Music Reviews

Artist: STURM CAFÉ (@)
Title: So seelisch, so schön
Format: CD
Label: Progress Productions (@)
Distributor: Border Music
Rated: *****
A huge portion of humor is required to bear the consumption of this debut CD from this Swedish duo. Jonatan Löfstedt and Gustav Jansson will surely not enter any high positions of a "best releases in 2005" contest, but they have for sure created the most funniest release for this year. The music of this two guys is mainly minimal Neo-Body music in a comparable style with old NITZER EBB or ORANGE SECTOR. As a further form of inspiration can be seen the early 80’s "Neue Deutsche Welle" movement, comparable with some minimal acts like FEHLFARBEN or DAF. About the fun – well, they’re "singing" in German – but with an scary accent and with grammatically mistakes close to the edge of asking a bit much. Their abilities in German are surely not designed to be printed in a textbook. And also musically there is nothing outstanding besides the endless 16tel bass sequences like we have heard it often enough from the mentioned patterns. I miss also a bit more effort to a more rough EBM-like sound like they have well done here with the track "Stiefelfabrik", maybe somehow in a direction towards to their countrymen of SPETSNAZ. It is fun and enjoying to listen to 2 – 3 tracks at times, to consume a whole album is for my personal preference a bit too strenuous. I am sure that this release will be discussed controversy – anyhow, also this is a kind of promotion for this band...
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Artist: Calika
Title: small talk kills me
Format: CD
Label: Audiobulb Records (@)
Distributor: Audiobulb Records UK
Rated: *****
It took most unusual CD to prompt me into writing reviews again. It’s not that I haven’t heard a lot of good music lately, just the opposite. I’ve been a bit overwhelmed in the past few months and my focus has become somewhat skewed. Be that as it may, leave it to Audiobulb Records to release a CD so different and intriguing that I can’t help but be impressed.
Calika’s small talk kills me’ is one of those rare recordings that stimulates right-brain activity in such a subtle way that you may hardly be aware of it until you’ve experienced repeated listenings. On first impression, Calika’s music falls into the electronic glitch-n-paste category with a smattering of acoustic guitar and sing-songy wordless vocal samples scattered here and there. As a background sound palette, there is a feel of random activity over repeated patterns of disjunct melody. What’s really happening though, is that you’re entering into a completely different audial world, where conventional structure is abandoned, giving way to a new mode of expression where an ever-changing, evolving tonal mood within the deepest realms of imagination.
At times the music crosses into the realm of the psychedelic, and we get the first hint of what could almost be considered a jam’ on track # 5, "We Slaves Nine 25". Beyond that, abstract hallucinatory terrain is traversed and you get the feeling that you’re no longer in the concrete world as you know it. There are sonic elements that may cause windows of memory to open and reveal things long forgotten. Perhaps one of the most dramatic shifts occurs in track #9, "Calm Laid Her Head To Have A Nightmare" and the track title is most apropos. A placid melodic repetition gradually gives way to a grumbling chordal drone that seems to go on for an uncomfortable period of time, then suddenly stops- as if the listener has suddenly awoken from a bad dream.
More abstract hallucinatory terrain follows, and by this time, consciousness is stretched and bent in so many directions you’ll be hard-pressed to get your bearings. It is almost like stepping into a funhouse of the mind, and after this carnival of acousma is over, you’ll come out with an altogether new perspective, although you won’t be able be able to put your finger on why. And even when it seems to be over, it’s still not over. A hidden (untitled) 15th track reels you back in lest you forget the last 80 minutes you spent in wonderland.
Where most glitch-n-paste experimental music fails for me is in the lack of conceptual cohesion and too much percussive bombardment with too little payoff. Definitely not the case here. Calika has assembled something marvelous and special. If you’re a fan of Autechre, Boards Of Canada, Oval or Plaid you’ve just GOT to pick up this CD. Available directly from Audiobulb in the UK, and probably at your electronic music specialty shop, wherever you buy all the good stuff.
Artist: PTI (@)
Title: Exhaust
Format: CD
Label: WTII Records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Records
Rated: *****
This is the remix companion disc to the 2004 official debut "Blackout" of this band, also out on WTII Records. PTI could collect with their remix contest a lot of known and big names Like A23, CHRIST ANALOG, NEGATIVE FORMAT or GOD MODULE to realize this project. They have added also some up and coming artists like INTERFACE or TORRENT VACCINE to this roster. So as a result we can say that the musical diversity is rich given here. Best remix works are done by INTERFACE with their Futurepop-inspired version of "Ivory Tower", PTI themselves giving us a very Electro club trendy remix of their own "Databass". Same track received also a marvelous remix work by FLESH FIELD, they’ve created thanks to tons of old-school EBM sounds something remarkable which stands above the average here. But the best track here is the only one and unreleased title track performed by PTI themselves here. While the vocals will not win a beauty contest, they nevertheless satisfy here with a strong "slap-in-your-face" attitude and the music itself gives an convincing example of modern Electro/Industrial music. If their next new compositions are placed in this vain, PTI should be able to storm into all ears in all corners of the Electro/Industrial scene. Please notice also the once more excellent cover art done by Scott Craig of, not the first artwork he did that outstanding. Included is also a secret password to give the buyers of this CD access to a hidden area at the PTI website. There you can find several more remixes designed for this "Exhaust" CD created by the likes CAUSTIC, FILAMENT 38, HOLON and several more. Amazing release – go and get it!
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Advanced Electronics Vol. 4
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Synthetic Symphony
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
This DCD is recommend by the DAC, the German Alternative Charts and was compiled in a collaboration between Hardbeat Promotion and Synthetic Symphony. You maybe get it already on this facts, you get here a compilation mainly including the currently big names of the Electro/Industrial scene. Luckily you get also some special versions, unreleased stuff, remixes or other goodies by 22 of the 32 tracks. Some pieces I have picked out here which are worth to get mentioned. The opener is well done with a longer than 7 minutes Extendet version of the track "Ascension" done by [:SITD:], which finds the right mix between known elements of their music and a good sequencing work. VNV NATION are giving a remix of "Chrome" done by the talented SOMAN, while I must admit that this remix work is more influenced by the original version of the track. The Swedish Neo-EBM band SPETSNAZ are more and more growing to a constant big name and the new "Apathy" is just another fine proof of this. A live gig of HOCICO is always a special event and their gig in Israel seemed to be a big success. Although their track "Spirits of Crime" is surely not their best piece, I am quite impressed by the quality and intensity of this piece here. GRENDEL are also present, unfortunately without a new or unreleased piece, but "Aspiration Feed" taken from their latest EP "Soilbleed" is still a remarkable track. THE PROMISE is a new project by the Ex-PHILTRON member Sven Enzelmann and musically based between Synth- and Futurepop, not surprising, but with a good quality.
The second CD starts with the new track "Bleed For Us All" done by SUICIDE COMMANDO which can be seen as a preview of the next full length release "Bind Torture Kill". Luckily Johan van Roy seems to remember the times before his last one "Axis Of Evil", because this new track reminds me more on the "Mindstrip" times and has a more aggressive feel. Belgium’s IMPLANT are next in a cooperation with the well-known icon Anne Clark. While Clark’s sound of her vocals is intense as usual, IMPLANT deliver a satisfying exploration in the Electro-/Trance fields, well done – respect! SOMAN is an act from Infacted-Recordings, combining Electro with some noisy and industrialized moods and their track shows some good ideas. AYRIA, Canadian sole project by Jennifer Parkin brings us her great "My Revenge on the World" in a special remix done by the legendary OUT OUT, a veteran US-Industrial act already active since more than 15 years. Closer to the end of this DCD set some more up and coming acts get the possibility to be on the highly acclaimed compilation, like the minimal Synthpop act FILE NOT FOUND, both Infacted bands HEIMATAERDE and REAPER or the German hard EBM attack PAINBASTARD with a good remix of one of the most skillful pieces "System Failed".
This DCD was mainly created not only to collect a compilation for the lazy or drunken DJ, it is designed to break boundaries in between electronic music genres which are maybe present. Target is the audience which is a bit open-minded to electronic music with the will to check out something new. So for them there might be a rich amount of diverse sounding tracks. For the experienced users of this music this comp is only interesting for its amount of alternative versions or unreleased remix stuff here. A special hint I would not left unspoken: people mostly would like to see something which can be called ART, something more special than an ordinary white cover with some blue plugs... So go and check for yourself.

