Music Reviews



Totakeke: Lament

 Posted by Dj Peter Lee (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Feb 21 2004
Artist: Totakeke
Title: Lament
Format: CD EP
Label: Frozen Empire Media
Rated: *****
Totakeke is another great project of Frank Mokros(Synth-etik, Ativ). This one released on Frozen Empire Media. Coming in a slim jewel case this cd has 7 tracks, 2 of which a remixes of the title track by Imminent, and Klangstabil(antzen, MHZ). This cd starts off with a droning ambient soundscape and moves into a rythmic mixture of drum-n-bass, and idm. As each track unfolds the cd continues to have soft over-lying synths and droning backgrounds, which set it apart from the bombastic rythmic noise of synth-etik. Not as to say that the drums aren't present but up until the last track they are more subdued, giving a more relaxed feel to the cd. Moving in and out of generes, this cd is complex and highly enjoyable.

Hearts of Darknesses: Music for Drunk Driving

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Feb 20 2004
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Artist: Hearts of Darknesses (@)
Title: Music for Drunk Driving
Format: CD
Label: Schematic
Distributor: Asphodel
Rated: *****
It's always nice and makes us very extremely happy to see that some unknown new and up coming artist we believed in or tried to help in the past with an interview or by reviewing a demo of, makes it or lands a deal with a record label. This time the lucky party was Frank Musarra, composer, performer, mc and, recently, member of Stars as Eyes. I first saw him perform as Hearts of Darknesses in some club in Brooklyn, just his mic and a cd player and his crazy moves... Imagine somebody who just got bit by a tarantula and dances the poison off as if the floor was covered with nails on fire, or something along those lines... Basically he screams and jumps around, allegedly he even broke his collarbone once falling after getting entangled in his microphone cord... "Music For Drunk Driving" is a pretty good representation of what the audio at that show was like. Epileptic digital core with a punk attitude and an electronic soul, glitch noises, distorted vocals, un-even beats and all of that. Now all he needs is a wirless microphone and he's good to go! Read the interview with Hearts of Darknesses on these pages.

Null Factor: Purity

 Posted by Marc Urselli   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Feb 19 2004
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Artist: Null Factor
Title: Purity
Format: CD
Label: Ballistic Test (@)
Rated: *****
Flaming Fish-rooted Canadian label Ballistic Test has just released the brand new album of Null Factor, the project of one Dan Harvell, one of the members of the band MiLLENNiA (you might remember them if you remember some promising new coming industrial acts of the '90es). After two well-received mp3.com CDR releases entitled "Remodulated" and "Calculating the Human Form", "Purity" continues in the search for human forms of modulated industrial/ebm music. Altough the formula is pretty dated (which doesn't mean that you won't appreciate it, especially if you are into the old-school ebm mixed with new breeds of industrial music) I have to admit Dan shows his chops in the ability to produce good sounds and put them to use in a musical structure made of industrial beats and electronic textures with the canonical ebm filtered voice and movie speech samples to complete the futuristic scenario.

Icon of Coil: Machines Are Us

 Posted by TG Mondalf (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Feb 16 2004
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Artist: Icon of Coil
Title: Machines Are Us
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records
Rated: *****

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Cyberpunk EBM at it's finest! Icon of Coil, who's last album I felt had tracks that could have easily been used in a Matrix movie, especially with the coinciding lyrical themes, has stepped it up one more level with an album cover that is very much reminiscient of The Matrix's human 'pod' farm. Machines Are Us is also the culmination of where Industrial music and sci-fi has been leading us since the 1980's finally arrived. From the themes of movies like The Terminator in which man makes machines that turn against them and all the controversy over artificial intelligence culminates into a sort of armageddon of metal and flesh. It's the same landscape pioneers like Front Line Assembly helped forge through the mindscapes of William Gibson and Philip K. Dick meeting in the combined forces of Electronic Body Music and biomechanical technology meet head on. This is one album that will pound dancefloors everywhere. So stomp those Dr. Martens in your sleekest black clothing. This is the music that the producers of The Matrix missed. Too bad for them but goths and industrialists worldwide will continue to know Icon of Coil as a dancefloor tour de force. This is the vision Front 242 saw when they first put on thier dark goggles and looked toward the future of industrial-dance music. This is quite simply music you cannot sit still to - you must move, and bounce, and romp, and dance!!

In Strict Confidence: Holy

 Posted by TG Mondalf (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Feb 16 2004
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Artist: In Strict Confidence
Title: Holy
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records
Rated: *****

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The new In Strict Confidence CD from Metropolis Records is a most unique and intriguing addition to the ISC catalogue. First the music, Great dark EBM with industrial and esoteric flavorings. "Eye of Heaven" begins the disc with harsh dark elements. The second track "Seven Lies" has a bit of an alternative rock feel to it. "Babylon" has a bit more of a FLA industrial feel to it with some standard German EBM overtones while "Closing Eyes" adds some excellent female vocals (Nadine Stelzer) and further impacts the 'cyber' feel of the musical compositions. One of the things I find interesting about the structure of the lyrics here is that each line (thought) is split between male and female vocals with one finishing the other's sentence. This is my favorite track for a possible dancefloor track on the release. "Heal" drops down to a more industrial atmospheric tone, harsh and heavy downtempo. The female vocals on "Emergency" (Antje Schultz) and "Sleepless" remind me a bit of Collide's kaRIN. "Another Night" has a bit of guitar a la KMFDM style while "No Love Will Heal" is a bit of a dancefloor twitch with ISC's signature sound. The most mediocre yet still very good track on the disc is probably "The Darkest Corridor" which also features Nadine on vocals. The only reason I say this is because this is the sound everyone is trying to copy these days it seems but ISC is one of the pioneers of it however they do much quite a bit different on the rest of the release. Lastly, Alpha Centauri is an instrumental piece which is over thirteen minutes long and begins rather ambiently and slowly builds with some aspects that remind me much of FLA at their best while still infusing new and interesting aspects of their own making including some synthetic 'hand drumming'. There is this one fuzzy bass synth sound that sounds much like a breath snort of some large beast. Now, what really struck me about this album aside from the excellent EBM stylings of ISC is the artwork and the overall compositions contained within this release. Oddly enough I received this CD only a couple weeks after beginning a CD project on my own label (Latex Records) using an Ancient Near East theme and hoping to prominently feature EBM and other electronic dancefloor music. The graphic layout on this disc features ancient Coptic script and a topless nun in a corset. The first track is "Eye of Heaven", relating to the Sun/God myths and the last is "Alpha Centauri", one of the most likely regions in our sky, according to astronomers, to sustain life in outer space. There is also a photo in the inlay which shows the 'nun' holding the head of a man wearing a crown of thorns, a crucified man, and other esoteric "clues". The entire lyrics are esoteric in origin as well. I found this all striking because I had thought my idea a bit original combining EBM w/ the esoteric doctrines of ancient origins yet here it was lain out in plain site by In Strict Confidence. An excellent album on all accounts; musically, vocally, lyrically, CD layout, and of course overall theme (which is many layered I might add)!


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