Explosive Los Angeles industrial techno project Cruel Kiss (aka Dustin Hollenbeck) is supercharged with driving percussion, driving techno, and screeching synths in the vein of NIN, Suicide, and Skinny Puppy. Today marks the debut of a new lo-fi video for their new single and video, “Dreamscape.”
Dreamscape is what the title describes: it delves into a territory of sound heavily influenced by human emotion, touch and desire. As with all of Hollenbeck’s work, the track operates as a veritable exorcism ritual for expelling pain and debilitating emotions; giving way to deeper compassion.
“Dreamscape is inspired by a nightmare,” says Hollenbeck. “The making of the song was an actual nightmare. I would take stabs at it and it just sat and waited years for me to finalize and correct technical mistakes. I never thought of it as a single but I never gave up on it. and now it’s this whole piece that I feel is an honest representation of everything I’m currently capable of.”
Dreamscape’s visuals embody the duality of introspection and movement, Hollenbeck says. “It’s a display of compartmentalized emotion dynamically building into an outlet of human reaction.” Multimedia visual artist Phoenix Oslavio directed the accompanying clip, using an analogue video synthesizer. Much of the video was filmed in the arts district of Los Angeles, including the “LA River,” during the removal of giant pieces of the 6th Street Bridge after its long renovation process. It also features live performance footage from Cruel’s debut set at Catch One during Manufactured in Los Angeles Fest.
Cruel Kiss is set to debut their 5-song debut EP “Rose is a Weapon” via Enchaîné Mode in February. The physical release will be a 30 minute video on VHS including three music videos and other themed hypervisuals set to the other tracks. Cruel Kiss will continue creating an immersive community with high energy live shows.
Cruel Kiss is a DIY effort, after a lifetime of operating as a hired gun guitarist in various LA bands. This led to an obsession with synths, drum machines, sound design and recording. “For a while I’ve felt debilitated by an endless pit of unreleased material,” he says. “I’ve felt isolated from engaging in the music community and sharing my work. Cruel Kiss is my rebirth from a long hiatus and I look forward to creating an energy and being a part of the electronic community…Although my music is only electronic and sequential there is ton of emotion behind it. It’s raw feeling, it’s my outlet, it’s my reaction to the outside world on display.”
Follow Cruel Kiss: