At first glance you could be forgiven for thinking Bronnt Industries Kapital is some sort of pharmaceutical company, the type Glenn Close might try to bring down in Damages. That’s not its first description of course, though the links to the screen are valid.
The music is that of Bristolian Guy Bartell, and Hard For Justice is a third album exploring his cinematic brand of electronica. From this evidence, the pictures Bartell goes to see are very much film noir, and through his musical thoughts run Krautrock, techno, electro acoustic whooshes and live instrumentation.
The last element is the crucial one, the last piece to the jigsaw. In tracks such as Knights Of Vipco and European Male this is made real in muted trumpets, bringing a stately feel to the latter and a doleful air to the former. It’s a macabre extension of the music of label mates Booka Shade, and has more than a little in common with producers from the land of Warp.
All of which makes total sense, as three of the tracks are co-written with Gravenhurst spearhead Nick Talbot, with whom Bartell has previous on film scores. The music falls into place, then, as dark electronic colouring is thrown into relief by a scratchy violin on S.T.R.Y.K.E.R., or some whooshes of what sounds like synthesized sheets of rain on Streets Of Fury.
At times you feel like you’re lying on a hospital bed, listening to the repetitive beeps of the machines, your own breathing, and the tick of the clock. On the other hand, there are light touches of humour. Intentionally or not, the rat-a-tat of the snare drum with which Knights Of Vipco begins reminded me of Elmer Bernstein‘s Great Escape score.
These little treats are gradually revealed with each listen, and are best experienced on widescreen in a calm room. On the one hand Bartell’s music soothes, as in the cool keyboard of the opener, while on the other hand it speaks of dread lying just around the corner, which you’re hard put to shake off in the Threnody.
Its key is undoubtedly the live element, which aids, abets and occasionally comes into conflict with the pre-programmed. And so Hard For Justice becomes something of a comment on the pre-processed elements of society, reminding the listener that there’s still room for spontaneity. Or, on a less lofty level than all that, it’s just a good, chilled listen.