Music Reviews



X-NAVI:ET: Brain Overloaded

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Oct 07 2012
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Artist: X-NAVI:ET
Title: Brain Overloaded
Format: CD
Label: Zoharum (@)
Rated: *****
This album from Rafal Iwanski is a collection of track, according to the linear notes, related with a question about human brain that is if this is an era which brain is stating to be overloaded. This is an electroacoustic album made with tone generators, filters and synthesizers with, in my opinion, nothing to justify the claim of the linear notes except the absence, not unusual in this genre, of computer, the main actor of current information overload.
"It is you brain?" is a short and static intro to the album, based on a sort of sinewaves loop. "Artificial landscape" is, instead, based on small noises above a quiet menacing drone that slowly evolve. "Contra-stasis" is a slowly moving track where filtered tones create a quiet evocative tension continuing in the next track "minute by minute, second by second" more oriented in the development of small tones above continuous tones. "Total overproduction" is based on single tone slightly evolving, using a beat and a menacing line of synth revealing the influence of old industrial act and is, perhaps, the best track of this release. "Reversed space for no one" is a static soundscape until a beat and some noises gives colors to the track. "Reset digital demon" close this release with a journey into noise as evocative as disconnected to rest of the album.
Musically speaking this is not a bad album as is well played and constructed, however the absence of a fil-rouge gives the impression that the linear notes were written just to justify the release. However, without reading the notes, this is a record worthing a listen.
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Artist: Frank Riggio (@)
Title: Psychexcess - Presentism
Format: CD
Label: Hymen records (@)
Distributor: Ant Zen mailroder
Rated: *****
Frank Riggio is an Italian-French artist based near Toulouse, France. He's been making music and releasing records for a long time, but his first official debut release dates back to 2007, shortly after he closed the label he was running (Sagaloops). He then embarked on a more sophisticated musical journey, the effects and results of which we are seeing in "Psychexcess I - Presentism", the first of a three part installment which showcases Riggio's abilities as a composer, sound designer and engineer. The album is masterfully executed and you can tell from the compositional style, the versatility of the sonic palette and the quality of the final mixdown and mastering that Riggio is a talented professional who excels in his field. The low end of this album is just amazing (present, controlled, thought out) and comes through even on smaller speakers and without a subwoofer. You can also tell that he works in sound design and music/sound for film/TV because he uses some of the same techniques and types of sounds that you often hear in that world (a great example of that is the fantastic sounding track "Venusian Philosopher (Future Vision I)", which would make a great Hollywood action-suspense movie trailer sound track).
I really like this album because it finds a great balance between the electronic realm and an organic truthfulness that only real instruments can provide. To describe these textures with classifying words is hard: in a way it has elements of classical composition, but it doesn't have any classical instruments (except for the occasional strings line), obviously it is downtempo electronic music at its core, but it goes way past its purest and simplest form and it also doesn't have a lot of beats or rhythmical patterns that you would expect in that genre. It kind of flows through your life as if it were it's own self-contain sonic universe, taking in elements from a variety of genres and making it own. Sparse elements of glitch, french chanteusisms, dark-ambient soundscapes, sci-fi sounds, There are field recordings, obviously there is a lot of sound manipulation and there is a strong footing in the experimental world too.
Definitely a very mature record that enjoyed listening several times and exploring in depth, both sonically and mentally. Looking forward to part II.

