Music Reviews



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Artist: RAPOON
Title: dark rivers
Format: CD
Label: Lens records (@)
Rated: *****
I was really anxious to give a listen to the last Rapoon release and it hasn't absolutely betrayed my expectations. It's so good and what’s most his style is so peculiar and at the same time you've impression everything evolved naturally, I mean despite its experimental nature Rapoon is not psyched to demonstrate anything, it's like everything blossomed the way it had to blossom, "following the course of nature". For those who has never heard anything by Robin Storey I will say that the music could belong to that grey area between genres like industrial, experimental-electronic music and psychedelia, I think this’ one of the most interesting limbo ever, infact the musicians you can file in this actegory somehow are the natural heirs of the kraut avant-gardism of the seventies. It all means we’re crossing a nowhere-land inhabitated by shadows of jungian ghosts, we’re dealing with an hybrid path where we could meet Nurse With Wound, early Current 93, Asmus Tietchens, John Waterman, nd many others among which Rapoon. The music is not extreme or dark for the mere sake of heaviness, I think everything has much more to do with an inner search or with that music that pays homage to the "sacred" idea of having a trip. Most of the songs have a really explicit and weird melodic approach and evolve around the pulse of a really simple rhythm. Everything sounds ethereal, softly obsessive and stoning like music made out of repetitive loops. Sometimes I even have the impression this could have been dub gone bad, but this' not exactly dub anyhow, I can assurre the use of reverb and delay wouldn't have been the same without the the historical mark of people like Lee Perry in the production of music. This cd is highly recommended, it’s a top notch release.




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Artist: BOB MARSH
Title: VioVox
Format: CD
Label: Public Eyesore (@)
Rated: *****
Sometimes a few line notes inside the cd are necessary to help listeners make a picture of the hows and whys of the cd and believe me this’ not exactly what you may label as an "ordinary collection" of "songs". I've already heard the name of Bob Mersh even if I don't know that much about him, he played violin, cello, he used several pedals above all loop machines and he used also vocals and he constructed the different loops and recorded it direct to minidisc. The result is odd, sometimes lo-fi but interesting. "Most of the songs are not songs" writes Mersh and I think that's the way it has to be considered as a sort of flux of conscience where a collection of scattered parts takes place in a bizarre sculpture. The process and the outcome would have made Jung so happy of the final result., the first obvious comparison that came to my mind is that to the weirdest Current 93, but above all to Nurse With Wound or to the most bizarre passages of the kraut era. This' not a post-industrial release that's what surprises me the most of some similarities I've found, Mersh ship-wrecked nowhere in his sub-conscience, that's the point. Not all the words have a meaning but you know if we say something or if we chose this sound in place of another there should be a specific reason, so I'm tented to comment this could be an interesting exhibit for a psychiatrist. Some passages are really interesting and sure I've found the simple and clear explanation of the modus operandi quite interesting but I think this work has to be approached very individually, I imagine many of you could find it meaningless. I repeat, it's really hard to judge it all under a stylistic perspective even if the music is confused dark and really experimental, based on loop constructions, crossed by some alien oniric voice speaking like the friendly ghost of Ghost-busters. Anyhow I like people crossing the twilight zone of their brain and judging from this piece of plastic Mersh has bought a one way ticket for the dark side of his brain when he was involved in the recording. "We're living in in dark age" (No Means No).

