Music Reviews



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Artist: Psy'Aviah
Title: Entertainment Industries
Format: CD
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Rated: *****
I seem to have a certain proclivity for European female vocalists, at least when it applies to electronic music. From Miss Kittin or The Knife to 64 Revolt, I'm likely to be more into a project as soon as I hear that sexy foreign accent. Which brings us to Psy'Aviah, a Belgian project on the Alfa Matrix label (possibly one of the few projects that share the same homeland as the label), who just so happen to have some damn sexy female vocals, not to mention pretty spiffy music.


"Entertainment Industries" is Psy'Aviah's second full length album, though I have yet to here their first effort, so I can't compare them. What I can say is that this is 16 tracks of solid inventive EBM/ Electropop goodness. The majority of the tracks lean more towards the EBM side of things, with a focus on creative synthlines and beats that aren't afraid to get dirty and experimental, though never outright noisy. The pop side of things is explored only really on a few songs, my favorites of which are probably the catchy "In the shadows" and the slightly eerie (in a good way) "Tired". But they're all very solid tracks, and they can only really be fit into proper genres in a broader sense, as they definitely have their own take on danceable electro.

If you like your EBM with more bite to it and would enjoy some electro pop that wasn't trying so damn hard to sound like Apoptygma Berzerk and the like, I highly suggest you check this record out.


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Artist: Bodyhammer
Title: The Lateral Line
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Mizukis Box (@)
Rated: *****
Also the US-based label Mizukis Box (DUBOK, ONLY FLESH) has to suffer under the current lack of sales of physical CD’s and has decided to release the follow-up EP of BODYHAMMER for free. You’re of course free to donate a sum, if you think that the provided music by the DUBOK-musician Heil is worth it. To me you should seriously consider this, because also the featured tracks on "The Lateral Line" are impressive. Heil continues generally his music direction, which drifts away from the smooth and melodic-influenced Futurepop-sound of DUBOK. BODYHAMMER stands for a darker and rather EBM/Industrial-oriented sound outfit, which features his extremely processed vocals, diverse rhythm constructions and aggressive pummeling synth bass-lines. A higher complexity thanks to his programming abilities can be noticed, a little Vancouver-inspired influence (FLA) here and there is surely available too. "The Lateral Line" features 5 new own compositions and 2 remix contributions by the label mate TOUCH SENSITIVE. As for a favorite, the speedy "Pole Position" or the opener "Hun Bastards" keep some bodies moving, while "Transient Technique" seduces completely as a listening experience. Heil scores once again and has hammered out a fine follow-up to his still highly recommendable double-CD debut "Neutral Base Culture/Zero Dark". Epic Dark Electro, which completely entertains.
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Artist: ARNE WEINBERG
Title: Alpha & Omega
Format: CD
Label: AW Recordings (@)
Distributor: Clone
Rated: *****
A couple of years after his first album "Path Of The Gods" and after several 12"s, Arne Weinberg is back with his second full length titled ALPHA & OMEGA. Released for his own label, the album will be available at the end of March as a double 12" and 200 copies limited edition double CD (the second disc contains a collection of unreleased ambient tracks). The new tracks span from the ambient techno of "Everlasting" and the following "Never surrender" to the house/techno of "Defining negative spaces". Most of them have a certain Detroit influence on the rhythmic parts having analog drum machine sounds with an "hyperactive" structure. Arne creates ambient scenarios using synth pads and then adds tiny synth melodies which keeps the track interesting. The contrast of tension (the anxious rhythmic parts) and calmness (the ambient sounds) is a characteristic of ALPHA & OMEGA, an album which sounds various and strong at the same time.
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Artist: Krystal System
Title: Underground
Format: CD
Label: Alfa Matrix
Rated: *****

"Underground" is the debut album from french coldwave/ ebm outfit Krystal System, a new addition to the expansive Alfa Matrix roster. There are 13 tracks total on this disc, and quite a lot of diversity is spread throughout them.
Some tracks are heavy on crunchy guitar riffs and anthemic structures ("Instar", "Demain N'existe Pas", "Mental"), while others focus more on symphonic atmosphere and eletro pop tendencies ("Krystal Song", "Underground"). The majority of the songs fall somewhere in between those two extremes, with each one having it's own unique personality.

While the music on "Underground" is awesome, it's probably the band's vocalist Bonnie that really seals the deal for me, due to her passionate and varied delivery. On one track she might sound like a sexy nymph and on another a distorted
aggro queen ready to destroy everything in sight. She sings in both French and English throughout the album, and sometimes when she's angry in the French parts Natasha from Ambasador 21 is brought to mind, but also because both bands have occasional male/ female choruses.

All in all, "Underground" is an expertly crafted and spotlessly produced selection of pounding beats, awesome synth lines, kickass guitar, and amazing vocals. I highly recommend you check this one out.
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Artist: Pulse State
Title: With a Single Step
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Rated: *****
What strikes me most in case of Pulse State is the approach to an audience. As Mike Phipps, the man behind the project says, 'the album is being offered at no charge as a way of saying "thank you" to the fans who have patiently waited for so long'. Sounds awesome, doesn't it?
The review could be ended in this point, as everyone can check the album themselves with no risk, but I'd like to make it clear that this is a very good release. The fact that it's free doesn't mean that it wouldn't be worth paying for. Undoubtedly it would be worth purchasing, as Pulse State seems to be as good as VNV Nation, Code 64 and other appreciated bands. The production is impeccable - it's definitely not low-end product or economy-class journey. Pulse State flies high, among the most notable futurepop bands. Sometimes it sounds like the bands I've already mentioned, sometimes it's close to Assemblage 23, Solitary Experiments and even Seabound. However, such similarities are not always an advantage, as you're rather unlikely to immediately recognise these songs clearly as Pulse State work if you hear it in a club. On the other hand, if you agree that in this genre there isn't much room for innovations, you'll certainly like this release as Pulse State definitely isn't a copycat.

'With a Single Step' consists both of emotional songs (January Love, Reconciliation) and potential club hits (Innocence, Watching Over). It doesn't make the album inconsistent though. Neither the fact that it was recorded in a long period of time does. These 9 tracks make a well-thought entity which would be attractive enough as a traditional release, and as a web release it is absolutely a must for fans of futurepop.
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