it sound natural instead of pretentious/showing off counting skills.  

As with all the lyrics on this record, I’m not going to profess to know to what they are all referring.  It’s not exactly clear to me, although the last stanza points in a direction- “All my little babes/Looking so so small/They’re all locked away/From the coup d’etat”

Hmmm.  And what’s this I hear, at the 3:13 mark?  Could that be, could it be, is it really…the unmistakable jangle of acoustic guitars?  It’s like hearing sleigh bells in July which, for fans of the holidays, is a joyous occasion.  

 

“I find myself swaying to it, like a punishing and very distorted love song at a middle-school dance…”

 

 

Bitcrushed bass.  I love love love a dirty, grimy synth bass.  And that’s how Cake starts.  It’s more down-tempo and groove-oriented in contrast to the opener.  The vocals stand out more here because there are fewer grinding higher-pitched to compete with in the mix, as well as a more subdued snare drum.  This also adds to the more subdued feel.  But the feel is sixteenth notes at this tempo, which adds nicely to the relentless drive.  This is also augmented by the vocal phrasing in the chorus, in which each phrase ends at the beginning of the next bar instead of cutting off earlier in its own measure.  Thus each line flows seamlessly into the next.  There is so much synthesizer ear candy in this track, especially after it gets going into the verses.  I’ve noticed on this album a big tendency towards double-tracked and wide-panned lead vocals, the former of which is very common but the latter is not.  I’m guessing this is to let the vocals have presence in the mix without having to directly overpower the drums.  Lyrically, it seems to be a re-interpretation of the Marie Antoinette trope just preceding the French Revolution and adapting it to something specific yet unnamed, but as I mentioned earlier I have no way of knowing for sure.  

 

Three-and-a-half seconds into Wasp Factory there is a two-second pause of complete silence.  A marching cyborg invasion for 3500 milliseconds and then *nothing.*  Every time it comes up I think my tablet has died.  Every time.  And then they march on.  They come back again after the toy piano starts.  This is modern-day cinema soundtrack stuff here, although the vocals seem a little too pushed-back in the mix.  They’re always borderline, I’ve noticed on this album, but I want them maybe about 1-1.5 dB higher.  It’s a minor note for an album about which I have few (if any) other notes.  This track could it be called the ballad??  It’s not a ballad, clearly, but does actually function as such in the musical context of the project.  It’s a slower tempo, there’s not real driving backbeat to lean on, and I find myself swaying to it, like a punishing and very distorted love song at a middle-school dance.  And I’m perfectly fine with this, it allows me to take a breath for a second and get a little closer to my dance partner.  Or my partner can grab me some punch while I vibe out here to this, eyes closed, drawing weird looks from the social studies teacher who thinks chaperone means morality police just because the lights are low and the cafeteria tables are pushed to the side and she’s missing an episode of Night Court at home.

 

6/8 is a versatile time signature.  It can be waltz, it can be flowing, it can be swaying, it can even be stately and triumphant if handled correctly.  Only Skin, the album’s closer, takes the stately approach; however, only portions of the track are in triple meter.  It flows back and forth from standard 4/4 to 6/8 in the different sections to give an even more epic feel, because the stately 6/8 sections stand out even more.  I really like this track a lot.  It feels like a great album closer.  The verses, which are in 4/4, are interesting because they are split in half.  The first halves have a flowing melody, and the second halves take directly from Local H’s “Bound For The Floor” (remember the ‘copacetic’ song from the 90’s?  Yeah, that one).  Which I’m actually pretty okay with, if only because I always really dug that tune.  

 

I don’t normally want to use these reviews as music theory explanation fodder, but there’s a couple points in which I want to delve.  The first is that there are few techniques more powerful to build tension than the ‘pedal tone’:  a technique (simulating the hold pedal on a piano) where a bass note holds constant for a time while the chords on top change.  genCAB does that brilliantly here after the second verse, choosing great, tense keyboards chords to cycle of the repeating low G in the bass and guitars; the second time through adding sixteenth-note rhythm guitars on that G note to really build the suspense into the bridge.  It can make the hairs on your arm stand at attention when done masterfully, and he absolutely nails it.  It really increases the cinematic drama, highly effective.  

The second is a minor/major-7 chord, which is a pretty rare chord in popular forms of western music.  But its nature provides a lot of tension:  A LOT of tension, especially because it’s so rare.  A minor/major-7 chord is a minor chord that adds a major 7 on top:  in this case, the Ab minor/major-7 would consist of Ab, Cb, Eb, G natural.  The last chord in each line of the last stanza has this Ab minor/major-7 chord which is held out at length to really emphasize the tension.  This is especially heightened because the beginning of each line switches to a major tonality (Eb major), so to then end each line with this exotic chord (with the lead vocal singing an Ab then dropping to a G, the major seventh of this chord) is a stroke of compositional genius.  

 

 

Prayer of absolution.  Won’t thou forgivest me, such a creature of little faith?

 

Getting to know this album was a process, since I’m not into modern aggressive/heavy music all that much.  But it was a process worth undertaking.  I enjoyed being able to break it down through the hard exterior and uncover wonderful and glorious things.   Fans of aggressive music should have no qualms at all about enjoying this right away:  it’s very well-performed, produced, and engineered (mastered by Ryan Schwabe), sounds great, and everything really sounds the way one would want this style of music to sound.  It’s very dense and very hard-hitting, but there’s still plenty of musicality about it and all the elements seem to live in good balance.   The artist seems to have a limitless supply of wicked and hard-sounding synth patches.  And if it can win over an old sod like me, then I think a lot of unsuspecting music fans can really get into it.  You should absolutely buy it.  If you don’t, the King of Reddit will not absolve your sins.

Everything You See is Mine released on November 18th, 2022 and can be purchased, HERE
You can follow & Support genCAB at the links below:
ALL LINKS

Album Mastered by Ryan Schwabe:  http://www.ryanschwabe.com
 
 
 

About the author: Coke has been around music a long, long time. As a child in a family of musicians and in-and-around a family-owned studio in the 1980’s, he has seen the ups and downs of the music scene and lifestyle. He plays/has played several instruments including piano/keyboards, guitar, bass guitar, and even dabbled on low brass and drums for a bit, as well as being a bang-average vocalist. Coke studied (and won departmental awards in) composition, theory, and classical guitar performance during undergraduate work, as well as taught private guitar lessons for children and adults. He spent ten years (up until the pandemic) as a superstar guitarist/bassist/musical
director in the CCM world, before crashing down to earth, humbly surrendering all that non-existent fame and fortune for the quiet life. He now endeavors on synthwave-adjacent music, working as a shipping boss, and living with his wife and (some of) his six grown children in the
beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA.

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