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Artist: Centhron
Title: Roter Stern
Format: CD
Label: Scanner
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
"Roter Stern" (Red Star) by Centhron is though no new masterpiece like their previous album "Gottwek" was but it is a solid follow up to it. There are 13 tracks on the album which pick up where "Gottwerk" left off.
The beats, the catchy melodies, the loops and the shouting vocals do their job be it morning of a late night. Those who overslept in the morning will be wide awake to start the day after the first tunes right away. And in the night the album offers just what you need for a party to let the steam off. Just make sure you don’t play it in the chill out area; that is not what the album was planned for.
Elmar demonstrates little restraint with his German lyrics as he shouts them. It still provides no guarantee for artistic value, however, but it sounds very aggressive and abrupt which fits the music. Sometime you get an impression the vocalist just screams his head off, main thing being it fits the rhythm.
Dear DJs, with this album you’ve got painful choices to make: the title track, "Bitch of dreams", "Orkan", "Cleopatra" being the most attractive for the dance floor, but the rest is far from being bad either. There is a whole bunch of good stuff on this cheeky CD. "Roter Stern" may not be the most groundbreaking release of this year so far, but industrial and EBM fans have a quality product here.
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Artist: Abiku (@)
Title: Novelty
Format: CD
Label: MT6 Records (@)
Distributor: MT6 Records
Rated: *****
There are many music projects out there that really don’t need to exist; people doing their version of the kind of stuff that’s already been done, and done better by others in the past. The Baltimore-based duo of Josh Jaworsky and Jane Vincent, known together as Abiku, is NOT one of those entities. Although grindcore and sludge-metal combined with techno-electronics is said to be their root-genres, I think a better description would be experimental primal-dada electroclash. Jane and Josh predominately employ synthesizer keyboards and twisted guitar blasts, along with primitive old-school sounding drum machine in their music often giving the music a late 70’s, early experimental 80’s vibe. That in itself is not so unusual, but what makes Abiku interesting is Jane’s vocals. Often wailing, ululating screaming, it’s a primal expression that you don’t hear a lot of these days, except maybe in the metal genres, and then it tends to sound contrived, like the singer wants to give the impression she’s the bride of Satan or something. Jane’s vocals also sound a lot more genuine than anything I’ve heard in the screamo genre. I imagine it must be very wrenching to do, but she does it well. It’s not like ALL of her vocals are done this way; she tempers them with a sort of semi-monotone chant-singing that offsets her more violent expressions.

Since they’ve been around since 2002, Abiku have released a wealth of material, a lot of it on CDR which probably had quite limited distribution, making them a culty-cult kind of outfit that afforded them little exposure. What has impressed me most is that they’ve managed to stay together and keep Abiku alive for all this time. That has likely been due to their perseverance in live performance, managing to find venues that welcome their brand of fringe sonics. The more people you reach live, the more fans you’re going to attract. So "Novelty" is mostly a compilation of their favorite earlier stuff (circa 2002) re-worked re-mastered and re-recorded. It really isn’t radically different than recent material by them, and makes an excellent introduction to the band. With 26 short tracks (most are under 2 minutes, and only one is a little over 5) there is hardly room for ennui, and a lot of opportunity for variation. The ethereal bellish introduction of the first track, "Rift" gives you no clue what you’re in for, but the second track, "Action Toy" sets the pace, tone and temperament for the rest of the CD. A number of different moods, shades and expressions are explored, with cathartic releases aplenty, and impressions that range from being trapped in machine hell to experiencing a nightmarish carnival scenario, to just drifting in the ionosphere. The brief tracks go by so quickly that you hardly notice that the CD is over just before it ends, as ethereally as it had begun.

I can’t purport to wrap my head around what Jane is singing about most of the time, but I think it’s more gut feeling than trying to comprehend the lyrics on an intellectual level. There isn’t much in the way of processing or effects used on Jane’s voice, a plus in my opinion. The way she uses her pipes, there really doesn’t need to be. I’m not wild about every track either; some are easier to digest than others, but I wouldn’t have them change anything at all. Sometimes a really cool little slapping beat, like on the track "Feel" can make Jane’s acerbic and angst-wrought vocals sound nearly humorous. As for the music, it does owe a debt to synth-punk and electroclash minimalist outfits like Nervous Gender, Crash Course in Science, Adult and Add N to X, etc. Perhaps Abiku tend to sound less quirky-jerky and dizzy than the aforementioned outfits, but there are parallels. Every once in a while the band veers toward melody too, as on "Proclomotion". The majority of the music though is a lot closer to performance art than anything suited for the dancefloor owing to some of the chaotic rhythms and/or breakneck tempos they employ on rhythmic tracks. Still I wouldn’t doubt that they attract their share of slamming thrashers in a live performance environment.

Although this band isn’t for everyone, those who can appreciate thrash punk at one end of the spectrum and experimental electronics at the other end should dig them. "Novelty" offers a real smorgasbord of bit-size music courses, some of which snap back at you. I’d recommend tracking it down and seeing how much you can consume. I wouldn’t waste time though; the CD is limited to 1,000 copies.
Artist: JILL AKA PROJECTOJIL (@)
Title: Minimal House
Format: CD
Rated: *****
One year after his latest demo "Tale from the native" Gilberto Figueiredo is back with MINIMAL HOUSE, a new demo with six new tracks. This time he refined his sound by doing just what stated on the demo cover: minimal house. The demo offers six good tracks of minimal house music with warm synth pads, few vocal samples and sinuous bass lines. Gilberto this time focused his production on great sounds/atmospheres and succeeded into giving to the tracks a nightly touch that fits really well the genre. On his myspace you can check the second track "We like it".
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