Music Reviews



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Artist: SSHE RETINA STIMULANTS
Title: Remote Aktion
Format: 12"
Label: Diophantine Discs (@)
Always in balance between industrial music, power electronics, free jazz improvisation and experimental sounds, REMOTE AKTION is the latest Sshe Retina Stimulants record. Listening to "Earlier Reports Suggesting Generation Of Erratic Thunderstorms, Validated And Responsive To Cognitive Struggle", "Prospective Psychological Armory Corrupting Into Degradation Of Planetary Pulsation Speed", "Measuring Variations Which Can Be Interpreted As Gravitational Effects Of Incoming Impact and "Unnaturally Induced Earthquakes Turning Vehicle Systems Into Exotic Phenomena" I feel like myself treated like Alex DeLarge on A Clockwork Orange. There are so many layers of treated sounds that it is strange when you hear an acoustic guitar coming by or another natural sound. If on early days (like on "Harakiri for 7 strings") Paolo was used to push his feet on the turbo boost pedal, nowadays he alternates sounds and atmospheres inducing into the listener a particular feeling of dizziness creating a unique sound scenario.
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Artist: SURMA
Title: Allocutio
Format: CD
Label: The Eastern Front (@)
Rated: *****
Released the same time with the split CD with Kreuzer, ALLOCUTIO is the first Surma full length. Coming from Ukraine the musical project on this CD presents eight tracks that don't differ a lot from the sound of what proposed on the aforementioned split CD. Using dark industrial grinding noises/synth pads as background sounds, Surma is usual to mix them with Russian old records or movie samples succeeding sometimes into the aim of creating a good soundtrack to despair (check at this purpose "Second vision", "Fifth vision" and the ambient industrial sounds of "Everything that has remained"). If the tracks of the split CD didn't excite me, these new eight sound a little more varied but Surma in my opinion has a certain potential that has still to be used.
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Artist: MINILOGUE
Title: Animals The Movie
Format: DVD
Label: Cocoon Recordings
Rated: *****
Represented different times on the covers of Minilogue's records, their imaginary animals made mixing different real and not real animals are the main characters of most of the twelve videos contained into the ANIMALS THE MOVIE. The first thing that pops out is that for this project the track list differs from the one of the double CD edition and this helped into having a fluid cinematic sensation as music perfectly fits the digital animations of tracks like "Windows" or "Six arms and one leg" as well as the stop motion animation of "Hitchhiker's choice" (here you see Kristoffer Ström's hand creating thousands of strange animals and you can check how his vivid imagination make turn normal animals into particular and funny ones). ANIMALS THE MOVIE is an experience you have to try and I can only imagine how it would be projected on a big screen with the 5.1 sound you can also find on this DVD. I must admit that sometimes Minilogue minimal music sounds too "perfect" for my taste (sometimes I feel it a little cold) but with these mini movies, it turns into something really different. Check for example "Giant hairy super monster", where a stuffed mix of giraffe/elephant dances into what is seems to be a basement. You can check some videos at the band's website...
Artist: Hemlock Smith and Les Poissons Autistes (@)
Title: Three Times Dead
Format: CD
Label: Everest Records (@)
Rated: *****
The press material proclaims, "Tales, screams and songs, everything mixes up and is eventually devoured by the Noise. A voyage to the borders of a dream world... ." This project is a collaboration between Hemlock Smith and Les Poissons Autistes. According to the website, Hemlock Smith is the project of singer/songwriter Michael Frei, and his music is "somewhere between Pop, Rock, Folk and Jazz" with "darkly ironic stories, sung with a gentle voice." Contrast this with the description of Stéphane Babey and Philippe Simon of Les Poissons Autistes: soundscapes "recorded with guitar, bass, trumpet, accordion and beer cans, thereafter dismembered and lovingly reassembled in their laptops." This disk is an interesting mixture of spoken word and soundscapes. At times, the music functions more as background to the spoken word. These stories seem a combination of poetry and someone’s journal entries. "I Rehearse My Death Every Day" is a good example of this, with reminiscences of isolation: "I work all day at a job I don’t like amongst people I don’t care about listening to bad background music." But at other times, the voice is just as integral a part of the construction of a mood, such as in "The Flat Hands," where the distorted voice merely adds to the intensity of the slowly building, repetitive drones that create an atmosphere of oppression. The music is well matched to the mood, at times simple with lilting piano and other times noisy as hell. Overall, this is quite an enjoyable ride. This disc weighs in at about 52 minutes.
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Artist: Phragments (@)
Title: Earth Shall Not Cover Their Blood
Format: CD
Label: Malignant Records (@)
Rated: *****
I had not heard of this artist, but I always give stuff on Malignant Records the benefit of the doubt because they have an excellent track record and this album reconfirms that sentiment. The liner notes state that this album is "dedicated to all victims of genocide through the history of mankind," so you get the feeling that the music is going to be a bit intense. The music itself is a nice mix of martial percussion and heavy drones. When the vocals came in almost 10 minutes into the disc, I was not really expecting them, but it fits well. The singing, in the few tracks that there is some, is almost chanted rather than sung, often with added distortion thrown in here and there. Overall, this is dark, intense, cinematic music. The disc is packaged in a fold out digipak with beautifully ethereal artwork. Highly recommended. The album weighs in at about 46 minutes.
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