Music Reviews



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Artist: PINKRUBY
Title: The Vast Astonishment
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
Pointed out by the label as the actual incarnation of their spirit, Pinkruby present their new album and sound. Started initially in 1998 as a melodic dance project, Pinkruby decided it was time to move on and to experiment with mellow atmospheres and acoustic sounds. Formed by Slovene singer Mihaela Repina and English guitarist Paul Bradbury, Pinkruby packed THE VAST ASTONISHMENT with forty minutes and eleven tracks of dreamy music. As reference point they named Flëur and Cocteau Twins and in effect the fourth song, "Vast", sounds a little bit like Cocteau Twins of "Treasure" while into songs like "Return" and "Celebrate" I hear African and Brasilian influences with characteristic choirs of those countries, also. The particularity of the project is that the lyrics are all sung in Slovak and this gives a different flavour to their tracks. Even if the songs are all based on acoustic sounds (guitar is the main instrument), Pinkruby didn't forget the lesson learned with dance music and here and there they treat the sounds just to give to the tracks something more than a scarce arrangement. The tracks I prefer are the ones that sound less rarefied as I tend to lose my attention when atmospheres tend to be too relaxed.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Children Of Mu
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
Started as a Virgin sublabel (they released the "Mealtime" compilation on Planet Mu/Hut Recordings back in 1995), Planet Mu soon after was judged too radical by the people who was used to sell pop and rock music and for this reason Mike Paradinas decided to took his "son" and to make of it one of the principal label dedicated to electronic experimentations. In its five years of activity the label released material which is covering a wide range of electronic musical genres. The most important thing is that each band is open to new experiences and for this reason on this second label compilation you'll find hip hop mixed with breakbeat, Ramones and bagpipes (like on Shitmat's "Shopliftin' Gabba"), experiments with pastoral choirs (The Gasman's opening track of the fist CD "Imodium"), classical IDM (Electronic Music Composer's "Suggested Surgery"), blues (like on the alternative version of Leafcutter John's "In A House Of Soul"), classic electronic mixed with techno (Nautilis' "J-3CVW" and Local's "They Are Local"), distorted electronic pop (Patrick Wolfe's "A Boy Like Me") and the guitar mellowness of WeaveR001 on "A Step Aside" just to name few. Only the Paradinas' projects aren't present on this double compilation but you've got the opportunity to check out twenty six tracks (unreleased and not) by twenty six Planet Mu artists and I assure you that it's worth it.
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Artist: AUS DECLINE (@)
Title: Retrospettiva 1981-1984
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Active during the first half of the eighties, Aus Decline are part of the Italian musical heritage. Most of Italian bands those days were influenced by what was going on in England but they were able to re-process it in a particular and personal way. Bands like Gaznevada (recently Astroman Recs reprinted their first LP and MLP on CD), Neon, Diaframma, Victrola, Frigidaire Tango and many others produced rare perls if you think about what the nowadays music industry offer. Most of the bands produced only one or two records (Victrola only a 12" for Electric Eye and Frigidaire Tango an LP and a MLP) and many others only a song into a compilation and Aus Decline was one of those bands. The "First Relation" compilation was released by Man Mask records on 1983 and if I'm not wrong that one has been the second and last release of that label, run by Lisfrank. The first one was his MLP titled "Man Mask" which has been released in 1982. Anyway, let's talk about Aus Decline again... After twenty years from the split the band members decided that it was time to edit their recordings into a CD. RETROSPETTIVA (Retrospective) contains their whole studio sessions plus five live tracks (four of them aren't included into the studio sessions tracks). At a first listening the English post punk influences are evident but each time you listen to the CD the sound become each time more personal and capable to catch the listener. The live tracks show a band more mature, talking about the writing process and tracks like "Auburne", "City House" or "To Lead The Van" are energetic and personal. There isn't a track I prefer most as each one has got its own charm. It's sad I had to discover this good band twenty years late but I'm glad I did it now thanks to this CD. Recommended!
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Artist: FRANCOIS TESTORY
Title: Sarrazine
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
SARRAZINE is a particular project sponsored and produced by Von Magnet and focused on the person and personality of François Testory. Who was Sarrazine? On the notes is reported: "We find Sarrazine in a novel by Balzac: in Rome, at the beginning of the XIX century, a young sculptor is in search of perfect beauty. He finds it one evening on a stage, in a theatre, it’s a castrato". Now, who François Testory is? He is a former star dancer and actor of the Lindsay Kemp Company (choreographer of Kate Bush and David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust). He now sings in operas as well as cabarets and he regularly tours the States, Japan and Australia. For this project coordinated by Phil Von and Def, François gives his voice to fourteen tracks orchestrated by different Prikosnovenie artists: Phil Von, Wild Shores, Lys, Mimetic, Negative Stencil, Def, Stocha, R.B.B., Sigmoon and Jose Barinaga. The tracks are originals or covers of famous tracks of people like Frank Sinatra, Ginsberg/Glass, Marc Almond, etc but revisited under a trance/middle eastern key. Most of the tracks have got ambient influences with some excursions into distorted rhymths realm contaminated by classical music. I must admit that this CD isn’t of immediate assimilation as you’ve got to be into the right mood and you’ve got to let yourself loose just to be ready to listen to one hour of floating sounds.
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anymore
Artist: HALO MANASH (@)
Title: Par-antra I: VIR
Format: CD
Label: Aural Hypnox (@)
Formed in 1998 Halo Manash initially was a personal project of A. Haapapuro who initially wrote only few tracks. During the 1999/2002 period the project grew and involved other two members: Iwo Hoccuc and R. Kadin. PAR-ANTRA I: VIR is their second release (their first has been "Se Its En" released the last year by the Blue Sector label) and at the same time it's the first release of a new label coming from nothern Finland: Aural Hypnox. PAR-ANTRA I: VIR is the first part of the Par-Antra trilogy, titled ’VIR’ and it contains nine ritual tracks. The main difference from the other bands who play this kind of sounds is that Halo Manash use mainly real instruments like e-bowed guitars, shamanic percussions and cymbals along with analog synthesizers and samplers. This helps into the creation of a surreal and real involving music which is the incarnation of the band's research of parallel forms and primal pathways. The tracks, for the band, are like aural and visual sigils which should help to promote the understanding the innermost and ultimate meaning of the "VIR". On the booklet you can find a description about how you should use these recordings and along with the first 200 copies of the CD you can find a personalized "VIR wallcanvas" (50cm x 40 cm) made by using color removal technique. Since the motivation that forced the band to record these tracks I find difficult to judge only the musical part of the CD (for this reason I won't give it a rate). Only to give a little hint, I can tell you that the multi layered tracks form a long suite based on whispered chants, effected instruments and hypnotic drums which reminds me some moments of the first Christian Death album.
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