Music Reviews



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Artist: DIE FABRIEK
Title: Quatro-Erogenic-Occupy Theme's Part II
Format: CD
Label: AFE Records (@)
Rated: *****
The second part of the cd released by Moloko + in 1999, this new work by Belgian collective Die Fabriek took two years in the making. First off, the packaging is CRAZY. AFE has always had a taste for elegant, if not elaborate, covers for its cdr releases, but this is probably the most complex and outstanding one (not considering the Teddy Bear box - but only because that is food for psychiatric research): a vinyl envelope with a toy-like cardboard top, housing a sleeve made of "alien skin" plastic (a green-brown textured material) with a stenciled DF logo, plus an inlay card, anti-alien stickers and a set of close encounters-related postcards (my fave was the "alien abduction pregnancy test" ad)... plus the cdr, of course. Whew... if it took so long to describe it, imagine what must have been like to put it together! On to the musical aspect: I'm sadly not familiar with DF's production over the years, but these veterans have covered industrial, musique concrete, kraut rock, plain weird stuff etc. Anyway, this must be one of their most accessible releases, because it's full of "proper" music... yep, and quite melodic too. Beside being the layout designer, Hue - mind of the Italian electronic projects Sparkle In Grey and Normality Edge - has participated in the recording adding beats and mixing samples provided by the DF core group. I think his hand shows in the more rhythmic tracks, like "Spacewalking" (a great opening, sort of space-shoegaze-electronica) or "The comet dance". But as a whole, the work could be only labelled as (modern) kraut-psychedelia; think of a mix of LA Düsseldorf, Ash Ra Tempel, Pink Floyd and Boards of Canada and... no, you won't get close anyway. Lots and lots of trippy guitars: strummed, flamenco-ed, delayed, looped... This is my main problem with the cd - I'm generally not a fan of 70's psychedelia, and at times I find this a bit over the top for my tastes. But it's successfully assembled, and if you dig your electronica trippy and sweet, you'll find this work a gem. It surely evokes ancient times when aliens kidnapped people for sexual experiments, but also had some kinky appeal.
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Artist: WARREN BURT
Title: Harmonic colour fields
Format: CD
Label: Pogus (@)
Rated: *****
Recorded between 1996 and 1997, "Harmonic colour fields" was played using a Roland Sound Canvas synth, which the author wittily describes as "the world's best cheap solution for fine tuning microtonality (and they're not even paying me to say this!)", and the liner notes further inform us about the nature of these deliberately "static microtonal harmonic fields". While used to even extreme forms of minimalism and computer music, I admit at first I was a bit disappointed by this cd - probably because, of all possible sounds in minimal contexts, I have a sort of distate for synths (unsurprisingly, I find the hyper-minimal "11:21:23 (A drone on mom and Felix's birthdays)", with its more subtle frequencies, the most enjoyable piece). But as the listenings succeeded, Burt's doomy, slowly unfolding drones did suck me in. Very static music indeed, reminding of historical minimalism works like La Monte Young's or Charlemagne Palestine's ("Alloy", for example) in its monolithic nature, thus requiring a concentrated mood and a certain dose of patience to be fully enjoyed. The solemn, at times dramatic power of the electronic drones makes up for the initial impression of tediousness.
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Artist: POLYGAMY BOYS (@)
Title: The Pleasure E.P.
Format: 12"
Label: Beauty Case Records (@)
Rated: *****
I already talked about Polygamy Boys when I reviewed their split live CD with Sneak-Thief. THE PLEASURE E.P. is their third release and it presents four powerful mixes of electronica, e.b.m. and techno. The vinyl opens with the "Polygamy Boys Theme", a long instrumental pumping mix of dancing analog music just to close the first side with "Pleasure Patrol", a mysterious track that recalls some D.A.F. stuff because its structure based principally on a bass line and a drum. "Der Kommissar" opens the B side with a dark '80s e.b.m. track and let "The Un-known" close it with the dreamy vocals of Lindsay J. which duet with the hard drum/bass lines of the duo. THE PLEASURE E.P. sees the band at its best as the tracks are presenting different kind of influences but keeping the distinctive mark of the band. This isn't just dance music!
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Artist: THE DIGNITY OF LABOUR (@)
Title: XRV
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: A Different Drum (@)
Rated: *****
After self releasing two full lenght albums, The Dignity Of Labour successfully found a proper contract by signing to A Different Drum and releasing this eight track E.P. The new MCD gathers two new tracks "Xrv" and "Oxygen" (no, it isn't a Jean Michel Jarre cover), coming from the next homonymous release. The four remixes of the first track are made by Nevarakka, Eric Lymon, the band itself and Scott MacLean. The other track is "Vinyl Bliss" and you can find two covers of it: one remixed by the band and the other by Color Theory (Brian Hazard took care also of the additional mixing and to the mastering). This has been the first time I was listening to Kirk Taylor's Dignity Of Labour and since the first time I liked the tracks and the style and I was quite surprised that any comparison band's name wasn't popping out in my mind: there aren't evident signs of Depeche Mode or Yazoo even if '80s electro pop and new wave are clearly an influence. Maybe the fact that Kirk started to play this genre in the '80s, first with a proper band called Prophet and then as The Dignity Of Labour, is the answer and since then Kirk developed his own style. From what I listened on this MCD, I think that the next album will be a surprise, so write yourself a note and don't miss it...
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Artist: Bio Carbon 13 (@)
Title: Igorist
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Bio Carbon 13 is the creative project by Igor a dear friend of mine. He will be playing on August 28th, 2004 at 836 w. Aldine, Chicago IL. Ig hails from Chicago, Il and is starting to play several venues. His new album Igorist has just come out, you can download it from his site. This album is quite exceptional and different from his other older which were much more electronically based. This new album is very dark and brooding and much more gothic sounding. Track six- Trast, Ig sings about a long lost love saying, "did you know when I dreamnt of you?" very thought provoking and moving. Track eight- Claudia is a gothic love song and reminds me of "Xymox's "Louise". Very slow and melodic and sad and down to the point. This gentleman sings his very heart and soul of the one that got away and wasnt meant to be as he expresses. We end this album with Track ten- "Fade to Black" that really compliments this exceptional album. Ig sings to us, "My reflection in the mirror as I fade to Black" and has us practiically fallling into a deep, dark transe as we listen to this. This perhaps could be the danse flloo hit but the rest of the album has a lot to promise for danse floors worldwide. Do something different dial 13 and listen, you might just not be the same again. 5-stars
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