Music Reviews



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Artist: Zentriert Ins Antlitz
Title: ...No!
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
Already the surprising news flash of the signing of this former COP-recording act has attracted some attention. Yes, this veteran and long time active German band returns with a complete new studio album, which features some remarkable extra goodies I like to review separately below. The decision to join again the ranks of a label can be seen as a surprise, since ZENTRIERT INS ANTLITZ have been released free available albums and EP’s directly through their website in the last years. But "...No" plays itself already with the first few tunes directly from the ears into the heart of the listener by offering a rich and complex synth sound foundation, which features multiple hints into musically quite different genres and a wide cultural background. This isn’t the work of bloody newcomers, that’s for sure. I tend to compare ZIA’s music with the audio results of TOTAKEKE regarding the featured diversity of styles and complexity, but ZIA are definitely more Electro/Industrial-minded and are sounding more "European" than Frank Mokros’ project does. After a dark and voice-sample-driven intro, someone may expects another clubby EBM-album or at least a bit of possible dancefloor action by consuming "Today", but already the slow, but magically "Where Their Dreams Live" shows the direction in which kind this album will continue: a dark layered and for the most part slow and majestic Dark Electro-album with several hints into Ambient music. "Where Their Dreams Live" with its breathtaking high played acoustic guitar drops, or "Silence Diary", "24th Dimension", "Manage My Sensibility" with its more than 9 minutes playing time or the last track "The Final Walk" are mouth-watering masterpieces following this ideal. In between we have only one track offering the total contrast to this slow stalking milestone of Electronica music, "Can’t Get Me", a track which screws the bpm to much higher numbers. Yes, it disturbs a bit the silence and course of this album – but again: what a great sort of an Industrial track is this! This one really remembers me on some last FLA-tracks, which had Jeremy Inkel aboard – a brilliant speedy track with vibrating bass lines, a straight kick and snare work and it also doesn’t forget to include some guitar samples. What a great album, Gentlemen, thank you for the great music.
So we’re moving over to the special content, which this album also offers for you. All you have to do is to move over to the official website of the band, www.zentriertinsantlitz.de and to download a tiny program entitled "Demutilator V2". Install and use this program by following all instructions, you at least need to "demutilate" the complete additional audio stuff only an original CD – no active www connection is required!
The "demutilated" stuff offers additional music to be burned and pressed on 2 CDR’s and multiple graphic works.
CD 2 of this concept got aptly entitled "7 Dreams", because it offers 7 different versions of the already above mentioned track "Where Their Dreams Live". 6 different remix works produced by their Tympanik label colleagues like INTEGRAL, TOTAKEKE, STENDEG or SUBHEIM. Also a "Sheer Atmo Mix" by the masters themselves is featured too and as the title announces it, it reduces all rhythmical ingredients to zero and to drift completely in that rich and complex arranged layered sound outfit. Some remixes are nearer to the idea of the original (INTEGRAL), while some other are drifting away from it and fulfill to me the best the idea to create a remix with an own identity – LUCIDSTATIC, as usual, has to be named, but also SUBHEIM by offering an authentic form of ambience.
The "demutilated" CD 3 out of this edition is too me the better one, since it offers two unreleased tracks and especially the opener "Ewiniar" is a top-notch addition, following strong the presented quality of the main album. "Silence Diary", also originally available on the main album, receives two strong remix works by AUTOCLAV 1.1 and ACCESS TO ARASAKA. Also the remixes of "Perphenazin" are worth to mention, since the musically differences between the sedating DISHARMONY and the weird rhythm construction of the LUCIDSTATIC side-project Pandora’s BLACK BOOK couldn’t be more extravagant presented. Accomplished with a "Re-Dub Mix" of "Can’t Get Me", by ZIA itself and a remix of an older track named "Jericho" by UNTERM RAD, you ll get another 45 minutes long soundtrack for your complete entertainment.
It remains the question, if this invention to "demutilate/extract" from the pure audio CD would have been the right concept to fight against the overpopulating downloading procedure – now it is definitely too late to start another MP3 debate for sure. However, this fantastic album is a milestone not only for Tympanik, but also for the genre of layered and complex produced Electronica music itself!

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Artist: Totakeke
Title: Past – Present – Future
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Rated: *****
So for all of you undecided wankers out there asking yourself the question about to buy or not the available albums of Frank Mokros’ project TOTAKEKE, here comes a free available download-only release directly from the Tympanik Audio website, which may helps you to decide. It is a sort of "Best of..." collection, which presents some of the best tunes available from his both albums - but not only that, for the die-hard fans of TOTAKEKE it offers 4 tracks taken out of Frank’s first both releases available on the unfortunately defunct label Frozen Empire Media, the EP "Lament" and the album "At The Train Station On A Saturday Evening". I’m sure that not everyone can count this releases to their collection. But the best point on this release is the fact, that it holds already four completely new tracks taken from the upcoming TOTAKEKE-album "The Things That Disappear When I Close My Eyes", to be out in the coming weeks. If you freaks are wasting your time doing multiple downloads (and yes, we know you do so...), please do not forget to add this one onto your list, since TOTAKEKE releases set the standard of modern sounding Dark Electro/IDM-/Ambient-related music to a higher level. Again: have I said, that it is freely available? Pick it up!

