Music Reviews



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Artist: SPLINTERSKIN (@)
Title: Wayward Souls
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring Records (@)
Rated: *****
Recorded in Oregon, Ohio, from Autumn 2006 to Autumn 2008 Splinterskin's debut album WAYWARD SOULS bring to the attention of dark folk music lovers a new storyteller. The mysterious solo project of Saint John with the seventeen songs of the album is able to create a personal world made of creeping tales whispered into your ears with the aid of a classic guitar and a violin here and there (like on the opening tune "Chanting bells call shadows" or on "The thing that wasn't). What pop out immediately when you hold in your hands the CD is the beautiful booklet which with its great paintings/graphics it's making of Splinterskin a sort of multimedia project headed by a bearded giant with eyes on fire. If you are keen to modern dark folk music prepare yourself to something different from the Odin tales or the medieval influences, because WAYWARD SOULS sounds like a Poe tale sung by a leper. "Calmly, it said to me, through the darkened hallway in my home. I heard a rhythm of tapping, or maybe a scraping in my walls. A crackling of a throat perhaps, from my closet behind my hats, could it be? Birds bending a branch, my cat in the attic, or maybe the leaves. But my mind starts to... shiver, like my bones in the winter" (from "Something in the walls").
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Vermin Street Dub Series: Issue 5
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Vermin Street (@)
Rated: *****
Influenced by the old school Ragga-Jungle sound of the mid-nineties, Vinyl Blight opens the double A side digital download single of Vermin Street's Dub Series Issue 5 with "Falling empires", a mid tempo track with a leading fat bass line which like a snake makes its way through drum blasts, distorted synths, dub vocals and break intuitions. On the other virtual side you'll find Tremourz with "Take it personal", a dub mid tempo distorted tune with exotic melodies and late 90's dark D'n'B influences. Both tracks have a certain mysterious dark touch that will please also lovers of old Scorn sound. As the other releases this one is available through Addictech, Digital-tunes.net, Juno.co.uk, iTunes and Amazon.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Vermin Street Idm Core Series Issue 3
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Vermin Street (@)
Rated: *****
Third issue of Vermin Street IDM Core series sees Encanti performing a tune based on picked strings instruments, choirs, furious drum patterns. "My heart is blindness" is a strong track that mix epic melodies with digital assault. Innerfuze's "Blinkou" is less furious and it sounds dark, dilated and atmospheric. Its synthetic pattern repetitions coupled with a rich drums section and mysterious melodies make of this singlea good release to check. It is available through Addictech, Digital-tunes.net, Juno.co.uk, iTunes and Amazon.
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Artist: Noblesse Oblige
Title: Privilege Entails Responsibility Re-Release
Format: CD
Label: Repo Records
Rated: *****
The British-German duo consisting of Sebastian Lee Philipp and Valerie Renay presents these days their newest work. Well, it isn’t that new after all. At least on the British Isle it was already released once. Now it’s about time for the rest of the world to have an opportunity to enjoy "Privilege Entails Responsibility", rereleased with no less than ten bonus tracks.
This is really difficult to label the musical genre the two play. It ranges from chanson (Offensive Nonsense") over electro killers (Bitch", Fashion Fascism"), Indi-Blues (Nervous"), alternative Avantgarde (Bite Back", Surrender"), incestuously disturbing (Daddy (Don't touch me there)", genius (Was keine Zeit zerstört") to a French-German Popsong (Quel genre de Garcon") everything is just there. The intro rehandles a theme from Tchaikovsky’s ballet "Romeo and Juliet".
In the first part of the CD Valerie and Sebastian help themselves with various instruments (synthesizer, guitar, bass, piano) and vocals-wise the spectrum ranges from whispers, shouting from the top of their lungs, clear and brazen and all that in three languages by both artists. Simultaneously or interchangeably. You can never anticipate what the next song will bring upon you.
Liking the album is a matter of taste, but the duo is undeniable creative, non-conformist (even for an independent kind of a band) and artistic, while they show a serious portion of potential. The artists seem to be totally confident about their diverse style.
Part II of the CD, the bonus tracks, are ten remixes by renowned artist e.g. Mona Mur, En Esch, Toulouse Low Trax, Musiccargo, Laurent Ho, Avius, Mark Reeder and by Sebastian and Valerie themselves. On this part the styles are just as diverse as in the first one, ranging from Postpunk to Wave, Trance, 70s, 80s to a bongo song. Anything a heart (better an ear may desire). The last two songs are from the previous Noblesse Oblige album "In Exile".
All in all "Privilege Entails Responsibility (Re-Release)" is a well done album. The artists worked really hard and showed themselves and their skills from numerous sides. They work on every single detail. There is lots of power, art, expression and pleasure in making music. The album is very diverse and for that reason can be played in whole range of different situations and places; on a dance floor, high way, kitchen, bed room etc. Let’s see what their subsequent releases will bring.
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Artist: Spiral 25 (@)
Title: Spiral 25
Format: CD EP
Label:
Distributor:
Rated: *****
The psychedelic rock fever as well as its renaissance propelled by relatively young generations whose ears and minds have been excited not only by electronic psychoactive movements (Chemical Bros, Orbital, LCD Soundsystem, FSOL and so on) but also by a rediscovery of some legends which added that some fruity juice for brains in their personal rock formulas (Ozric Tentacles, Loop, Spaceman 3) in UK seems to be even more infectious than H1N1 virus and if from the electronic side we've recently heard some interesting proposals mainly from Manchester (if you still don't know them, check some releases by the astonishing Working For A Free Nuclear City... ), there're some bands trying to dig into the fertile soil of the psychedelic frontline, exploring layers and layers of musical sediments: Spiral 25 is a cheekily pretty band from Oxford whose style looks deeply influenced by a plenty of brain invigorating scrubbers covering almost 40 years of music history, going from 60s bands (The Velvet Underground, 13th Floor Elevators) to some pioneers of the so-called space rock, from psychedelic bands of the 80s (we already mentioned some... ) to contemporary ones (The Warlocks, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club), but the most perceptible chapter of British music seems to be the one related to some hedonistic and deeply individualistic pop/rock of early 90s: the use of reverbs and delays on guitar layers by the skilled guitarist Chris Monger's going to remind Stone Roses or Charlatans, while the vocalist Russell Denham seems to be a genetically modified hybrid between the shrill tones of Ian Brown getting to grips with the devil which used to possess Jim Morrison's vocal chords! This Ep '“ available directly from their website in a card digipak format for just £4 or digitally via Napster, Amazon, iTunes and other online retailers - contains just 4 tracks, but they're enough to show their skills.

Have a listen to Shadows In Line (in my modest opinion, the best song of this sampling as well as the most persuading body of evidence Mr.Denham could be possessed by the above-mentioned devil indeed) or Let The Light Shine On (you'll easily admit the title could continue sentencing "... and Let Your Hands Shake In The Air", when you'll hear the energy of their sound drenched by blues-tinged melodies) for instance and you'll easily understand this band's ready to emerge from the crowded abyss of collegial music scene. Just a short anecdote before let you search them on the Internet... when I absent-mindedly had their promotional cds in my hand, their name as well as the slogan-like references to light and glittering in some titles let me think about a sort of promotional dvd by a company, advertising some kind of low voltage energy saver lamp... and, hey, I found this casual comparison could perfectly fit Spiral 25's sound!
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