Music Reviews



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Artist: Noblesse Oblige
Title: Privilege Entails Responsibility Re-Release
Format: CD
Label: Repo Records
Rated: *****
The British-German duo consisting of Sebastian Lee Philipp and Valerie Renay presents these days their newest work. Well, it isn’t that new after all. At least on the British Isle it was already released once. Now it’s about time for the rest of the world to have an opportunity to enjoy "Privilege Entails Responsibility", rereleased with no less than ten bonus tracks.
This is really difficult to label the musical genre the two play. It ranges from chanson (Offensive Nonsense") over electro killers (Bitch", Fashion Fascism"), Indi-Blues (Nervous"), alternative Avantgarde (Bite Back", Surrender"), incestuously disturbing (Daddy (Don't touch me there)", genius (Was keine Zeit zerstört") to a French-German Popsong (Quel genre de Garcon") everything is just there. The intro rehandles a theme from Tchaikovsky’s ballet "Romeo and Juliet".
In the first part of the CD Valerie and Sebastian help themselves with various instruments (synthesizer, guitar, bass, piano) and vocals-wise the spectrum ranges from whispers, shouting from the top of their lungs, clear and brazen and all that in three languages by both artists. Simultaneously or interchangeably. You can never anticipate what the next song will bring upon you.
Liking the album is a matter of taste, but the duo is undeniable creative, non-conformist (even for an independent kind of a band) and artistic, while they show a serious portion of potential. The artists seem to be totally confident about their diverse style.
Part II of the CD, the bonus tracks, are ten remixes by renowned artist e.g. Mona Mur, En Esch, Toulouse Low Trax, Musiccargo, Laurent Ho, Avius, Mark Reeder and by Sebastian and Valerie themselves. On this part the styles are just as diverse as in the first one, ranging from Postpunk to Wave, Trance, 70s, 80s to a bongo song. Anything a heart (better an ear may desire). The last two songs are from the previous Noblesse Oblige album "In Exile".
All in all "Privilege Entails Responsibility (Re-Release)" is a well done album. The artists worked really hard and showed themselves and their skills from numerous sides. They work on every single detail. There is lots of power, art, expression and pleasure in making music. The album is very diverse and for that reason can be played in whole range of different situations and places; on a dance floor, high way, kitchen, bed room etc. Let’s see what their subsequent releases will bring.
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Artist: Spiral 25 (@)
Title: Spiral 25
Format: CD EP
Label:
Distributor:
Rated: *****
The psychedelic rock fever as well as its renaissance propelled by relatively young generations whose ears and minds have been excited not only by electronic psychoactive movements (Chemical Bros, Orbital, LCD Soundsystem, FSOL and so on) but also by a rediscovery of some legends which added that some fruity juice for brains in their personal rock formulas (Ozric Tentacles, Loop, Spaceman 3) in UK seems to be even more infectious than H1N1 virus and if from the electronic side we've recently heard some interesting proposals mainly from Manchester (if you still don't know them, check some releases by the astonishing Working For A Free Nuclear City... ), there're some bands trying to dig into the fertile soil of the psychedelic frontline, exploring layers and layers of musical sediments: Spiral 25 is a cheekily pretty band from Oxford whose style looks deeply influenced by a plenty of brain invigorating scrubbers covering almost 40 years of music history, going from 60s bands (The Velvet Underground, 13th Floor Elevators) to some pioneers of the so-called space rock, from psychedelic bands of the 80s (we already mentioned some... ) to contemporary ones (The Warlocks, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club), but the most perceptible chapter of British music seems to be the one related to some hedonistic and deeply individualistic pop/rock of early 90s: the use of reverbs and delays on guitar layers by the skilled guitarist Chris Monger's going to remind Stone Roses or Charlatans, while the vocalist Russell Denham seems to be a genetically modified hybrid between the shrill tones of Ian Brown getting to grips with the devil which used to possess Jim Morrison's vocal chords! This Ep '“ available directly from their website in a card digipak format for just £4 or digitally via Napster, Amazon, iTunes and other online retailers - contains just 4 tracks, but they're enough to show their skills.

