Words: James Frostick
Marc Dwyer (of Buzz Kull fame) and Morgan Wright (head honcho of Burning Rose Records) have joined forces for a new electronic concept DSM-V. The duo has just put out a double-single release, featuring two tracks of sublime post-punk-tinged EBM.
Plumbing the depths of goth-laced electronic thump, DSM-V’s new double-single offering is a considered showcase of morose moods counterbalanced by driving synthetic rhythm. Marc Dwyer and Morgan Wright have teamed up to mine some common ground, digging deep and producing from the murky underworld two darkly glittering jewels in the form of singles ‘Into Nothing’ and ‘Function’. Those who have followed Marc’s journey as Buzz Kull will recognise some familiar elements at play, namely Marc’s monotone vocal delivery, cold synth work and a discernible appreciation for prismatic, futuristic soundscapes. DSM-V doesn’t cast aside these elements entirely, but the duo has elected to soften some of the hard edges that industrial-adjacent EBM can boast. Morgan’s roster over at Burning Rose includes silky post-punk outfit Death Bells and the saturnine techno-pop of Darcy Baylis, meaning perhaps his influence helps delineate when DSM-V’s sound should pummel and when it glides.
The duo’s name is derived from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a document used to classify mental disorders and improve diagnoses and treatment. Mental health seems to be a contributing influence to DSM-V’s music, especially in terms of its lyrical content. As ‘Into Nothing’ swirls and build into its melancholic-yet-shimmering post-punk march, Marc battles the track’s bass-y undercurrent, morosely touching on impermanence, last goodbyes, withering on the edge of the light and fading away in time. The two continue to navigate the dark corners of the mind throughout the urgent goth-industrial thud of ‘Function’, where one can scry in the lyrics a tale of how abusive tricks can warp sanity and plant sinister whims, how toxic behaviours in relationships can become routine and normalised, and how escape is essential for self-preservation. The combination of DSM-V’s bleak monologues and knack for engrossing subterranean EBM-meets-new-beat-techno soundscapes make this a darkly compelling listen. This is great for fans of the genre or anyone looking to make the jump from downcast post-punk to something a bit more cold and robotic.