Music Reviews



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Artist: ACTION NANO (@)
Title: Select And Start
Format: CD
Label: M-Tronic (@)
Rated: *****
Action Nano is one of the monickers used by Stefano Piredda for his musical projects. He's also active with the following other projects: Elefant'O, Octowire, O.T.X. and King Esteban. SELECT AND START is the Action Nano debut album and it opens with two tracks that mix vocals a la Afrika Bambaataa with lushy electro tunes. The whole album deals with soft electronic atmospheres (it remembers me a little some Bochum Welt tracks) making often references to video games ("Vintage games" or "Catch the pills!" which remembered me of Pacman) balancing the sound from electro joyful atmospheres to futuristic tunes good for soundtracks (see "Another beauty") passing through semi techno songs like "We are back". Using a lot of old educational toys samples along with analog synth sounds, Stefano made a nice record which lacks of "hit singles" but, at the same time, has a lot of cool sounds and a nice cinematic atmosphere (thing that affect also O.T.X.). Along with the 15 tracks of the album you can find also the Oil 10 remix of "Another beauty" (a little more relaxed edit) and a totally new version of "Bad arguments" edited by Cosmic Pocket.
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Artist: Coburn (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Great Stuff Recordings (@)
Distributor: Rooftop Promotion
Rated: *****

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Breezy and fun Electro/Rock from the E.U. strikes into territory somewhere between Fatboy Slim and Arling & Cameron, with the ghost of T. Rex leading the charge. The freshness and naïveté of these mostly 3-minutes-give-or-take sample-rich cut-and-paste pieces, is kind of Coburn playing the innocent, drunken college freshman coed to A&C's detached, grad-school irony. Hilarious segues like "Matured Sinner" and the smarmy interlude "10,000 Leagues" do well to frame main tracks like the rocking "I Get My Kicks" (track 11). Track seven, the lovely 2-chord vamp "Beyond Dawn", is nearly ruined by too much clever hacking and slashing; but right after comes "Give Me Love," a somehow acceptable makeover of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love," if not quite as sophisticated. The warmed-over-Prodigy hip-hop moves in "Sick" and "We Interrupt This Programme" by rappers Solid State and Princess Superstar are not nearly as convincing; but the most bizarre re-working of all is to be found at the center of the disc: "Tallulah," from the child-acted '70s movie Bugsy Malone (in which the original was sung by none other than Jodie Foster, pre-Taxi Driver, people!). The amazing 40-second interlude toward the end, "Metro," deserves to trade places with the last track, "Erase," and be developed into a full song. This CD is in desperate danger of being dragged down by slower tracks in its second half, like the Portishead-ripped "Edge of a Knife", and needs all the party nitro it can get its nervous hands on.

This duo, Pete Martin and Tim Healey by name, are -- bless their little hearts -- consciously doing their damndest to keep their techno out of generic hell, and deserve good marks. Their saving grace is their rock moves -- the initial Coburn line-up had originally been as a garage band, before collapsing again into a 2-man unit. Singing on "Tallulah" and five other tracks on here is Heidrun Björnsdottir, providing the obligatory, sleazy Eurotrash lilt you'd expect to accompany a couple of hard-partying lads such as these. Previously working under the name Slide & Healey, they took their present moniker from legendary movie actor James Coburn for extra attitude. Not a bad move, if you ask me. This début release of theirs will definitely do the trick as soundtrack for your next topless love parade.
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Artist: NEKYA (@)
Title: Alchemalady
Format: CD
Label: Beast Of Prey (@)
Rated: *****
Nekya fourth album ALCHEMALADY is a great release and listening to it you can realize that the Polish band really improved their sound and their way of composing their disturbing suites. Based on alchemy, the album is divided into fourteen different chapters where we have a wide range of sounds and atmospheres. On this album we haven't only dark ambient music thundering through its hour length as Nekya used a lot of acoustic guitars along with synths, male and female vocals and powerful percussions. Alternating the different sound sources they created a great atmosphere rich of pathos and always evolving. It's cool how they used acoustic guitars with drum blasts and subtle lines of distorted guitar riffs. See for example the looped sample of a distorted bass guitar on "Chapter four: do not tempt the gods to sign" which become a sort of rhythmical mantra. It's also good to see that Nekya are opening to new sounds, like on "Far into the ineffable", where they used synth lines and intriguing syncopated drum rhythm and a distorted guitar creating a particular blend of mystic modern music blend with dub. There are so many gems to discover that you have to check this album. Only 456 copies are available so hurry up!
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Artist: SEELENLICHT
Title: Gods And Devils
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring Records (@)
Rated: *****
SEELENLICHT born from the collaboration of Troy Southgate (H.E.R.R. / Horologium) and Butow Maler (Kammer Sieben). Containing 14 beautiful tracks, the album covers different musical styles (chamber music, neo classical,neo-folk, militaristic and acoustic ballads). Some tracks may recall the classic H.E.R.R. song structure with classical piano/strings compositions with Troy's spoken word spanning through the human weaknesses and madness using also excerpts from Lord Byron and William Shakespeare works ("She walks in beauty" and stuff coming from "The merry wives of Windsor") but this isn't a problem because H.E.R.R. are great and also because the whole result sounds charming and fresh at the same time, covering also a wide range of emotions where the powerful percussions of tracks like "Flamme" or "Valhalla"are matched by melancholic orchestrations on "She walks in beauty" or "Seelenlicht".
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Artist: KEEN K (@)
Title: Structures
Format: 12"
Label: Das Drehmoment (@)
Distributor: Neuton
Rated: *****
Active since the 80's with different musical project Kai Lüdeling has released few things as Keen K. This new E.P. is presenting six new tracks in balance from lush electronics and italo disco intuitions (like the female vocals on "Retro 420"). The sound used and the way of alternating the different synth layers remembered me the latest Kraftwerk. You know, that sort of soft techno sound with many rhythm layers and rich sound textures. The whole E.P. is based on this kind of sound where long pads are enriched by light glitches, electronic breaks on mid tempo structures. This is the most "modern sounding" release for Das Drehmoment Records and it's good to see that they are varying their sound always keeping the quality high. This E.P. is available as limited edition of 200 vinyls with three different hand sprayed covers by Dinasix. Pick up the one you prefer...
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