Music Reviews



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Artist: Eyes Of Others
Title: I See You In The Shrubs
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Paradise Palms
‘Edinburgh enigma’ Eyes Of Others’ track “I See You In The Shrubs” gets the classic original-and-two-remixes bundle release here.

The original is an unconventional, slow (circa 92bpm) super-soft house track with whispered vocal comments, extremely subtle kick patterns and a soft distant-sounding bassline that, towards the end, gets cut through like a knife by the arrival of some surprisingly harsh and dissonant top melodies which then evaporate into near-ambient atmospherics and birdsong.

The legend that is Andrew Weatherall starts his remix with an unusually conventional-sounding live drum pattern that gives things a more naturalistic flavour that turns almost reggae-soft-rock thanks to the more emphasised bassline. Things take an enjoyable turn for the weird in the dancefloor-unfriendly breakdowns, which go unpredictably jazzy and use the “I see you in the shrubs” vocal whispers and birdsong to the fore, returning to the stability of the drum patterns as the anchor. It doesn’t sound like it’s been an excessive or over-baked labour of love, but it definitely brings the fun out.

The Donald Dust mix does the same job but in a more regular way, keeping quite faithful with fewer surprises, driven on by a steady synth bassline that’s a bit more ordinary but bringing a little character back through some nice use of reverb effects.

The original’s quirky and you can’t go wrong with an Andrew Weatherall remix (even if it’s not perhaps his most inspired remix ever). A little more variety in the remix package might have been welcome but if you’re in the market for some 95bpm house that’s more than a little bit unusual, this may appeal.
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Artist: RP Boo
Title: I'll Tell You What!
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: Planet Mu
In a way this is a fairly typical Planet Mu release, if there is such a thing. Complex glitchy footwork rhythms, low sub-bass rumbles and decontextualized vocal and rap samples abound in a textbook collection of dark digital electronica. It’s familiar ground, but handled with energy and originality so you definitely know you’re listening to something new.

There’s a good variety of emotions and tones here. The swaggery, battle-ready opener “No Body” has the sweary soundclash attitude of grime, while other tracks are a little more introspective and soulful, such as “U Don’t No” or “Deep Blue”. The ‘we are at war in the street’ mantra of “At War” is a complex beast, managing somehow to be simultaneously a war cry and a melancholic response to loss, while “U Belong 2 Me” feels like a deeply veiled post-rave parody, yet it works.

But while there’s an emotional variety, of the course of 48 minutes you do begin to wish for a bit more sonic variety. By “Work The Flow” and “Bounty” the drum sounds and sub-bass noises begin to feel a little bit tired, and as the energy level doesn’t really drop, you do start hoping that the next track is going to have a few more surprises, which unfortunately don’t come. “Flight 1235”’s adjustment of airplane-related pings and announcements into rhythm elements is a nice touch but it could have been pushed much further. An honorable exceptions is “Wicked’Bu”’.

