Noised, the third release for Plastic Noise Experience on the US label Van Richter Records, has a bit of the old, a bit of the new, and a bit of controversy added in just to make it interesting.
Noised is the last release of the German duo Claus Kruse and SM Kalwa, as Kalwa has left the band to pursue other interests. This release is mainly comprised of PNE's 1997 album Rauschen, re-mastered, as well as six new songs more in line with PNE's recent releases on the Alfa Matrix label, including a cover of Motorhead's "Hellraiser III."
The album really needs to be treated as two separate pieces - the re-mastered older album and an EP of newer music. The older material is reminiscient of older Front Line Assembly or Front 242, with minimalist sounds and somewhat distorted vocals - old-school ebm if you like. Keeping in mind these songs are eight years old, they are rather good for their time; a touch of nostalgia from the old days. There are quite a few good tracks, such as "City of Lies," "In your Mind," "I Want You (Part I)" and "Do You Know my Name?"
The last six songs head in a slightly different direction, being more modern in sound, being more in line with the more recent works of Kraftwerk. These tracks are definitely brothers of the songs on PNE's 2004 release, Maschinenmusik.
This brings us to the controversy part of the album: after Van Richter released news of this album, the Belgian label Alfa Matrix, which released Maschinenmusik, declared Noised a bootleg at best, that it was being released without consent of the band and called for a boycott on buying the album. Van Richter has countered with information that they were working with the band and that the release is legal. It is hard to say who is right and who is wrong without more intimate facts, but that is for them is work out. PNE's current website is run by Alfa Matrix, so I can't say it is a reliable source for information concerning this matter.
All in all, Noised is a good album as long as you realize this is older material with newer material tacked onto the end of the album. It will give people unfamiliar with PNE exposure to the band's older sound and newer sound as well. Van Richter probably should have released the remastered Rauschen album separately and made Noised an EP of the newer material to keep things a bit cleaner, but who am I to judge.