Music Reviews



cover
Artist: Geomatic (@)
Title: 64 Light Years Away
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Tympanik Audio
Rated: *****
This came as a delightful surprise out of the blue ' an instrumental electronic album with a lot of complexity, depth and punch. The band itself is a bit of a mystery. '64 Light Years Away' is their third album (the first, 'Control Agents' was released in 2001), they're from Amsterdam, but I haven't a clue who the musicians are. It is strictly a group identity, and neither their MySpace site, band website, one-sheet or record label offer up any individual names. Geomatic doesn't even reveal their email address!

'64 Light Years Away' is heady stuff that will carry you worlds away; a real soundtrack for the mind. It makes me think of the best of old-style Delerium, Steve Roach and Michael Stearns, but several steps beyond. In no way does this sound the least bit New Agey. There are plenty of dark ambiences, post-industrial tribal rhythms, and deep dark delicious dubby delights, often spiced by Middle Eastern melodies and the wail of the muezzin in minarets. Even within the complexity of the music (and there is a good deal of complexity), there is a spatiality in the music that approaches the cosmic. Extremely well done with a variety of sounds and sonic motifs. Haunting, eclectic and mystical would be appropriate adjectives. The album stands up to repeated plays and still you will find more layers to unravel. If ever an album deserved to be called AWESOME, '64 Light Years Away' would fit that description. It's a heavy trip that is bound to grab your psyche, blow your mind and take you to realms you've never been before. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
cover
Artist: White Shadow (@)
Title: The Wastelands
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
White Shadow is a band from Baltimore MD that began in 2006 and 'The Wastelands' is their third album. The music is pretty much straight-ahead Goth-Industrial rock with metal and punk flavoring. The band (on this album) consists of DX Nero (vocals, programming); Sinnocent (vocals, live percussion); Crawford (bass); Nytro (guitar) and Wahkeen (keyboards). You may notice there is no drummer credited. That's because they don't have one, at least a human one. Sort of a Sisters of Mercy 'Dr. Avalanche' kind of thing.

The album opens with a brief, dark ambient instrumental mood-setter with robotic vocoder welcoming you to 'The Wastelands', then charges ahead fast and furious with 'The Tide Within'. This rabble-rouser could easily fit on a various artists Goth-Industrial compilation and although it might be the best song on this album, it probably wouldn't be the best song on the compilation. DX's vocals are appropriately punky for this old-school barn-burner. Sinnocent takes the lead for the next track ('Treason') and her vocals remind me a bit of The Azoic's Kristy Venrick. The lyrics are part sung, part spoken. The sung parts reminds of the old adage ' 'Wednesday's child is full of woe,' while the spoken parts are woefully understated with a lack of force and conviction. You really need some hyper manic energy and attitude (verging on screaming) ala Tairrie B (My Ruin) to pull this kind of thing off. It would have been an interesting contrast that might have lifted the song out of the mundane. The musical power is there, but vocal oomph is lacking.

'Burn Baby' hands the lead vocals back to DX while Sinnocent takes a supporting role. Pretty standard Goth-Industrial stuff with some nice chime accents. In 'Crashing Down' DX and Sinnocent share vocal duties and it has a bit of a Sisters of Mercy feel, very old school Goth. What I notice myself liking more than most anything else are some of the sampled industrial loops and keyboard bits that add a little atmosphere. More shared vocals between DX and Sinnocent follow on most of the next tracks, but the songwriting is beginning to grow stale like a loaf of five-day old bread.

'Cutthroat' features a dynamic Nytro guitar riff but the vocals don't do it justice as they are more spoken than sung. Not enough power here. The rest of the songs don't get any better. The song, 'A Sea of Mistakes' is aptly named, and might have more suited to the album title. The final track ' 'The Things I've Forgotten,' a moody instrumental, I actually liked.

