Music Reviews



Oct 16 2009
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Artist: FIX8:SED8 (@)
Title: Dormicum
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
One of the very albums released during the last half year, which has often been with me, but which I haven’t reviewed so far. We’re writing a new chapter in the authentic Dark Electro music genre – one of my preferred styles. And again to all, who tend to mistake in genres: Authentic Dark Electro has nothing to do with Hellectro and related Trancewhackedgoregalore styles (copyrighted by Mr. Electrofreak)! We are talking on the one and only Dark Electro/EBM-related music with real dark moods, layered production and high-skilled programming abilities – take classics like older PUPPY, LEAETHER STRIP, MENTALLO & THE FIXER, PULSE LEGION or newer participants like OBJECT, NORDSCHLACHT, NEON CAGE EXPERIMENT or BRAIN LEISURE as a reference into this special league of talented music projects and start to consider, who’s inspired by whom. Germany’s newcomer of the year 2007 with "Humanophobia" also releases 2009 a new album, which got completely published on his very own mastermind, Mr. Martin Sane and it is available via his above linked MySpace account. For the recording and parts of the production process he has hired some established forces with DJ Barmherziger and Boris Posavic of BLAME. They did a great job and pushed the audio stuff to satisfy the highest needs – this counts especially for the mastering, which got subtle added to the audio material, instead to follow that dump and genre-related "reach-the-highest-possible-peaks"-game.
"Dormicum", a quite religious sounding title, was initially planned to get released via the German Klangdynamik label. However, and very sad to say that – this quite promising label (FEKTION FEKLER, NORDSCHLACHT, BLAME, NEON COIL, and more... ) went down too early from all business activities, so all of these plans had to be cancelled. There have been several other offers and options for Martin to move to a different label, but at least he has decided again to rely completely on his own abilities. His popularity is still unbroken, as several interviews in those expensive glossy magazines like Zillo or Sonic Seducer are proving this. And his music is popular too, with its intention, always to provide eerie and ominous atmospheres through opulent synth layers and arrangements, and diverse drum pattern programs. The hunt for that one favorite hit smasher available on "Dormicum" is in opposition to most of the current Hellectro-related productions quite unnecessary, too much good things could be reported out of every track. So, would it be rather easier to talk on weaknesses or faults available here? Well, too many Hellectro-junkies would tend to argue, that there aren’t real floor-fillers (yeah, again that one and only argument... ). Really? If I have to pick out "Blood Delta" and "The Needle" as being the most pummeling tunes, I’d tend to say, that these tracks are harsh enough to satisfy those needs – always with having in mind, that Martin’s best moments are the rather slow and creepy tunes ("Insomaniac", "Methadone"). Or let’s take the melodic and nearly fragile constructed, but damned effective produced track "Hiob" as a reference. Authentic Dark Electro has seldom sounded that intensive produced before. Fans of the above named projects won’t do anything wrong by purchasing this goody, which can be bought in two different formats. Check back Martin’s website for good and try to get it!
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anymore
Artist: Synapscape
Title: Again
Format: CD
Label: Ant-Zen (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
SYNAPSCAPE releases are still a welcomed and beautiful regularity – and "Again" is no exception. The dynamic duo from Bielefeld keeps on their long-year career with a new smashing album, but compared with the predecessor "Now!", I tend to rate this new effort as being lesser accessible. Their ability, to fascinate the listener with their extravagant poly-rhythm programming accomplished with Tim Kniep’s heavily distorted vocal performance, is still unbroken. But the more they tend allow rather IDM-related rhythm works to take a seat in their Cadillac, the more experimental-minded they come out. It’s nice to see, that they still have the ability to develop, but I found "Now" generally more hitting the nail. Good stuff on here too, the rather straight-oriented and with vocals supported tracks like "Who Painted My Cat Black" or "Stuck" are favorites, while some others may tend to like those sick Downbeat-tracks like "Ring The Bell" better. As for the instrumental tunes, I’ll give out applause to "Aftermath" with its pummeling kick and snare work. That rather like old DIVE-sounding tune "Alone" impresses too. SYNAPSCAPE once again completely convince, although some hints on a more detailed concentration on IDM-related structures seem to be integrated. Their long and more than 15 years long career hasn’t found a sudden end. Let’s see and listen, with which kind of evolution they’ll surprise us next year.
