Music Reviews



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Artist: Dedekind Cut
Title: The Expanding Domain
Format: 12"
Label: Hallow Ground
Leaving behind his old aliases as a hip-hop producer, Dedekind Cut offers us a concentrated pack of experimental electronica with a cinematic quality and a very off-kilter structure. Broad and slow soundscapes of drone meet glitchy electronic noise.

After a confidently sparse opening with the looping synth pattern of “Cold Bloom”, we get “Lil Puffy Coat” which, despite its jaunty title, is particularly epic in tone, dark and sci-fi. It’s followed joltingly by the hammering rhythm of “Fear In Revese 2” which is a right-on-the-edge bit of raw industrial.

The two final tracks are the longest tracks, and both self-contained progressive pieces in their own right. “The Expanding Domain” has further industrial tones but with a crisp softness and it drifts from pounding to gently melodic and back again, underpinned by an awkward three-four rhythm that never lets you get comfy. Final track “Das Expanded, Untilted Riff” is a mellower affair with a synth melody reminiscent of old-school trance hopping wistfully over an ambient backing that’s 1990’s-esque in the middle and more contemporary and experimental by the end.

Showing the benefit of contributions from six of his friends contributing elements such as modular synths, piano and percussion, the result is a supremely good, diverse, un-pigeonhole-able EP that really ought to make fans of cinematic electronica stand up and pay attention.
Sep 18 2017
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Artist: Iokoi
Title: Liquefy Reworks
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: -OUS
Two tracks from the downtempo 2016 Iokoi album “Liquefy” get the remix treatment here.

Furtherset offer up a version of “Touchreel” that’s very stripped back, just a gentle light mechanical rhythm with sparkly pads, gated chords and vocal snippets all twinkling on top. It’s an oddly structured affair which, at under five minutes, feels like it’s a broader and darker bit of abstract soundscape design that’s been grafted bonsai-style into a small package.

NHK yx Koyxen (not a typo, and not just me hammering the keyboard)’s take on “Realien” gives things a more conventional light techno flavour, with soft 4 4 beats, a slightly Josh Wink-ish gradually unfolding melodic pattern, and whispered vocal noises. It progresses nicely, with a nice twist on the beat past the 5 minute mark to keep things moving, and it’s DJ friendly so long as the slightly abrupt end is anticipated.

