WRITTEN BY: Vince Barreras
Kiss of the Whip is the dark electronic project of Tristan Victor. Tristan, once a Philadelphia native, has relocated to Baltimore, Maryland, signed to Cold Transmission Records, and now released probably the most sound and well produced record of the project’s history. Kiss of the Whip uses loud synthesizes, and dark moods and sounds to make music that not only creates a sinister experience, but one that is danceable and enjoyable. The use of these synths allows for the project to explore unique sounds in a genre that is heavy on atmosphere and feeling. Victor’s project continues to exist in that universe but creates a sound that is its own.
The record features ten main tracks and four remixes. The first track on this record, “Introduction in G Minor” sets the tone and sound of the record immediately. It is a short instrumental opener, just under two minutes, and relies on atmospheric and ambient synths to drive the track home. This particularly sets the tone for the types of sounds and noises listeners will hear on future tracks. One thing that is consistent is that KOTW is the master of creating a total audio soundscape that is immersive and deep. The tracks on this record are perfect examples of taking a sound and making it huge. The sounds range from bouncy EBM like on “Be Mine” to more slow and sullen tracks like “Never Cursed” or even the beautiful “A Sky Entirely Devoid of Stars.”
The music of this album is diverse in that some songs have those loud, bouncy synths (see “Left Behind” or “Sun Moon Star”) and others like “Starving the Flame” have a more shoegaze and slowed down feel. The way this track in particular plays out is relying on Victor’s strung out vocals and the abrasive synthesizes. It’s a great conclusion to the record, and there’s enough space and time in this track to allow the environment to really be fleshed out.
All in all, this is a great release for not only the Cold Transmission label, but for Kiss of the Whip as a project. The production on Kiss of the Whip projects is always strong, but this time, it feels at a level not seen before. This isn’t a run of the mill darkwave record, because Tristan has found the sweet spot in the universe of making cool electronic music that happens to fuse dark elements. This is a record that shouldn’t be slept on. Kiss of the Whip is three records deep into their history, and continues to raise the bar.
- Introduction in G Minor
- Girl Made of Stars
- Be Mine
- Left Behind
- Sun Moon Star
- A Sky Entirely Devoid of Stars
- We’re Not Here
- Never Cursed
- Drowning Inland
- Starving the Flame
- Be Mine – Agent Side Grinder Remix
- We’re Not Here – Sydney Valette Remix
- Be Mine – Schonwald Remix
- We’re Not Here – Tsti Remix