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anymore
Artist: Place4Tears (@)
Title: The Silent Flame
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
The new album coming from the German band Place4Tears (formerly known as Blurred Lipstick) is not exactly a new one, as Tyvers Oben '“ the singer and composer which could be considered the mayor of this imaginative place collecting tears like an artificial lake could make with raindrops and turning them into whispering dark oblique music... - previously issued it as a self-made album three years ago. Afterwards, they gained an agreement with Echozone and they decided to re-issue it with just a little difference, the absence of the only German-speaking track, Tödliche freiheit, and presumably an improved master. From a strictly stylistic viewpoint, it's clear they try to avoid any cliché, even if they seems intimately related to the most ethereal and dark-tinged side of 80s wave music (we could mention notorious names such as those of Cocteau Twins '“ above all the first darkest ones '“ and the entrancing effected guitars of the main craftsman of their sound, the highly inventive and emotional Robin Guthrie, as well as the very first steps of Dead Can Dance and any conglomeration between these two bands... you could imagine a sort of transposition of Faith & The Muse into something which could alternatively be turned into Faith & The Speller or Faith & The Satyr!) and '“yes!- it seems there are some slices of figurative theatre encrypted in some tracks such as the distorted beauty and the deep sadness of princess Valium, where the plucky guitars seems to say good bye to a depressed girl, treated with tranquilizers and anti-depressive pills (a Lynch-ian mood seems to pervade the musical space after a female voice ensigns last salutations: "you went away/you left this life/you chose the pills/out of pain... .you went away/from darken sky/I will miss you/and say good bye") as well as some narrative links to an imaginary journey into sea's depths as well as some "natural" and symbolic descriptions perfectly fitted to the anguished and melancholic mood soaking the whole album '“ in particular tracks such as the hypnotic Septembers breath , the nostalgic Keep Me Back and the leading astray Lovesick). Drum rhythms will gradually hypnotize you as well as the entrancing female voices by Sabine and Julia through a wooden (but intimately desolate) place where dreamy states and obscure moods intertwines and all these elements substantially clearify what's standing under the wordy way someone used to describe their style, i.e.Cold Heavenly Goth...

By the way, you could definitively argue Place4Tears' sound could be even more entrancing and psychedelic after you'll listen to the "remixes" proposed at the end of this record: the gentle touch added by Sean Bowley, the singer of the cult-band Eden, in the catching interpretation of Tears Of Avalon as well the suffocating slow-mo sad core in the re-interpretation of Septembers Breath by Ashley Dayour '“ the singer of Whispers in The Shadow '“ could be considered as possible paths this interesting goth-wave band should walk to innovate their style. They introduce their music saying its' based on (and recorded for) life, love, fear, death and loneliness (... existential themes whose gothic followers' minds are crowded with... )... The listener could sentence about this magniloquent declaration of intent indeed!
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anymore
Artist: AGENT SIDE GRINDER
Title: Irish Recording Tape / The Transatlantic Tape Project
Format: 12"
Label: Enfant Terrible (@)
Rated: *****
IRISH RECORDING TAPE is the first of the two Agent Side Grinder albums that Enfant Terrible will release the next month. How come that they prepared stuff to fit two albums? The fact is that one of the members of the band had to left for a year and half (he went to the U.S.) and their studio engineer substituted him, becoming one permanent member then. They did different live gigs and had a bass player joining them. With this new line-up they recorded eight new tracks which sound more melodic respect the ones of their first album but without losing that distinctive hypnotic approach they already had. Agent Side Grinder mixed post punk bass lines with early industrial electronic attitude and 80's synth electronic melodies (check the catchy "Life in advance"). IRISH RECORDING TAPE sounds like Joy Division meet Cabaret Voltaire at a late 70's Human League concert. THE TRANSATLANTIC TAPE PROJECT is the third album by Agent Side Grinder and as I told, it will be released along with IRISH RECORDING TAPE. It contains tracks recorded by mail by the band member that was in the U.S. and the rest of the band in Sweden. It contains seven tracks which sound a bit more experimental respect the ones you find on IRISH RECORDING TAPE. They are based on repetitions of synth patterns with vocals and drums. Sounding now obsessive and then atmospheric (like on "586-713") these tracks are perfect as soundtrack (check the effect of the spoken word along with the synth bleep extravaganza on "005-200"). A thing that I have appreciated on THE TRANSATLANTIC TAPE PROJECT is how the band used melody: it's always present, sometimes is dissonant and sometimes it sustains a creepy moment made of synth hisses and guitar percussive sounds ("008-199"). These two album are really different but are both good and show really well how Agent Side Grinder have been able to "grow" since the release of their debut album.
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anymore
Artist: THE MODERATOR
Title: Möbius Strip
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: EevoNext Recordings
Rated: *****
Almelo (NL) based producer Klaas-Jan Jongsma a.k.a. The Moderator worked the last year at the tracks of his first full length which now is finally released on digital download format by Eevo Next Recordings. Basing his sound on Detroit influences, minimal techno intuitions and atmospheric patterns, Klaas-Jan on the MOBIUS STRIP delivers twelve hypnotic tunes that are in balance from electro to techno. Focusing his sound on basslines, arpeggiated leads and dreamy synth lines The Moderator is creating a particular sound where melody is an option because it's there but it isn't the main element. This way of dealing with atmosphere and melody sometimes make me lose my attention because I find myself dizzy and almost hypnotized but I think that this was the effect that Klaas-Jan was looking for...
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