Music Reviews

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Artist: Woodland Choir
Title: Serenity rise
Format: CD
Label: Epidemie (@)
Rated: *****
Hailing from Hungary, Woodland Choir, a.k.a. Attila Bakos, the mind and the arm behind the project, is not on the usual side of art. It's more common to see art-works springing from tormented souls, states of sorrow, anger, frustration, basically negative feelings stimulating creativity. The main concept behind Woodland Choir refers to love for life, serenity, hope. Something pretty unusual mirrored by those 9 songs based on peaceful and melodic acoustic guitar arpeggios. Vocals are added, sometimes choirs, occasional flute and synth, creating a calm atmosphere where's there's no place for melancholy. It's rather the soundtrack for a contemplative sunny morning in the countryside in the middle of nowhere. This is fully that acoustic/folk the label is writing about. The aim is achieved though the vocal parts sometimes rate not the best ones. As far as my knowledge of hungarian folk goes there's no trace of it if it's a question that comes to your mind
Oct 15 2010
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Advanced Funk Vol.1
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Binalog Productions (@)
Rated: *****
ADVANCED FUNK VOL.1 is the first vinyl release of Binalog Productions and it contains twelve tracks/international artists on the double vinyl edition and seventeen into its digital edition. Electro funk born in the 80s as genre, taking inspiration from the robotic electronic music of Kraftwerk and mixed it with hip-hop and dance. The first bands to be filed under this genre were Africa Bambaata, Cybotron and Newcleus (to name few). During the years the genre mutated (nowadays some acts sound darker paragoned to the electro funk originators) but some characteristics such as the syncopated rhythms, the use of vocoder and the analog synth sounds remain a must. ADVANCED FUNK VOL.1 gathers many new producers as well as people who have been involved into the scene since the 80s but never released tracks (Dj Mirage and DJ Xed are two of them) and others that released something during that decade (LekroiD). Coming from Spain, Eleztrik Body, open the compilation with "Future lo-fi", a classic dark sounding bouncing track. R21 from England (I already reviewed their new E.P.), with "Minimum", is a bit less dark but keep high the level of adrenalin with fast bass lines, filtered vocal samples and atmospheric laser like sounds. Hitachi II from Czech Republic, with "Tokio city", show his love for manga comics mixing happy melodic lines with hard beats and atmospheric long synth pads. Darxid is next with "Eternity", a track which mix electro and a bit of breakbeat. Dj Xed, helped by Dj K1, is here with a classic electro funk tune based on bass synth lines, freaky synth sounds and mysterious vocals. Morphogenetic from U.S.A. (headed by Santino Fernandez, one of the two people behind Fundamental Bass Intelligence) present "The secret war", a track based on dark melodies, stops and go and spacey sounds. Dj Mirage is in the house with "ElectroMech", a massive tune that sounds really powerful, robotic and epic. Paul Blackford's first release was on Dmx Krew's Breakin' Records and he's here with "Bacteria", an anxious mix of analog electro and Detroit techno. Alavux is Goran Alavuk from Serbia and "Natasha's funk" is a mix of acid, electro and techno which grows little by little adding melodies and rhythms step by step. Prototype from Germany allowed Binalog Freq to remix "Stimme der energie", which now sounds like a fresh mix of electro and techno. LekroiD, inspired by Kraftwerk, bring in "Parametric shift", a vocoder driven cool tune with catchy melodies (if you love Mandroid check this one). UKV are a duo from Croatia and "Mizar" is their track which mixes ambient techno intuitions with electro funk rhythms. From Poland, Robodrum is the first act to be only on the digital edition of AF1 with their "Army of droids", a robotic doped track with hypnotic sounds and powerful drum beats. Dwellz Rawkz is coming from Miami and it could be perfect for his city label Transient Force, thanks to electro distorted sounds and techno influences. The Boyz From Tronn with "The rock", bring some old school sounds into the compilation and if I were you, I'd check also their first album "Galaxy"! From Netherlands (just like The Boyz From Tronn), Ctrl.Alt.Del, with "Nightvision (GPS updated)", are here with an experimental robotic sci-fi tune which sounds like Dopplereffekt on drugs. George Tsakiris feat. Binalog close the compilation with "Afro spacecraft" an upbeat cool tune full of bouncing bass lines, spacey leads and crazy rhythmic lines. The compilation is officially out today and if you want to check it, Evangelos is giving away for free a megamix reworked by Spotta. Check it, now! P.s. For the digital edition, here's the link
Artist: Sutekh (@)
Title: On Bach
Format: CD
Label: Creaked
Rated: *****
Seth Horvitz aka Sutekh (the Egyptian version of his real and enviable name!) is not a newcomer in musical operations concerning the restyling of classical music: he never neglected his passion for classical music and in 2005 he issued on his own label, Context Free Media, a 12' including one bizarre rhapsody inspired by Paganini. His obsession for classical composers slightly restrained for his love for sequencers, computers and other stuff belonging to industrial age (!) should have been noticed by the art directors of the historic Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, who invited him to perform for Bach To The Moon, an event dedicated to the 'original father of harmony' ' those ones were the words Beethoven used to describe the genial German composer J.S.Bach -, being the only electronic musician alongside a plenty of classical ones to join this sort of conclave and the industrious Sutekh astonishingly used some shibboleths belonging to his musical territories by acting almost as an eraser of conventional music standards in order to use Bach's intuitions and tunes for the hard-working fertilization of his creative fields! Well'¦many organ or piano students could consider such an operation a kind of personal revenge against fearful exercises on Bach's scales, responsible ' I'm not joking!!! - for many tendinitis, wrist dislocation or phalanx cramps, but the electronic surgery by Sutekh is definitively a brilliant opus even if it could sound like a daredevil outrage to certain puritanism still surviving in music schools.

