Music Reviews



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Artist: Place4Tears (@)
Title: The Silent Flame
Format: CD
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
The new album coming from the German band Place4Tears (formerly known as Blurred Lipstick) is not exactly a new one, as Tyvers Oben '“ the singer and composer which could be considered the mayor of this imaginative place collecting tears like an artificial lake could make with raindrops and turning them into whispering dark oblique music... - previously issued it as a self-made album three years ago. Afterwards, they gained an agreement with Echozone and they decided to re-issue it with just a little difference, the absence of the only German-speaking track, Tödliche freiheit, and presumably an improved master. From a strictly stylistic viewpoint, it's clear they try to avoid any cliché, even if they seems intimately related to the most ethereal and dark-tinged side of 80s wave music (we could mention notorious names such as those of Cocteau Twins '“ above all the first darkest ones '“ and the entrancing effected guitars of the main craftsman of their sound, the highly inventive and emotional Robin Guthrie, as well as the very first steps of Dead Can Dance and any conglomeration between these two bands... you could imagine a sort of transposition of Faith & The Muse into something which could alternatively be turned into Faith & The Speller or Faith & The Satyr!) and '“yes!- it seems there are some slices of figurative theatre encrypted in some tracks such as the distorted beauty and the deep sadness of princess Valium, where the plucky guitars seems to say good bye to a depressed girl, treated with tranquilizers and anti-depressive pills (a Lynch-ian mood seems to pervade the musical space after a female voice ensigns last salutations: "you went away/you left this life/you chose the pills/out of pain... .you went away/from darken sky/I will miss you/and say good bye") as well as some narrative links to an imaginary journey into sea's depths as well as some "natural" and symbolic descriptions perfectly fitted to the anguished and melancholic mood soaking the whole album '“ in particular tracks such as the hypnotic Septembers breath , the nostalgic Keep Me Back and the leading astray Lovesick). Drum rhythms will gradually hypnotize you as well as the entrancing female voices by Sabine and Julia through a wooden (but intimately desolate) place where dreamy states and obscure moods intertwines and all these elements substantially clearify what's standing under the wordy way someone used to describe their style, i.e.Cold Heavenly Goth...

By the way, you could definitively argue Place4Tears' sound could be even more entrancing and psychedelic after you'll listen to the "remixes" proposed at the end of this record: the gentle touch added by Sean Bowley, the singer of the cult-band Eden, in the catching interpretation of Tears Of Avalon as well the suffocating slow-mo sad core in the re-interpretation of Septembers Breath by Ashley Dayour '“ the singer of Whispers in The Shadow '“ could be considered as possible paths this interesting goth-wave band should walk to innovate their style. They introduce their music saying its' based on (and recorded for) life, love, fear, death and loneliness (... existential themes whose gothic followers' minds are crowded with... )... The listener could sentence about this magniloquent declaration of intent indeed!
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Artist: AGENT SIDE GRINDER
Title: Irish Recording Tape / The Transatlantic Tape Project
Format: 12"
Label: Enfant Terrible (@)
Rated: *****
IRISH RECORDING TAPE is the first of the two Agent Side Grinder albums that Enfant Terrible will release the next month. How come that they prepared stuff to fit two albums? The fact is that one of the members of the band had to left for a year and half (he went to the U.S.) and their studio engineer substituted him, becoming one permanent member then. They did different live gigs and had a bass player joining them. With this new line-up they recorded eight new tracks which sound more melodic respect the ones of their first album but without losing that distinctive hypnotic approach they already had. Agent Side Grinder mixed post punk bass lines with early industrial electronic attitude and 80's synth electronic melodies (check the catchy "Life in advance"). IRISH RECORDING TAPE sounds like Joy Division meet Cabaret Voltaire at a late 70's Human League concert. THE TRANSATLANTIC TAPE PROJECT is the third album by Agent Side Grinder and as I told, it will be released along with IRISH RECORDING TAPE. It contains tracks recorded by mail by the band member that was in the U.S. and the rest of the band in Sweden. It contains seven tracks which sound a bit more experimental respect the ones you find on IRISH RECORDING TAPE. They are based on repetitions of synth patterns with vocals and drums. Sounding now obsessive and then atmospheric (like on "586-713") these tracks are perfect as soundtrack (check the effect of the spoken word along with the synth bleep extravaganza on "005-200"). A thing that I have appreciated on THE TRANSATLANTIC TAPE PROJECT is how the band used melody: it's always present, sometimes is dissonant and sometimes it sustains a creepy moment made of synth hisses and guitar percussive sounds ("008-199"). These two album are really different but are both good and show really well how Agent Side Grinder have been able to "grow" since the release of their debut album.
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Artist: THE MODERATOR
Title: Möbius Strip
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: EevoNext Recordings
Rated: *****
Almelo (NL) based producer Klaas-Jan Jongsma a.k.a. The Moderator worked the last year at the tracks of his first full length which now is finally released on digital download format by Eevo Next Recordings. Basing his sound on Detroit influences, minimal techno intuitions and atmospheric patterns, Klaas-Jan on the MOBIUS STRIP delivers twelve hypnotic tunes that are in balance from electro to techno. Focusing his sound on basslines, arpeggiated leads and dreamy synth lines The Moderator is creating a particular sound where melody is an option because it's there but it isn't the main element. This way of dealing with atmosphere and melody sometimes make me lose my attention because I find myself dizzy and almost hypnotized but I think that this was the effect that Klaas-Jan was looking for...
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Artist: POINT B
Title: Suicide Beauty Spot
Format: CD
Label: Combat Recordings
Rated: *****
Active from different years now Merseyside born Richard Bultitude (now living in London) is delivering his latest Point B album SUICIDE BEAUTY POINT on London based label Combat Recordings. The fourteen tracks of the album create a good mix of ambient dub and grime/dubstep music. The ambient layers create a dreamy like atmosphere while the rhythm section delivers tons of syncopated bass frequencies. Focusing the sound on minimal sounds as well as on powerful bass lines, Point B, creates a rich mixture of sounds that balance ambience and energy needs. Also melody follows a minimal approach and between the intricate rhythm section you'll find tiny melodic sounds that will catch your attention. Check, to name few, "Minerals" or the cinematic "Alien language" and let yourself be hypnotized by a new sonic world.
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Artist: ATTRITION (@)
Title: Keepsakes And Reflections
Format: CD
Label: Two Gods
Distributor: Voice Print
Rated: *****
Originally released in 2001 by Invisible Records, KEEPSAKES AND REFLECTIONS collects rare singles and compilation tracks coming from the 90's period of Attrition. Including covers of John Foxx's "Underpass", The Dead Kennedy's "Kill the poor" (boy, this does sound different!), Ministry's "Cannibal song" and Black Tape For A Blue Girl's "Memory, uncaring friend" this release is showing at its best the electronic dark period of the band. Upbeat tempos, male/female duets and intriguing melodies are joined by dark introspective tunes (see "Metamorphosis", the following "High tide" or "L'echange") showing the different sides of the band which has been able to update its sound always finding a way to be coherent. This new remastered edition contains two extra tracks "Nine tails, to follow you round" (a dark thrilling intermezzo with piano and samples) and "The cage - refrain" (an upbeat orchestral re-visitation of the tune). Good release not only for collectors.
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