Music Reviews



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Artist: PHILIPPE PETIT & FRIENDS
Title: silk-screened
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Trace recordings (@)
Rated: *****
As usual as soon as the cd comes out of my mailbox I've the time to give it one or two play and I don't pay any attention to the layout, to the musician/band name or to the label, I can't say I follow it as a dogma, but more or less that's my modus operandi. So what's the point?...that's only to say the cd captured my attention right from the early listenings, I've discovered just later that the main author was Philippe Petite, that in case you don't know beside being a top notch musician, is one of the masterminds of String of Consciousness and also the man behind Pandemonium and Bip Hop records. Let's start by saying this' a beautiful and top notch release and if you ask me it's ten thousands times better than Petit's release for the Wire, that doesn't mean the second is not good, but it makes me think that despite the big names involved in some of his past releases, Petit can kick ass by himself or with the help of some old friends from the french independent scene. The trait d'union of many recordings involving this french "dj/electronic composer" is a post-jazz, post-rock feel with an elegant late night mood and here you have it again and at its best. Samples, horn sections, soft guitars, trumpets, drones and similar frameworks laid behind the jazzy arrangements just to lull them on a soft bed made out of "ghost" notes. Petite mixed everything with his usual sense of proportions and took a good care of pan potting of the global atmosphere and sometimes he ended floating there in the calm sea somewhere in between chamber music, jazz and post-rock. A deep Chicagoan feel that brings in mind people like Boxhead Ensamble, Brokeback, Pink Floyd (anybody said Tarentel), Miles Davis, Ecm records and something in the likes. The filmic atmosphere is even more stronger than in many of Petit's work, this time he definitely reclaims the soundtrack status. A simple elegant nightly recording with a lot of melancholic jazzy melodies and a fistful of tears and sadness falling right after the end titles.
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Artist: BIT TUNER (@)
Title: low-speed detonation
Format: CD
Label: Trepok (@)
Rated: *****
I'm sorry it took me a while to review this work, time flies and I don't have the time I want anymore, at least I finally had the opportunity to give this cd the attention it demanded and deserved. Never heard anything about this guy before, but seeing it was on Trepok I had great expectations since the swiss label has had a hell of a good taste so far and I'm glad it didn't fail my expectations, infact it's definitely an interesting work. Squared, hard-pounding rhythms with reminiscences of break beat and hip hop, an in "your face" electronic approach and some acid sounds and melodies to make the trip more enjoyable. Bit Tuner has a good craftsmanship that helps him assembling some catchy acid electronic music with powerful beats and a production that speaks for itself, every sound is sharply shaped and compressed as much as it needs to reach the boombastic quality. A release like that could also be really close to some of the last years' artists on Mike Paradinas' label (sometimes it also reminded me of Kid Spatula). For what concerns arrangements don't think we're in front of one of those artists obsessed by hyper structures, Bit Tuner is much more absorbed in sound definition that's why the compression is always turgid like a pair of tits petrified by a wander bra. Despite it's rhythmical 4/4 post-hip hop accent this work has its melodic moments and that's good since thanks to the atmospheres he manages to make his style more enjoyable. Sometimes I would have liked to listen to somebody rapping on this or that song, I think the result could have been amazing due to the 4/4 beat perseverance. Rise your hands for the master of ceremony!!! Thumbs up!.
