Music Reviews



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Artist: Crista Galli (@)
Title: Hayaku
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Rated: *****
Tout est vibration... Everything is vibe! That's the hieratical preface adopted by the French duo of music therapists Crista Galli to explain their thaumaturgical audio-prescriptions based on natural sounds' constant stimulation aiming at the harmonization of the human body's parts with earth frequencies and we find a nice trick the contrast between the quiet audio-settings '“ proposing a fascinating cross between Celtic sonorities and Asian scents, sacred music and perfumes of pagan rites, the deep and shamanic male voice by Jean Paul Trutet and the angelic and crystalline one by Sarah Trutet aka Shayna - and the title of the album, Hayaku, a Japanese expression meaning "hurry up!" or "faster!" as well as the name of a little poem inviting to a sort of return to life throughout a "new-age"-like elemental evocation (the translation of the lyrics says "Hurry up! The heart waits no more..Hurry up! The earth cannot wait longer... Hurry up! The light cannot wait... Hurry up! Humanity cannot wait... [... ] Where is my dream? Where is my love?[... ] The sea is beautiful" and so on... ). Filed in the Mandala series '“ the ethnic-meditative one -by the French label Prikosnovenie, Hayaku is introduced by the band itself as the portrait of a long spiritual journey towards the realm of earth and light '“ beware!!! there're a plenty of references to Aquarian cultures... but we argue that you're going to appreciate their music even if you consider oddities such cromotherapy, mesmerian pools or crystal therapy (as well as cds filled with seagulls, bird choirs, sirens, waves and so on normally sold at newsagents... ) a plenty of bullshits invented just to grab money from depressed or stressed people... - . departing from luminous tracks such as Armor Mirror '“ how many seagulls!!! '“ and Procession '“ really intriguing track evoking ancestral Tibetan monks' choirs introduced by the siren-like "ohhhhhhh" by Shayna... even it seems that the lyrics are taken directly from the mysterious words written in an archaic partially deriving from Latin and partially from Celtic language on a 2000yrs old stele, which seems to be a dedication to Caticatona, an unknown Goddess related to Earth and natural forces... - to more obscure and mysterious ones '“ we love the bell chiming and the Tibetan howling bow in the lovely Ambre et violet as well as the first gurgling chant by Shayna (Alleluyah!)in Joies et mysteries, a delightful hymn with a minimalistic piano session -, from intriguing natural snapshots '“ such as the enchanting Messager de la pluie (Messenger of the rain) featuring an hypnotic zither session, a string instrument belonging to the same family of koto, harpsichord, dulcimer and guzheng (the Chinese zither) as well as the dreamy state of the heart-catching Clair de la lune, one of my favorite track of the whole album... . - to ancient cultures quotes '“ have a listen to the hypnotic mantra in Pakawa Shaman!!! '“ and sacred music gems '“ such as the above-mentioned Joies and mysteries and Seacht ndòlàs nà Maighdine Muire (Gaelic expression meaning "The Seven Sorrows of Virgin Mary"), which are two intriguing and mysterious songs belonging to the Gaelic tradition, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, two wonderful historical pieces telling how the Gaelic culture absorbed the Catholic one... -. Hayaku is not only a rendez-vous of different cultures and natural elements, but even a rendez-vous between sounds as some ethic instruments (such as Celtic harp, Balkan zither, Jew's harp, the ancestral sound of didjeridoo, the Japanese koto and a plenty of percussions belonging to different musical traditions) meet the canonic cello and piano! We could easily confirm that this album is a lovely spiritual voyage even if you dislike new age oddities and DIY devotional cults! And you'll agree with me after listening to this graceful work...
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Artist: Hyperdriver
Title: Naked Aggression
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: D-Trash Records (@)
Rated: *****

HYPERDRIVER has been around for awhile, and they're one of those bands that have been in my peripheral vision since I started doing reviews way back 6 years ago or so. I believe that "Naked Aggression" is the first album of their's I've actually reviewed but I know I've heard at least bits of others. The title of the album is actually very succinct, as there is plenty of aggression on display throughout the 12 tracks here, yet unfortunately that's more or less all there is, so the naked part kind of applies as well.

Having said that, I want to state that this is not a bad record. It has a lot of energy, and each track has it's own sound. But the theme of super fast distorted beats with little else backing them gets a bit redundant after awhile. Halfway into the album, the bursts seem much less like catharsis and more like boredom. I love some of the spastic, high energy DHC style stuff D-trash has released in the past, but this just doesn't do it for me. Judging from the videos that came on a DVR with the disc, Hyperdriver seems like they'd be nice to see live, and I think this stuff would appeal to me more in that context. There just isn't enough variation to hold my attention. But hey, that's just my opinion. You can download it for free from the site and check it out for yourself.
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Artist: Caustic (@)
Title: This Is Jizzcore
Format: CD
Label: Crunch Pod Media (@)
Rated: *****
I really wasn't sure what to expect with this one. With a title like "This is Jizzcore", my first thoughts were that CAUSTIC were a grindcore band or something, or more likely a goofy gabber outfit. Both guesses were completely off, though there is definitely a strong sense of humor at play here, and maybe a little bit of the latter as well.

Musically the 17 tracks here are pretty damn diverse, from straight up powernoise to breakcore to 80's electro-industrial/ coldwave to IDM and beyond. The main ingredients throughout all of the tracks are powerful, aggressive beats, lots of distortion, great production and the aforementioned sense of humor displayed in both the occasional vocals and sample choices and track names. The vocals can be a little silly sounding due to the lyrical content, but otherwise are okay, and they never feel too out of place.

