Music Reviews

Artist: Cursa/Gamma
Title: Egg Cup/Warthog
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Plasma Audio
Rated: *****
Another blessing on the expanding Plasma catalogue got thrown by Cursa, the London-based bicephalous project by Tim Ogilvie and Kit Maloney, whose declension of neurofunk keeps on matching together chrome-plated sonorities, dizzy drum rolling, bouncy hooks for junglists and gloomy robotic atmosphere on the hitting tune "Egg Cup", a crackling formula which is going to delight fans of quite known d'n'b entities such as Noisia, Lynx, Ed Rush'n'Optical or Survey and could let you imagine the scary white rabbit, who bedevils a troubled teen during a nap, could cross the boundaries between reality and fiction and materialize in the guise of an electricity-driven tormenting monster. Likewise tech-hey and slightly disquieting, the nettlesome plasma silicium that Hungarian producer Mark Gulacsi aka Gamma poured into chains of elastic bouncing bumps and screwing basslines on his tune "Warthog". Intended for the lovers of the twitchier side of bass-driven music.
Artist: Nox Interna (@)
Title: Spiritual Havoc
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Rated: *****
Nox Interna is Gothic Rock/Industrial Metal band with Richy Nox - vocals, composition; Peter Geltat - guitars; Robert Müller - guitars, programming; Tom Krüger - guitars, programming; and on this album, Boris Oksuz - bass; and Tobias Haas - drums; with Reza Udhin - backing vocals. 'Spiritual Havoc' is supposed to be their third album, but I can't find their other two, so I would assume those releases were somewhat limited. I think they've been around from 2010 or 2011, but there's a good chance you haven't heard of them before...until now. Nox is from Madrid, while the other band members are from Berlin, so what we have here is sort of a Spanish-German hybrid.

The album begins with "Kill Yourself and Be Reborn," a hot mess of a number that gets your attention with staccato hammering, single-note guitar and a strident beat. There's a wild chaos about it that rubbed me the wrong way, and to be perfectly honest, after one listening to that song I put the CD away to save for later. Well, later has come, and though my opinion of the song hasn't changed, the rest of the album does makes up for it. "An Eastern Song" which follows is certainly more controlled and sounds somewhat typical of German gothic metal. Not a bad song at all; well-arranged and intelligible, but not really a standout. "Parasites" slows the pace down a little and offers an eerie-gothy synth line, and I'm beginning to detect a host of influences from Type-O Neg to 69 Eyes to Rammstein, and likely others. Confusion and Darkness indeed! It's "Tomorrow Never Knows" (no, not a
cover of the Beatles tune by the same name) that could be the hit of the album. Unfortunate choice of a title to Google but the song is really good with a great hook. Possibly a little too brief being only a little over 3 minutes, but always leave them wanting more. A real stomping burner is "Agua de Vida" with lyrics in Spanish, and although Entiendo ningún español, it still sounds pretty good in my estimation. "The Last Sip of Hope" is the obligatory power ballad. A little too funky for me, but Euro goth girls will probably love it. "The Rotten Wings of Truth" has a techno intro overlayed with gothy organ and then
metal guitars. A decent track, but for me, not killer. "Dead Heroes" is a little simpler, but has a better hook. "Sleeping in the Asylum" is rendered with workman-like precision but other than mood, not much stands out. "El Ciclo" with lyrics in Spanish certainly does
sound like Spanish gothic rock, but may only appeal to Castilians. "Art of Chaos" tries too hard to include so much, but in the end does not succeed. Now for a surprise - "Rebel Yell," a real cover, not a song with just the same title. It won't replace Billy Idol's iconic original, but it is an interesting take on a classic. Likely a fave live too. The album concludes with "Sons of Silence," a song with philosophical lyrics that perhaps should have been more of a downtempo ballad than an uptempo rocker.

