NRSB-11 is the brainchild of Dataphysix (of Drexciya and Dopplereffekt) DJ Stingray 313 (Drexciya's touring DJ), Penelope Martin and Lana Jastrevski. Their sole and wholly singular album Commodified dropped in 2013 on Belgium label WéMè Records, enigmatically and to immediate attention. The ever current affairs of economics, capitalism, and consumer culture resonate deeply through sparing digitised voices, electrical discharges, and illustrious mechanical rhythms.
Commodified is a vibrant work of electro and techno experimentalism, brimming with cinematically minded melodic and harmonic progressions. A flurry of telephone operators, news anchors, and interviewees enters us into the album’s world, edited and backed by ominous drones. There’s an instantaneous feeling of being on edge as the information overload snaps into the steely, sparking stabs of ‘Consumer Programming’, where a robotic monotone succinctly describes the hypermodern age. This laconic simplicity extends to the album’s barcode artwork: a symbol of the very commercial identification each track bristles against.
The ensuing tracks are a daze of expansive sound design: the slow nodding shimmers of ‘Bioethics’ with beats mapping organic processes, the slinking gait and dizzying scintillations of ‘Dead Civilization’, and the molten acid basslines creeping throughout. Retro synth pulses fly through ‘Living Wage’, full of action and sharp, sociopolitical lyrics: “Mass exploitation, hail CEO”. ‘Market Forces’ meanwhile swerves into the realm of electronica via restrained sound palettes, tearing itself apart halfway through then recombining to a more metallic, dystopian effect.
A faultless classic in electronic music, NRSB-11 demonstrate their ominous vision of the near future on Commodified.