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Artist: Gods of Electricity
Title: Sundiving
Format: CD
Label: Faith Strange (@)
Rated: *****

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Gods of Electricity is one of those projects I would love seeing coming through my studio, but in a big city like NY for some reason I end up working with completely different type of artists most of the time. Think about the electrified air and the mellow moods of endless hours of sound manipulation and knob tweaking mania in the comfort of a dimmed light recording studio with two creative talents such as Mike Fazio and Thomas Hamlin. Think about the moods that can be created in the making of a record like "Sundiving", with ambiances spanning for anywhere between 2 and 38 minutes: stretching, modulating, oscilating, vibrating, morphing from sound into sound, from light into dark, from silence into noise, from rhythm into layers, from sounds into rawness. Engineer, guitar player, sound designer, producer and composer Mike Fazio (also creator of the orchestramaxfieldparrish processed guitar project) has put the greatest attention in the smallest of the details of this recording, attempting to recreate his own vision of electro-acoustic ambient-electronica, aided by drummer Thomas Hamlin (previously with World One and still with Black47), who adds his swing and his delicate touch to these compositions in a way that only few percussionists can. Eerie low deep drones, layers of ecstatic pads, a wide sonic palette borrowing from everything from traditional to modern... rhythmical elements that transcend beat to turn into an expression of the piece itself, migrating from a enhancment of an even otherwise tribal atmosphere to the mere juxtaposition of percussive ear candies in symphonies of mystic and aural states of mind... all of that and more comes into play in this beautiful CD, which is so multifaceted and gorgeous that you can hardly even reference back to other artists without having to mention a bunch of them, who don't even necessarily have all that in common with Gods of Electricity, when considered as a stand-alone reference... Try to think of a blend of Clock DVA, Synaesthesia, Manuel Goettsching, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Young Gods, Vision of Excess, Artemy Artemiev, Mana Erg, Richard Bone, Victor Cerullo, Gabor Csupo and so many other excellent artists who have given so much to the art of making good and heartfelt soundscapes. You'll get a vague idea, but you'll still need to give this hi-definition audio masterpiece a try and see/hear for yourself... Highly recommended.
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Artist: Les Boucles Etranges / Mem Pamal / Yann Richet
Title: Traveller Tcheque
Format: 2 x CD + DVD
Label: Electro Lab Factory/Ozore Age (@)
Distributor: Play it Again Sam
Rated: *****
Paris-based Ozore Age label, as well as their offshoots Vision Alternative, Electro Lab Factory, Xunk, E-beat, were founded by two French partygoers/DJ/graphic artist/promoters (Yann Ichbiah and Christophe Martin) who have since been releasing albums, promoting artists, organizing events and feeding venues and audiences some of France's best and least commercial techno music.This release sort of pays a tribute to the movement that has shaped people like Yann and Christophe, and does so by offering you the re-release of one of the most important cassette testimonies of the free party movement, a more recent live mix as well as a DVD with a movie that documents one of these nomadic party crews.The "Traveller Tcheque" film, includes footage documenting the itinerant efforts of an international troupe of youngsters that left France with a van, a bus and a Citroen to ride through Rumenia, Hungary and the Czech Republic, organizing music, performance art and dance performances in venues, open air fields, city neighborhoods and such... It's a pretty interesting documentary, that definitely breaths rebellion and alternative life-style throughout every minute...When the free party movement started in the UK (with illegal raves taking place in every possible abandoned spot the city or the countrysides had to offer, with riot police shutting them off occasionally, with quasi-political anarchist agendas such as Hakim Bay's "T.A.Z." and everything else that came along with them...) it quickly spread out to the rest of Europe... I personally remember attending one of these parties in Switzerland in an abandoned airport... The vibe in the air was awesome. People were dancing and partying, high on music (and a few other things here and there of course...), well into the whee hours of the morning. In 1996 one of those parties, called "La Luciola", became sort of a milestone in the French scene and its music was released in a 200-copies limited cassette tape. For those who have heard about that mytisc night but never had listened to those tapes or even for those who actually were there to experience French techno history being made, comes this triple-disc release, where one of the CDs is just that! The other CD gives you an insight at what is left of the free party movement 10 years later. Mem Pamal recorded his "Precursub 057" party in 2005, while riding the wave of his double CD success, earlier in 2004, called "Longueurs d'Ondes" (also released by Electro Lab Factory/PIAS). His hypnotic blend of trance, minimal hardcore-techno and drum'n'bass will fit into almost any environment you'll decide to play this, just as it was meant during its creation.This entire disc has a great archival and documentary value attached to it and I recommend it to those who have left some of their youth and some of their good days at those parties, or simply to those who are into the European techno-scene.
