Music Reviews



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Artist: Maor Applebaum /Maurizio Bianchi (@)
Title: innervation
Format: CD
Label: Afe (@)
Rated: *****
What we got here is a couple of well-known names and sure if MB is a sort of living monument for what regards industrial music, ambient and related, Maor Applebaum in my book is one of those musicians you can always expect to produce nothing but great music. Am I really too enthusiastic? You still don't believe my words? I'm sorry I've discovered it too late but if you've never heard Applebaum's collaboration with Hallowing that came out on Tophet Prophet I think you should really give it a try, the title is "collaborating torture" and both the music plus the history of the whole collaboration can give evidence no title could have sounded better. By the way, going back to this cdr the first thing to be kept in mind is the fact this should be filed under the experimental discography of both artists which means no industrial sounds, no dark ambient feel and so on. The most of the sounds selection is based on high-mid frequencies but still not Pan Sonic/Tony Conrad alike, consider they've utilized a great variety of white noise and unexpressive frequencies. If you ask me, I'd guess the majority of dirty noises plus analog-sounding frequencies comes from Bianchi, while the most of the high pitched tones plus the whole sound definition comes from the hands of Applebaum, but maybe I'm completely wrong thus take it with a grain of salt. Ok groupies and fans reading, don't worry! If my ear is still decent some of the tracks show the background of both the artists involved in this collaborative effort thus while dueling on the experimental front this work betrays the fact they can do it hard as fuck. By some means it appears to be quite inexpressive but with crescendos and spiral downwards enriched with a clear-cut song construction (for example "afferent" and "CNS"). The title comes from the human body and specifically from the distribution of nerves, so on the cover you see tubes and mains of a factory/architectural structure, it reminds of the period close to Pascal when the whole human philosophy was pondering on the animal/human body perception put in parallel with the idea of a machine... time pass us by but the central questions/images are still the same: "part animal part machine"... .I know some of you still remember the quote.
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Artist: Brian Lavelle
Title: ustrina
Format: CD
Label: Afe (@)
Rated: *****
I think many of you out there have already Brian Lavelle for this or that release, but in case you're absolutely new to his works you've to know between 1996 and today Lavelle has recorded for labels such as Bake, Diophantine, Freek, Staalplaat, Elsie and Jack etc. This drone based long track shows the incredible strength of proportions and the importance of balance, infact this sixty eighty minutes circa suite could be dead boring but ends being absorbing and fascinating instead. While being a little bit darker than many of the Lavelle's output I've heard so far, it has nothing to do with dark ambient, it's lulling and someway narcoleptic and summed up with a couple of other characteristics it brings to my mind DJ Olive's "sleep" work on Room40, I'm tented to say the two releases are similar and equally as catchy. From what I've read inside the press sheet this english artist has reshaped some old sounds that probably has been collecting dust inside some rough recording and inside a black corner of Lavelle's mind, but he managed to give it all such a good new definition I'd say this blast from the past has been damn successful. I can exactly say which were the exact sound sources/instruments for this recording, waves and the layers would suggest some keyboard/old synth sources twisted and renewed for good but with today's technology it's really hard for me to be one hundred percent sure. The pictures and the whole layout are great and I think from the front cover to the last page they give the impression of this environment Lavelle wanted to re-create. So the question is if we have to cross or not the bridge we see on the front cover?... by the way from the dead leaves it's easy to imagine an autumnal landscape if you add the melancholic atmosphere of this work it's hard to deny that's not a joyful marriage.

