Tokyo Mask is a one man project from Greece investigating groove-oriented industrial rock. The five instrumental tracks on "Route Painless" display an impeccable sense of timing, composition, and high-end production. The main problem I have with the disc is that it simply feels dated and even a little unadventurous at times.
My first impression of this album was its innovative packaging design. I'm not a huge fan of traditional CDs as a format, but I love the slim line, cut-out case that is used here. I am totally sold on this as an object, and that high level of production carries over to the music as well. It's obvious that the musician behind Tokyo Mask has a high level of skill and understanding of what he is doing. Trip-hop drum loops and waves of melodic distortion and synth work their way in and out of these songs with a great deal of professional-grade skill. At times though, the atmosphere feels like it could come out a late-‘90s sci-fi action film. It's not that the sounds themselves are stale, but the mood of the pieces just seem stuck in the post-industrial world of Trent Reznor and his contemporaries.
Not all hope is lost though—the second track, "The Human Wreck," is a great example of pushing disparate elements together to form new modes of music. Barely out-of-sync loops of distortion bounce off each other as a slightly tropical drum loop meanders through the atmosphere—very cool. Then there is the droning closer, "New Gods Call," which finishes the disc off on a more ethereal plane. All in all, "Route Painless" is a mixed bag for me. Maybe if I hadn't listened to so much "industrial-dance" music in my youth I could appreciate this more. However, there is enough innovation to be heard hear to warrant your attention. 6/10 -- Charles Franklin (1 September, 2010)