Have a listen to Shadows In Line (in my modest opinion, the best song of this sampling as well as the most persuading body of evidence Mr.Denham could be possessed by the above-mentioned devil indeed) or Let The Light Shine On (you'll easily admit the title could continue sentencing "... and Let Your Hands Shake In The Air", when you'll hear the energy of their sound drenched by blues-tinged melodies) for instance and you'll easily understand this band's ready to emerge from the crowded abyss of collegial music scene. Just a short anecdote before let you search them on the Internet... when I absent-mindedly had their promotional cds in my hand, their name as well as the slogan-like references to light and glittering in some titles let me think about a sort of promotional dvd by a company, advertising some kind of low voltage energy saver lamp... and, hey, I found this casual comparison could perfectly fit Spiral 25's sound!
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Artist: SYNTAKS
Title: Ylajali
Format: CD
Label: Ghostly Int.
Distributor: K7
Rated: *****
Once Syntaks was the solo project of Jakob Skøtt but everything changed when he started to collaborate with Anna Cecilia adding her vocals to a track on his 2006 album "Awakes". After that experience he decided to grow Syntaks to a duo and then started to work on this album YLAJALI. Ylajali is a woman's name that is coming from "Hunger", a novel that the Norwegian author Knut Hamsun wrote in 1888 when he stayed by the inner City lakes in capitol of Denmark and few yards by where this album have been recorded. To talk about this album I was thinking to divide the musical experience from the emotional one (because in this case they could be different) but then since both of them are deeply linked I thought, what the hell, let's talk about whatever it come to my mind. The fact is that this music is almost "impalpable", it produces sounds but it's like a morbid flow of waves. Do you remember the early 4AD records where guitar arpeggios were hidden between tons of flanger and reverbs? Well, this is the same case. Jakob built a thick wall of sound using many layers that fluctuate and that are lead by Anna Cecilia's chants. No words have been used on most of them (only the closing Dark night" seems to have lyrics), her singing is like the sea nymphs that are attempting to seduce sailors. Most of the sounds used on YLAJALI come from filtered guitar, synths and electronic drums but they sound as a whole soft cotton ball. Hypnotizing and fluffy these slow tunes will revive your passion for old shoegazer music and if you were a fan of later Cocteu Twins you should check this one.
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Artist: Dialis (@)
Title: Precatio
Format: CD
Rated: *****
When gothic began colliding with electronics, a lot of nice surprises came into light, but there's also another side of gothic bands and musicians which seems to prefer interweaves with ethnic and folk (sometimes forgotten) influences. It depends mostly from the setting even a goth musicians has (not only from the artistic viewpoint) grown... that's just one of the reason we think the contamination of naturally gothic musical bent (sometimes very close to Deine Lakaien's sound)with sonorities reminding some musical roots as well as some abandoned poetry of inner mountain regions of Irpinia (a rural area, tragically become famous for a devastating earthquake in the 80s that could be considered naturally gothic as well... ) proposed by the Italian band Dialis is not intended for gammers, standing as interesting musical stuff to be welcomed in the international Neo-Folk scene (even if it's indirectly suffering from the violent struggle between music labels, trying to tempt the listeners throughout over advertised deep-frozen records that you could overheat in a microwave oven in order to ear ... it's just the same stuff coming over and over again, folks!).

