Music Reviews



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Artist: ESA
Title: The Sea & The Silence
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
It seems that Hive-recording artists are free for sale, because sooner than expected the British project ESA (stands for Electronic Substance Abuse) a.k.a. Jamie Blacker returns after 2 albums on Hive with a completely new album out on Tympanik Audio. Besides ESA, Jamie could make himself a quite good name thanks to some guest-musician contributions to STRAY (side-project of Erica UNTER NULL Dunham) and his label comrade AUTOCLAV 1.1.
And ESA stands surely for the harder side of the release catalogue of the uprising Tympanik label, maybe side by side with PNEUMATIC DETACH. "The Sea & The Silence" seems to be a conceptual release and the medium itself seems to have a healthy effort on Jamie, since he has added a special quote, which documents his dedication: "This album is in dedication to the three things that have helped me through this year, my music, my close friends and the sea, that seems to wash away my worries with every wave."
Musically, ESA offers a straight pounding Powernoise sound pretty much along the classic CONVERTER/IMMINENT-line. The opening track "Tasting Nails" is one of the best introductions I’ve ever heard, presenting very well the balance between dark and ominous sample sounds and hammering rhythm lines to the end of the track. "Absolute Fury (in its very Fabric)" then doesn’t takes any prisoners and executes the dancefloor. Remarkable also to note is the fact, that Jamie uses and integrates vocals. Be it his own timbre, often fx manipulated and inserted in different kinds, or be it with the help of several female guest vocalists, Jacqueline Curd, featured on the title track, "Your Anger Is A Gift" and "The Devil Worships Me" has to named for example.
Another highlight worth to mention is the dark sounding "Open To Me Your Black And Bitter Heart" and the try to combine DIVE-like noisy arrangements with some acoustic guitar loops – total contrary instruments can sound united.
"The Sea & The Silence" is a great example of a modern sounding rhythmically Powernoise album. It avoids too much repetitions, it doesn’t fall into that unnecessary Hard-Tec/EBM-sound, but it is still straight oriented. An album with depth, message, Industrial ambience not to be missed.
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Artist: VOIDE (@)
Title: Humachine
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
Asides the recently released Single-CD "Love" (feat. Suzi Electric), David Almgren alias VOIDE has also produced a complete new studio album. "Humachine" picks up for the most part the line of his last album "Evolution", with which VOIDE could score intensely the ears of both, audience and reviewers.
As the title announces it, "Humachine" continues mostly to write an additional storyboard of the connection man - machine in a new and straight upbeating kind. A sheer evergreen of a theme, available in multiple variations, which especially fits well with Electronica artists. Musically David seems to lay his focus on a better balance between the styles, he especially allows more and more stylistically different drum patterns to invade the spacey EBM/Electronica music outfit. Compared with "Evolution", the EBM influence comes out a bit more reduced (exception: "Rock The Geek"), but several new and up-to-date-arranged tracks ("Humachine", "Electrolyte" or "Toxic") are increasing with the speed.
It can be generally noticed, that David has perfected several parts of his composition process, although the integration of his vocals is and remains still the part in which he could develop a bit. As for the float of the album, I must admit, that I would have changed the track listing a bit, just because the best pieces like "The Mechanical Fiddler" (brilliant "fiddling" synth drops...), the pummeling "Toxic", which features some typical-303-sounding bass synths and the beautiful layered "Retrothought" do definitely deserve a better and more striking rank in the track list.
Let’s keep out the well-done opening title track "Humachine" and the melodic synth-fanfares of "Between Sheets", I for the most part skip the tracks up to track 6, because these tunes come out to me as average and somehow I have heard them in a more diverse and refreshing kind available on "Evolution".
Track 6 then is the brilliant and nearly 7 minutes long dancefloor-massacre named "Electrolyte", which completely impresses with its staccato-like clap-and-snare-programmings. Thumbs up also for the diverse layers of "In Agony With Hope", while the sequencing work of "Sometimes I Daydream" would be able to bring VOIDE next to international renowned artists like Vangelis on every "Synthesizer Essentials" compilation.
Even if I tend to criticize one or another track of this album, it has to be said, that "Humachine" is an excellent piece of work, which may wouldn’t stand in the shadow of the almighty monument named "Evolution", if I wouldn’t have heard it before. It’s a hard cake with the try to better an own produced monument – some of the new tracks on "Humachine" offer a possible direction, while some others act like repetitions. But I’m sure that David continues to figure out the needed diversity to return even stronger with another new studio album.