Suicide Commando: Attention Whore

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Sep 19 2012
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Artist: Suicide Commando (@)
Title: Attention Whore
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Mailorder
Rated: *****
Back to his usual business, Johan van Roy seems to be currently buried into his studio to record a new full-length onslaught. 'Attention Whore' is a first teaser of his upcoming work, a fast raging Harsh-EBM tune with a crafty beat work, which will surely set fire under the international dancefloors of the dark clubs. Lyrically, 'Attention Whore' criticizes the egoistic and ruthless behavior of one to hunt for attention and honor on someone else's invoice. Musically solid arranged and overall satisfying for his die-hard fans, but it is to me far away from standing in a row of Johan's best compositions. Further remix contributions by foreign artists like Funker Vogt, [X]-RX, the Russians of Sleetgrout, and Nachtmahr are of course strengthening the dancefloor compatibility and are part of the usual business behavior, if it comes to release appetizer tracks for an upcoming new album. With 'Evacuate' Johan also provides us a b-side track, which is lyrically limited to the title, but it features additionally multiple, dramatic voice samples, sirens and noises, which fit pretty well to this track. Also this b-side track receives a straight and pummeling remix contribution from an unknown artist to me, entitled John Lord Fonda. Good stuff for the club-goers and dancefloor fanatics, it lesser fits to spin it at your home entertainment at a fair volume level, in case you don't like to disturb your neighbors.
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Artist: Wavefall (@)
Title: Future Rock ‘n’ Roll
Format: CD
Label: Advoxya Records (@)
Distributor: Poponaut
Rated: *****
This is not only the new title for this third full-length album of Russia's former Harsh-EBM/Hellectro institution Wavefall ' it is also the manifest for their musically development. Slava Busygin and his female, better half Tat'yana Borisova are returning with this new album and they have some surprises hidden in their backpack, which the interested Harsh-EBM listener wouldn't have expected. They may had already integrate some first hints for a style changing with their last release, the 'EP-Tronics' EP, and I thought already on a mutation from the Hellectro to a more Punk-driven genre, somehow comparable to classic Cat Rapes Dog inspired works. First of all, with the new band member Kirill Ivanushkin being responsible for electric, bass, and acoustic guitars, you may get a hint of what has Wavefall become. They are more than ever inspired by guitar-driven Punk and Rock 'n' Roll music. The electronic elements are still present, but got often reduced to a minimal insert. 'Collider' is a good example for the still active Electronica-side in their work, though this one has been taken part in a 'Speed'-Mix on their last 'EP-Tronics' EP. Their Punk-attitude can be also discovered through their track-list and their beautiful, comic-strip cover artwork. The artwork shows the both protagonists being green-colored, Alien-like bank robbers on the run. 'God, Guns, and Gasoline' has been a title of a classic Cat Rapes Dog album, Wavefall nowadays could name their album 'Cash, Guns, and Gasoline'. This album develops completely into new territories and results finally into a hard cake to bite for their old Electro-based fans. It really needs a lot of tolerance and an open horizon of the Rivetheads to accept and enjoy this release completely. I personally think that this release is also an experiment for their Advoxya-label, since the Hungarian label-giant is known for their 'only-Electronica' attitude. Wavefall seem to be quite convinced with their new direction, to me they are taking the risk and have to start from scratch again. Multiple live performances might be helpful to perform conviction work.

Suicide Commando: The Suicide Sessions 3: Construct - Destruct and bonus disc

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Sep 19 2012
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Artist: Suicide Commando (@)
Title: The Suicide Sessions 3: Construct - Destruct and bonus disc
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Mailorder
Rated: *****
Finally we come to the third chapter of Suicide Commando 'Suicide Sessions' series, which contains the third SC-album 'Construct ' Destruct'. Tunes like 'Better Off Dead', 'Desire', or the re-mastered version of his old classic track 'The Mirror' can be found on this album, as these tunes are well-known and approved club-food by the worldwide based DJ's. Not to forget the musically highlights like 'Acid Bath', a fine Dark Electro tune, on which Scott Sturgis (Converter / Pain Station) has written the lyrics, or the pretty much Dive-/Klinik-inspired track 'Pesticide'. 'Construct ' Destruct' can be seen without doubts as being the highlight of the pre-'Mindstrip'-era of Suicide Commando. Composition and arrangements have reached with this album the highest maturity, plus this album offers a nice floating between mid-tempo, slow and creepy tunes, up to the above mentioned dancefloor-attacking tracks. Congratulations to one of the outstanding SC-releases, also backed-up with the knowledge, that with 'Mindstrip' the things turned into a more commercial and more successful course. No one really could have expedted it during 1999/2000, but with 'Mindstrip' Johan van Roy started the rather Hellectro-/Harsh-EBM second career, which has finally made him that famous and sought-after until today.
Also for this third chapter you'll get a bonus disc, which provides for the most part the content of the limited 'Reconstruction' DCD set of the original album. 'Decoder' it its instrumental version (...is there existing a version featuring vocals? Someone needs to tell me...), the ultra-violent, noisy tune 'Violator', remix contributions of 'Better Off Dead' (Dive, Pierrepoint), 'Desire' (:Wumpscut:), and 'Massacre' (Plastic Noise Experience), plus a few more, so far unreleased b-side tracks like 'Final Suicide', 'Last Breath', 'Desire For Dead Bodies (Slow)', or 'Narcotica' got included too to keep this bonus disc valuable for his die-hard fans. Not to forget the track 'State Of Emergency', which has been part of the 3-track EP for the Off Beat compilation 'The O-Files II'. Also here a tiny word of criticism as the interested listener finally still needs to hunt for this long out-of-print compilation, because the 'Beat Beyond Recognition Mix' by Velvet Acid Christ of 'State Of Emergency', as well as the original recording of the b-side 'Come To Me' haven't been taken into consideration to get re-released on this bonus disc. But however, this third and final chapter concludes successfully the attractive 'Suicide Sessions' of one of the leading artists in the Dark Electro scene. If you're greenhorn with an interest to dive deep into the sound dimension of the Belgian sound-slaughter, all three 'Suicide Sessions' DCD sets would be an ideal investment to start with.



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