I think White Shadow needs to step up their game to get beyond the local level if 'The Wastelands' is any indication. The vocals are a problem; they're kind of boring after a couple of songs and don't make this band stand out. The drum programming isn't bad, but a good human drummer might add some energy. I don't know about the band name though. Makes me think of Ken Howard and a black high school basketball team.
image not
available
anymore
Artist: Robot Koch
Title: Songs For Trees And Cyborgs
Format: CD
Label: Project:Mooncircle
This is a really busy year for Robot Koch which after the Jahcoozi album and his E.P. is now delivering his second solo album titled SONGS FOR TREES AND CYBORGS. The title already explain a little what you'll find on this CD/2LP release that will be out the first of October: if Jacoozi's "Barefoot wanderer" was indicating the will to find a way of getting in touch again with mother nature, on this album the trees of the title are meaning the same, so, here you'll find some of Jacoozi's atmospheres mixed with hip hop, grime, jazz and world atmospheres. It's like that the cyborgs of the title are willing to get in touch with mother earth really... For this adventure, Robot shared the mixer with Boxcutter on "Cloud City", Doshy on "Powerstrip 66", Protable Morla on "Verbal Bruises", Graciela Maria on "Brujeria", 1000 Names on "Haunted Landscapes" and RQM on "Summer Snow". If you love lushy atmospheres with a rich sound palette (samples, jazzy and hip hop vocals, tons of world/grime/dub rhythms) here you'll find your cup of tea, otherwise, check the excerpts first because this one doesn't sound like his first album...
cover
Artist: Echo Us
Title: Tomorrow Will Tell The Story
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Absolute Probability Records
TOMORROW WILL TELL THE STORY is the third album of Ethan Matthews's creature called Echo Us. Ideally it continues the story started with their previous album "The Tide Decides" released the last year by Musea Records. For this release, Ethan is helped out by a number of guest musicians: the Grammy nominated vocalist Henta, the harpist Raelyn Olson, Rawn Clark (who performed a Kabbalistic 'canticle') and harmonium player Daniel Panasenko. TOMORROW WILL TELL THE STORY musically is a mix of progressive music, new wave and ambient where luscious atmospheres are enriched by chants, guitar solos and passionate vocal performances. Sometimes it recalled me a sort of mix of Peter Gabriel meets Rain Tree Crow (do you remember the reunion Japan did under that moniker?) with contributes of Adrian Belew's guitar. For my tastes there is too much use of world/fairy atmospheres but the whole album has a great sound and if you love dreamy/dramatic atmospheres performed with the heart in the hands, for sure you can check this out. At the moment is out as digital download but soon it will available as CD.
cover
Artist: John Zorn
Title: In Search of the Miraculous
Format: CD
Label: Tzadik
Distributor: Tzadik, Amazon, iTunes
Rated: *****
First off, I'm going to avoid the good/bad or thumbs up/down review format here. After spinning even the first few minutes of this disc, I immediately sense the departed sound that Zorn is working towards. This is not Naked City or yet another sax freakout. But by way of hypnotic rhythms, dramatic and sublime harmonies and lovely jazz textures, Zorn pulls a beautiful white dove out of a hat here. Or maybe it's a blue flamingo.

'In Search of the Miraculous' falls somewhere inside the realm of jazz and minimalist contemporary classical music. Performed by the Alhambra Trio with special guests Kenny Wolleen on vibes and Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz on bass, Zorn takes credit for composing, arranging, and conducting. The tunes are memorable and nigh catchy at times, not unlike a Vince Guaraldi tune, but with Reich inspired rhythms (!). Hymn for a New Millenium sounds optimistic and the melodies in Postlude: Prayers and Enchantment are almost hummable. Zorn, hummable? Why not?

One thing is for certain about Zorn and I think this is relevant to understanding this release. Zorn is an artist who can't be easily pegged because (as it would seem) even he doesn't know what his next few moves will be. Its like he wants to undermine even himself. So, to bring your Zorn-brand luggage to this musical occasion may not actually be beneficial as approaching it without any expectations.

And with such unpredictability, even Zorn's biggest fans have albums they deplore. While this may seem like an artistic shortcoming to some folks, i see this as a sign of artistic awareness - perhaps moreso on the part of the composer than with the listeners. After so many years on the downtown music circuit, he's done it all. So it's great to see an artist who continues to break his own mold time and again. That said, this is one album to just throw on, kick back and enjoy the musicianship.

