Music Reviews



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Artist: VON THRONSTAHL
Title: Conscriptum
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Cold Spring Records (@)
Rated: *****
Is reissue time for Von Thronsthal. Cold Spring the last year reissued "E Pluribus Unum" and "Imperium Internum", Trutzburg Thule has just printed a 2 CD deluxe edition of "Return Your Revolt Into Style" and Eternal Pride "Bellum, Sacrum Bellum!?". Into this flow of releases, Cold Spring issues CONSCRIPTUM, a double CD of hard to find, remixed, collaboration and unreleased tracks which didn't match the concept of any album. With a total of twenty eight tracks, the casual listener could have a good idea of the different sounds the band covered during these years as well as the fan could have into his hands a bunch of unreleased tracks and unfinished ones which could satisfy the curiosity of who would like to hear what a work in progress sounds like or a track that has been thrown away was. We could find martial classical tunes with powerful upfront choirs, neo-folk tunes with punk/electro influences (like the new "Deutsche passion", born from a collaboration with Spreu & Weizen), different versions of classic tunes (like the opening "Reisswolf", "Junges Europa" and "Domovino"), punk industrial folk songs that sounds like Dead Kennedy's "California uber alles" ("Zerstört Und Auferstanden"), collaborations ("Nem Nem Soha" is a dark martial industrial track born from a collaboration with Sturmast) and new tracks like "Patientin, 25 Jahre", "Götterdämmerung In Ruinen" or "Flut, Trance, Traum" which fortunately didn't get lost (I liked their dramatic touch where choirs, industrial percussions and melody blend). There's also a nice fast version of Death In June's "Runes & Men" (a sort of country folk song with guitars, flutes and tambourines), one of the Skid's "The Saints Are Coming" (an upbeat industrial goth version) and of Leonard Cohen's version of "The blind partisan". "Mars Macht Mobil III" sounds like a bit unfinished (it has an hip hop distorted rhythm with a synth line and different vocal lines) but you have 140 minutes of music to enjoy!
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Artist: Andreas Gross (@)
Title: Stone Thrower
Format: CD EP
Label: Echozone (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece
Rated: *****
Since the very first notes of the new EP by Anders Gross and his ensemble ' both the masked and the unmasked! -, you'll maybe perceive a nostalgic and dreamy atmosphere: the sparkling sound pearls surrounding the ghostly and childish voice by Tabitha Anders, which looks like a crossbreed between the most depressed tones by Meriel Barham (the voice of the English alternative band Lush, launched by the glorious 4AD) and the entranced and tenuous ones by Slowdive's Rachel Goswell and the melodic steadiness of Anders' musical whirls in the introduction of this good example of 'oneiric shoegazing', giving the name to the whole EP. The preface of the following track, 1847, maybe is what could be considered closer to the unconvincing and partially improper classification of gothic trip-hop, used by someone to describe Anders Gross' music, even if the light distortion on the bass, reminding to me some treatments on the basslines Massive Attack used to spread, is soon replaced by a cradling folk-tinged movement. The only track with no voice, At The Edge, seems to be nothing but a puzzle of some sounds which deeply marked 80s ' I even recognized a reference to U2's With Or Without You'¦ -, but it's really well crafted! Tabitha's soft and feeble tone of voice stands out again in the hesitating False Prophets, a track whose programming is not exactly that kind of food sating the hardest-to-please listeners and even the techno-trance remix of this track by Phantoms of Paradise is nothing special, even if I've found quite funny to hear Tabitha's voice under disguise turning into a robotic creature, while I definitively don't understand the Avoid-a-void remix of Stone Thrower, maybe because the original track is good enough to be treated. The final track, Relief, could let you think someone has seated on the remote controller of your hi-fi system or you could even argue your neighbor is joking with you after buying a powerful universal remote controller'¦no prankster or heedless sitters indeed! Just a sweet pop ballad written by Tabitha, you'll appreciate anyway! There're maybe some slight flaws in this EP, but I couldn't say that I've not been positively impressed by the well balanced sound exhibited by Anders Gross on this occasion. Measured rhythms, lovely melodies, peaceful sound, intimate lyrics'¦ I feel that nemesis should sound out of place!
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Artist: Tetsuya Hori
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Naivsuper
Distributor: Naivsuper
Rated: *****
Formerly of Japan, Berlin's Tetsuya Hori catches my ears and eyes because of his use of everyday objects from which to generate music. This 3 track release features source material derived from beer bottles, water, and flute, respectively. As Tetsuya demonstrates across the album, each one contains a new world of sonic possibility going beyond the source's mere existence. It's quite easy to forget what you are actually hearing, as I found myself losing focus on the origins of the material often. That's great.
According to his liner notes, his approach to composition is with 'no concept'. I imagine he's emphasizing sound just for the sake of developing sound, which intimates a sense of well considered development and exploration across each work. Piece 1, for beer bottle and laptop features slowly morphing forms of metallic and wind-like tones, as well as glass-like emergences of pitch and timbre. Piece 2 for glass of water and laptop features plopping, bubbling, and emerging sounds of water in a wide stereo space, almost like you are actually inside of the glass of water. The highs are high, and the lows are felt in your core. The piece later lands on an underwater sound stage with an orchestra of aquatic life. I enjoyed this one most, as it was a new soundworld to my ears.
And piece 3 is for flute and laptop, played by flutist Ryoko Sakurai. Following a minimal soundworld, we are thrown back to planet earth with vocalisms reminiscent of Takemitsu's Vocalism AI. This piece is also the most effects-heavy, with endless reverbs and heavily digitized blankets of sound being pulled across your ears.

In all, Hori's use of space through is intriguing, taking care to illuminate tones in the distance as well as in the forefront at most every moment. Through the album, there is a clear sense of spontaneity and improvisation which will keep this a fresh listen into the future.

It should be noted that since this release he has also produced an album with Soon Kim called Non-transposed sense. If it's anything like his self titled album on Naivsuper, its surely a release to be consumed as well.
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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.
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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.

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