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Artist: MATAHARI
Title: Shrine Of Counterfeits
Format: CD
Label: self-released


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Matahari are a band active since 2003 and SHRINE OF COUNTERFEITS is their debut album. Their music style doesn't fit the music we usually cover on our magazine, but since this release is self produced I'll try to talk a little about them just to cover their effort of sending out a copy of their CD. Actually even if there's something (very little) of goth influences into their music, pop rock is their main style and their songs sound like the lastest Garbage. You know, that kind of melodic energetic rock that majors think could be filed under alternative or indie rock just because mommy and daddy were used to listen to Sinatra. At this point alternative is only a way to describe the music that sells less than Pink Floyd, nothing more. Anyway. Matahari know how to produce that kind of stuff and they soon or later will find a label that will produce them. Too bad they sound exactly like a blend of Garbage / Missing Persons / Blondie.
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Artist: Leaftree & Downey (@)
Title: Beethoven's Taxi
Format: CD
Distributor: self-released
Rated: *****
Eccentric, electronic southern folk-rocker Downey Burns is back for his fifth release, Bethoven’s Taxi. Anyone who has previously heard Burns’ work is familiar with his off-kilter recording and vocal style, but for those of you that haven’t had the opportunity let me just say that it’s "different." I’m not sure I could put Leaftree and Downey in a genre if I tried. Burns fuses a myriad of genres ranging from country, 80’s new wave, classical, folk and then some, all with a strong electronic theme like none other.

The first thing that struck me about Beethoven’s Taxi is the more personal touch. Burns’ cynical viewpoints on social values are expressed not with rage or anger, but almost passively with a hint of sorrow and sadness. Burns seems to be approaching music a little more seriously on Beethoven’s Taxi as well, vocally melodizing more and integrating multiple new musical styles. Almost half of the CD is comprised of instrumental tracks that introduce what seems like randomized forays into new genres; making Beethoven’s Taxi not only a sentimental ride, but also an extremely interesting one sure to surprise even the most prepared Leaftree and Downey fan.

I really like Beethoven’s Taxi. Downey Burns’ strange/estranged lyrics make me grin, and his curiously crafty approach to music makes me grin a little more. Anyone who appreciated Leaftree and Downey’s previous releases or anyone who enjoys left-field music is sure to enjoy this album. As with Leaftree and Downey’s previous release, Wet Kisses, Beethoven’s Taxi is available for free at http://www.leaftreeanddowney.com (for a suggested donation).
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Artist: TARAS BUL'BA (@)
Title: Incisione
Format: CD
Label: Wallace (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
The first time I've heard about this band the rumor was they were super technical and heavy at the same time, the first approach came when I heard their song included in thee "P. O. Box" series on Wallace, it was a good song but probably a bit too long. After almost an year, here it is, their first full legth and in the meanwhile I've also happened to see them live. When dealing with Taras Bul'ba never forget it has to do with technique, heavines and structure. Don Caballero (the early records), King Krimson (mid-last period), a bit of post-hard core, a lot of math rock and bit of noise between the elements. Instrumental music based on cutting-riffs, hyperstructured phisical rock that hits like an uppercut breking a jaw. Fabio Magistrali sits behind the mixing desk and for those of you who still have no idea of who this "guy" is, he's without any doubt one of the most apprecciated/wanted sound engeÏneer here in Italy, the result is that "Incisione" hits like a bonecrusher. I think labelling this band with "technical" some of you may have thought "gosh! Probably this cd is boring as fuck", no way! I think they improved a lot from the early days since the instrumental tracks are still "songs" and not a useless and boring diplay of technique like many others. Heavy music for those who loved Mr. Fripp cult for solid-rock and discipline, but not just for them.
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Artist: MORTICIANS
Title: Mutilation Recreation
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Plutonium Distribution (@)
Rated: *****
This is the right occasion to greet a new label born from the Swedish Plutonium Distribution, a small distribution which aim is to support the sounds they love. Morticians' MUTILATION RECREATION is the first label's release. The duo coming from Sweden, just like the label, produced a demo tape more than ten years ago just to reuniting nowadays to start where they left. The limited to 500 copies double CD contains the original demo recorded back in 1993/94 along with new recordings (the opening "Zombie centerfold", "Repeat reassemble" and "Mortal death" which has been recreated in 2004). The first thing to notice is that the sound hasn't changed that much even if more than ten years have passed: well, the new tracks have got a better balanced sound and they sound clean even if distorted while the old ones sound less produced (just think that on early '90s PC weren't massively used for home recordings even if the band had already the opportunity to use sampler machines). Morticians were already ahead of their time, their songs were aggressive and catchy at the same time and they succeeded into having a personal style: dark, crawling and melodic electro e.b.m. The second CD contains remixes and covers from bands such as: Cryo, Project-X, Sophie Rimheden, Severe Illusion and The Pain Machinery, etc. A good thing that the label decided to mix remixes and covers just to break the remix fashion and to give to the bands more freedom into the re-interpretation of the original song. Well, to close this review I've got only to tell you to follow my advice and to try to catch this release. Remember, it's a limited release of 500 copies only...P.s. The band is working on new fresh tracks, it will be a sure success!
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Artist: IOIOI (@)
Title: Bright future!!
Format: CD
Label: Ebria (@)
Rated: *****
Japan is behind the corner during the audio experience of IOIOI, the way she acts/dresses (I'm referring to her live shows) helps a lot but this "made-in-Japan-aftertaste" grows "bite after bite". "Minimal" electronics (that's probably the strongest european root of this release) not unlike Suzanne Brokesh "crossed" by vocals in the vein of Ikue Mori, Tenko, Toko Yasuda, or Kazu Makino. Somewhere else you'll discover weird guitar-pop fragments as if it was the soundtrack of a "manga comic" scenario. At times the vocals may even recall a less radical Diamanda Galas, unbelievable ?!?!. Disoriented I suppose?! But if you'll have the luck-guts to give a listen to "bright future" you'll discover it yourselves. If "asiatic music" in your head can be easily associated to "extremism", I've to warn you somehow a "pop extravaganza" breaks in here and there (no Boredoms-style approach). On the opposite, It's funny how even if some of the songs on this cd could be really "melodical" some odd particulars push the "factor weirdness" to its maximum level. What if I add IOIOI sings in an invented language mixed with japanese? Therefore: "Martial-electronic-music for mental disease" or "childlike-pop for the manga generation"? This is the question. I've seen this girl live lately two weeks ago and she also knows how to hit the stage while getting completely absorbed by her own set. "Weird" release for sure, but in a positive way.
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