ALBUM REVIEW: The Unified Field

Courtesy of MCT

Courtesy of MCT

With an “X” tattooed across his chest, long goth-like hair and theatrical face makeup, you might think Chris Corner is a hybrid of Marilyn Manson and David Bowie.

However, with the release of five successful albums the Brit-pop artist has created a sound all his own.

Upbeat electro-dance beats combine with soft, trance-like vocals in IAMX’s fifth album The Unified Field.

The album, which was released in March of this year, showcases Corner’s musical growth since going solo in 2004.

Corner, who produces all his own music, from songwriting, performance and production, was former member of England-based trip-hop group Sneaker Pimps. The band is known for their 1996 release, Becoming X, hence Corner’s alter-ego stage name IAMX.

The Berlin-native dedicated the album’s title and theme to a scientific theory that explains different forces of the universe combining into one equation.

The Unified Field interprets this complex argument.

But don’t expect a sci-fi soundtrack. Corner goes beyond his comfort zone, experimenting with different sounds, instruments and an entirely new production process.

IAMX’s 2004 debut album Kiss + Swallow quickly defined Corner’s unique style of music dubbed “glam noir.” This type of music blends electro, pop and rock sounds into a dark and sensual dance melody.

Corner channels other 80s glam-pop artists in his follow-up album, The Alternative. The album features songs reminiscent of other electro-dance artists such as Scissor Sisters and Mika, known for his 2007 catchy single “Grace Kelly.”

The Alternative, released in 2006, was voted number one album in 2007 by XM Radio in U.S.

His third album release, Kingdom of Welcome Addiction, showed a much more raw and intimate musician. With introspective lyrics touching on deeper themes such as sex and drugs, Corner beautifully expressed dark emotions through music.

In his 2011 release, Volatile Times, the artist digs up even deeper even emotions through electronic synths. Corner hints the superficial nature of the music business in the song “Volatile Times.”

Unlike IAMX’s previous four albums, which contained a teenage emo vibe, Corner reveals a more mature musician and lyricist in The Unified Field.

The album opens up with an eerie and haunting track called, “I Come With Knives.” The beat paints a mysterious, goth-like picture as a woman’s voice whispers the chorus in German, Corner’s second language.

Two entirely different elements combine in “The Unified Field.” Corner’s celestial, smooth vocals are blended with a deep bass and a hypnotizing dance beat.

Corner analyzes science and religion with lyrics like, “We are all insane. Counting down every single living day. We are prisoners of fate. I smile at the way everybody accepts the pain.”

Although, his music is made up of heavy synths and instrumentals, the chaotic arrangements are made up for with Corner’s controlled, thought-provoking vocals.

“Quiet The Mind,” strips Corner of his dominant electronic sound, as his theatrical vocals pulsate through the emotional ballad piece.

Along with a mix of various instruments such as the guitar, bass, drums and synth, Corner incorporates non-traditional band equipment to his fifth outing.

In The Unified Field, Corner experiments with instruments including the vibraphone, glockenspiel, celesta and harpsichord that add a complex and theatrical touch.

IAMX’s first four albums were entirely produced by Corner himself. This time around the one-man band collaborated with Jim Abbiss, who has helped produce artists like Adele, Arctic Monkeys, Temper Trap and Sneaker Pimps.

Corner also collaborates with former Sneaker Pimps bandmate, Liame Howe, who has written and produced for artists such as Lana Del Rey, Elie Goulding and Marina and the Diamonds.

The solo artist currently produces his music in a rundown factory outside Berlin. The building has been converted into an arts and entertainment playground. It used for recording, rehearsals, photo shoots and even music videos.

Here, IAMX has collaborated with well-known artists such as Grammy-winning indie-electro multi instrumentalist Imogen Heap.

The Unified Field, is available on Amazon, iTunes and IAMX’s official website.

For latest news and tour dates check out IAMX’s official site at IAMX.eu or Facebook page Facebook.com/IAMXOFFICIAL.

About Kymberlie Estrada

Kym is in, what she hopes, is her final year at Cal State Fullerton. She is majoring in Journalism and minoring in Radio-TV-Film. While she’s not running around in circles in the newsroom, she’s probably on a long distance run outdoors. She hopes to one day strut the streets of New York in her all black attire and 5 inch heels working for an elite fashion magazine. An apple is all it takes to make her day. So give her one. Fuji, preferably.