Three years after the release of his last studio album Splinter, and probably because diehards always want more, the live CD / DVD Here In The Black, Live At Hollywood Forever Cemetery, recorded during the Splinter Live Tour in 2013, is out now.
Opener I Am Dust shows what the 58-year-old musician is still capable of. The combination of older songs with new tracks of Splinter is perfect. Metal has been upgraded, only the magnificent howling synths remind us of the colder original version. We must admit that the influence of Nine Inch Nails on Numan’s recent work is enormous. The musical adoration and collaboration with Trent Reznor never was a secret.
Also remarkable on this live release, is the lower amount of used "overdubs": it makes it all more pure and raw, but it never restricts the musical perfectionism of this fantastic artist. Numan is not that cold motionless android from the early days. His performances burst of energy. The world hit Cars is pushed back into the background and has evolved into a rock song over the years. The 'older' tracks on this live album are darker and more mature, especially the already 38 year old Down In The Park: slowly built up, until the cold synthesizers and futuristic lyrics strike you. This man was ahead of his time and had an incredible impact on electro pop.
Of course Are Friends Electric? has to be included, a song about robot prostitution and a breakthrough for Tubeway Army in 1979. Meanwhile, Numan had a lot of ups-and-downs and he evolved from pop to rock. We hear decent heavy guitar riffs and combined with the high lyrical intensity, the live dark wave versions of The Fall, Love Hurt Bleed and All In The Black get an extra value. In the beautiful atmospheric The Calling we hear the musical battle between synths and bass, both pleading for our attention and affection. But Numan is Numan. The dark, sometimes depressed and anxious lyrics penetrate deep into your body and create a sense of powerlessness, but also one of inner beauty, as in Dead Sun Rising.
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