By walking on a wire between folklore and darkness, Dialis are able to lift those traditions in a sort of mystical dimension, tinged by a gloomy decadent roller coating: the euphonic voice of Franco Bottoni '“ which sometimes reminds some glorious crooners such as Nick Cave in tracks like Precatio and the lovely Close Ocean, with a guessed presence of a soprano saxophonist in the line up - and the melancholic piano of Giuseppe Di Lorenzo sounds like an uddered and dignified discharge for listeners' mind, the bluesy guitar grooves lying on pensive lyrics mirror some husky reflections on art (even if sometimes they seems to strand and hesitate on the same old matters... ) , but even if the richness in musical tones created by the contrast between the guitar and other instruments (in particular the piano... ) seems to give a certain tepidness to cold stones (someone could imagine them singing... ) I don't agree with Dialis when they refers to rock while introducing to the album (except of A Sweet Eclipse), whose features clearly emerges in the final act of this record, the de-fibred A Cliff Apart, a lovely track you'll easily put in your "Favorites" folder together with tracks such as the poetic glimpse of A Fragile Rebirth, the dialogue between violin and Franco's evocative voice in Abeyance or the frayed Labyrinth Of Senses, a track in which the tension inspiring the whole album looks definitively "unfastened". By the way, this record is really mature and full of ... maybe too mature for being a debut album... the main risk of such maturity is that listeners are going to expect more from their next stage... and we're still in suspense as well!
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Artist: JeFF (@)
Title: In and between
Format: CD
Label: Altsphere (@)
In the middle of the so-called "Blue banana" '“ a wide economical conurbation going from Lancashire to Milan area - there's a small village with a coke mine called Seremange, a place where carbon clouds and factories caused a mutation of the landscape by giving eyes to hills and trees (!), and in the middle of Seremange, there's JeFF's world, an almost unknown place depicted as full of madness, sadness and despair... Well, it's not a fairytale as you could imagine, but it's just a vivid way adopted by this Frenchman to describe its unpredictable style featuring a bizarre fusion of dark, gothic, industrial ores, aggregated by a metal seneschal and distributed according to punkey marketing principles (as Maurer Jeff manages its own label, Altsphere, and releases devotionally following the Do-It-Yourself way... printed cover art, mastered cdR copies...and obviously cheaper prices... if you want to have a copy of In and Between, you have to pay 3 dirty euros and maybe you'll get a discount on a glass of Belgian beer as well!!!), confirmed by some references even in the music style to Global Genocide Forget Heaven, a legendary Californian industrial music band which moved its first steps by producing '“ strictly on tapes - a plenty of demos . and gradually gaining respect by a lot of zines. Even if there're some recognizable influences by Nine Inch Nails as well as the most depraved French dark-industrial scene, Jeff's music is not easy to categorize for different reasons as he used to change musical idioms in the same track as well.

It seems he sometimes tries to give voice (funny the way JeFF play a multitrack to juxtapose vocal layers giving the illusion there are two or more singers, even if this effect combined with Monsieur Jeff's French stress '“ easy to listen if your ears are quite trained in recognizing different ways of pronunciation of English language... ) to emotions such as despair, "death-in-life-and-life-in-death" and angriness till the point they rise turning into wall of sounds... .from gloomy piano melodies to furious rages of distorted guitar, from atmospheric lo-fi synthetic organs to depressed vocal emulsions, from funeral marches to dancing beats... style changes are really unpredictable and sudden... In and Between is just apparently illogic, but it's not in our opinion and even Jeff's unconventional way of singing alternative spoken words makes sense. Some highlights amidst this 12-track CDR are An active creation '“ it makes me think about an imaginary mad scientist's laboratory -, the metallic experiments (even on voice) of the terrificly depressed Years Ago (the nostalgia evoked by the title itself is not so casual... ), the frenzy hebephrenia of Serialfucker's beat patterns, Dead Star (a track which could be subtitled "the dark side of a rock/pop star"!) and the oppressive Tell me why. I've found it very funny some 8bit sequences such as in DWDY and Whiksey Talks (I couldn't imagine a bottle of Jack uses to put a potato in the mouth when speaking... !). By the way (In and Between), it seems there's no hope. Be aware and prepare to lick Jeff's despair!

Lyrics (totally crazy...!) available on the website.
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