Music Reviews

VV.AA.: The Re:Birth EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Feb 15 2016
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: The Re:Birth EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Utopia Music (@)
Rated: *****
The cover artwork of this release could look like a party favor for St.Valentine's Day, but in spite of love for music is something for noble-hearted people, it's just the image that Utopia Music used for a compilation of four tracks. The label has partially got out of our radar, as its activity got partially frozen by the plenty of collaborations of his boss Mako for other labels. Moreover, it seems Mako decided to save plastic and money in order to increase the digital releases in their pot, but quality of bass-driven sonorities stays the same: the first two tracks explore some interesting depths of mid-tempo DNB, but while "87", the track by which David 'Hydro' Pearson, Samy 'War' Ponsar and Mateo 'Mateba' Zanibelli begin the dive, sounds more anxious, Paul 'Coerce' Webb comes adrift less stormy waters on the almost relaxing track "Merkava", which gets closer to chill-dub stylistic territories. Israeli producer increases the level PLK on the amazing computational hyper-stepped movement of "Dreamware", whose digital smooths got rippled by roaring low frequencies and nice echoes - it could resemble some stuff by Photek -, and paves the way for the almost unrecognizable ReDub by label boss of Sunchase's "Nathnennia", whose underwater-like delays and daydreaming dilutions are suitable for romance between humans and sea horses...

Kode9: Nothing

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Feb 12 2016
Artist: Kode9
Title: Nothing
Format: CD
Label: Hyperdub (@)
Rated: *****
In spite of its title, the first solo album by Steve Goodman aka Kode9, the man behind the curtains of the excellent Hyperdub, is not really a devotional act to nihilism. Many musicians and sound artists prefer to refer to their recording studio as proper laboratories, as the connection between science and sound is closer than someone could guess and the work on sound parameters could look like the one of a scientist which test different conditions for an experiment; Kode 9 seems to build a sonic bridge between his sonic science and quantum mechanics, but you don't need to know quantum field theory or other matters to appreciate Kode9's output, even if I could say as an occasional reader of that branch of literature where more or less notorious theoretical physicist try to make the matter easier for common people, "Nothing" could enhance any peak over some interesting scientific ridges: the opening "Zero Point Energy", which got ignited by colliding metallic electrons before a sort of black hole (simply a distorted bass) swallows the track, as well as many other sticky sonic grids like the perfectly cut "Holo" - a really impressive output that he made by modified female vocals, synth sound, sub-bass pulsations and astonishing percussive elements -, the gorgeous "Zero Work" - a sort of strange artifact from some unknown planet in between future dubstep and footwork -, the trap-like computational chains of "Notel" and "Vacuum Packed", the rhythmical beat-driven rolling of "Respirator" where a human breathe sounds like overlapping the radar picture of cosmic breathe, the funny ping-pong of samples on "Casimir Effect" or the masterfully remake of "9 Samurai" (together with Spaceape), one of the best moment of his first steps that he renamed as "9 Drones" immediately launch listeners into this sort of augmented hyperreality, where the joy of discovery and the concern of human mind in front of the Infinite coexist. Likewise catchy, the memory of his friend and partner-in-art Spaceape, who died after a prolonged battle against cancer in 2014, is another strong feeder of this great album: he seems to live again on the track "Third Ear Transmission" in the shape of an immortal digital entity which managed to find a broadcasting channel from the afterlife dimension that he already knows, as well as in the enchanting "Void", a tune which was originally made for the vocalist, and the final "Nothing Lasts Forever", whose whimsical electric overture got pulverized by the 9 minutes of silence that follow...

