Music Reviews



N3VOA: Solitude

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (8643)
Mar 19 2015
cover
Artist: N3VOA (@)
Title: Solitude
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
N3VOA is Brazilian born Diego Bittencourt transplanted to New York where he became the drummer for Death Metal band, Deathrune. While surrounded and fully immersed in Deathrune, Diego developed an aptitude for creating riffs on guitars. Parallel to his Death Metal project, he nurtured a love for synthesizers and electronic music. Hence, his N3VOA project, and the debut album, 'Solitude'. Apparently Diego learned his lessons in the dark electro vein well, from bands like Depeche Mode to Leaether Strip to Neuroactive to Front Line Assembly to Wumpscut, and Skinny Puppy. If 'Solitude' sounds a bit old school, he has the aforementioned to thank. Synths and sequencers abound, and a lot of it sounds awfully familiar, more in form than in content. With a Death Metal band background, of course much of it has a nihilistic flavor. However, the album begins rather gothy, with some reflective piano over synth string pads, but this doesn't last long before the heavy dark electro kicks in. Title track "Solitude" has those nasty, raspy vocals you're not likely to comprehend without the lyric sheet - "I cry myself to sleep, With your ashes next to me, Recalling memories through my head, Like you are there, you've never left. Living in disbelief, why death exists? Indignant, bitter and disturbed, How does God have such a nerve?" The music and arrangement sounds as if it comes from a seasoned veteran, and not just a dabbler in this style of electronic music. And of course, the drum programming is spot on; could one expect less from a professional drummer?

Diego also has his sampled and electronic atmospherics down as well. "Punishment" continues in the rasp vocal vein, adding more malevolence lyrically - "I will hammer the screw I nailed to your spine, Watching you bleed, Until you die." Maybe I've gotten used to the vocals by this time, maybe a different type of processing was used on the voice, but I'm beginning to understand the vocals without need of the lyric sheet. There's a changeup in the vocal processing on the third track, "Deceiver"; less harsh as the somewhat poppy music calls for, yet the lyrics aren't what I'd call happy - "Look at yourself through my eyes, Understand the hate that multiplies". And so it goes with the rest of the album- changes in vocal processing (and to some degree, style) to suit the musical material. It makes for nice variety, but at the expense of a definitive identity. Lyrically, it is mostly in the same nihilistic mode. Truth be told, Jonas Bittencourt (Diego's brother I assume) is as much to credit or blame for this, as he's given lyric credit on every track, except the instrumental, and one written by (other brother) Dimitri Bittencourt.

While some bands in this style compose chiefly for the dancefloor, N3VOA caters to the brooding listener. Not to say that there aren't danceable track on 'Solitude'; instrumental "Stare Down the Ghosts" is an excellent one, even if it lacks a bit of personality. There are others too, to some degree, such as "Still Standing", and Neuroactive's remix of "Solitude", a pretty good remix in my estimation, but by far and large 'Solitude' is negative mind candy, torn between angst, anger and something akin to hope; hoping things will improve but knowing they probably won't. The album is dedicated to Diego's father Getulio, who passed away in 2009 at the age of 58. I don't know the circumstances of his death but it must have been a hard parting. Perhaps 'Solitude' is an exorcism of those emotions. (It will be interesting to hear what's next for N3VOA.) Diego has poured his heart out and bared his soul in 'Solitude', and also spared no expense in the tri-fold digipak and 16 page booklet with great graphics by Franklin Nunez. The album was co-produced by N3VOA and Jarkko Tuohimaa of Neuroactive, and mixed and mastered by the latter as well, attesting to why it sounds so professional. I've heard a lot of so-so dark electro bands from out of New York (or thereabouts) in my time, but N3VOA rises above and is definitely one to watch.

