Music Reviews



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Artist: CAPE FEAR
Title: Winds Of The Dead Air
Format: 12"
Label: Sound On Probation (@)
Rated: *****
Active from the mid eighties until 1997, Nox have been one of the major French industrial rock bands and Laurent Perrier was one of their members. After that experience he released an album under the Cape Fear moniker. Now, thirteen years later Cape Fear is back with a 300 copies vinyl album titled WINDS OF THE DEAD AIR. The five tracks of the album are in balance from digital metal and dub where guitar layers are filtered and multiplied just to build a looping wave of changing melodies which duet with sub bass frequencies and rhythms (this is mainly true on side A because "Haunted" and "Wild palms" have no rhythm section while "Hope" has the alternation of synth arpeggios/guitar riffs on dub rhythms). For sure WINDS OF THE DEAD AIR is the child of the old guitar sound Laurent was producing a decade ago but the way of dealing with sound production (the choice of picking guitar sounds that seem sampled and filtered as well as the synth melodies used here and there), in my opinion, is influenced by his releases under his own name or under the Heal, Zonk't and Pylone monikers and this is good because in this way new stimulus will enhance your listening session.
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Artist: Vanessa
Title: Ave Agony
Format: CD
Label: X Production
Distributor: EMI for the Czech and Slovak Republics, xproduction.cz
Rated: *****
When I saw in the press release saying "Genre: Electro/Industrial" my first thought was: "hopefully no Rammstein in Czech." It is embarrassing for me, but Vanessa turned out to be a cult band way beyond the borders of its home country. And it is nothing like a Rammstein copycat, let me assure you. This act was founded in 1990 and until 1997 the guys released four albums (the last of which on EMI!), won a European MTV Local Heroes award for their song "Prokopat se ven" and played numerous concerts with a masochistic touch to them.
It has been 12 years since their last CD and it can be claimed that "Ave Agony" is one of the most awaited re-union albums of the year. The music is full of energy and fans of industrial rock/metal should definitely keep their eyes open for Vanessa. The guitars, the drive, the samples and the keyboard sequences blended masterfully together.
One of the most exciting compositions is "Smrad z lidi" which sounds like a track from some Tarantino film. "Primitiv" has got a similar bluesy sound. "Zrcadla" is on contrary a faster number that surely will work great live. Additional good news is that the album was produced by no other but Alexander Hacke (Einstürzende Neubauten).
The lyrics are about "The lyrics are about the pleasures and joys of
people experiencing their mid-life crisis." Those who are far from their mid-life crisis can enjoy "Ave Agony" nonetheless. "If the folks want to discover something about
themselves, including the dark side which is in every one of us, the Ave Agony album will
make it possible for them," adds the frontman Samir Hauser. I have no reason to doubt his words. The only difficulty I see here is that Samir sings in Czech which makes it difficult to follow him. No one can forbid anybody to sing in his mother tongue but unsatisfied curiosity is a terrible thing.
Bottom line: the album is truly interesting and it is a great idea to listen to the material offered on Vanessa’s Myspace site.
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anymore
Artist: The Japanese Popstars
Title: We Just Are
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Gung-Ho! (@)
Distributor: Alive/Modulor
Rated: *****
If you were thinking about a collective project between Puffy Ami Yjmi, Ayumi Hamasaki, Do As Infinity and Day After Tomorrow joined together by an undetermined humanitarian spirit after reading the name of this amazing project, you're making a terrible mistake as these Japanese Popstars are neither almond-eyed (but English-speaking... more or less like the real J-pops!) nor MTV-obsessively-broadcasted, but these Irish (coming from the rainy Derry) folks have already won a certain fame and recognition among electronic house djs and disco buffs and well even if they've nothing to share with Puffy AmiYumi, their obsession for madcap and madding 8-to-16-bitted sounds whose treatment and retreatment could be counted among ordinary household chores should be another common trait to young Japanese lifestyle! Hotpress introduced them as a sort of unexplainable mass phenomenon ("Never has an Irish Dance Act created so much hysteria from press and industry alike!"), but surely this nice lads, signed by the same label, Gung-Ho Recordings, which recently launched some creamy releases by Gus Gus and Zoo Brasil, has showed that that (al)chemical way of treating beats, bleeps and grooves invented by people such as Chemical Brothers or Orbital is miraculously effective against usual discrepancies between critics and audience as well as against motor function laziness indeed!


