The mysterious N8NOFACE continues to expand his synth-punk dystopia
A meeting point between punk, rap and electronic, N8 deconstructs the brightness of LA and brings listeners back to a cold dystopia.
Diverse forces of musical alchemy intercede in Bound to Let You Down, the new LP of the mysterious N8NOFACE released by Eyeball Records. Twenty tracks make up the personal mix that embodies LA's inner dystopias and the nightmarish side of the American dream available digitally and in cassette.
What do we know about the visceral album?
It's as if the proletarian frustration that hides between sunny California and the rage of Mexican punk had an anguished child obsessed with erasing the false promises offered by today's digital utopia via synth pop.
The result is a quick mix that resembles a furious punk album, one minute per track, where the artist users synthesizers to get out his frustrations.
"This album was inspired by the break-ups, the addiction and the life lived outside the lines," confessed N8.
The little we do know about the man behind N8NOFACE is in a few interviews, where it is clear he prefers to play with an alias to escape the usual systems of the industry in which he operates. Deeply disenchanted with the proletarian and original dream of Tucson, Arizona, N8 has been dealing with the most distorted versions of synthesizer music to address problems of drug trafficking, toxic relationships, and intense labor exploitation for years.
In an interview with Sam Ribakoff, N8 said his influences stem from Mexican punk bands, rap mixtapes, and Crystal Castles. In his previous band, CRIMEKILLZ, they practiced "gameboy punk," a glitchy variant of electronic music that now goes in many different directions.
Both on the new LP and on Just Here to Die — another release of his from 2020 — N8 guides synthesizers towards the more arcane and amphetamine-ridden face of Los Angeles. It's an accelerated dystopia on thick beats.
In other words, it's as if that utopian tone of synth music was removed and an angry punk decided to try rapping over it.
That duality is both his city and the reality he has experienced.
"As soon as I got to L.A. it was two extremes, I was living in South Central, so I was dealing with a lot of gang shit, it was just insane, and then when I’d do my music, it was Hollywood shit,” he said.
The new album with a shibari cover appears on Eyeball Records, the label of Murder by Death and My Chemical Romance. The verdict is still out on whether N8NOFACE is a mutation of punk that can no longer ignore electronics or if it is the evolution of synth that can no longer dream the same way after a global pandemic.
We do know that they are new rabid ballads and a glimpse of the obscene face in the rat race for survival.