CD 1
1. Ascension (Extended) - [:SITD:]
2. Giftraum (FMix) - Diary Of Dreams
3. Chrome (Soman RX Longer) - VNV Nation
4. Revolution Of The Pigs (Advanced Pigrevolution ...) -S.K.E.T.
5. Apathy - Spetsnaz
6. Nailed [V 2.0 Dance] - Diskonnekted
7. Heart Of Steel (Riot In Metropolis Mix) - Analogue Brain
8. Spirits Of Crime (Live In Israel) - Hocico
9. Fulfil My Rage - Individualdistanz
10. Aspiration Feed - Grendel
11. The Irreparable - Glis feat. J.-L. De Meyer
12. Mystic Places (Advanced Electronixx Version) -Les Anges de la Nuit
13. The Rebel - The Promise
14. Menschenfresser (Club Mix) - Melotron
15. Razorwire (Modified Mix) - Mesh
16. First Day (Radio Edit - Clean) - Timo Maas
17. We Are The Ones - Zombie Girl

CD 2

1. Bleed For Us All - Suicide Commando
2. Time Up Your Chips And Circuits (Electric ...) - Implant feat. Anne Clark
3. Pusher (US Remix) - Soman
4. You Want It (Dave Clarke Remix) - Fixmer & McCarthy
5. Killing Ground (AE4 Remix) - Funker Vogt
6. My Revenge On The World (Out Out Extended Remix) - Ayria
7. Exterminate Annihilate Destroy (Reclubbed) - Rotersand
8. Chant 64 - Replicant
9. Black Metal (Original) - Ascii.Disko
10. Walkman - Welle Erdball
11. No Nothing Never (6:30 AM Edit) - File Not Found
12. Musikerhaende (Uncut Version) - Heimataerde
13. Totengräber (Orthodox Version) - Reaper
14. Sytem Failed (SD-RAM Mix) - Painbastard
15. The Grudge (Gothminister Remix) - Mortiis