You'll probably argue that titles such as Face Melt could be just an ultra-concrete way for depicting the effect of distorted brass sounds (or alternatively the reaction of a cowardly patient suffering from an annoying tooth-ache after perceiving the noise of a dental drill getting closer and closer... ) craving into an infectious electro-house. And maybe you'll criticize the abuse of such a gummy bumpy beats (such as those bone breakin in Total Distorted Mayhem or Dr.Frenchy Bernard... who's that boy? Hope's not the wrestler!!!), 8bit tips & tricks and Nintendo-maniac pulses (Delboys Revenge), joystick's maneuvered art (it's just their 11th great "tune" Fisb if you believe your neighbor is dropping a bomb through a modified and potentially lethal version of its Atari!!), acid overtones, (The Madness, B.C.T.T.) , clappy lushing (Rise Of Ulysses), that trashy but hilarious make-up featuring some silly house tunes (..or should it be just a J-pop mirroring? ... have a listen to the hilarious the vocal edit of the finalizer of We Just Are... I'd like to comment some tracks with a smiley, but, well, it's not so professional!), but you couldn't say they've not studied the lesson on "how to make a danceable groove" especially when some tracks will literally cause movements in the same way you'll be move if remote-controlled throughout a voodoo-doll featuring your face and you'll easily explain such an hysteric reaction, which let The Japanese Popstars corner in a plenty of awards and nominations in Ireland and in UK! Sometimes I had the impression that the tracks on the first disc are just genetically modifications of the ones included Exclusive Bonus Mix (Eat This!, Sky Channel Flicker and Rebirth-ey clappy whispering TJP mix of Rob Hawk & Mysoul's "So Shockin" should not be missed... really amazing stuff!!!) , but it's easy to realize that this collection of head-bangers (a well-stuffed arsenal which is going to be more dangerous than a North Korean long-ray nuclear nuke in the bag of a dj!) has a real destructive power

. ... but, no shit Sherlock, folks, believe me!!! Their sound is so emphatic you'll easily decide you don't have to loose you time in learned disquisitions in order to dance !!!
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Artist: IRON FIST OF THE SUN
Title: Behavioural Decline
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
Having tasted the classics during the 80's (see Whitehouse and the Broken Flag label's roster and similar) it's really difficult that today's power noise interests me. This genre is difficult per se, because it is really easy to pack a bunch of distorted noises and to cry out all the anger not caring about sound production just because this kind of music requires that you do things that way. For this reason I'm not looking for this kind of stuff to review. Anyway, Cold Spring Records fortunately always takes care of its releases and this is also the case of Iron Fist Of The Sun. BEHAVIOURAL DECLINE for sure falls into the power noise genre but even if it is full of analog/digital square waves and vocal cries, its minimal approach to elements helps avoiding the wall of sound effect. Taking inspiration from electro-acoustics and ideology akin to black metal/black noise and born from obsessions skewed by drug use, codes of behaviour observed by a misanthropic mind (so tells the info card), Iron First From The Sun succeeds into penetrating your skull without messing too much your brain.
Artist: ROB VECTOR
Title: Allah Hoo
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Vermin Street
Rated: *****
Ex Paranoid Zen collective member Boston native Rob Vector has been exploring the electronica worldly sounds for quite awhile. Long time producer with Blues Guitar to his current explorations of the Tibetan Throat-Singing, Rob has a strong resume of assisting the organization of chill rooms and psychedelic vortexes in loft parties and larger events in New England and beyond. ALLAH HOO is his first release on Vermin Street and it contains the original version of the tune plus on the virtual B-side of the digital single a remix by DJ Melee. "Allah Hoo" is a mid tempo track which mix electronic sounds, Indian percussions and vocal samples. It sound like of a worldly version of old Prodigy. Known for being involved into Boston's Red Bull Music Academy Regional Rep and for his local label Monism (which features releases from the likes of Kid Blue, Simply Jeff, and Si Begg), Dj Melee took the Indian chants and melodies of the original tunes and added an upbeat techno bass line, a 4/4 beat and mysterious sounding filtered piano inserts. Nice one...
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