Sabre: Yoga - Alix Perez remixes

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Feb 11 2016
Artist: Sabre
Title: Yoga - Alix Perez remixes
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Plasma Audio
Rated: *****
One of the first beating of wings by Melbourne-based label Plasma Audio was "Yoga", a track by which DJ Gove Kidao aka Sabre combined sinister catchy sonorities and bouncing wonky beats; the label recently decided to reprise it and include that tune in a release, which includes a couple of remixes of a young wizard of drum 'n' bass scene, the Noth-London-based Belgian DJ and producer Alix Depauw aka Alix Perez, who already collaborated with Sabre on some beat-driven sonic patterns. Both his Club mix and his Warped mix features a higher ratio of inertia as the elements of the original version sound more burdened with distortion, an aspect which got slightly mitigated by wider echo and reverberation as well as by some funny collisions of "bumps" against "swishes" on the first one, which I mostly prefer for shrewdly inoculated embellishments.

Starving Insect: The Great Nothing

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Feb 08 2016
Artist: Starving Insect (@)
Title: The Great Nothing
Format: CD
Label: Dark. Descent. (@)
Rated: *****
You can guess a certain skill in approaching somehow old-fashioned sonorities of Stockholm-based producer Alexander Kassberg, the guy behind Starving Insect's torn curtains, since the opening "Overhead Without Any Fuss, The Stars Were Going Out", whose fuss lies on a typically thumping bass tone that was extensively used by gabber-techno makers in the glorious age of pink elephants, which rises together after getting down the shaft of claustrophobic industrial sonic entities in the first part of the track, where a menacing voice states that "all life is a waste of time" sets the slightly disquieting emotional ground. The knocking dry beats got intersected by the rubberlike "gabberesque" ones, squeaking chains, weak claps and morbid blowbacks on the following "Breeding The Threnodies", the first collaborative track with Robin "Omnicide" Alander as well as one of the most recently recorded by the insect, which keeps on digging mazes into previously fertile grounds on the more dark/EBM oriented "Sleep Is Death", over the agonizing roars of distorted bass of "There Are No Doors", the slaughtered bass-pumped procession of "IDDQD" - "something different" or "nothing at all" according to the sampled voices that Alexender inserted in the track -, the quasi-epic sinisterly fetid breezes of "Dormant Storm" - the atmosphere of a forthcoming tragedy got nicely emphasized by an alerting shout, warning of a coming storm - and the snarling hits of "Visions of the Blind Dead", which features an ill gothic dulcimer melody over the same old mincing of sharp hammers. The second collaborative track with Omnicide, which ends this release, titled "Allt Dor", is maybe the one where the above-described pre-apocalyptical poisonous fumes got their better shape, whose combination of dark nuances and wisely decelerated hardcore techno steps could let you imagine a rave-party for zombies (or maybe for a growing part of our plagued societies, which seems to be haunted by starving insects...?). The author suggests to play it loud...consider his suggestion!

The Untouchables & Resound: Separate Reality EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Jan 29 2016
Artist: The Untouchables & Resound (@)
Title: Separate Reality EP
Format: 12"
Label: Translation Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
Hot off the press - released today on vinyl by Washington DC-based label Translation Recordings -, this awesome tidbit by Brussels-based The Untouchables, the bicephalous project by Kate Mcgill aka Kay and Ajit Steyns aka Nitrox, who moved towards a catchy interbreeding of jungle sonorities, ragga movements and heavyweight dub, got ignited by a couple of great collaborative tracks, they made side by side another skilled producer orbiting around the label, the Finnish producer Ilpo Kärkkäinen aka Resound: a slideshow of chirping birds and other voices from a proper jungle got grasped both in the catchy "Separate Reality" and the following "Mystic Arts", even if they sound more heavily morphed into the latter track as if the second track is the revealing of the hidden side of those entities as a consequence of an augmented perception of surrounding reality. The wildly animalist/animistic script got likewise followed on "Devourer of World", the first tune by The Untouchables on the flipside, whee they inserted a sort of distorted barking on the carnival of sub-bass-driven electrically shocked dub movement, but there's a similar spiritual voltage in the following "The Beast" - very nice work over a set of tribal drums and woodstick-like hits - as well as in "City Of Thieves", coming as a bonus track for all those listeners who are going to grab the digital version on Translation's Bandcamp.

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