Knife Party On Unknown Sundays 2024


I was never a dance club guy.  Sure, I frequented the establishments that mostly were tuned to making the young women in the black mini-skirts dance, burn off their worries, and consume liquored beverages.  Hell, I was the designated driver for a lot of those excursions, whether it was to Canada, or when we were of age to the nightclubs of the Western New York area (which were fewer than you would expect, and even fewer now).  The tunes they spun would occasionally mix in something from popular radio and my music wheelhouse at the time.  Nine Inch Nails, ‘Animal’ was a constant, as well as Marilyn Manson, PJ Harvey, and later 4 Non Blondes, but it was the Moby’s and Tricky’s and Bjork that were starting to tickle this idea and merger of Electronic Dance Music and the Alternative music scene.  Pretty soon you had Portishead, tons of DJ this and DJ that, as the expansion of genres within the macro EDM became much like that of Rock-n-Roll.  I could of course spend an entire month on this kind of music and it’s creation and evolution, but that’s not why you’re reading (you are reading this right?).

The influence here starts from a DJ friend of mine from New Jersey, who not only had his finger on the vinyl trigger of this kind of music, but a very extensive knowledge of the genre.  On one of his visits to Upstate New York, he let me in on some of the goings on from Skrillex to Modstep to Nero, and then all kinds of other interesting singles that were yet to have an EP or album.  That’s the real problem in this music genre for me.  The lack of album or complete cohesion of a musical concept for the duration of an EP or a full length album.  That, and the concept of “samey” (as our panelist, Everett James, would probably say) or elongated electronic melody for too long a time, which was really one of the reasons I didn’t exactly like the music in the club.  The trance is the motion (I get it, and so did Static-X), but I wanted to hear something new or at least feel like we moved to the next song.  But this stuff, that Jeff DeYoung (that’s right another Jeff — damnit man, get on the panel) was throwin’ down on the car stereo had these “drops” that were like crescendos to that samey feel, and then they just exploded into something else!  Yes, some of it was Transformer sounding, but still it was engaging and extremely catchy.  Enter Knife Party onto the stereo!

‘Power Glove’ and ‘Internet Friends’ might have been the first two songs I heard.  So infectious, different, and thrilling because I just kept waiting for the next swift kickoff, drop or flipping of the musical script.  Sure, I wasn’t paying attention to lyrics, even though they were definitely swaying to that trance, meat market concept, but I was certainly paying attention to the bass and drum machine war.  And there is the hook.  The hook I had subtle hints of with DJ Rap, Portishead, Tricky, and others — it’s all about that particular bass.  No question.  And then, to see the craziness ensue in a live performance (on YouTube of course, as they don’t frequent our neck of the woods), and see all these bodies just moving to it and losing it the minute that drop hits!  Damn!  I want to be a part of that.  The elaborate screens and immensity of it all just to match these two men and spin/computer table!?  The cable stretching out like the Matrix!  I want to be a part of that!  A part of that at 40, doesn’t exactly put me in the pit.  In fact, I do that, and I’m probably going to have new lumbar problems I can’t even imagine.  But, I want to be cool, so I engage in Haunted House EP, as my first real, full force EDM purchase along with Skrillex and RJD2.

The Australian duo of Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen, a faction of the famous band, Pendulum (who is equally engaging but in a more progressive, Prodigy-like manifesto), started this back in 2002 while working within the drum and bass band.  They intended the gig to be just a side project, but it blew up big, just like those drops!  Unfortunately, for the fan base of Pendulum, it appeared that it was death by Knife Party, as there had not been be a follow up record to the 2010 Immersions album.  An album I also enjoy, and kind of would love to hear a continuation of the band, as they definitely have a signature sound and a dominatingly unique atmosphere.  Oh, but wait, 2023 saw the EP, Anima, come out so it does appear to be hope for Pendulum to take their DNB progressive rock further!  In fact, at this point the Knife Party website is apparently closed for the moment.  So, there’s all that going on — which adds to the overall scope and importance of this Unknown Sundays reach!  So, let me get back on track!  Enter the full length album, Abandon Ship in 2014, which oddly enough would be the only full album from Knife Party.  While it did take me some time to come to grips with a longer jaunt of EDM, I still find this album among the best of the genre in my opinion (with the likes of Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, Evolution Theory, and Deadringer).

I just know that every single time I put an album of Knife Party on, EP or Abandon Ship, I’m going to be sucked into that vortex of body moving club droppin’ bass and drum machine.  I know that I’m going to catch myself bouncing that knee in the car, or bobbing my head to the building crescendo, and ultimately — at some point — lose control and start jumpin around my kitchen with my Santoku raised away from the onion just to participate in the imaginary pit and pendulum (sorry guys) that I missed because I’m just a broken middle aged man who will have to take pleasure in the zany nature of the music and watching YouTube clips of youth not wasted on the ingeniousness of Knife Party raging raves!  Jealous, I am.

Knife Party Albums In My Collection:
  • Haunted House (2013)
  • Abandon Ship  (2014)

It’s very hard to find EP(s) of theirs for sure.  You can’t even order them on, but of course there’s plenty on the digital front!  Here’s the chronological order, so you have it;

  1. 100% No Modern Talking (2011)
  2. Rage Valley (2012)
  3. Haunted House (2013)
  4. Abandon Ship (2014)
  5. Trigger Warning (2015)
  6. Lost Souls  (2019)

Pendulum (band), if you would like to check that out;

  1. Hold Your Colour  (2005) *in my collection
  2. In Silico (2008) *in my collection
  3. Immersion (2010) *in my collection
  4. The Reworks (2018)  – all kinds of remixes by Knife Party, Moby, and Devin Townsend
  5. Anima [EP] (2023)
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