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Artist: Totakeke
Title: Forgotten On The Other Side Of The Tracks
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
Be assured, that the New York-based Electro/Industrial-producer Frank Mokros won’t offer an album filled with outtakes or B-sides, even if the chosen title that may suggests. Or let’s better say it so: if these are seriously outtakes, which couldn’t made it onto his last years’ amazing album "Elekatota: The Other Side Of The Tracks", then these tracks are still light-years above the normal quality level an average Electro/Industrial act would be capable to produce. Frank’s programming abilities to compose his thick layered and thrilling Dark Electro/Sci-Fi-related ambience are outstanding. "Blade Runner" has to be reprised or completely new invented, and please let Frank produce the soundtrack for such a movie project – you’d be amazed already from the music without watching the movie! Main recognition of this another nearly 70 minutes trip into the deepest Dark Electro/Industrial exploration are based on the three different versions of the track "Left At The Station", chapters 1 to 3. This track impresses with its hypnotic bass line programming and of course the unbeatable mood. Chapter 3 of this track got remixed by the famous TERRORFAKT, and – as expected – it pushes forward the masses to the dancefloors, while it too hasn’t to much common things with the original composition. Two further remix works are available of the track "The Things That Disappear When I Close My Eyes", a track originally based on Frank’s upcoming next album, announced to be out in Spring this year, both provided by his dear Anchorage-based label colleague Jimmy Church with his both projects LUCIDSTATIC and PANDORA’S BLACK BOOK. As to remember his above named last years’ album masterpiece, here comes a different version of one of the most remarkable tunes, "Strangle(_d)" – another save club-friendly tune. Favorites of the new compositions I like to name with the opener "Cry For Help", "Jetee" with its dreamy layer programming and the diverse beating "Euthanasia". A lot of stuff to discover once again from the talented musician – can we say, that Frank is the most and best recognized artist signed to Tympanik Audio? Obama knows the answer: "Yes, we can!"
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Artist: Moctan (@)
Title: Come Closer
Format: CD
Label: Ant-Zen (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
"Come Closer and smell the taste of gasoline". MOCTAN returns with a second full-length album and likes to invite the audience into another car race, of course and as expected signed to the German Ant-Zen label. Still consisting of the PUNCH INC.-musician Andreas Glöckner, "Come Closer" is for the most a straight and dancefloor-compatible Hard-Tec/Powernoise-album, which draws comparisons to highly renowned acts like S.A.M. out of the ProNoize-rooster or the Crunch Pod act C/A/T for instance. That’s definitely a more straight-oriented direction than Andreas likes to produce under the massive stalking PUNCH INC. and generally more straight than someone expects from Ant-Zen. An album with action guarantee, "Come Closer" celebrates the pace with some floor burners like "The Survivor" (who can survive the speed of this track?) or "Long Distance Runner". Nice to hear also, that Andreas likes to fill in here and there some Downtempo, rather IDM-Electronica tunes too ("Come Closer", "A New Day") – that does well for a more diverse listening experience. Applause also for the abrasive tune "Overkill", which offers a predictable hint on his more famous above mentioned main project. Two additional remix works by ASCHE and BIPOL accomplishing a quite good, entertaining and recommendable Industrial/Hard-Tec-album. No, to call it ground-breaking or innovative would be an exaggeration - but it is able to satisfy all needs a fan of rhythmically Powernoise music can expect.
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Artist: Flexkiks (@)
Title: Freeland
Format: CD
Label: Lagunamuch Records (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
Sad, but true, this review can be seen as an official obituary for this three-men collective. FLEXKIKS, signed to the Russian Lagunamuch Record label, consists of Alex Matrosov (Alexandroid), Liam-Arthur Berent (yes, that multi-talented musician also responsible for ABSTRACT AVENUE) and Vladimir Muhlberg. Only a few days after I received this album, the sad news flash via the label website came in, that Alex Matrosov died under mysterious circumstances in Riga, Latvia. Our condolences to all involved, family, music colleagues and the label. Having this tragically event in mind, to review and describe the music style of this release seems to be the most unimportant thing someone can think of. On the other hand, "Freeland" is sort of a classic album, which balances extremely well out the boundaries between Electro/Industrial and IDM, that it would be a pity if you’d never heard of it. Tracks like "RedoBox" and "Find It" offer food to join the dancefloors, while both calm and melodic pieces "Portobello.Rd." and "Freeday 10AM" let the user sink into a spacey world. Thumbs up also for the hypnotic track "F1", while both German titled tunes "Zwischenraum" and "Lückenschluß" leave the most the discovered course of music by adding some acoustic guitar elements as well. "Freeland" is a well-done album, which offers the best elements out of those two styles and it has even more interesting stuff if it comes to talk on musically diversity. But I guess the initially mentioned tragic event destroys all hopes for an additional follow-up album.
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