High quality, for sure, but perhaps overly safe ground for the Planet Mu label.
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Artist: deNeuve (@)
Title: Light Heeled Fleet Footed Cheap Artists
Format: CD
Label: Blowpipe Records (@)
Rated: *****
If there's one thing you can say about deNeuve's André Bach & Mark Tegefoss is that they have a pretty cool warped sense of humor. Just take a look at the mugs on these geezers the CD cover with its title - 'Light Heeled Fleet Footed Cheap Artists'. What deNeuve have come up with here is 10 tracks of looped madness. Conceptually, the elements employed consist of some sort of rhythm, or rhythms; some electro-acoustic ambience; film dialogue samples (which the one-sheet described as "cinephonic voices"), guitar samples and sometimes something resembling a melody. Not really much more than that. The results are often quite beguiling, likely because the way these pieces are constructed. No two pieces are alike, and each seems to resemble a different mood or concept. While some might feel these tracks are experimental, I can tell deNeuve have done plenty of experimenting in their time, and by now their modus-operandi is time-tested and their methods are sound. Put simply, this is just what they do. To an extent, this is similar to Brian Eno's 'Music for Films' but filtered through the lens of The Residents. On each of the tracks there is plenty of repetition but certainly that is the point. It is not always done in the same manner, and they seem to strive to make it as interesting as possible. The flavor can range from alien/abrasive ("Four Bouncers in the Alley"), to strangely eerie and foreboding ("Red Kiloherz"), to weirdly bizarre ("Gorky Toys"), to hallucinatory jogging ("Very Happy"), to bad band night at the Haunt ("Cheap Artists"). Okay, well the last one is sort of an "in joke," but you get the drift. Those cinephonic voices samples used in these pieces were never meant to be understood in their original context here, and are usually manipulated sonically well beyond comprehension anyway. They're just another element of the track they are incorporated into. While not every track is a fun-filled phantasmagoria (some are creepy to the point of perhaps being evil), this may be as "pop" as deNeuve ever gets. Six of the track off this album are remixes of the LP by the same name deNeuve released last year making it a fresh product from the original LP. Playfully industrial, and definitely worth a listen or three.

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Artist: Nox Interna (@)
Title: A Minor Road
Format: CD EP
Label: Echozone (@)
Rated: *****
Nox Interna is back, this time with a 3-track CD titled 'A Minor Road' after the first cut on it. You could call it a maxi-single or a brief EP, whichever you prefer. For the unfamiliar, Nox Interna is a goth-industrial metal bilingual band from Germany led by Richy Nox. The bilingual aspect is not German-English as you might surmise but Spanish-English. Although that's probably not unique in the Goth/Industrial genre, it's still different. My last experience with them was their 'Spiritual Havoc' album, and if I recall, I was kind of on the fence about it. The three songs on this CD are less metal and closer to pop, more commercial sounding and that ain't a bad thing as long as you're true to your sound, which is the case here. The title track I suppose was envisioned as the hit single, and while the song is competently arranged and produced, and has a good chorus hook, I think something about it lacks hit single potential. It just doesn't have the oomph, drive or memorable aspect that would put it over the top. Second track- "Doomed Generation" has a lot more drive and oomph, and strives for the anthemic but has a problem with the chorus when Richy sustains these low notes low notes they just sound...well...off. The rest of the song is pretty good, but vocally those low notes are hurting it. Perhaps the best track is the last, - "Entre Dos Tierras" sung in Spanish of course, originally done by Spanish rock band Heroes Del Silencio back in 1990. Nox seems much more comfortable here in his own language, which is only natural. For my money I like Nox Interna's take on it which is actually much stronger than the original. So that leaves us with the summation- not a bad showing by Nox Interna overall, but I wonder who is going to plunk down $5+ for the CD ($3.50 for the download) in spite of Richy's cool artwork (and printed lyrics) besides rabid fans of the band. Perhaps 'A Minor Road' is a more apropos title than they thought.
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Artist: The Star Pillow
Title: Symphony For An Intergalactic Brotherhood
Format: CD + Download
Label: Boring Machines
The Star Pillow is the established drone-ambient monicker used by the prolific Paolo Monti and it gets another outing here for three lengthy improvised works of slow evolving sonic envelopes, pure-sounding and rich melodic textures and subtle atmospherics. Rising and falling tones form very loose repeating patterns that form part of the gradual tectonic shift of the sound as it develops.

First track “My Dear Elohim” draws out the string tones to give quite a cinematic and tense flavour. Relatively short piece “An Interstellar Handshake” has a distinct extra wobble to it that leaves you with an almost drunken feeling, while “From Dust To Stars” makes interstellar space sound like a harmonious and quite densely-packed place to live, with a surprisingly abrupt and arguably lazy ending.

It’s relatively simple and earnestly transcendental soundscaping that occupies its own space. It certainly doesn’t push any of the boundaries of originality or provide much challenge, but as an immersive 38-minute collection of fairly sci-fi sombre atmospherics, this is certainly safe ground.
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