Music Reviews

Artist: MikTek
Title: Speculations
Format: CD EP
Label: Abstrakt Reflections (@)
Rated: *****
Not completely a newcomer project, the Greek Electronica musician Mihalis A. can already refer on a digital-only release available on 33Recordings, a Greece-based Electronica/Experimental netlabel, which also brought POORDREAM in collaboration with the too early gone Spectraliquid label to our attention. Mihalis hails from Mytilene (Lesvos Island, Greece) and he has been in touch with music since his young days as being working at a radio station in the age of 16 by mixing his favorite tracks. Also several experiences as a DJ and organizer are slated in his bio. In 2002 he started producing his own sounds under several monikers and under the influence of diverse music styles. With his project MikTek he mixes experimental and deep electronic sounds to provide a Downtempo- and often Ambient-like Electronica-/IDM-sound environment. That fits relatively will with Abstrakt Reflection's ideology, but differs a bit compared to the enthusiastic celebrated APPARENT SYMMETRY ' MikTek moreover created deep drowning Synth layers, quite often with a monotonous and hypnotic impact. Mihalis uses lesser distorted drum/percussion elements, as he seemingly totally trusts in the role of his well worked out synthesized lead sounds. This works at best on 'Dreamlayer' and the collaborative effort 'A Walk In A Cloud 3.0 (with IN A MINDSET)'. MikTek understands it well to entertain the listener with his cinematic sound outfit, even if his kind is rather servicing a more chill-out-like mood. 5 well arranged tracks, the best consumed under a good pair of headphones.
Artist: SE (@)
Title: L 36
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
Second full-length album release for this talented German fellow again signed to Tympanik Audio. SE aka Sebastian Ehmke continues his path to explore the depths of an outer-space sound environment by producing a quality outfit of a modern IDM/Ambient-Electronica album, just like you would expect it from Tympanik Audio. Somehow Sebastian's music can draw relations to SUBHEIM, but he also allows a slight acoustic impact produced through some guitar loops to take place. However ' and not because I prefer to be a purist ' the only electronic sounding tracks receive my vote as being the more interesting produced ones. The opener 'Chrono' ' already discovered on the latest 'Emergency Organisms 3' compilation - is such an example, which focuses to produce foggy synthesizer moods, combined with raw and experimental-minded drum patterns. Also 'Mimikry' impresses with an outstanding synth layer arrangement and its clear structures - as this can be generally noticed, that Sebastian's sound arrangements aren't overfilled with too much different floating Synth layers. The concentration on clearance and subtle produced structures is a winning point in Sebastian's work and makes this album easily consumable also for untrained IDM-/Electronica listeners. Also 'Weit' earns a 'thumbs up' rating for its straight monotonous, but also addictive produced Industrial percussion work. Sebastian has hammered out a fine IDM/Electronica album, which fits pretty much with the expectations someone would relate with Tympanik Audio. A German music project not to underestimate asides the bigger and better known names of this label like TOTAKEKE, ESA, ACCESS TO ARASAKA or ZENTRIERT INS ANTLITZ.

Artist: Candle Nine
Title: The Muse In The Machine
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
Tympanik Audio isn't sparse, when it comes to release newcomer acts ' but to 99,9 % this is welcomed, as this debut release for CANDLE NINE proofs well. CANDLE NINE is also a nice proof, of the 'how-to-feed-the-masses-after-a-stunning-compilation-appearance' procedure, because 'Penumbra', featured on the last 'Emerging Organisms Vol. 3' compilation, was without any doubt the best participant. The music presented on this fine looking album (artwork by Mr. Justin PNEUMATIC DETACH Brink) consists mainly out of two quite different parts in the sound dimension of this Chicago-based, mysterious musician. There we have real ear-candy stuff for friends of icy-cold synth-pad programmings, as CANDLE NINE knows well and proofs to be an expert, how to produce moody Industrial ambiences through this. As for a merciless contrast, CANDLE NINE installs abrasive and brutal performed rhythm elements, which draw some relations to the works of acts like GRIDLOCK or APPARENT SYMMETRY. To unite the raw percussion work with the fragility of the matured synth-play, well, that's the biggest adventure, which CANDLE NINE solves with fortune. And this is at least the most thrilling point in this production for the listener. CANDLE NINE offers brilliant ideas, when it come to merge both of his different stylistic elements - with the usage of tempo-bending interruptions and an experienced fx-processing with reverb, delay and/or saturation effects, this tracks are becoming unique. Another good point worth to mention, is the rather straight and linear orientation of the tracks. Asides 'Penumbra', the track 'Kerrianne's Spine' would allow some movements on the dancefloors of the dark clubs worldwide. Two extra remix contributions by the renowned label colleagues of ACCESS TO ARASAKA and AUTOCLAV 1.1 do not alter the total positive impression of this album, in case of AUTOCLAV's remix on the track 'R5-D5-RB', I would like to congratulate Mr. Tony Young, for offering an upbeating and totally different sounding interpretation to the original composition. The muse may hides somewhere in the machine. Luckily Tympanik Audio was able to sign one of the most talented wizards, who's capable to release this muse out of the machine and to burn it onto this silver plastic circle - this is a top-notch album like a milestone!

Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Emerging Organisms Vol. 3
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
Tympanik Audio storms into the next year of existence, and how can this label find a better entrance, by releasing a once again valuable compilation DCD set, which allows the listener to hash one or another upcoming new talents signed to this highly prolific label? The predecessors made this compilation series that unique, because Tympanik watches and listens carefully without envy and restrictions over the own stable to discover new and fresh ideas. The intention to present a diverse and musically demanding compilation can not suffer under own declared label policies, although the roster of Tympanik grows meanwhile in a breathtaking speed. However, also 'Emerging Organisms Vol. 3' holds again participants of labels like Hymen/Ant-Zen (S:CAGE, AB OVO, MILIPEDE, or KLANGSTABIL), Ad Nauseam (Raoul Sinier), Bugscrawlingoutofpeople (FAMINE ' now newly signed to Tympanik!), Funkwelten (O.T.X.), or Brume Records (FRACTIONAL ' new album called 'Blood' is now available in collaboration between Brume and Tympanik!). Asides a respectful number of undiscovered newcomer acts like IP NEVA or SKYTREE, Tympanik's own roster mostly presents new and unreleased stuff, which even more adds appreciation for this beloved compilation set. SE ('Chrono'), ACCESS TO ARASAKA ('Kill Recorder'), TAPAGE & MEANDER, or APHORISM ('Arc Towards') offer finest stuff in their respectively style, while I would rate both tunes of the newcomer CANDLE NINE and AUTOCLAV1.1 as being the best of the best on here. While Tony Young and his AUTOCLAV1.1 project continues his path to present a linear, and nowadays non-expected catchy track with supported acoustic instruments, the Michigan-based, mysterious CANDLE NINE project impresses with detailed, but icy-cold synth layers combined with abrasive rhythm patterns. Even if this third chapter turns more and more out to be an ideal promotion tool for Tympanik's own label roster, here's still so much good stuff to discover. A must-have investment for fans of the modern IDM/Electronica music genre.

Disc One:
01 - SE: Chrono
02 - Access To Arasaka: Kill Recorder
03 - Klangstabil: Beziehungsohr (Subheim remix)
04 - Lucidstatic: Coal Cage (Access To Arasaka remix)
05 - Aphorism: Arc Towards
06 - Candle Nine: Penumbra
07 - S:cage: Seven Endings (Departure)
08 - Ab Ovo: Bees
09 - Displacer: Sun_Phase (Nightfall mix)
10 - Empusae: Hard Boiled Wonderland (Detritus remix)
11 - Loss: 071123
12 - Terminal Sound System: We Eat The Sun
13 - Opposite Exhale: Clear Green
14 - If: I Only Miss You When You're Here (remix)

Disc Two:
01 - IP Neva: Calm Before The Storm
02 - Millipede: Cell Division
03 - Liar's Rosebush: You Are Here
04 - Famine: Sig/Int
05 - Fractional: Blood
06 - Michael Fakesch: Rand VA
07 - Metaform: OCD
08 - Autoclav1.1: Let Me Sleep
09 - Raoul Sinier: Untitled 1.0
10 - Undermathic: Bodhi
11 - Keef Baker: Trion
12 - Tapage & Meander: Jelly Battleship
13 - Skytree: Stomata Spirit
14 - Poordream: Immense Present
15 - OTX: Anna
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Artist: Gregorio Bardini & Gerstein (@)
Title: Arise of a Bleeding Rose
Format: CD
Label: The Eastern Front
Rated: *****
I remember reviewing a CD called "Eurasia" by the talented Italian wind instrumentalist and ex Thelema member Gregorio Bardini a long long time ago but that was the last time I had heard of him until my colleague and fellow Chain D.L.K. founder Maurizio Pustianaz mentioned him to me again. For those who don't know it, Pustianaz has been musically active as Gerstein since the mid eighties and has been sporadically releasing new music under different labels since. After his most recent collaboration with Cold Cluster, which dates back to 2005, he's been quietly working with Bardini on something that eventually turned into "Arise of the Bleeding Rose", released by the Israeli label The Eastern Front.
It's hard to categorize or describe this. It is first and foremost an electronic music record but it is very minimal and in a way a bit retro-sounding. The electro sound is very martial (check out the opener "Von Guten Maechten" and the title-track for example) and there are defined rhythmical structures made of big slamming timpani-like drums, rolling military snare drums and fast-paced hi hats... However all of that is counteracted by long synthetic pads which might echo Vangelis, Tangerine Dream, Emerson, Jarre or Goblin... Maurizio's tense sequences and syncopated beats create an atmosphere of anxiety and a certain aura of darkness. Of course Bardini's flutes and the uniqueness of such sounds in this context deliver some kind of relaxation to the tension. His interventions add a sort of world music layer on top of the existing programming, and on pieces like "Il Male" the conjunction of all elements really create beautiful and, at times, even very asian sounding soundscapes.
After having heard the Gerstein/Cold Cluster collaboration I was aware that Gerstein was moving into a much more electronic and much more rhythmic place, but it would seem that this album marks a return to the darker vein that characterized his earlier productions. One thing that is certainly new to me I think, is that on this album Gerstein even sings in german (along with Bardini as well), which enhances the martial and teutonic aspect of it even more. I would even go as far as saying that (and maybe the german singing contributed to that) there is a certain EBM aesthetics, but it's nothing like the EBM clones you hear out there these days. That influence is more deeply rooted and much less obvious
The whole record is also interleaved with samples from english, italian and german movies.
If you think you are up for some original martial minimal-electro world music I would definitely recommend giving this a spin, after all if you have been reading Chain D.L.K. you have trusted the man's words about music for so long, why wouldn't you trust the man's music too?
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