IAMX | Unhindered

profile_iamx_sm"Because I spend so much time making music, I'd much rather watch some sort of art films or go see some architecture or other kind of cultural stuff that doesn't really relate to what I do."

 

 

 

profile_iamxIAMX (I-am-X) is the esoteric, electro-pop creation of one man: Chris Corner (Sneaker Pimps). For those who have yet to indulge themselves, Corner describes IAMX as, "a personal, playful, sexy electronic project." Indeed it is, but it's also much more. Deeply personal and soulfully expressive, "it's a broad audio/visual experience" Corner goes on to say. Corner, a native of the United Kingdom who now resides in Berlin, visited the United States for a brief tour in support of IAMX's sophomore release, The Alternative.

The Alternative kicks off with the punchy, piano-driven track "President," which gives way to a synth-laden chorus that offers the lyrical sentiment, "For all you lonely boys, I will be president." For those familiar with IAMX, you will quickly notice that this new record is more up-tempo than IAMX's 2004 release, Kiss + Swallow. Corner attributes this change in direction in large part to the inspiration he has felt since moving to Berlin and soaking up the city's creative and artistic vibe. "Also, going out and playing live and seeing what works and what stands up, how to energize an audience, I wanted to put more of the aggressive, energized side into The Alternative," says Corner. And he certainly delivers.

Loop-based songs such as the title track and "Nightlife" are full of catchy hooks that will seduce even the shyest of club patrons into hitting the dance floor. Never afraid to experiment with songwriting, Corner offers us the album's fifth track, "Song of Imaginary Beings," with its playful vibe and a groove just as catchy as the narrative-themed lyrics. Corner offers up such imaginative gems as, "Imagine hurt, imagine tears, she opened up until she disappeared/ Vanished, hand in hand, with all the long-lost children locked in Neverland."

The songwriting on The Alternative is a blend of styles that features on one hand the more traditional approach of writing distinguishable melodies which could be arranged for piano or guitar, coupled with the experimental, loop-based approach of electronic music production. As a result, you have a record that sounds fresh to even the most jaded ears.

So what inspires someone like Corner to write such unrestricted music in a homogenized music industry? "I find other art forms actually more inspiring than music," says Corner. "Because I spend so much time making music, I'd much rather watch some sort of art films or go see some architecture or other kind of cultural stuff that doesn't really relate to what I do."

Despite the commercial success Corner experienced with Sneaker Pimps, he chose to use an independent label for IAMX. "I'm happy with where I'm at in terms of creative control," he says. IAMX is playing only a few dates on this initial U.S tour, although a more extensive tour may follow toward the end of the year if things go well.

So what kind of place does IAMX have in a sheltered and conservative music scene like that of today? "It's such a different world than the one that I exist in that I tend to shut myself off, because if I really let it get to me, I don't know that I'd continue to make music. The commercial music world is such a depressing monster of consumerism and a lack of depth and artistry, that if I let myself get affected by that, I think I'd go mad," says Corner. Amen. | Christopher Sewell

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