It’s an odd pair of tracks that does feel like unused remix leftovers rather than a particularly coherent 2-track mini-package, leaving the “bold statement” of the original album behind somewhat, but the NHK yx Koyxen remix is certainly worth checking out, if you can get the spelling right on Beatport.
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Artist: The Process Void (@)
Title: Dreams of Departure
Format: CD EP
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
The Process Void is Sydney, Australia based musician Alex J. Wise who has been producing music and experimenting with sound since 1995. He calls The Process Void electro post punk, melodic dark and cryptic, but I find it to be more cold wave synthpop. Interestingly, this EP was co-produced by Claus "Leæther Strip" Larsen, and mixed and mastered by him as well. Hmmm...didn't see that coming. Wise claims his previous two album ('Arcane Matter' and 'Staat Des Zerfells') had previously been reviewed here at Chain D.L.K., but try as I might, I couldn't find those reviews. No matter, for the present we have 'Dreams of Departure'. When I first put this CD on I really didn't care much for it; sounded like dreary retro cold wave to me. It somewhat reminded me of Human League's first two albums, albeit with less panache. There is some vocal similarity to Mr. Oakey but sort of filtered through a John Lydon screen. Strange how it grew on me with more listenings. While none of the five tracks on this EP are great, they conjure a certain nostalgia to the late 70s/early 80s early synth bands I still remember well. (Remember the 'Some Bizarre' compilation album? This would definitely have fit on it.) The music is mostly simple synths and drums (drum machine likely in most places) in the same vein but the last track (title track, "Dreams of Departure") is the most different. Subbing guitar and bass for synths, as well as using real drums, this track has a more PIL/Killing Joke vibe. While there's nothing groundbreaking here, 'Dreams of Departure' will provide a sentimental sojourn for those that miss Factory Records bands and early cold wave synth music.
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Artist: Vestfalia\'s Peace (@)
Title: Loneliness
Format: CD
Label: Swiss Dark Nights Records (@)
Rated: *****
From Pescolanciano, Italy comes darkwave band Vestfalia's Peace, and their third release, 'Loneliness.' The band is comprised of Duccio Del Matto: classical guitar, electric guitar, chorus; Gianni Caldararo: vocals, bass, lyrics, chorus, mix; Salvatore Pallotta: drums; and Eugenio Auciello: electric guitar. They formed in 1997, in a very tiny village in Molise, Italy. Their first works (1999-2000) were strongly goth/new wave oriented, but around 2003 they styled themselves as more of a melancholic darwave act. They cite the band And Also The Trees as a major influence, which is fine by me as I'm a big fan of AATT's earlier work. Instrumentally Vestfalia's Peace does seem to be very influenced by that band, as well as The Cure. Vocally though is a different story. While AATT's Simon Huw Jones has a distinctively melodramatic style that just draws you in, the vocals in this band are whisper soft and often overridden by the music. The opener, title track ("Loneliness") is so indistinct as to be totally forgettable. There's a woman (Gina) also contributing supporting vocals (on a few tracks), but often it sounds like she's singing in another room. The second track "Wet Ferns Shine" is better than the first with slightly perked-up vocals, but not by a whole lot. Most of the songs on this album are quite mellow and don't cause much of a stir. Obviously the band suffers from a lack of distinction, especially in the vocal department. It's not that the vocals are bad by any means, (they are actually quite pleasant and melodic) it's just that they are very subdued and don't make much of an impact. On the musical side, the ban's sound is consistent but overly reliant on flanging and reverb. It gives the music a kind of shoegazer quality too often in my opinion. As for the songwriting, it's average with nothing was outstanding on this album. Track 9, "The Peasant" showed promise at the outset but didn't evolve into anything I'd consider compelling. Overall this is atmospheric but amorphic darkwave, which is sort of a shame because I had high hopes for it. Maybe adding a strong vocalist to the band might help. A lot of great darkwave come out of Italy, but sometimes, not so much.
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Artist: Angelo Bignamini
Title: Decay
Format: Tape
Label: Luce Sia (@)
Rated: *****
Practically without any liner notes, this tape from Angelo Bignamini documents a single track in two part where both of them has three distinct movements. While this release was developed from tape loops and effects, the composer tries to avoid the typical rhythmic cage using noisy sound source which creates a sense of development rather than one of stasis. This elements is perhaps at the core of the decision of naming this release "decay" as it makes full use of the typical noise elements added by tape to sounds in the process of aging.
The first side of this tape, "Decay Pt. 1", starts with grain of noises creating an irregular rhythm while in the background a sort of loop emerges. As this mass of sound stops, an interlude introduces the listener towards a second part with cleaner sounds even if based in a rhythmic pattern based on echoes while, sometimes, noisier elements emerge from the background so, even if it could be classified as a noise track, it's at moments able to hypnotize the listener.
The second side, "Decay Pt. 2", starts with a fade in and a couple of loops creating a complex rhythm out of simple ones; just prior that the track became trivial a single loop is used as a bridge to a part where noise generators gradually have the key role. The final part of this release is for a tape loops of considerable meditative effects as the first loop is gradually juxtaposed by a second tape which adds noise and movement closing the opus in a complete silence after the final eruption of noise.
This is a complex and demanding release which requires a certain commitment to be fully enjoyed as it avoids all simple tricks to amuse an audience giving them what it's expected, even if it's aided by its relatively short duration. Fans of experimental music will enjoy this release and play it until the tape is consumed but the others could be really disappointed. Take care and listen.
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