Music Reviews



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Artist: Creature (@)
Title: Distant Horizons
Format: CD
Label: Haunted House Records (@)
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
A new release for the Haunted House-recording artist CREATURE hailing out of Derby, UK. CREATURE is Stephen Haunts and he continues with this new full-length his path performing a special sort of Dark Ambient/Down-Tempo Electronica. His musically outfit still relies on some dark lead synth sounds complimented with rhythm patterns between ear-catching and commercial-oriented up to experimental and abstract-minded. "Distant Horizons" is like most of its predecessor "Mechanical" a completely instrumental arranged album, but it surprises a bit, that Stephen for this album seemed to have spent some efforts in the creation of the tracks list. After a dark, cold melodic intro tune ("Indigo"), the track "Carbon" rules the scenario and offers easy-minded but powerful and I tend to say catchy synth textures. But the more this album continues, the more it turns into some darker and more ominous sounding spheres. Since all tracks work well and do the best to offer a matured listening experience, I like to point out the slow and dark-melodic track "Helter Skelter" and the DIVE-like "Flutter" as being favorites. Stephen himself extracts a lot of his sounds out of very experimental-minded kind of work. Circuit bending is to be named and this requires some knowledge of a electrician. Would be surely interesting to know more details on this, since this music is a descent trip under a pair of headphones, but also "easy" enough to work in the background while concentrating on different things. Good stuff.
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Artist: Animassacre (@)
Title: Evolve
Format: CD
Label: Rupal Records (@)
Distributor: Rupal Records
Rated: *****
Rupal Records have signed on a duo hailing out of Bulgaria and this is to me the first act hailing out of this small Eastern European country. Consisting of Simeon Dotkov and his better-half and sexy looking female band member Diana, ANIMASSACRE offer musically a quite colorful outfit by taking influences out of all harder genres of electronic-based music. Be it Harsh EBM, Industrial, rhythmical Powernoise, Techno and Hardfloor/Gabber (!!!), the music of ANIMASSACRE likes to keep it diverse and offers therefore a more authentic kind than the usual army of Cybertech-Hellectro zombies. Also Simeon’s vocal performance ranges between nightmarish and harder-as-thinkable, but at least some refining and polishing on this part of production should be considered. Although ANIMASSACRE have released some stuff mostly online and free downloadable with some other net-labels like Deadskin for instance, "Evolve" is the first and official debut release. And I have to congratulate the responsible people at Rupal Records for picking up one of the most underrated talents unsigned out there. Sure, not everything seems to be perfect regarding sound quality and mixing, but maybe just this fact results in that raw feeling this release has to offer. Besides all of this ANIMASSACRE take a strong influence out the Asiatic culture like Cyberpunk-anime-movies. So you’ll shouldn’t wonder to listen to some insane voice samples asides the too often used "Full-Metal-Jacket/Blade-Runner" sample quells. Also the track list therefore takes influence with such sort of fantasy-like names "Gasmask Demons", "Noise Of Doom" or "Doomed A Birth". Tracks like the mid-tempo piece "Evolve", "Backfire" or "Apathy" seem to be the most appreciated works to satisfy the short-haired Hellectro freak, all of them receive here some more or less drastically remix works by WYNARDTAGE, ACYLUM, SHEMALE ZERO, STIN SCATZOR and LA MAGRA. As an addition. However and even, if the sound quality here and there doesn’t satisfy, I’m quite sure that a bunch of ideas count more than a high-end production. A remarkable newcomer to follow!

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Artist: THOLEN
Title: Sternklang
Format: CD
Label: Cyclic Law (@)
Rated: *****
Sidereal space never gave me the idea of a calm place where you can hang out sticking your country flags into planets' ground. According to Gerry Anderson's tv show "Space 1999" (you should know it if you were kids in the'70s), space is a place where you lose your hopes and the sense of yourself. Is like you returned into your mother's womb but you aren't feeling that it is your place. You know that space is over there but you never wanted to get there to know how it is. Well, the fist Tholen release titled STERNKLANG can give you that sort of sensation: losing hope and senses into an unknown place. Divided into four movements, "Sternklang", slowly explore the sidereal space creating a minimal suite based on long synth pads, little melodies and noises. I must admit that sometimes I lost my attention because of the nature of sounds and also because the whole atmosphere is based on a constant growing of the structure but Tholen is able to create well this sort of ambience. You can check some sound excerpts at the Cyclic Law website.
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Artist: Birch Book
Title: Fortune & Folly
Format: CD
Label: Helmet Room Recordings (@)
Distributor: Massive Music
Rated: *****
Melding with the neo-medieval-folk sensibilities that Dead Can Dance re-popularized, Birch Book's Michael B'eirth labors to resuscitate the troubadour tradition in this now out-of-print collection of psychedelia-tinged folk originals. Not since John Renbourne, Bert Jansch and the Dransfield brothers of the sixties have I heard such serious acoustic guitar-driven intent to praise the itinerant minstrel. An American to boot, the man is also an accomplished custom luthier (guitar maker) based somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

Though not in as cerebral a mindset as Nick Drake, B'eirth rhymes and chooses his words well enough to make his ultra-lilting, whispery delivery bearable (for those who are not too into having some guy breathing in their ear). In other words, if you loved the movie Once, you may not be able to do without Fortune & Folly. A great moment comes from track six, the instrumental "Diaspora," a frightening take on Leonard Cohen with a beautifully mixed-in jet airplane sound, although some lyrics would have made it brilliant. The only complaints as far as technique is concerned are a few wobbly harmonies and strangely dubbed vocals on track four, "Young Souls."

A significant letdown, however, is that the lyrical themes largely center on the troubadour himself and little else, as in track 7, "Wandering Boy"; track nine, "The Trip Goes On" is a pernicious example of overindulgent repetition. There is little room left for the picaresque narratives and fables that should actually come from the bardic tradition from which B'eirth takes his cue. Where are they? Alas, the beasts with two backs and the jealous cuckolds are nowhere to be seen. Fortune & Folly is an otherwise promising folk outing that smolders with ambition, yet is hobbled by the crippling self-importance that helped scuttle the previous great folk movement. It could be that there is such a thing as too much transcendence.
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Artist: Sonic Violence Experience (@)
Title: Infected
Format: CD
Label: Rupal Records (@)
Rated: *****
With this German solo-project the label Rupal Records tries to discover some unexplored fields into the rhythmically Powernoise genre. Behind SVE stands Robert Kulawik who could already present one or another of his early recorded tracks on some compilations compiled by X-Cem mastermind Kai Arnold (WYNARDTAGE) in the past. So finally, and since the contact to Kai is still fruitful and intact, Robert can now look proudly on his debut, which runs with more than 75 minutes playing time in a generous condition. 12 original recordings, plus 8 remix works provided by some of Robert’s patterns like HYPNOSKULL or P.A.L., but also some label comrades and friends like SENSOGEN, ACYLUM or FORMALIN. At least – and this needs to be mentioned – the remix works are doing an excellent job to refining this album. This may can belong on the fact that this genre is filled with several very similar sounding acts, just think on the roster of the ProNoize label. "Infected" compared to the better acts of ProNoize like FABRIK C, XOTOX or NOISUF-X comes out too repetitive and quite uninspiring though acceptable for a debut of a young fellow who just has started his career. There’s space left for development, so let’s judge on Robert’s efforts after a second album.
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