In conclusion, Nox Interna's 'Spiritual Havoc' is an uneven album, but for this band, a fairly accomplished one. There are a few really good tracks that make it worthwhile. In the greater scheme of things, Nox Interna still have a ways to go before reaching the summit of the mountain of goth-industrial-metal rock bands out there, but with perseverance and a commitment to quality over quantity, they might very well make it.
Artist: Luxury Mollusc / Ontervjabbit / Animal Machine (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: [&] (@)
Rated: *****
I was not familiar with any of these bands before getting this, but looking at the cover and the lo-fi presentation (artwork is a creepy drawing on pen and paper, blank CDR), I kind of expected some noise here (especially since it came in the same package as Sist En 343, which was some great noise). So I was a bit surprised when I put on the disc. First up, we have Luxury Mollusc with 'Fishing For Chalk Lung Breathing Is A Chore Wax Tundra.' This is gritty and a bit noisy, but not really noise. Imagine a post apocalyptic landscape where the machines are still running simply because there is no one left to shut them off. As you can expect, the machines have become a bit rusted and parts have started to fall off of them, but they keep grinding away. This is the feel that we begin with. Lots of reverb gives it a cavernous feel, and it gets progressively noisy as it goes along. The machines are starting to break down and it's beginning to show. Nicely done. Next up, Ontervjabbit comes in with all guns firing with 'Disruption Slot' This is a slab of heavy, feedback laden noise that crushes everything in its path. There are recurring themes throughout, but this is surprisingly good if you like rumbling, grinding noise. As such, it manages to keep the nonstop intensity going while still being engaging. It ends with an ear piercing squeal of feedback, just as I thought it would. Well done. If you were looking for some kind of aural respite after Ontervjabbit's assault, you will find none in Animal Machine's 'Live at the Rehearsal 14.10.12.' But while Ontervjabbit functioned mostly in the lower end of the spectrum, Animal Machine aims for the treble side with lots of white noise before heading into a segment of rumbling bass and feedback about halfway through. So much feedback. If you like harsh noise, this will definitely be up your alley. Overall, don't let the cover fool you ' this is well worth checking out. This album weighs in at around 66 minutes.
Artist: Steve Roden (@)
Title: Flower & Water
Format: CD
Label: Dragon's Eye Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
I was unfamiliar with this Los Angeles musician, but with this album I am reminded of Aube's 'Pages From the Book' in which the only sound source was a Bible. Steve Roden took a similar approach with this album: 'Flower & Water began with an offer to work with the first Dragon's Eye release ' a flexi-disc with a recording of George Winston playing a blues piano composition called 'Medley: Bread Baker's Stomp' ' as source material. Since I am not a true remixer, I decided to modify the track via physical manipulation. Most of the material began with cutting up some of the flexi's and taping back together in 'wrong' ways. I then played (or tried to play) the broken records that had been taped back together ' also putting objects onto the surface of the record while being played with a cheap record player that had a small built-in speaker.' The result is a series of looped compositions with shorter pieces (most less than a minute) interspersed throughout that highlight more experimental approaches with broken stabs of music ' here is where he must have stapled together the flexis into frankenflexis. The result is fascinating and some of the results are stunning. 'Words In The Shape Of A Tree,' for example, is a hauntingly beautiful series of looped piano snippets. 'Feeling, Smelling, Tasting' begins with looped piano and ends with heavily processed grinding sound, as if it was slowly being played backward with a bad needle. 'Straightforwardness' begins with reversed music and then moves into a mournful piano loop over pulsing swells of bass. If you're looking for experimental music that will not scare your friends and make them ask 'why the hell do you listen to this kind of stuff?' this is an excellent place to start. Don't get me wrong 'I listen to stuff that sounds like sheet metal in a blender, but sometimes I like it mellow too. This is an example of how experimental can still be beautiful, even in conventional ways. Well done. This album weighs in at around 36 minutes and is limited to 500 copies.
Artist: Delmore fx
Title: Innumerevole
Format: Tape
Label: Das Andere Selbst (@)
Rated: *****
'It was pretty difficult to find anything about this artist, but Discogs reports that 'Delmore Fx is the solo Project of Elia Buletti, the man behind the Berlin based label Das Andere Selbst. 'Altogether, let`s call it just bedroom tribalism.'' Whatever that means.... So putting on the tape is like listening to a toy factory gone amok. Sound synthesis chips have taken on a life of their own, music boxes speed up and slow down on their own accord, and there is a sense that everything is reflected through a funhouse mirror and the carousel keeps going round and round and round and you eventually start to get a bit dizzy. But by then it is far too late to get off the ride because everything has begun to move too fast to safely get off. The tapes that accompany the ride have begun to get eaten by the dirty tape heads in the machine and everything is off kilter. It is glitchy and full of loops and crazy in a whimsical way. Who says that experimental music has to be serious? This album weighs in at around 40 minutes.
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