Music Reviews



Oct 21 2010
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Artist: Blastromen
Title: Human Beyond
Format: CD
Label: Dominance Electricity (@)
Rated: *****
Opened by the upbeat epic main track, HUMAN BEYOND is the debut album by a Finnish duo called Blastromen. With a past as techno music producers, the two mysterious men behind this project, started they adventure into electro music in 2004 with their first EP "Robot Aggression" released by the Finnish label X0X Records. The EP, which now is out of print, presented four tracks which already alerted the lovers of the genre (the CD edition has from this release, as bonus tracks, "Space Trader" and "Le Nucleaire Civile"). "Blasteroids EP" released two years ago created a certain hype thanks to the main track which was been included into the first volume of the Street Sounds "Nu Electro" series the year after. Everyone was waiting for their debut album but the moment was never arriving. The wait ended in September 2010 when Dominance Electricity (the most renowned label of the genre) delivered HUMAN BEYOND, making it available in CD (along with the aforementioned bonus tracks you can also find "Blasteroids" from their second EP) and double vinyl album (available in black and blue transparent vinyl) with an extra poster. The characteristic of Blastromen is to write catchy futuristic electro tunes with fast electro funk rhythms, spatial atmospheres and a bit of dark flavor (the same feeling you have when you are watching a spy story from the future). On tracks like "Computer simulator" the influences of the fathers of modern electronic music (a.k.a. Kraftwerk) are evident but there's so much more to notice that the blasting sounds, the vocoders and the intricate rhythm pattern (bass lines, leads, arpeggiators and drum sounds) aren't only special effects but are part of a special formula that make of Blastromen a great news for electro scene. It is impossible to keep your feet still while listening to "Space Trader" or "Battlenet" (you already had the chance to check this one on the second volume of the "Nu Electro" series) and with an imaginary of world wide wars of the future, scientific experiments, robotic humanity where we can uploading consciousness, enhancing capabilities, reconstructing entities and exceeding possibilities, Blastromen are there for your sci-fi parties.
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Artist: Frank (Just Frank) / Soviet Soviet
Title: Split
Format: 12"
Label: Mannequin (@)
Distributor: Mannequin Mailorder
Rated: *****
Another awesome release on Rome's Mannequin Records, this time it is a split EP that puts together French cold-wave (or brutal-wave) heroes Frank (Just Frank) and Soviet Soviet, Italy's most alienated postpunkers. FJF in a few months became a pillar of the new new-wave scene and personally i think that they are in a state of grace. The 5 tracks presented here are very close to perfection with a painstaking attention to details. Their 15 minutes side departs from the bleak and tipically cold-wave sounds of their debut album ('The Brutal Wave' on Wierd Records) towards a seamless fusion of analogue machines with an intricate guitar work. The vocal parts improved and reveal more of the emotional side of Chris and Kirti's lyrics. There are two astounding instrumentals, placed as intro and outro of their side - 'Saint' is my favourite and made me think about those simple and devastating Sisters Of Mercy's first instrumental sketches. 'Valerie' is a highlight here and the finest moments of Little Nemo come to mind. 'Do The Soviet' is dancey and steers away from the melancholic mood that usually pervades their compositions. The track is dedicated to Soviet Soviet's gig in Nice, at the beginning of this year and celebrates the friendship between the two bands. With Soviet Soviet is an entirely different affair as they deliver a personal take on the pitch-black side of post-punk and draw inspiration directly from the first Wire and Kiling Joke. In their side of the split, they take you by the hand in a modern tale of urban psychosis. Their sound can be described as howling guitars over a skull crushing-rhythm section, actually one of the best i've heard in years.'Lokomotiv' is the track that made me fall for them, an unstoppable aggression that gets everyone moshing, when played live . 'S.Y.' is a one-way trip to Death Valley 69, if you get what i mean. 'Cobretto' will suddenly make you dance and tighten your jaw. Be sure not to miss their live shows, some of the best in Europe. Limited edition of 500 copies ' Silkscreen ultra limited edition of 50.
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Artist: Magda
Title: From The Fallen Page
Format: CD
Label: Minus
Distributor: Rough Trade
Rated: *****