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Artist: Broken Fabiola
Title: Severed
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
A surprising comeback, since Karloz.M storms from success to success with his main project MANUFACTURA, so there wasn’t too much hope for a return of BROKEN FABIOLA after the last double-CD collection released via Auricle Media. Now signed to Tympanik Audio, Karloz releases one of the darkest albums of the label catalogue. Only a few tracks available on "Severed" are following obviously Karloz’ style presented with MANUFACTURA ("Everlasting", "Under"). This album rather stands for sick atmospheres provided through emotional soundscapes and abstract and for the most part broken rhythm beats. Not that easily to consume, this album offers a lot of authentic tunes, which are seemingly to far away from any possible comparison. For this album Karloz has received the constant help of Sharon Blackstone, who’s responsible for additional production, lyrics and vocals ("Departure" is a great example). More prominence has helped out with sampling works, as there are Shane Talada of MARCHING DYNAMICS, Scott Sturgis (CONVRTER), Daniel Myer (haujobb., DESTROID) and Dre Robinson (DATABOMB, DOWNLOAD). This all are ingredients of an album, which drifts and hits many styles. As I said, it’s not easily to consume and takes time and several more spins than usual, and it isn’t stuff for the heart-fainted audience.
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Artist: Empty (@)
Title: Never Get To You
Format: CD EP
Label: Aphotic Audio
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
No, this isn’t the long-awaited first full-length album of Australia’s Dark Electro duo EMPTY – "only" a new CDEP, but a release with some remarkable content. "Never Get To You" at least seems to be a kind of a fresh breeze, because with the title track, the band has integrated a quite different and unexpected musically course. As being lately for the most part inspired through IDM/Electronica music, Aaron Potter and Daniel Brunet show and prove easily, that they fit well also with the elements extracted out of this style. Take on one side the latest audible results of DISMANTLED and try to mix it with the last lighter DISHARMONY recordings, and you’ll get a glimpse, how smooth and almost "sweet" this duo can sound. Still multiple layered, but the often pronounced comparison to FLA and aliases often presented through that typically sci-fi-related sampling work and the newly discovered lighter synths sounds turn a bit into the background. This can be also recognized through the clearer sounding male vocals, the huge fx manipulation got reduced especially for the main track. Besides "Never Get To You" and its four remix contributions by DISMANTLED, PASK, IAMMYNEWT, and ANGEL THEORY, you’ll get one additional new track entitled "Forgotten Dreams", which rather focuses to present an IDM/Break-Beat performance combined with the typical vocoderized male vocals, which we’ve often heard from EMPTY. This one stands pretty much in the shadow of the title track, since it lacks of a clearer catchy attitude. "King of Kings" is finally a cover version originally composed and recorded by The Models – do I hear on it tendencies to a calmer and more melodic outfit? However, I see the need to release this teaser EP, especially to "warn" the harder Electro-minded purists, that EMPTY can sound diverse. Check our newest interview with both protagonists on here, to pick up the newest info about this Australian duo.
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Artist: KIKI
Title: Kaiku
Format: CD
Label: BPitch Control
Rated: *****
Active since the mid 90's as dj, Joakim Ijäs produced his first album for BPitch Control back in 2001. During the years he did many mixes (check for, example, his volume of Boogybytes) and 12"s and it was time he took some time off to produce his second full length titled KAIKU (which in Finnish is meaning "echo"). Having in mind something enjoyable also for an home listener, Kiki built an eclectic tracklist that take inspiration by techno, house, electro and classical music. The album opens with "Autumn leaves", a techno mid tempo with viola inserts and ambiental noises here and there. The following track "After the storm" is a ambient house/jazz mix while "Good voodoo" is a good Miami house vocal track with dark melodies. "No words necessary" mix a sampled guitar sound with house and 70's spatial syths (a very cinematic sound). "Starslider" has obsessive house loops mixed with ambient pads."Immortal" is one of the best tunes with viola, ambient sounds, techno arrangements and Pirica vocals that recalls a bit some Bjork tunes. With "Death railway" and "Twins" techno/electro is the way to go but the first one has smooth sounds that give to it an intimate atmosphere. "Moghadishu" house techno with tribal approach convince also thanks to its dissonant melodies but tension raises with "Living with FFWD" thanks to the Wendy Carlos' "Shining" samples and to whispered vocals. The album closes with "Helios", a cinematic tracks based on rhythmic noises and strings.
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