IAMX / The Unified Field / Review

by marcopantella

Read it on The GROUND Magazine


“Kinder und sterne küssen und verlieren sich
greifen leise meine hand und führen mich.
Die traumgötter brachten mich in eine landschaft,
schmetterlinge flatterten durch meine seele in der mitternacht”


“Children and stars kiss and lose themselves
they grab my hand and lead me softly.
The gods brought me in a dream landscape,
butterflies fluttered through my soul at midnight”

A German chant opens the studio album number 5 of Chris Corner’s project called IAMX. The mind behind Sneaker Pimps has been producing records since 2004 and for the very first time this release sees him collaborating with producer Jim Abbiss (Adele, Arctic Monkeys, Temper Trap, Sneaker Pimps) instead of working all alone as he used to so far. IAMX has always been secretly underground and people who have been following him during these years are familiar with their sharp and almost perfect productions. New listeners on the other hand, should be ready to discover an accessible yet disturbing way of making music as Chris opens up to new dimensions without letting his loyal fans down.

In fact IAMXers played a fundamental role in this project; a fundraising project was launched via PledgeMusic to support the album and most importantly to involve the fans in this adventure set to spread the word on IAMX who is longly overdue an international recognition. “I swore to myself I won’t make an album alone again. It smashes me to pieces emotionally and has just become more and more trouble than fun.”, born in England and adopted by Berlin, Chris gives up his total control without losing his twisted identity and “The Unified Field” is an introspective and philosophical voyage that yearns to belong in a place where we are all connected. ”I am obsessed with the concept of a scientific theory of an underlying base level of consciousness” and from the core or the atoms to the one of the human souls, IAMX analyzes the truth behind the lies of this world and the strenuous struggle between science and spirituality that we are all facing.

IAMX – The Unified Field – Official Music Video

The album starts where all life begins: a womb. Single “I Come With Knives” explains the fetus on the album cover and the blood across it. The act of coming to life is our very first fight and a way for IAMX to kick off on a note he knows very well; agony and violence. This tortured soul leaves the safety of the womb against his will to breath for the first time, “I never promised you an open heart / I never wanted to abuse your imagination” and has no choice but to come with knives to protect himself despite the real intention is to bring love. It is an alarming art-rock song that runs into the equally dark “Sorrow”, a macabre hymn to anger, sorrow, and its positive aspects that introduces the paper-soul of fame with the line “Hollywood, coyotes crying”. Chris’ voice and the rhythm are exaggerated and emotional but a warm light is about to appear.

Title-track and first single “The Unified Field” has an unusual groundbreaking dance-floor beat. Its release puzzled everybody’s expectation on what to expect from the new IAMX album but if you worried about Chris going commercial to reach a wider audience, the whole album denies this theory and actually previous songs like “Kiss+Swallow”, “Sailor”, and “Nature Of Inviting” already had a strong erotically charged atmosphere that made you want to dance along their utterly sensual, sweaty, and aggressive lyrics. This time around though the focus is on a global share of pain, the acceptance of it is portrayed in the video like a symphony. “Just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t feel / Just because I don’t feel doesn’t mean I don’t understand / We are one in the unified field” may sound like a weak piece of lyrics but coming from someone who has always been on the edge is not only a track where he take risks but a momentary celebration of our inner light.

“Quiet The Mind” is an exquisite pulsating ballad in a pure IAMX style, a stripped-down arrangement, and a paradox as the sweetness of the music contrasts with the lyrics “Sometimes I can taste my death like a candy bar / So sweet and complete”. In line with the album Chris allows a little amount of light inside it as to explain emotions, human intelligence and art “I create to keep my dog in my bearable door / I made holograms / In my egocentric universe of…” he sings, trying to see the hope behind the suffering joke of our existence. Through the use of the vibraphone, glockenspiel, Celesta and Harpsichord things gets more detailed and complicated, starting with “The Adrenaline Room” a place where you can’t get any lower or any more perverted “people kissing everywhere”, and “Under Atomic Skies” a reflection on those feelings that makes us feel so powerless when facing the possibility that the world could fall apart without us having any decision in it. Despite this, the two lovers in the song don’t give up “rejoiced in the hopeless / we loved under atomic skies”

Moments like “Scream” and “Come Home” may not be up to the same cinematography aspects that “You’re The Conversation, I’m The Game”, “White Suburb Impressionism” or “The Stupid, The Proud” had even though the lyrics of the first one are shivering but as “Animal Impulses” starts, the song that gives the name to IAMX’s tour, Chris becomes more powerful and unleashes his raw DNA as a singer and songwriter. Like Italian films from Neorealism this song is symbolic and creates a suspense that explodes in “Walk With The Noise” reminiscent of the energetic “Spit It Out”, and leads to the pearl of the album, the burlesque-and-Marlene-Dietrich-on-acid “Land Of Broken Promises”. Here his voice shifts from anger to melodrama just like broken dreams takes over the tortured soul of the beginning, “drink again ’cause everyone forgets in the land of broken promises”. It is sinister and ironic at the same time, and just like a folkloristic tale passed on to generations it narrates the story of the American dream and its empty promises that claim to gives us everything we desire. Is this something he longs for or something he’s distancing himself from?

IAMX – “I Come With Knives” – (Official Video)

In this endless battle the closing track “Trials” works like a personal moment of self-analysis like in “I Salute Your Christopher” from IAMX’s previous album “Volatile Times”. No more psychosis, negative sex, or identity crises because “I can only win in the end / My trials are my friends” and in the unified field of this universe this means shutting down the voice of the demons in our heads that wants us to feel useless and undeserving. This record is exactly what Chris needed at the moment, it is a question mark and a balanced one. He may have given up something to explore new structures and possibilities but after all He Is X, and that means ever-changing and never compromising. He himself doesn’t know and maybe that is the key to create something honest, deep and pure in this music business. “I get glimpses,” he explains about its identity and true nature, “the brave confident noisy leader, the fragile sensitive recluse. But honestly, I just don’t want to understand. The day I find out is the day the fire stops burning and the day I stop making music.”