Hot Guts: Wilds

 Posted by Emanuele Ratti (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (8609)
Feb 17 2015
problems
with image
availability
Artist: Hot Guts
Title: Wilds
Format: 12"
Label: Avant!
Rated: *****
Hot Guts is a peculiar band from Philly (I lived there for almost ten months but didn't know about their existence'¦unfortunately). They started as a punk band and then they evolved into something quite unexpected from a punk band. I mean'¦bands today can have access to any kind of instrument without being rich, so these are amazing times to chart the development of quite traditional genre such as punk and to see what happens. Hot Guts say to play a sort of minimal electronics close to EBM with some tribal industrial and neofolk hints. Actually, I don't think it's an appropriate description. There is something more than simply 'minimal electronics' (whatever this means!). I think that the backbone of Hot Guts' songs is genuinely krautrock, that is a sort of 'cosmic music' open and somehow ethereal with interesting minimalist guitars. Clearly, this is not old fashioned krautrock, but it is a contemporary interpretation of that attitude. There are wise arrangements with samples providing the idea that songs are carefully designed from the first to the last second. Finally, the Neofolk touch: spoken worlds, or at least with a minimal tone. Therefore: krautrock with cutting edge instruments meets punk and Death in June. Fucking amazing! Produced by the interesting label Avant! Records on vinyl.
Feb 16 2015
cover
Artist: Hexenschuss
Title: Hexenschuss
Format: 12"
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Formed by Assi Weitz at drums (already active with JAP, Gone Bald and Sophia) and Gil Luz at keyboards (already with Malka Spiegel and Mambas), Hexenschuss are a band that started their activity back in 2013, between Amsterdam and Tel Aviv. They self produced their first vinyl album at the end of the last year and after touring in Europe (with a participation at the Drill festival in Brighton in December), they will do another European tour in April. Anyway, let's talk about their self named album, now. It contains nine instrumental tracks that the duo describe as "moronic lines accompanied by progressive beats, seasoned with synths and effects". Personally, even if they claim to combine live electronics, psychedelic and post punk elements, I hear echoes of Carpenter's soundtracks as well as 90's post noise. The first time I listened to tracks like " Boulevards" or "Lambshake" honestly the first name that popped into my mind has been Slint. I know that Hexenschuss don't use guitars (even if here and there the distorted synth sounds recall that) but the atmosphere created that mix tension and a sort of cinematic appeal, was there, ready to be catched by my ears. The tracks are mid tempo energetic monsters that evolve little by little like a feeling of growing pain just to end with a blast and listening to the whole album different times in a row create a particular effect of suspension in time. They use melodies and rhythms but you aren't able to focus on them as you're floating into their magmatic sound ready to take another ride. Check it here https://hexxenschuss.bandcamp.com/releases
cover
Artist: Hieroglyphic Being And The Configurative Or Modular Me Trio
Title: The Seer Of Cosmic Visions
Format: CD
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
Someone labelled it as "Outsider House", but it's an objectively misleading reference so that I prefer the labels that Chicago-based producer and founder of Mathemtics Recordings Jamal Moss aka Hieroglyphic Being aka IAMTHATIAM aka The Sun God aka IBM (cool acronym for Insane Black Man), the inventive pioneer of this style, coined by means of expressions that seems to quote Sun-Ra such as 'Cosmic Be-Bop' or 'Rhythmic Cubism'. Beyond the way its style could be named, the assemblage of Chicago house and EBM and spotty elements from industrial, noise and avant-jazz, which could sometimes render the way someone who temporarily suffeers clogged eardrums would perceive a record by Frankie Knuckles, Adonis, Fingers Inc., Ron Hardy or other legends of the 80/90ies underground scene of Jamal's vibrant city, or some variations of Chicago house by means of low-battery cheap drum machines or synths whose circuits got regrettably watered by corrosive chemical products or dj's favorite drink, is really amazing even if it could sound like a mere exercise in style. Anticipated by an exclusive 6 files digital release for The Wire readers, "The Seer Of Cosmic Visions" includes nine past jams and tracks from his catalogue, which got wisely remastered by Michel Kuhn at Berlin's Dubplates and Mastering: the unsharpened knives of "Calling Planet Earth", the nibbled Chicago-house of "How Wet Is Ur Box", the lop-sided computational sequence of "The Human Experience", the robotic stuttering over poofy sonorities of the final "Strange Signs In The Sky" and the gelatinous boiling of rhythmic noise on "A Genre Sonique" of my favorite ones, but the opening lukewarm psychedelia of the opening title-track, the opacified meditations of "Letters From The Edge" and "Space Is The Place" and the numb tribal funk of "134340 Pluto" are likewise amazing. Have a listen!

Necro Deathmort: EP2

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
 Edit (8587)
Feb 03 2015
cover
Artist: Necro Deathmort (@)
Title: EP2
Format: 12"
Label: Distraction Records (@)
Rated: *****
When I last heard anything from AJ Cookson and Matthew Rozeik's Necro Deathmort project it was back in 2012 when I reviewed 'The Colonial Script'. The boys have not been idle since then, releasing two more albums and two EPs of material, of which this is the second, obviously titled 'EP2'. I had not heard any of the aforementioned, so I checked out 'EP1' on the Distraction Records site and I must say it's quite different from 'EP2'. Compared to 'EP1', 'Ep2' is quite minimal, but neither of them are anything like 'The Colonial Script'. 'EP1' is like krautrock in hell and full of nightmarish demonic ambiences, while 'EP2' seems coldwave claustrophobic in comparison. First track, "Sundive" employs a minimal beat with noise-pop snare, dark drones, and deep chambered percussive hits. "Mirus" begins with a slow, ominous sustained bass tonal pattern, and eventually a higher drone emerges, then the doom chords and drums come in, crawling, building in intensity, then finishing with the bass pattern. "Channel Fever" begins with a minimal beat accompanied by chittering sequenced percussion (reminded me a lawn sprinkler) with heavy dark drones of various types wafting through the ambience. Beat and percussion stops for a spell, and at one point I think of Tangerine Dream in their more dark ambient moments. Chittering percussion begins again, and then the beat comes back. Dissolve to black. "Bleeding" is a classic doom metal grinder, but not much more than that. "Deadlight" is full of sustained, warped synth chords and drones, atmospheric, but very minimal. Finishing off the EP, "Aer" begins with the repeating mono-note from the tail end of "Deadlight" adding a slow bass and synth progression as well as other ambient and percussive elements, including cymbals. Imagine if the music of John Carpenter was to plunge headlong into doom and darkness and you get some idea. "Aer" is the best track on the EP and worth wading through some of the others to get to. While 'EP2' has its moments, I did like 'EP1' better. Still, somewhere down the line in the future, Necro Deathmort's 'EP2' is likely to be regarded as a minimal electronic doom classic, and there are those out there who will absolutely love it start to finish. I'm kind of a picky bastard, and in light of what I've heard from Necro Deathmort previously, I don't really consider 'EP2' one of their stronger efforts. Available on Limited Edition (333 copies, with only 17 left) vinyl which includes download options.


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

Chain D.L.K. design by Marc Urselli
Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha