Music Reviews



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Artist: Za Frmi
Title: Legends act 4 - Orders
Format: CD
Label: Waerloga Records (@)
Rated: *****
It took almost four years between "Legends act 2 - Vampires" and "Legends act 3 - Cults". "Legends act 4 - Orders" is released on the same day as act 3 and it gives you even more in depth and varied music. Both albums are creating a smorgasbord of a total (11 on each) 22 delicious songs and the ones on this album impress me even more than on act 3 and that says a lot as I loved that album.

This release is a revelation. Za Frûmi is of the highest artistry. Fully in control of this difficult material, Za Frûmi has the technical equipment to let the music speak without impediment.

It is obvious how passionately the duo are with their music and how much of perfectionist´s they are. With this amazing album, Za Frûmi fully takes the plunge into the heady mix of musical traditions. Calling it"haunting" and "atmospheric" barely scratches even the initial surface of the album's power.

Za Frûmi evokes emotional esoteric and mystical life from nothingness. Deeply rooted in several historical traditions raging from (as far as I guess) Western European middle age, Eastern European folk and even Middle eastern intonations and incantations, Simon Kölle's voice draws the music up from a somber state, giving birth to an almost emotional drama.

The song titles are names of secret Orders in the world of Za Frûmi, a world the band seem to build up more and more which in itself is kind of unique, references to Latin, choirs, and other touches that make the album sound like it was recorded in an immense ancient cathedral. Or maybe in great mystical halls of the orders themselves.

While the elements being drawn on are certainly of an older range, the results owe as much to the technologies of arrangement, mixing, sound effects and production and a consciously cinematic feeling as much as they do antique pasts. Similarly, the feeling is not simply European but worldwide, with Kölle´s glossolalia intentionally reaching beyond easy understanding.

The overall feeling is of an great dark ancient religious service come to life with all kinds of dark soundscapes, strange instruments and some electronic , has stunning results.

If you already know Za Frûmi you must buy this CD. If you don´t know its music, try to imagine the best among fantasy film soundtracks such as LOTR with a varied instrumentation and with even more depth than the soundtracks. With the help of this magnificent album you create the"film" with your imagination.

I go so far to say "Legends act 4 - Orders" is the album of the year 2008 (so far).

This recording gives new hope to the continuance of Za Frûmi´s rich legacy.


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Artist: Za Frmi
Title: Legends act 3 - Cults
Format: CD
Label: Waerloga Records (@)
Rated: *****
The first thing that strikes one when hearing this album is how at home Za Frûmi is with the music. There is a palpable affinity with the rhythmic complexities, an ease with the difficult shifts of mood and tempo. The Vocals are very intimidating and sometimes (such as on "The Cult of Helzichor") beautiful. The music is harsh but not all the tracks. Some are complex and filled with extraordinary sound effects and intriguing music techniques.

The mood is constant and the always present dark fantasy feel is as good as it gets at times. I really enjoy the tracks that break off from the obvious apocalyptic sound like for an example with "The Cult of Mortalis". That´s when you hear the depth of Za Frûmi!

"Legends act 2 - Vampires" was all about the vampire and all what those stand for. The music this time out is much more aggressive...and more engaging. In comparison to the former albums in the series the music on "Cults" features a darker, more intense, and more fully developed "personality"... as well a greater number of action/suspense pieces. Apocalyptic moods, murderous sects of blood are what this album is all about!

"Legends act 3 - Cults" descends sometimes from the duo's usual nether atmospheres into a realm of tribal percussion and chant, casting a comprehensive net over various world music traditions. The tribal drums and the various interesting world music instruments used (as it seems it´s most of all not electronic instruments) are great.

One of the best surprises of the albums is the previous mentioned song "The cult of Helzichor" as it completely changes the style but yet feels true and not at all wrong. Very good.

Low male choir, deep percussion erupting with rambunctious brass and horns are present in many tracks. The album is more than action and tension as some of the tracks are creating "worlds" with the help of sounds, moods, chanting and invocations which Za Frûmi is so incredibly good at doing.

This is a must for all of you into dark ambient and all you who like world music bands such as Dead Can Dance.


