Music Reviews



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Artist: BRANDKOMMANDO (@)
Title: Keine Arbeit Macht Frei!
Format: CD
Label: Beast Of Prey (@)
Rated: *****
Slightly different from the other release I reviewed the last year and always released for Beast Of Prey, the newest Brandkommando is bringing to the lovers of industrial music an album based on the concept of the negation of the "Arbeit macht frei" phrase that was written at the entrance of the nazi death camps. KEINE ARBEIT MACHT FREI! is more industrial than power noise and its six tracks succeed into creating the right ambience to describe pain and the annihilation of thousands of innocent people. Low grinding noise and humming drones compose six movement of a death suite which underline, once more, the human ability to create situations which goes beyond horror.
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Artist: ERIC URSICH
Title: Electronic Diffraction Patterns
Format: CD
Label: Punch Records (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece Distribution
Rated: *****
Active since early 90's as Vacca Stracca (it sounds like "lazy cow") or lately with his own name (he released a vinyl album always for Punch Records, titled "Kanashii"), Erich Ursich is releasing his first proper CD album titled ELECTRONIC DIFFRACTION PATTERNS. Composed using only analog gear without the help of any midi interface, ELECTRONIC DIFFRACTION PATTERNS contains five long tracks of electronic sidereal experimentations. Referring to the early years of electronic music when the sounds were purely synthetic wave sounds with no use of rhythm or drums, Erich brings back that kind of approach by presenting one hour of bleeping sounds, synth patterns and hypnotic ambience. The effect is almost lysergic: the sound waves stimulates the brainwaves, leading them through new lands. Have you ever heard on 60's movies hippies on acid telling that they were seeing colors dancing or talking? These tracks have a similar effect. Mind that you must LOVE electronic sounds and experimental music to enjoy this album but assuming that you do, then you'll discover or re-discover a pioneer way of approaching music deeply linked to future technology (try to imagine what kind of imagine the 60's or 70's people had of it) and sound research.
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Artist: Milliseconde Topographie (@)
Title: Tricycle
Format: DVD
Label: Ekumen (@)
Rated: *****
Milliseconde Topographie is a Canadian duo formed by Nicolas Bernier and Delphine Measroch, two artists who have made it a point to go beyond merely sonic creations and have wholeheartedly embraced an audio-video artform of their own, in which multiple layers of footage of outdoors scenes, dripping water, orchid petals, sea and beaches, bits and pieces of phrases in different lettering and other more artsy and surreal clips are synched (or not) with minimalistic and glitchy electronica under or over imposed on field recordings and the occasional acoustic instrument (it wouldn't be a record from a french-speaking country if there was no accordion, would it? ;-)).
The DVD contains four videomusic pieces totaling over 30 minutes as well as almost 20 minutes of "musiques fossiles" (fossil music) made with ancient instruments (organ, dulcimer and harpsichord), which are offered in mp3 format as well.
The duo is on to something very unique and special. I personally like some parts of this DVD very much (the photography and the vivid colors of "This is Portrait" and the audio/video sync of "Orchid" are beautiful and of the highest caliber) and some film festivals have taken due noticed and issued a awards.
The duo is currently working on underwater musical installations, musical urban posters and soundwalks.
Definitely cutting edge and original!
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Artist: Miss Kittin (@)
Title: BatBox
Format: CD
Label: Nobody's Bizzness (@)
Rated: *****
Miss Kittin is a Parisian electronique chanteuse noire that makes minimal electronic sequences plus stomping 4/4 beats her sonic bed of choice and lays down spoken and sung words on top, and sounds very different, depending on which approach she chooses.
If you know the San Diego electronic band AntiQuark (especially their early incarnations with the female singer Maren on vocals), Miss Kittin might actually sounds pretty familiar to you at times, both in the song structures and in the way these artists modulate and phrase their vocals.
The whole album is almost a tad too minimalist in my opinion, especially when you consider that there are 13 tracks that pretty much draw from the same sonic palette.
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Artist: Josh Russell (@)
Title: Sink
Format: CD
Label: Quiet Design (@)
Rated: *****
Austin-based Quiet Design delivered a brand new release in early 2008: the new album by lowercase sound pioneer (and fellow Austinite) Josh Russell (his fourth release to date).
Russell's approach to sound mirrors his academic background in microscopy research. He zooms into the components, spirals down to the primary element-level substratus and turns the focus dial to reveal what goes unnoticed. Then he builds around that, making it the primary core of a new composition. In doing so he creates a broad universe of low pressure synthetic veils that hover and flutter over pulsating organic patterns in the same way that thick shades of oil colors would be layered over background textures on a Thomas Crown affair-like canvas, revealing new shapes underneath the ones you are currently paying attention to. It comes as no surprise to me that Russell is also a painter (which I found out from his website after I wrote this review). In a way, "Sink" is a very visual record, a very visionary record, a sonic translation of multi-pattern and multi-layer micro-cosmos of slowly modulating sines and throbbing bubbles of light. You might think of it as a dilated and liquified glitch electronica record in which the glitches have been replaced by stretched snapshots of the universe the glitch came from.
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