Music Reviews



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Artist: NERVE FILTER
Title: Linear
Format: CD
Label: Accession Records (@)
Distributor: Indigo
This is the experimental side project of Tom Shear AKA ASSEMBLAGE 23 – yes, I said experimental, so don’t expect ANYTHING which could somehow compared with Tom’s main and very successful project. No Synth- or Futurepop anthems available here, but that does of course not mean that this debut of his already 11 years active side-project can’t offer anything interesting. If you look back on some more or less known compilations you might find here and there some remix works he did under this NERVE FILTER moniker – a remix for CONVERTER’s track "Be Broken" for example can be found on the compilation "Proven in Action" released by the small Swedish label First Aid Recordings leaded by my special comrade Anders Karlsson (www.thepainmachinery.com). So this side-project was through the years well hidden in the big and successful shadow of ASSEMBLAGE 23. Thanks to the fact that this side-project totally differs, makes it also so quite impressive. It is a fantastic journey through very diverse styles of electronic based music, it is only seldom that the tracks are that straight arranged, like my both favorites here, "Option.One" and "Auto.Mat", which do fall under the Electro genre. Further styles are present here with D’n’B, IDM, Techno – yeah, and some Trance elements as well. The songs are filled with almost dark inspired Synth layers, a very effective ingredient, which keeps the whole interesting and filled with complexity. What noone expected comes finally true after the listen of this album: Tom Shear is a well talented electronic musician, who has much more to offer than the known paths of ASSEMBLAGE 23. That several reviewers out of the scene (... no names here...) aren’t able to pick up this content and wrote some stupidity isn’t acceptable. This is a great example to explain the sense of a side-project, thumbs up, Tom!

CODEC & FLEXOR: Killer Machine

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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May 01 2006
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Artist: CODEC & FLEXOR
Title: Killer Machine
Format: CD
Label: Kitty Yo (@)
Distributor: Wide
Rated: *****

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Already been in a band together (was 1992 and they were into Atomic Comic), Codec & Flexor decided to collaborate again on year 2001 and the year after they released their first album "Tubed" for Christian Mongerstern’s Forte Records. Due to the club success of the song "Time has changed" they had a deal for the license of the album in the USA through Emperor Norton Records. Now the time has come for a new album and Kitty Yo proudly presents KILLER MACHINE. The twelve tracks of the new album show some slight changes from the previous one because KILLER MACHINE sounds more melodic and it has more new wave influences. If you listen to the first two songs "Do what you want" and "Nothing to hide" you’d ask yourself if this is the new Heaven 17 album because the electro wave of the duo has a certain funk flavor. The following "Step by step" steer the wheel toward a dance electro wave while "Welcome" seems coming from the latest Tiga release. The album, in this way, is capable of catch the electro fans, the new wave orphans and the dance floor fanatics and this is damn good!
Apr 28 2006
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Artist: ELLEN ALLIEN & APPARAT (@)
Title: Orchestra Of Bubbles
Format: CD
Label: Bpitch Control (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****

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A year has passed since the release of "Thrills" but Ellen Allien is always at work to find out new ways of experimenting with rhythms / sounds / emotions. This time she collaborated with Sascha Ring/Apparat (he also run the label Shitkatapult with T.Raumschmiere) to create ORCHESTRA OF BUBBLES, an album containing thirteen new tracks where the distinctive sound of the duo find a new expression. Apparat’s orchestrations of i.d.m. sounds and Ellen’s capability of creating a web rhythmical sounds match perfectly creating something that sounds new, fresh and deep. The album opens with "Turbo dreams", the single released on early April, that contains some of the principal elements present on the album: melody, rhythm and a certain sense of suspension given by the cyclic structure of the tracks. Some other surprises are ready to be unveiled already with the second track, because "Way out" (the single that will be released at the end of May) is a beautiful track that melodically recall me Marco Passarani’s "Criticize", with a delicate vocal line sung by Ellen herself. The following track "Retina" changes everything with an opening cello that duet with a bass line and some other layers (string orchestrations and several synth lines) that are added during its length. "Jet" is based on the same concept having a cyclic structure with brass sounds that duet with a pumping rhythm (I found amazing the effect of the guitar distortion that arrive suddenly creating a blast of a jet). Respect "Thrills", ORCHESTRA OF BUBBLES sounds more elaborated and generally with more melody (not melodic, because this isn't techno pop). The techno minimal experimentations dear to Ellen’s style are still present (see "Under" or "Metric") but Apparat presence worked really well and created tracks like "Edison" (where the glitch sounds create a delicate rain effect while a melancholic melody draw by a bass guitar lead you through its four minutes length) and "Leave me alone" (a track album where Apparat lightly sing on cut up violins while bass and drums sign the time of a broken heart). On the definitive version of the CD you can find two tracks that have been added just before the release of the album because the promo copy have been put on the p2p networks. Now you’ve the opportunity to find "Rotary" (a Detroit electro track really intriguing) and "Sleepless" (a beautiful song with Ellen’s vocals. I really dug the harp sound combined with the distorted synth). If you want some in depth info about the project check the website http://www.orchestra-of-bubbles.com.