I hear it often that Zorn is becoming more listener friendly, perhaps appealing to a larger crowd, albeit unintentionally. I can imagine folks - the diehard Zorn heads - are not going to find this one up their alley. Especially considering that at the end of the day and away from the program notes here, the music on 'In Search of the Miraculous' is far from mysterious as the label tagline states. But that said, it's as bright and promising as the horizon Zorn is dawning for new music as a whole. Recommended to the more daring and openminded Zorn listeners out there as well as any newcomers who are interested in joining the party.
[ Next ] [ Previous ]

[1...10] [11...20] [21...30] [31...40] [41...50] [51...60] [61...70] [71...80] [81...90] [91...100] [101...110] [111...120] [121...130] [131...140] [141...150] [151...160] [161...170] [171...180] [181...190] [191...200] [201...210] [211...220] [221...230] [231...240] [241...250] [251...260] [261...270] [271...280] [281...290] [291...300] [301...310] [311...320] [321...330] [331...340] [341...350] [351...360] [361...370] [371...380] [381...390] [391...400] [401...410] [411...420] [421...430] [431...440] [441...450] [451...460] [461...470] [471...480] [481...490] [491...500] [501...510] [511...520] [521...530] [531...540] [541...550] [551...560] [561...570] [571...580] [581...590] [591...600] [601...610] [611...620] [621...630] [631...640] [641...650] [651...660] [661...670] [671...680] [681...690] [691...700] [701...710] [711...720] [721...730] [731...740] [741...750] [751...760] [761...770] [771...780] [781...790] [791...800] [801...810] [811...820] [821...830] [831...840] [841...850] [851...860] [861...870] [871...880] [881...890] [891...900] [901...910] [911...920] [921...930] [931...940] [941...950] [951...960] [961...970] [971...980] [981...990] [991...1000] [1001] [1002] [1003] [1004] [1005] [1006] [1007] [1008] [1009] [1010] [1011...1020] [1021...1030] [1031...1040] [1041...1050] [1051...1060] [1061...1070] [1071...1080] [1081...1090] [1091...1100] [1101...1110] [1111...1120] [1121...1130] [1131...1140] [1141...1150] [1151...1160] [1161...1170] [1171...1180] [1181...1190] [1191...1200] [1201...1210] [1211...1220] [1221...1230] [1231...1240] [1241...1250] [1251...1260] [1261...1270] [1271...1280] [1281...1290] [1291...1300] [1301...1310] [1311...1320] [1321...1330] [1331...1340] [1341...1350] [1351...1360] [1361...1370] [1371...1380] [1381...1390] [1391...1400] [1401...1410] [1411...1420] [1421...1430] [1431...1440] [1441...1450] [1451...1460] [1461...1470] [1471...1480] [1481...1490] [1491...1500] [1501...1510] [1511...1520] [1521...1530] [1531...1540] [1541...1550] [1551...1560] [1561...1570] [1571...1580] [1581...1590] [1591...1600] [1601...1610] [1611...1620] [1621...1630] [1631...1640] [1641...1650] [1651...1660] [1661...1670] [1671...1680] [1681...1690] [1691...1700] [1701...1710] [1711...1720] [1721...1730] [1731...1740] [1741...1750] [1751...1760] [1761...1770] [1771...1780] [1781...1790] [1791...1800] [1801...1810] [1811...1820] [1821...1830] [1831...1840] [1841...1850] [1851...1860] [1861...1870] [1871...1880] [1881...1890] [1891...1900] [1901...1910] [1911...1920] [1921...1930] [1931...1940] [1941...1950] [1951...1960] [1961...1970] [1971...1980] [1981...1990] [1991...2000] [2001...2010] [2011...2020] [2021...2030] [2031...2040] [2041...2050] [2051...2060] [2061...2070] [2071...2080] [2081...2090] [2091...2100] [2101...2110]


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

Chain D.L.K. design by Marc Urselli
Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha