Music Reviews



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Artist: Cybereign
Title: Dangerous Mind
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Battery Park Studio (@)
From the sound to the name to the artwork, Cybereign’s “Dangerous Mind” is old-school electro through-and-through- a clipped programmed breakbeat, catchy stabbed bassline, thoroughly digital synthwave pads and a deep spoken word faintly Bambaataa-ish slow and sinister vocal. All the ingredients are present and correct in such a way that it’s practically a walking cliché, but at the same time it’s got a confident sense of minimalism and space about it that means it still works. It’s lacking a major hook or unique selling point to really get your attention, but retro electro fans won’t skip this one.

All five of the remixes are stylistically pretty close to the original, so much so that as a listening EP, you do wish there had been a remixer or two willing to spread their wings a little further. The Nessbeth mix pares things down, with a fun rubbery bassline and liberal use of delay.

The Dez Williams remix uses many of the stems practically unchanged, with only a more abrupt and staccato bassline and rhythm to distinguish itself, while the Coherer remix pulls in the other direction and makes things a bit brighter, heading (slightly) in a more funky, party-electro direction.

TechControl steps up the Kraftwerk-y groove. N-Ter’s version- probably the best of the mixes- is still pretty faithful, with a bit more urgency, more gating and more acid squelch, and is most notable for the reprocessed (possibly even re-recorded) vocal.

A fun bit of old school electro, but a broader and more ambitious remix package would have helped.
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Artist: I, Poor Romantic
Title: Cool oh no cool
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Basserk Records (@)
Dutch duo I, Poor Romantic’s debut release is a pair of rolling-and-stepping moody broken-beat synth tracks, with steady slightly glitched rhythms underpinning deep rubbery basslines and atmospheres. Languid and smooth vocals from Marjolein have that casual “don’t try too hard” half-spoken vibe that’s very popular at the moment, with the long spoken word sections of second track “We Have This Recording” bordering on beat poetry.

These are slightly DJ-unfriendly tracks that fade in and out, thickly arranged and mastered to make them strong walls of emotional synth sound. As home listening tracks, there’s perhaps a slight lack of variation that doesn’t sustain an average of six minutes per track. However if these tracks are an indicator of an album to come, if the album is carefully refined then it could potentially be spectacular.
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Artist: Tom Hall
Title: Fervor
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Elli Records
Tom Hall is an AV artist. The 2-track release “Fervor” comes with an accompanying Windows & Mac app to compliment the sound, but I’m reviewing the audio as a standalone work.

This is a set of two gentle and meandering pieces in which ambling synthesizer lines drift over thick, slow and stretched ambiences. In “As We Go To Fight Giants”, the hardware wave synthesis is initially fairly sedate, but with a sawtoothed edge to the tone, and as it progresses it gets a little more harsh and bass-heavy, perhaps as we meet the titular giants.

In “Only The Hunted Know”, there’s a lighter melodic tone with quasi-piano notes like random raindrops over a drone which, again, evolves in harshness and flatulence as it progresses- although this time round there’s a more distinct drop.
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Artist: Golden Oriole
Title: Golden Oriole
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Drid Machine
“Funky concrète” is the tagline of this mysterious release, in a supremely brief press release that only acknowledges Golden Oriole as “members of Staer + Tralten Eller Utpult” but won’t name them or even discuss the work.

And true to that description, this is a 25-minute soundclash. One half long ambient metallic drones. The other half distorted is funk instrumentals consisting of a solid real-drum rocksteady groove and a 70’s-esque bouncing bassline that’s been crushed and noised. The opening track “The Approaching Of The Disco Void” initially starts with the former, then the latter cuts in abruptly. The two halves co-exist, but to say they compliment each other would be an overstatement. Even at my most open-minded this sounds like two unrelated records being played simultaneously. Six minutes in, everything drops, switching tack to a sort of dark lo-fi blaxploitation chase music with the right ingredients but with the funk replaced with fury.

Second track “The Trilithon” is more coherent, a jazzy fusion of the same thick bass and drums with a more complementary set of electronics. Final track “The Pyrite Wink” is more off-kilter, with a less accessible groove in a changing time-signature and siren-like synth alarms on full blast. Some structure forms in the second half with steadier kicks but ultimately I’d enjoy this track more if the drone elements- which on their own I’d probably like- weren’t there.

This is grungy and difficult stuff with attitude. Somehow the combination of the garage band ethos and the sustained and confrontational avantgarde sounds doesn’t quite gel for me, but it should be praised for raw energy at least.
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Artist: Closing The Eternity
Title: Forever And A Day
Format: CD
Label: Muzyka Voln/Zhelezobeton (@)
Rated: *****
Russian ambient drone project Closing The Eternity has had numerous releases going back to 2001, some of them in collaboration with Ad Lux Tenebrae, Mathias Grassow, and others. 'Forever And A Day' was recorded in 2004, mixed in 2007 and mastered in 2008. Why it hasn't been released until now is a bit of a mystery. The label claims it "has long been waiting the right moment for manifestation" but I'm guessing there were other factors involved. This is the first release on the Muzyka Voln/Zhelezobeton label for Closing The Eternity and that may have also have had something to do with it. CTE has gone through plenty of other labels in their time, so who knows? Anyway, 'Forever And A Day' is here now, and it's actually quite good. This is what I'd call "grey ambient" as opposed to dark or light, where the atmosphere is kind of neutral but still in lonely, isolationist terrain. There are three tracks (two lengthy ones, and a shorter one about 8.5 min.) a little over an hour in length total, but it's all that easy to discern one from the other. In a sense, the music bears a remarkable similarity to the cover photography by Arseniy Vinovarov, who took these pictures literally on the edge of the Earth- at the shore of the Arctic ocean. Surely that is a fairly bleak place (not that there isn't a certain sense of beauty about it) and this work absolutely reflects that. There is an ebb and flow to these drone pieces that could be equated with natural elements in the Earth's environment. It is simultaneously relaxing and disquieting, and maybe only those who have stood at the precipice overlooking some vast terrain or abyss might understand this. Played loudly, 'Forever And A Day' could easily seem oppressive and overwhelming, but at medium to low volume wondrous and transcendental. There are no obtrusive elements or incidents in the recording; it all flows smoothly. And though you might consider this minimal, there is no thinness to the atmosphere for it is as deep and wide as your ears can perceive. Having something as amorphous as this makes it easy to return to when you're in the mood for something that isn't highly defined.

Although Closing The Eternity is sort of shrouded in mystery, it hasn't been too difficult to find that the person behind the project is Anton Shafarostov (aka 121) who also has another (apparently) still active project called Velehentor which seems to be dark ambient and abrasive than Closing The Eternity. This release is strictly limited to 300 CD copies only, no digital download available, so if it sounds interesting to you, order it now because once it's gone, it's gone.
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