It's hard to pick out favorite tracks here, as each one has it's own sound and good qualities, but I'll try to pick some out. I particularly like the opener "The inmates have taken over", as it reminds me a little of Leæther Strip in it's blend of drama and industrial stomping. For sheer aggression alone, "The Bible, The Bottle, The Bomb" is rather cool, as is the awesomely titled "Redneck Pussyhouse", even if it does sample Natural Born Killers, which has been sampled WAAAAAAAAAY too much. Another one that stands out is the super amusing "Lady Business", which is a rather strange yet cool faux disco house style track. But generally speaking, all of the tracks on this album are solid and worth the listen for sure.

My prognosis? "This is Jizzcore" is a diverse, slickly produced piece of hard electronic candy that will quite possibly make you make a little jizz of your own. Which is a good thing. Check it out!
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Artist: A Spell Inside
Title: Loginside
Format: CD
Label: Dark Dimensions Labelgroup
Rated: *****
This album was scheduled to be released earlier than it actually was. The reason for the delay was a defect of the hard drive. The problem was overcome and the long awaited album was released just before the WGT festival opened its gates of darkness. The Neussian synthpop-electro unit showed vital signs with a new exciting album and there is just one thing for me to say: I’m excited. It is still a riddle for me why Michael Roeder and Peter Kirchmeyer do not count to the greatest artist of the darker scene.
The compositions range from genius over danceable to "cannot-get-enough-of-it". The 12-track album does not pall even after the 10th listening to it. There is something new to find out every time. The catchy melodies have a strong potential to "haunt" your mind for the whole day and lift your spirits.
A synthpop fan will totally dig "Your eyes","Secrets"and "Chase" due to dreamy melodies and the lyrics that invite you to ponder. The DJs in their turn have all the reasons to embrace "Keener", "Reveal", "Reality" or "Not enough" and "I will" thus those possess a high potential to cause some behind-shaking in the darker clubs of the planet. The only German song "Stärke 10" certainly belongs to the strongest numbers on the album as well. What really makes A Spell Inside an outstanding act is Michael’s vocal manner which is unmistakable from swarms of other electro artists. The whole release sounds more electronic and more sophisticated than their previous albums and "Someone (is waiting)" makes this point especially visible; I mean audible.

All in all the album has a good chance to gain popularity beyond the darker scene as well, due to lack of immature lyrics about cyborgs, demons under your bed and aliens that come after you to grab your ass, like we get to hear from numerous other acts. As far as I’m concerned, A Spell Inside has got to keep it this way and I’m grateful for this album.
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Artist: Troum (@)
Title: Eald-Ge-Stréon/ Abhijňâ
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Beta-lactam Ring Records (@)
Rated: *****
I have never met anyone who was into experimental music who did not like Troum, and for good reason – they are the quintessential drone band. Rather than saying that Troum sounds like someone else, people generally say that someone sounds like Troum. For example, the Tjukurrpa trilogy is a pinnacle of drone music. But what would you expect from the man who runs Drone Records? Troum consists of Stefan Knappe and Martin Gitschel and came forth out of the ashes of Maëror Tri. Where some of the other Troum stuff I have seems to focus on building a specific mood, this album is rather varied. On reading the liner notes, we find out why: "This is a collection of strange songs and odd jewels. Most basic versions were recorded years ago on analogue 8-track and some later reworked & re-mastered over and over again. Pieces that were not ready’ when they were made, are pieces that developed and mutated further over the years. Most of them were originally used for live performances. We still don’t know really what it is, but we couldn’t stop ourselves from producing these little hymns." In some ways, I would say that this is a perfect introduction to Troum in that it showcases the variety of styles that they use to build their dreamlike states (Troum is German for "dream")some are peaceful dreams, and some are nightmares, but all are memorable. There are some songs that I am at a loss to describe because I know that I cannot do them justice, and "Elation" is one of them. Deep rumbling bass and synth that create a stunning orchestral piece. This is one of those songs that must simply be experienced. "Usque Sumus Lux" combines pulsing rhythms and majestic synth, making skillful use of crescendos and quiet passages to build and release tension. "Eolet" moves at a glacial pace; nothing but smooth, dark, shimmering drone here. "Ecstatic Forlorness" has a nice tribal feel to it with constant percussion running throughout, building in intensity. It then abruptly shifts halfway through and the drums and drone vie for attention until it all combines into a chaotic wall of sound at the end before briefly giving way to the soothing atmosphere and what sounds like sampled voice. "Dh'nu-H" is a lush wash of drone that has an almost mournful quality. Track 6 is a cover of Savage Republic’s "Procession," but not having heard the original I can’t really comment on the differences or similarities. All I know is that it sounds like something that Militia would do if they had more atmosphere. The lyrics are unintelligible to me because they are overpowered by the music. This gives it a chant-like quality that enhances the atmosphere. At 16.29, "Crescere" is the longest track on the disc, which allows it to evolve more fully thought the track than the other shorter pieces. Slow heavy bass tones and that become more ominous as the melody becomes more spastic. On to disc 2, we have "Abhijň'," a monster of a track at 33.30 minutes. Unlike the other disc, this track was created specifically for this release. This is a great track of drone that builds slowly throughout. The best comparison I can give would be The Anti-Group’s "Burning Water," not so much in content, but in feel. The changes throughout the track are minimalist, but enough to keep it from getting dull. I’m sure my upstairs neighbors are wondering if there is an earthquake happening as a result of the heavy bass that holds the track together. This 2XCD set is, like all BLR releases, nicely packaged, with artwork by Stephen O'Malley of Sunn 0))). The double CD release is limited to 500 copies, so you will want to act fast on this one. If you like ambient and drone, do yourself a favor and pick this one up. If you haven’t picked up anything from Troum but have been meaning to do so, this is a great place to start. Disc 1 weighs in at about 58 minutes and disc 2 weighs in at about 33 minutes.
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