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Artist: VV.AA
Title: Rckwrts Im Uhrzeigersinn
Format: 12"
Label: Das Drehmoment Records (@)
Rated: *****
RÜCKWÄRTS IM UHRZEIGERSINN is a new double vinyl compilation released by Das Drehmoment Records. You know me and my tastes and you should know that there isn't any of their releases that I didn't like and unsurprisingly the same goes with this one. Gathering sixteen bands with one song for each of them RÜCKWÄRTS IM UHRZEIGERSINN isn't focusing only on electronic music and this is the thing that surprised me. Syn with "That's you" play a new wave/punk cool track that recalled me the best Blondie tunes but it's like Syn played with the dark side of the songwriting. We already know some of the names involved into this compilation as Makina GirGir, Replicant (here with a beautiful dreamy electronic pop hit titled "Forbidden"), Dream Disco, Datafreq, Polygamy Boys and Lesbian Mouseclicks have already released different stuff and some of them have tracks on Das Drehmoment releases (do a search on our reviews to get more info).There are so many good tunes to dig on this double album. Try Dj Gio MC-505 (project of an Italian guy called Giosuè Impellizzeri, active also as reviewer on different websites like Basebog, Disc-jokey and music producer) with his "Intellivision", a retro electro track that sound like the best Clone singles. Dig also Lesbian Mouseclicks' "Double Dèjà-vu", a mysterious minimal pop tune or the electro extravaganza or Transactive Electrozone who with "The tourist" ignite the atmosphere with a neurotic approach. Starcluster feat. Elke B. with "Jusqu'à la Fin" bring some early '80s electro romance. The instrumental tracks need more attention because they sound less immediate but the whole compilation sounds cool and deserve your attention. You can check the excerpts at the label's website.
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Artist: Subheim (@)
Title: Approach
Format: CD
Label: Tympanik Audio (@)
Distributor: Ant-Zen
Rated: *****
The one-man-project SUBHEIM hails out of Greece and presents with "Approach" a debut signed to the Chicago Heights-based label Tympanik Audio. This fact is quite remarkable, because Kostas K., who stands behind the audio and visual results of SUBHEIM, is also one of the leaders of the new Greek label collective Spectraliquid. So it would be an easy procedure to release this album under the own flag, but luckily also the responsible people behind Tympanik Audio have washed their ears and are able to recognize the great talent, which sleeps in Kostas. The music of SUBHEIM is a sort of moody Ambient-Electronica, which allows musically comparisons between the works of POLYGON and/or the unforgotten US-duo GRIDLOCK. Already the exceptional and beautiful done cover art with its nature-, rain- and water-related photos done by Kostas, offers a first impression of the coming autumn. "Approach" is a rather sedating and gloomy trip into a cinematic sound outfit, which concentrates to combine Down-Tempo ambience with some dark but remarkable melodic spots, often inserted and presented with a piano ("Ybe 76", "Away", "Voces Perdidas"). Not too much sci-fi in its attitude, also no vocals are present, with the exception of some female background inserts provided by Katja, who was already active with SUBHEIM on the Spectraliquid "Konkrete" compilation appearance "Howl", also here present in a different version. "Approach" features 9 original tracks by Kostas plus 2 additional remix interpretations provided by the German FLAQUE and the up and coming Greek talent MOBTHROW. It’s an eclectic but very coherent arranged Ambient-Electronica album, which is the ideal disc to let you sink deep into an armchair with a pair of good headphones. Make sure to consume this fantastic Ambient journey without any disturbance, it deserves your fully attention. One of the best for this genre currently, check it out!
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Artist: Echostream (@)
Title: The Duality of Courage CD & Dragon CDS
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Echostream are a NJ-based kick ass electro-industrial band with three Japanese members (two of which female) and a line up comprised of two drummers (electric and acoustic), a keyboard player who loves to break Oxygen 8s on stage, a Japanese guitar player and a Japanese female lead singer with a beautiful ethereal voice. Their second full length CD "The Duality of Courage" just came out recently and features ten tracks of intense well-produced electronica that goes from being grand and majestic ("Static") to minimalistic and myserious ("Hole"; parts of "You Know"), with all the stages in between. It is obvious from the distant and reverberated piano parts that NIN is a great influence here, but Echostream's sound is more complex and a lot less raw, especially when compared to the last few of Reznor's records. What also sets them apart is the fact that instead of screaming into a mic and processing the outcome, Echostream went the opposite route: there's airy soft female vocal melodies by Ryoko that sit on top of a sophisticated bed of beats and layers synth sounds by Tony Grund. That is not to say that Echostream is a stranger to the unleashing of violent guitar-driven sonic attacks. Tomo certainly does have that up his sleeve ("Rip You Down"; "Contagious") but he also contributes to the darker ambiance of the mellower tunes with gently processed sounds and riffs in the background.
Released at the same time of the full length album, the single "Dragon" features (besides the title-track, obviously) two different versions of "Static" and a version of "Jane" which is not present on the album.
I've been wanting to see them live for a while and you should keep an eye out as well. Check out their online stores too, where you can get competitively priced CDs and merchandise.
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