Music Reviews

Maschine Brennt: Frisq EP

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Sep 10 2018
Artist: Maschine Brennt
Title: Frisq EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Ukonx Recordings
Rated: *****
Joacim Thenander is a veteran of the electro scene. In the late ‘80s he was a member of industrial synth band Systema The Affliction and then on early 90's he was a member of the duo Cultivated Bimbo, band that did several albums for Energy Records. At the same time, Maschine Brennt born but during the 90s only few tracks have been written, because Joacim was busy with other more commercial projects. Starting from 2014, Joacim rebooted Maschine Brennt by releasing since now, five digital releases and a CD album for Razgrom Music. The latest release is a digital EP released by Ukonx Recordingsand titled "Frisq". Containing three new tracks and one remix of the main one mad by Deemphasis, project of the label boss Stéphane Bastien. By listening to the tracks it doesn't take much time to understand that Joacim loves Kraftwerk and sometimes by using certain melodic progressions, is like he's paying his personal tribute to history. Saying this it doesn't mean that his music is uninspired, because since the opening main title, he's able to catch immediately the attention, thanks to booming drums, catchy melodies, great synth sounds, etc. This guys for sure knows how to make dance his fans and he's using all the things he learned in all these years of experience in the field. Also "Shoewq" and "V.A.B." are a winner, because the complex rhythm layers which mix electro, i.d.m. and a bit of techno is able to make you focus on this without the use of catchy melodies or refrains. Only few sounds along with the rhythms layers are enough to define a melody to follow. This ins't an easy task when you have to deal with decades of electronic music but I'm pleased that at the end of the EP I want to listen to it again! The EP is closed by the Deemphasis Remix of "Frisq". For this version, Stéphane simplified a bit the rhythm section and created an ambient background as counterpart of the robotic elements. It sounds cool by sounding different and this is also a good result for a remix! Check it here

2methyl: Etched

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Aug 20 2018
Artist: 2methyl (@)
Title: Etched
Format: CD + Download
Label: Agnost1k Records (@)
Rated: *****
Once again delving into the pile Mr. Urselli couldn't get to with 2methyl's 'Etched' released on the Agnost1k label in June 2017. 2methyl is French music producer Nicolas Druoton whose first full album release was 'Layer 8' on the Ad Noiseam label in 2015. 2methyl has had his fingers in numerous remix pies over the years so he certainly knows his way around the gear. 2methyl's style is a mix of of dark d'n'b, IDM, moody industrialism, dubstep, and noir downtempo. (Think of a gloomy and sinister Amon Tobin.) 2methy's music on 'Etched' largely relies on creative percussion/rhythm programming with twisted futuristic synths and atmospheres woven between the beats. Some of those beats are supplied by drummer Youle. For the most part 'Etched' is quite sci-fi sounding without resorting to overdone cliches. It's also not very predictable, and the multilayering 2methyl employs adds a sense of depth often lacking in primarily instrumental albums of this type. When I say primarily instrumental, I have to mention one track- "Cross" with vocals from the L.A. noise rap group Moodie Black's Kdeath. I just don't like rap, and this track is not going to change my mind about it. Rather than dwell on that though, I will say that 'Etched' is one helluva delicious album that tears through a variety apocalyptic moods and scenes, often wild and chaotic but never completely jumping off the cliff. Now here's the rub- 2methyl and Agnost1k have decided to release the CD in a limited (50 copies) edition in a handcrafted box. That's going to set you back some $$ though at 28 Euros or more. For the budget-minded, the digital download price of 11E is a bit more affordable.

Guilt: Guilt

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Aug 19 2018
Artist: Guilt
Title: Guilt
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Medical Records
Oliver Chapoy and Nathaniel Young, working together as Guilt, have put together a self-titled EP of fairly dark instrumental techno with elements of industrial relentless and just a slightest shades of elements taken from the underbelly of synthwave.

Lead track “We Thought We Were”, with its processed vocals as fills, is at times reminiscent of Josh Wink on an angry day. Both “Cult Leader Of My Youth” and “Demiurge” carry on in a similar vein, thicker kicks underpinning mesmeric, gradually twisting short synth patterns that are at times slightly Underworld-esque, at other points relentless like the first CNSNNT release, decorated with occasional spoken-word noises for added texture.

The Løt.te Deception mix of the lead track doesn’t fall far from the tree, with a slight increase in staccato urgency and a more pneumatic percussion but staying firmly in the centre of the same ballpark.

It’s a purposeful techno 12” which rolls well but doesn’t harbour any real surprises or highlights.

Phaedrus: Game Of Tones

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Aug 17 2018
Artist: Phaedrus
Title: Game Of Tones
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Transfusions (Medical Records)
Seattle-based Joris Kamma’s new EP has a clear and simple vision- classic-sounding minimal techno in its purest form. Steady kicks and short percussive patterns do their work underneath two-note analogue-sounding synth lines while filters and knobs get slowly twiddled to twist each track gradually for six minutes a pop. No shocks, no sudden movements, just steady rhythm-and-synth exercises aimed at your feet. And provided the mood is right, it’s a total success.

There’s enough variation between tracks to give each a slightly different texture, but everything’s in the same ballpark. “Bender’s Game” puts the attention on the (appropriately slightly bendy) lightweight synth sounds. “Encyclopod” has a little more attitude, with some nice muted-explosion-as-cymbal effects. “Violet Dwarf Star” ups the squeaky bleep factor and “Xenotaph 3” adopts a slightly harder, somehow more American tone with backwards FX, thumpier kicks and crispy noise-based snares.

It’s a nicely focused bit of well-made minimal techno with nothing up its sleeve.

Hilde Marie Holsen: Lazuli

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Aug 15 2018
Artist: Hilde Marie Holsen
Title: Lazuli
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: Hubro
There’s certainly a distinctive character to Hilde Marie Holsen’s work in taking her own experimental trumpet performances, layering and processing them, deftly and extensively, to derive all the electronica tones on this downtempo and atmospheric release from them. As such it’s a remarkable production accomplishment but also a very engaging listen- one of the more brooding and soulful bits of electronica soundscaping I’ve heard in quite a while.

There’s a deep and sultry tone to some of the trumpet work that makes it sound more like saxophone, particularly on opener “Orpiment”, reminiscent of Rachel Edmondson’s “I Am Calm”. Conceptually there’s a strong connection to painting, with the track titles being minerals that are used to colour paint, and second track “Eskolaite” has an almost-rhythm that feels faintly like brush-strokes. “Lapis” is more faithful to the trumpet as the featured soloist, mostly leaving it sounding pure over a luxuriant warm drone. Finally the ‘main event’, the title track which makes up almost half of the 34-minute running time, is a broad multi-sectioned and quite cinematic work opening with industrial clarion calls, bubbling noise, dramatically strained metallic tones and a real sense of it being the full works, before settling down into more open plains that allow the trumpet to regain focus once more.

It’s a rich and focused mini-album that oozes character, and a virtuoso bit of performance that doesn’t end up being too self-indulgent either. Definitely worth a listen in a calm space.

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