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Artist: Mortiis (Era 3)
Title: Soul in a Hole (Live in London)
Format: DVD
Label: Earache (@)
Rated: *****
Mortiis' latest DVD "Soul in a Hole" is an impressive testament of his live act and how his music has developed on and after the release of his 2005 "The Grudge", in what he calls "Era 3". Although some might argue that Mortiis borderlines on suitability for our more electronic-oriented readers, we welcomingly grandfather him in because of the great attention to sound he devotes. Even in Era 3, Mortiis' guitar-heavy set still is based on very intensive use of electronics, in fact, although he has a live drummer, all bass lines are programmed and only add to the layers of sequences and sounds that the whole band plays to. I had never seen Mortiis live, but I must admit I was very impressed with the show on this DVD. Recorded live in London, it sports good lighting and sound and a track-list of fourteen songs, mostly from "The Grudge"'s tracklist. The band's attitude, moves and postures are definitely those of a heavy-metal band and although Mortiis himself has always had a pretty thick following of fans from the black-metal area, his stage-presence might remind some of Skinny Puppy's. Compared to "the Grudge" CD, the live set seems even more guitar heavy and will definitely echo Ministry's music more than a few times. All in all I really digged this DVD and Mortiis new-found down to earth no-bullshit attitude, which can also be seen in the bonus interviews footage. The DVD, which is very well packaged, also features four video clips and some additional bonus material.
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Artist: NEWCLEUS (@)
Title: Destination Earth
Format: 12"
Label: Dominance Electricity (@)
Rated: *****
Originally released back in the early 80's on their first two albums, "Destination earth" and "Why" were two tracks that met an unlucky destiny because on those releases they had been remixed by Jonathan Fearing who shortened the first one, rearranged it and made it into an instrumental. Also "Why", which wasn't intended to be released by the band because to them it was an experiment about funky reggae / Hip-Hop / Dance, met a similar destiny because Fearing put the stereo strings out of phase and faded them in and out, and he did the same with the beautiful programmed piano solo. The band was very unhappy with those treatments, so they took these beautiful tracks and decided to dismiss everything that wasn't originally intended to be part of them and they re-released them in their recent compilation "Destination: earth - the definitive Newcleus recordings". Dominance Electricity, which is one of the best electro music labels, noticed the release of the revamped versions and decided to put them out as a brand new EP, also adding two remixes of "Destination earth" reworked by two bands of the label's roster: Sbassship and Reeno. If you don't know Newcleus you have to realize that they were one of the first band who started the electro funk movement. At the end of the seventies a collective of DJ's know as Jam-On Productions decided to form a group called Positive Messenger, which soon turned into Newcleus. They started doing block parties as well as recording demos. At the end of one of their tapes they recorded "Jam-On's Revenge". The song impressed producer Joe Webb more than the other Newcleus material, so the song became their first successful single. After that the band released two other singles that did well and then two albums that didn't really sell all that much. Unfortunately their mixture of funk and electro in the early 80's had to face the advent of rap with Run-D.M.C. so they soon had to face facts. Now you have the opportunity to check out two great songs where synth rock and the soulful melodies of Ben "Cozmo D" Cenac, Yvette "Lady E" Cook, Monique Angevin and Bob "Chilly B" Crafton are capable of thrilling your senses. Be sure to also check the two remixes BY Sbassship and Reeno, where they re-arranged the main track giving it a modern electro treatment but staying true to the original version! Beware: this stuff rules!
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Artist: EDENYZED (@)
Title: Vanity Moves The World
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Edenyzed are an Italian duo that wanted to go beyond the barriers of musical genres. If we were in the 90s we'd call this way of melting genres, cross over but since in this case we aren't talking about rock we coul say that VANITY MOVES THE WORLD is a good record of symphonic black metal played with electronic instruments and with e.b.m. attitude. Try to imagine Hocico that do a carcrash with Burzum and the result would be Edenyzed. I'm not a black metal lover because many times melody is buried under tons of growlings and everything is so speeded up that you can't hear a thing. I prefer good old hardcore for instance, anyway... The eleven songs of the duo debut CD are capable of creating a good dark atmosphere without forgetting melody, energy and a certain theatricality. If you like e.b.m. and you don't give a damn if the tracks have also grinding guitars and a wolf that tries to find his way out from despair, well, you could check this out!
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