VV.AA.: Berlin Insane III

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Apr 26 2006
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Berlin Insane III
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Pale Music (@)
Rated: *****
Pale Music since three years ago organize each year a show called Berlin Insane that is held at the Club 103 in Berlin. Each year different bands and dj heat up the dance floor of the club with catching melodies and distorted rhythms (check also the website www.berlin-insane.com for more info on the Berlin Insane club tour). Compiled by The Scandals the third volume of BERLIN INSANE compilation present forty tracks of "sex rock and sleazy electronics" (as stated on the cover). The first CD contains nineteen tracks and it is more focused on the electro/techno side of dance music. Within the others you can find: Einsturzende Neubauten’s Rudi Moser bring us "Solo n.1" a dark track based on bass guitar and light metallic percussions, Miss Yetti picked up a minimal techno track titled "Never come back" from her latest album "Insights", Punx Soundcheck are present with "Vanity, poverty, revenge" with Marc Almond on vocals, Näd Mika is here with "Too intense" (an electro punk track coming from her upcoming album "Electronic beat bitch"), Bruder & Kronstädta with "Yalla" present a track influenced by hip hop, techno and punk, Atomizer with "Ball & chain" remembered me early Fischerspooner, Cycle with "Apple tree" incarnate an electro version of Pretenders, Bakterielle Infektion whip their synths to bring us "Actors on stage" which recalled me the atmospheres of Normal’s "Warm leatherette", The Drugs with "Liv'n die 4 Rock 'n' Rol" incarnate a mix of Cramps and D.A.F., Sexo Y Droga with "Hot hot woman" recalled me bands like Nine Pound Hammer (they were on Crypt). CD2 contains mostly bands that focus their sound on the punk side. Bands like: The Nothings (their "I like drugs" is really a punk 77 track), Junesex ("Get’s close to mine" sounds like Blondie with electro instruments), Kesse Teens ("Chica chica" recalled me Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Kook’s "Club Gorgeus" is electro, punk and funk at the same time, Quasimodo Jones ("Cannibal woman" sounds like Devo on acid) while Monotekktoni with "I have done" seems a goth band with a broken sample (but they are really interesting). With Liquid Ice we are back on the electro side with the beautiful ambient robotic "Ignorance bliss". BERLIN INSANE III is a good chance to check the health of the new electro/techno scene and believe me if I tell you that it is in good health!

PUNX SOUNDCHECK: Berlin Moon

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
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Apr 25 2006
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Artist: PUNX SOUNDCHECK
Title: Berlin Moon
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Pale Music (@)
Rated: *****
BERLIN MOON is a hell of a release and if I tell you so, it should be enough to purchase it. Since I’m good and I want to do my work the right way, I’ll tell you something more. The two tracks you can find here, reworked by eight different people of the European and American dance scene, were part of a two track limited 7" released by Punx Soundcheck’s label Icon Series. The tracks are by Punx Soundcheck themselves and see in a very good shape Marc Almond on vocals. Lately Marc is working with different djs producing good electro stuff and he someties is also djing around the world (he visited Torino during the Olympic Games for a dj set at the Palazzo Nuovo University). On this release you won’t find the original tunes (since the single is out of print you can find them on the compilation "Berlin insane III" and on the first album "When machines ruled the world" by Punx Soundcheck that will be released anytime soon by Pale Music) but five versions of "Vanity, poverty, revenge" and three of "Neo burlesque" by Punx Soundcheck, Miss Yetti, The Scandals, Mount Sims and Alex Stark for the first and Replicant, Lotterboys and Terranova for the latter. Every version is a blast but check out these ones first: Punx Soundcheck (they reworked a little bit the original electro version), Miss Yetti (she gave to it a minimal techno treatment), The Scandals (they did of it a punk electro gem), Mount Sims (which kept the basic melodic lines to do a minimal electro intriguing tune) and Replicant (he already collaborated with Mr. Almond, see my review of their "Face Control E.P." and he did a good version of "Neo burlesque" with pumping rhythms and acid sounds). I told you... a hell of a release!


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