It's not correct to speak about remixes or cover versions of Bach scores, as they act more as seeds feeding its logical and creative process, so that you can hear to excellent samples of manipulated MIDI data of Bach's chorales ' it borders on most demented Kid 606 tunes on tracks such as The Lips Of The Foolish Way ' or funny grafts of Bach's arpeggio on quirky mechanical monsters (in tracks such as The Glorious Day Has Downed ' you'll wonder how Toccata and Fugue in D Minor descending scales' samples could sound so aciiiiiiid -or Repulsion By Slit And Roundabout, Sutekh highlighted the obsessive aspect of Bach's music you could easily recognize even in some of the most famous scores by the German composer, insisting sometimes in a spasmodic way on the same note'¦) or freaky sound setting (have a listen to the way the Fugue for Organ in C Minor - or maybe it's the Passion Chorale'¦?!?!? - seems to resurface from the muddy depths of pond, full of sometimes dreadful sound life'¦).

In the intricate web of noisy balls where you can sometimes uneasily listen to Bach's traces, I appreciated the presence of a sort of tribute to one of the most bizarre Bach's interpreter of almost contemporary ages, Glenn Gould, and you'll enjoy the presence of some bubbling vocal samples by this crazy performer in All Men Must Die, the track tribute to this eccentric character! Sutekh's cannot end but with what seems an immersive remake of Come Sweet Death (Komm susser Tod BWV478), entitled The Last Hour, where a single organ chord grows in volume, intensity and is gradually enriched of different tones till it towers above the sound space by skimming over the initial crystalline and obsessive set of church bells. Evocative and sometimes sublime opus!
Oct 13 2010
Artist: Downrocks
Title: Mecanismos
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Beat Hazard (@)
Rated: *****
Camilo Sampayo is not a newcomer. Moving from Argentina to Spain in 1982, he participated to the first "Electro domesticos" compilation back in 1998 (under his Kapi moniker with the song "Psicofastofoide") as well to the second chapter of that compilation which has been compiled and released by Alek Stark few months ago. This time he participated with "Sounds Of The Streets" as Downrocks. He has also a past as hip hop and graffiti artist during the 80s but I'll focus on Downrocks for this review. With this project he already released two E.P.s ("Geometria" and "Beathazard") for his own label Beathazard Recordings in 2006 and 2008 and he just released as download only a new E.P. titled MECANISMOS. This new release contains six new songs which have many highs: great choice of electronic sounds which sound powerful and balanced, syncopated rhythms and catchy melodies, cool vocoder vocals and good mix of spacey sounds and synth bass lines/leads. Since the opening song "Pretoria" the listener is trapped within hypnotic arpeggios and catchy tunes while the electro funk structure of the song is making you dance. Also "Fastofoides" follows the same path and presents vocoder vocals, warm pads and those characteristics brass break sounds. "Pop and locking (Freestyle Mix)" is nice example of r'n'b mixed with electro funk with the soul vocals of Renko. "Mech city" sounds a bit more robotic with synth fast "scratches" and stops and go. "Micro stones" is dark, mechanic and sounds like Godzilla playing classic electro (really cool the slowed down vocoder vocals). This great E.P. closes with "E.M. waves", a mix of classic electro funk and dark electro with 4/4 hard beats. You have to check this one and you can do it fully here Listen to it and purchase it supporting Downrocks!
Title: insect tracks
Format: CD + DVD
Label: Wallace (@)
Rated: *****
I'm sure many of you non Italian readers don't know that much about Bachi da Pietra for the simple fact except for the music they sing, think, breath in Italian or at the least the way Italian should be, but I'll explain it later, said that they've been featured with a track in the soundtrack of the tv series "Son Of Anarchy" with Henry Rollins therefore power to them!. This project involved mainly the band, a sound engineer Francesco Donadello and a video maker Luigi Conte. For what concern the live vinyl and the audio exhibit of the project it's recorded in analog in a theater and sounds damn good, if you don't know the band, despite the live sound profile the characteristic skeletal-acoustic blues, post-eighties noise rock, theatrical reading mixture comes out vividly. If you need names to get a picture of if you put together Rowland S. Howard, Nick Cave, Massimo Volume, Thalia Zadek's Come and why not a little bit of Jeffrey Lee Pierce, some depression and the game is done. As I've said the live vinyl is great but I still think the most interesting part of the project is the live video since it freezes in time the whole atmosphere and the basic idea of the concept. The confidential feel of the live performance, the "back to analog" profile of the recording and the "making of" that lays behind this double format release come out more clearly than a thousand review could illustrate. The fourth album of the band is about to be released and we're talking about one of the most well known duos of the italian undergound scene featuring former ex singer of Madrigali Magri and Bruno Dorella who's the man behind Bar La Muerte and current member of Ovo and Ronin.

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