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Artist: Dupont
Title: Entering the Ice Age
Format: CD
Label: Progress Productions (@)
Distributor: Nova Media GmbH
Rated: *****
Third full-length album for Dupont, the Swedish duo whose members – Riccardo (vox) and Danucci (keyboards, knobs and programming) – have never concealed a feeling not so dissimilar to love for legendary bands such as Depeche Mode (they shared the vice of letting pass a remarkable time lapse between their releases – 4 years have elapsed between their debut album Ukraina and Intermezzo and other 5 years between Intermezzo and Entering The Ice Age... - record with the notorious band by Gore and Gahan!), DFA and Joy Division. The above-mentioned influences resurfaces here and there in the ten tracks introducing to the coldest age of mankind, overlapping with Dupont’s warmest creative period! It’s evident the sterling mark coming from the better ages by Depeche Mode (not the present ones in my modest opinion... ) in the introductive Run For Protection, a nice song showing Dupont’s minimalistic approach from the compositional viewpoint: a sort of sequenced march perfectly fits the melodic architecture build by a warm bassline and some "vintage" synths, an elegant warm-up before the most dance-oriented New Dawn – a real filler with his catchy melodies and vocals – and the title-track, a careful dosage of pop soapy flakes and EBM splinters co-existing in harmony! Behave speaks in a higher tone even from the stylistic viewpoint and even if we don’t understand an elephantine roar at the end of the track, we appreciated the choice of a more dramatic presence of sticking EBM nails for an order, more than just a suggestion – "Behave" indeed... standing more as an auxiliary verbs fusion... certain implicit ambiguousness seems to delight a lot of pop bands as well! -. Soulseekers will probably appreciate more melodic tracks such as Like We Never Loved (those seraphic suffocated choruses again... ), a track heavily influenced by the predictive and squared sound by New Order, or maybe the anguished Goodbye (Dupont’s wink addressed to a sound which could be unpredictably defined Teutonic seems to be ironically highlighted by the insert of the German word for "Goodbye", i.e. Aufwiedersen! ... just a detail... ) and Dope Of Love (that "Do you believe in love?...I’m losing that control... " seems standing as the most synthetic quotations of the above-mentioned influences!), another surgical artifact combining pop and bodily elements, whose mystical union seems to be celebrated even in the most robotic glossalalia of N.A.S.A., funnier and more hypnotical than Xmas led lights for all those who love 80ies-influenced bleeps. Just a little different from the previous nine tracks, Sapphire features well-crafted Dark-Wave tones and more obscure atmosphere as well as a more "choreographic" appeal! An album confirming the good quality already expressed by this Swedish band, looking from a higher floor to other monotonous EBM fellows, who often border on the ridiculous in order of looking excessively unpolished... Dupont seems to know old good manners!
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Artist: VISIONS
Title: Summoning The Void
Format: CD
Label: Cyclic Law (@)
Rated: *****
Frédéric Arbour, main man of the Cyclic Law label, is back with his own project Visions, releasing the second full length titled SUMMONING THE VOID. Coming five years after the debut "Lapse", the new album contains five new tracks where multi layered dark ambient/spatial soundscapes are able to bring a new world into your room. Evoking I dunno what kind of entities, by merging sidereal ambience, industrial sounds and heavily treated ethnic music (the chants and some sounds recall me Tibetan ritual music), Frédéric succeeded into turning sounds to matter. "Dawning", "Summoning The Void", "In The Midst Of Infinity", "Vortexed" and "Invocation" will carry you through deep abysses where your body will turn into dust. This void isn't empty...
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Artist: LISFRANK
Title: Mask Rewind
Format: 12"
Label: Anna Logue Records (@)
Rated: *****
Born on early 80s Lisfrank was an obscure solo project coming from Savona, Italy. Fulvio Guidarelli in 1982 decided to found his own label Man Mask to pursue his musical passions with the aim to issue, also, the first and only release available under the Lisfrank moniker. The MLP "Man mask" is one of the best and rarest Italian minimal electro 12" and "It’s life" and "Violence in my mind", are two of the best songs of that period that I’ve ever heard. Other two great tunes are "Man without limits" (released on the label’s rare compilation LP "First Relation") and the experimental "Ombre" (originally released on the Area Condizionata tape compilation "The voice"). MASK REWIND is a compilation which gathers, on one LP plus a 7", almost all the songs released by Fulvio. The music is based on analogue synthetic sounds with a good use of drum machine and in some cases of a real drum. The sound is rough and there’s a overall dark atmosphere that I appreciated but there’s also space for more pop oriented songs like "Stay with me" and "My toy" (included into the white vinyl 7"). LISFRANK’s lyrics are dark, hypnotic and sometimes you can feel the fear he’s evoking through the music. My favorite tracks are "It’s life", "Violence in my mind", "Out of control" and "In the surface" but I think that this release is one of the most important and interesting Italian releases: never uninspired and always varied and modern. You can find a different mix of "Identity" on the compilation album "Danza Meccanica – Italian Synth Wave 1982-1987" from the label Mannequin/in the Nighttime. You can find it here reviewed by Maurizio Pustianaz.
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