Music Reviews



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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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Artist: MOODRING
Title: Scared of Ferret
Format: CD
Label: Silber (@)
Distributor: Carrot Top, Darla, ToneVendor, Soleilmoon, SquidCo, n5MD
Rated: *****
Born as a side project of two Oregon guys who play under the Rollerball moniker, after growing to a quartet, Moodring has landed on Silber with their newest album titled SCARED OF FERRET. After a couple of listening, the eleven tracks of the album made me recall the atmospheres of old Kraut rock records. You know, stuff like Amon Duul or the first Kraftwerk but in this case Moodring succeeded into mixing the tribal attitude of the tracks with the space trip mood by using also free jazz influences thanks to the use of piano and clarinet. Tracks like "#9" or "Shaker tab" are a good example of what I'm saying because of their oblique approach to melody and sounds. Keeping high the level of experimentation the band didn't compose tunes without sense of melody by producing a drugged mishmash, they approached the track list like a long session were there's an overwhelming feeling of alienation (psychic kind of) produced with the use of rock language where here and there female vocals lead the dance. Nice one...
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Artist: MAGNUM 38
Title: A Tribute To Grace Jones
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Tiger Bass
Rated: *****
Formerly on the Musick and Shitcatapult roster and now passed to Tigerbass/Tiger Beat 6, Magnum 38 is the project of Berliner Oliver Greschke. His first release on Tigerbass is a digital download only six tracks E.P. titled A TRIBUTE TO GRACE JONES. What's the peculiarity of such title? Well, as much as I can understand from listening to the tunes, they have been composed using mostly Grace Jones samples ("Slave" obviously is coming from "Slave to the rhythm"). What amazed me is how great these cut ups sound. Oliver selected micro parts of the original songs and made out of them a pounding electro/techno mix. Sounding almost low-fi and here and there a bit experimental (like on the three parts of "Sequel" where the tracks are built like you're listening to broken records loops) A TRIBUTE TO GRACE JONES is a really good release that is perfect for a shot of energy!
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Artist: Having Thin Moonshine (@)
Title: Having Thin Moonshine
Format: CD
Label: Ark Records (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
When I listened to some excerpts of their previous demos, I wondered why any label didn't make any proposal to this gothic/folk Italian band from Venice before and we're almost sure that the small independent Italian label Ark '“ which already got engaged with renowned gothic bands such as Ataraxia, Violet Tears, Corde Oblique and Argine '“ has decided to bet on their skill and and their interesting musical formula and arguably planned great things after feeling the same surprise. If you consider that there are not so many innovative projects and band from the gothic slops, we can reasonably suppose that those blood-tinged pale hands printed on the cover artwork of this "serious" debut album by Having Thin Moonshine are going to draw whirling mantras and disentangling imaginary ropes in the darkness under favorable winds. One of the "secret recipe" of their music formula could be singled out in the indisputable reciprocal understanding and "synchronicity" between the guitarist Pietro Baldan and the bassist Dario Belardinelli, well supported by the drummer Jacopo Campi.

Another one could be easily recognized in the genuine essentiality of their sound, which seems to avoid any kind of bombastic frills, giving a remarkable role to the voice of the skilled vocalist (and songwriter... ) Ally: she gives a lot of bodies of evidence of their ability in interpreting emotional lyrics, even if maybe we have to admit that her voice is still too much unripe and seductive for certain forms of provocative sung poetry... even if she's really good in singing some ravishing lyrics (it seems she got possessed by an undefined devil when interpreting Salomè '“ a song inspired by the notorious literary character, finely depicted by Oscar Wilde '“ , the nice Point Of View or Giblets Of Sorrow, we couldn't say she �s already comparable to renowned female singers such as Patti Smith or Allison Shaw... but we could reasonably expect she's going to improve and extend her vocal "drama" skills little by little! She has also shown her convincing personality as a musician as well, even when she interprets Jingle (just a sort of funny divertssment in order to relieve the heavy and sometimes obsessive atmospheres of a gothic record... ). This debut album is so persuading and well-crafted that we cannot do anything but wishing them a luminous musical pattern even outside the sometimes stingy Italian boundaries! Good luck, folks!
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