Information Society: Don't Be Afraid (1998)

Performers: Kurt Harland, Steve Seibold
Label: Cleopatra Records
Production: Kurt Harland, Fred Maher, Steve Seibold
Mixing: Kurt Harland, Fred Maher, Steve Seibold
Programming: Kurt Harland, Steve Seibold
Notes: Don't Be Afraid is a two-CD set. One CD is a regular music CD, while the second CD is a CD-ROM containing a great many fan-submitted files, as well as text files, audio samples, Descent2 mods and video from Kurt Harland himself. Also included is the complete, uncut Peace & Love, Inc. video, which was never shown on MTV. There are also MTV segments on the band, and some video of the construction of Kurt's Car. Really neat stuff!


Information Society was transformed enormously when Kurt Harland bought the rights to the name from the previous band members. Harland was no longer bound by the music his bandmates wanted to do, or indeed what his record label wanted, since he didn't have one. So he made the music he wanted to make, which was -- apparently -- goth/industrial.

I should say it's rather good goth/industrial -- Harland's skill with sampling and mixing shines on this album, as does his ability to twist and warp sounds into something strange and wonderful. His lyrics aren't bad, either, though they reflect a tortured mind, rather than the vaguely peppy partying against the darkness in InSoc's previous three full-length albums. Don't Be Afraid is not a happy album, but it is a very good one. Listen to this album if you're angry, and want to get angrier... or, better yet, listen to this album if you're angry and want to dance, stomping on toes in some dark nightclub.

I greeted this album with some reservation, being a fan of InSoc's earlier stuff (especially Hack), and having heard that it was "InSoc gone goth! You'll love it!", according to my girlfriend). But this album has enough of the old InSoc's electronic ingenuity and cyberpunk sensibilities to to keep any fan of their older work happy. Combine this with a fuller, more coherent sound and you have an excellent album -- which Don't Be Afraid definitely is. It is one of the few albums I have ever heard in which I like every track; usually there is at least one track I want to skip on even the best of albums, but Don't Be Afraid deserves to be played straight through.

Track Listing

  1. Empty 3.0
  2. Closing In 2.0
  3. On The Outside 2.1
  4. Ending World 1.1
  5. Seek300 2.11
  6. The Sky Away 2.0
  7. Are "Friends" Electric? 2.0
  8. Ozar Midrashim 1.1
  9. The Ridge 1.1
  10. White Roses 1.0 300 8-N-1 (data track)

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