After many years of activism in the underground techno scene during which her musical sensitivity has been grinded by coming up beside some legendary movers of the Detroit scene such as Claude Young, Dan Bell and above all Richie Hawtin since the glorious times of Plastikman, and fathoming some possible hybrids deriving from the combination of Detroit spirit ' the city where she moved when she was 9 ' and the advanced way of shaping techno, grasped while refining her technique on turntables since 1996, the wise Polish techno-digger Magdalena Chojnacka aka Magda finally issue her first full-length album after having signed some juicy selection including number 49 of the notorious compilation issued by London's Fabric club. Since the beginning, both her deep influences from Detroit years and her bias towards minimalistic and creepy sounds, a taste maybe inherited by Claudio Simonetti's soundtracks (..and Get Down Goblin is a title that could stand almost as a tribute to the Italian band, which signed some notorious soundtracks for the Italian horror movie director Dario Argento, or alternatively to the homonymous sound of General Midi sound-bank'¦), as well as towards obscure pads, pitched misshapen sounds and scattered shots of deep bass frequencies are neat. Sonic presences abruptly appear like glares in the dark and seem gradually amalgamated by dark rhythmical sequences in a sort of dumb gluey pulp throughout tracks oscillating between tense atmospheres, which could be fitted to a level of Resident Evil or for some frightening passageways of an haunted house (!), such as Breakout, the scratchy Little Bad Habits (whose sound space seems crowded by whimpering little monsters, sinister squeaking and ramshackle piano touches) or the outstretched hypnotic dance mantra of Lost In Time (one of my favorite anthem'¦), and solid dynamic concatenations (Doom Disco, Entertainment, Distance To Nowhere) till the funny final cut, Japan, which sounds like a loony freak of both ingredients and propelled by a deep rumbling bass and some nice 80s lush melodies, adding a touch of melancholy to this catching tune! Her gurgling and funny beat and her intriguing pitch darkness is going to be spread in different clubs all over the planet during a demanding tour with March Houle. Check it out!
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Artist: Magda
Title: From The Fallen Page
Format: CD
Label: M-nus
Rated: *****
Born in Zywiec (Poland) and actually living in Berlin, Magda is a minimal house and techno DJ who grew up in Detroit. Since 2005 for her solo debut she found home at Richie Hawtin's M_nus label but she already was collaborating with them as member of the Run Stop Restore trio. FROM THE FALLEN PAGE is her debut album and it contains ten haunting tracks which are in balance from minimal techno and ambient passing from electronic experimentations and dance influences. Tracks like "Little bad habits" is a sum of her sound. It has a jazzy piano and violin atmospheric sounds plus an obsessive punk bass guitar line. Repetitions and variations are the core of Magda's music which sounds essential and rich at the same time. Synth pads and dry bass lines are making sound "Music box" almost minimal wave, a track which opens up its sound on its second part with the add of tiny tubular bells. Nightmarish atmospheres surface here and there sounding like ghost sounds giving to the album a particular atmosphere. This is dance music for the fourth dimension...
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Artist: Fractional (@)
Title: Blood
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Rated: *****
I've near heard anything before by Belgian Breakcore artist Fractional but his new album 'Blood' sure got my attention with the amphetamine charged beats and simple but melodic content of the first track. Speed isn't what Fractional is all about though; pacing, timing and strategic sonic placement surely is. Even though there is good amount of repetition within these largely instrumental tracks, there is shading and variation within the context of the form to keeps things from getting stale. And that breakcore isn't non-stop either; Fractional allows plenty of room for you to catch your breath between the frenzied pace of the percussive programming. On third track, 'Sie,' Fractional not only slows it down a bit, but also inputs critical little spaces of silence that add to the dramatic tension of the piece.

'Wo' is delightful four-on-the floor piece that would fit comfortably in any dance club, yet the big beat isn't incessant, and often broken up by synth sequences and breaks. Even though it is somewhat repetitious there are enough sonic interjections to keep it interesting. There is a lot of IDM influence on this album, as mood shifts and strange tonalities often enter the picture. One minute you seem to be floating in a netherworld, the next you're racing to somewhere at breakneck speed. Still, every shift, every break, every change of atmosphere is appropriate and doesn't seem awkward or forced. From track to track, there is an incredible amount of variety. One thing for sure is that you won't get bored listening to 'Blood'. I was surprised at every turn.

For the most part, the melodic form is simple throughout the album, but the way it is put together certainly isn't. Themes are well developed and supported; nothing gets in the way of anything else. Even sparse sections when not much was happening (like on 'Niv') added to the dramatic tension. Fractional uses a quite a few ascending minor key sequenced progressions which also tends to keep the listener on edge. Yet, it never comes across as heavy-handed or overblown. Even when the percussive pace is warp-speed like on 'Ofue,' and the melodic theme is somewhat heavy, the rest of the music manages to keep up and support it.

There isn't anything that isn't good on 'Blood,' and it should hold up to repeated plays. Fractional has done an outstanding job with this one.
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