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Artist: Subinterior (@)
Title: mesmerize
Format: CD
Label: Afe (@)
Rated: *****
Have you ever tasted this guy from Milan? No? If you're into dark ambient I highly recommend you to give him a try since as I've said a couple of weeks ago for Harvest Reed (aka Luasa Raelon), even if the world is so over-packed of dark ambient wishy-washy projects there's still a bunch of good artist able to put out interesting material. The comparison with Luasa Raelon is just functional for good taste sake, infact differently from Reed this guy (some of you may know for the fact he pays duty in Canaan and Konau) put together releases which are dark ambient to the bone but his atmospheres are less heavy and every here and there he's put some alienating melodies that made the whole sup easier to be digested. If compared to his previous work on Afe I find it more melodic and way more ethereal due to the fact you have less field recordings and more melodies coming in and out just to say bye. Ok, this' an interesting point of this album, infact Subinterior introduced more and more guitar samples (ambient style - drones) but first he didn't fall in the "droooooooooonnnees-caaaaan-bbeeee-sssooooo-looooong" category, second: he adopted fade in and out damn smartly he pulls the melodic carpet from under your feet so elegantly you hardly have the time to realize it. The five episodes in which this release can be divided can be easily listened as a continuum, infact this dropping in and out of sounds and short litanies during the whole length turns the work into a very discrete and catchy listening.


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Artist: CYCLOTIMIA
Title: Music For Stockmarkets
Format: CD
Label: Zhelezobeton (@)
Rated: *****
MUSIC FOR STOCKMARKETS is the Cyclotimia release I prefer so far. Divided into three parts titled "Wallstreet Requiem", "Trivial Pleasures" (already released in 2003 on CD by Monopoly Records) and "Financial Glossary" and composed during the 2002/2007 period, the album contains thirty two tracks which span from semi analog electronic improvisations (see "Mr chairman" and the following "Moneycast"), electronic synth retro atmospheres, synth analog soundtracks to cold marketing procedures and few short industrial electronic tunes (see "Market experts" or "Negative territory"). On this one the Russian project succeed into giving a functional sound to modern greediness. The high frequency bleeping sounds make me recall the old 70's needles printers and the hypnotic atmosphere of the tracks lead you toward a world made of rituals where there's nothing human but the feeling of survival. Cold as a clinical cut but at the same time warm as blood, MUSIC FOR STOCKMARKETS is only available in a limited run of 500 copies. You can preview six complete mp3s at the label's website.
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Artist: MISS KITTIN & THE HACKER
Title: Two
Format: CD
Label: Nobody's Bizzness
Rated: *****
Eight years ago the first album by Miss Kittin & The Hacker represented an important chapter into the story of electro music. During the past years we had the chance to listen to the duo with some 12"s released by Gigolo Records and Hacker's own Goodlife but you know that a whole album could be a different thing. Well, at the end of the month, the 27th of March you'll be able to check what Caroline Hervé and Michael Amato prepared for you. First of all before putting the CD into the player you'll have to do a little zen practice. Empty your mind and prepare yourself to something new. If you loved the electro synth melodies of "First album" it's better for you if you like also a bit of techno, a sprinkle of acid and a nut of r'n'r because TWO contains them all. If the latest Miss Kittin solo album was a bit too over produced, this new album contains ten new songs (the eleventh is a short reprise of "1000 dreams") which sound obsessive, minimal but also melodic and energetic. If the opening "The womb" is a minimal techno bumping track with Miss Kittin giving her usual vocal performance, "1000 dreams" is a great electro tune with a cool melody that will catch your attention in no time. "PPPO" (which stands for "people, pleasure, power, objects) changes the atmosphere with its obsessive acid sounds. With "Party in my head" electro is in the house again with a cool song based on punching drums and synth pads. "Indulgence" is almost punk with its impetuosity while "Emotional interlude" is a dreamy pop electronic tune. "Suspicious minds" is a synthpop version of a Elvis Presley hit. "Electronic city" is an atmospheric sensual pop song that recalls me Pet Shop Boys. "Inutile éternité" plays with electro and techno and sounds mysterious and obsessive while "Ray ban" is still mysterious but a bit more electro. If you loved their first album but you also realized that Miss Kittin & The Hacker were something more than electro clash, this new album is definitely for you!
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