Music Reviews



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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Spectra - Guitar in the 21st Century
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Quiet Design records (@)
Rated: *****

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You might remember Austin TX based label Quiet Design (run by our very own contributing writer Mike Vernusky) for their original take on steel drum in experimental music (which I reviewed a couple of years ago). Similarly to that release, this compilation aims at offering a new perspective of contemporary ways of how guitar can be used in the fringe musical genres that we came to love so much. With artists joining in from everywhere around the world, "Spectre" offers ambient soundscapes, artsy noodling, minimal sophisticated playing and highly processed soundscapes, all rigorously created with the beloved stringed instrument (which sometimes is easy to forget and is still surprising every time you remind yourself while listening). My favorite pieces are the minimalist acoustic piece by Tokyo-based Tetuzi Akiyama, the poly-chromatic colorful but dark composition by Mike Vernusky himself and Erdem Helvacioglu's ethereal and crystallized experimentations; the other featured artists include: Sebastien Roux and Kim Myhr (minimalist guitar based glitch music), Quiet Design's right hand Cory Allen (eerie and melancholic ambient textures), Keith Rowe (experimentations with noise and subdued feedbacks) and the prolific, reclusive and self-indulging Jandek who just strums away his detuned guitar while doing some drunken lamenting singing and even playing some harmonica (I guess Mike made an exception for him - there's a documentary movie about him on Netflix if you are curious about his music). "Spectre" also features beautiful organic art work and photography by Michael McGill, who does all of Quiet Design's covers.
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Artist: Flesh Eating Foundation
Title: Purging
Format: CD EP
Label: Rebco (@)
Distributor: Plastic Haed
Rated: *****
A lot of music reviewers as well junkpunk lovers and Alec Empire-ian universe's satellites gave this uk aggro-industrial band a warm welcome after the issue of their premiere full LP, entitled Seethe, two years ago, even if their style's partially inspired by the harshest side of digital punk, which someone considers as an agonizing glamorous trend - maybe that's the reason why there are so many references to zombies... -. This is partially true as you could easily recognize some influences of mid 90's industrial bands such as Atari Teenage Riot or Dan Gatto's Babyland, but they show a trespassing musical personality (even if someone could argue that zombies lost their soul!) even when they throw stereotyped massive noise walls joining them to some bangings from recognizable drum machines and emulators. And the proof that this foundation (not intended for vegans and pro-clerical people) shows more than a wide assortment of bangs, clangs, lasers and bleeps is given in this EP. The favourite shooting target of these famished digital punksters seems to be the hypocrisy of religious organizations and organized religions, a smashing invective screamed by The Juddaman - lovely according to an unpredictable response from our ears ,the way he chooses for growling, shouting and tweaking "God"! - in the lyrics of Godless (it's reasonable you'll scream "we don't need your sins, we don't need your god, we don't need your lies,... " as if possessed after repeated listenings... it's just a temporary possession, mummy and daddy!), an ass-shaker virulent danceable track which it's going to be played by a lot of djs selecting this kind of stuff for their followers. Godless has been so appreciated that these butchery's fanatics decided to run a remix contest on their website. In Purging Ep, you could listen three of the remixes they received from their fanbase. The Ladder one is the most danceable (a sort of techno-ebm-march with a rough distortion on an alarm sound...), the Digicore one shows a punkey set on a sort of jungle which is soon covered by the sound of a distorted guitar and by violent kickin' grape-shots, while the Multi-Panel one has a strange weirdy appeal with an astonishing mumbling chord. We really appreciated the lyrics of Victims, reminding the brutal assassination of Sophie Lancaster and her boyfriend Robert Maltby, a famous murder case in Great Britain, as they were killed just for their attachment to the goth way of wearing. Victims is not the first tribute to these victims - one of the first to write a song ("Illusion") for them was Ronan Harris by VNV Nation -, but we agree with the intent of denouncing one of the most frightening example of social intolerance. Different interpretations could be given to the words of Fucking Sick, demostrating the lyricist knows the tricks of the trade quite well! The most intimate tracks of this ep are Septic and You Made Me Suffer, the latter of which has something morbid reminding to us a mixture of Sonic Youth and Starfish Enterprises covered with a slighlty digital sauce. After listening to this good ep - you'll never hear any tracks from it on Vatican radio...we're almost sure about that! -, you'll have a persuading explanation of the reason why they shared the stage with most famous names of the scene such as Sheep On Drugs, Caffeine Kill, Angelspit, Das Ich, Funker Vogt, Killing Miranda and many others. Hurry up if you're a cd maniac disliking digital downloads as the CD version of Purging is available as a limited edition run of 300 individually numbered copies.
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Artist: SIURISMO
Title: The Uninvited Guest
Format: 12"
Label: Monkeytown Records
Distributor: Rubadub
Rated: *****
First release of the newborn Monkeytown Records, label run by the two members of Modeselektor, Siurismo's THE UNINVITED GUEST is a six tracks MLP that can be filed under a new genre: "weird dance electronic gem". From the info sheet I read that "Siriusmo, aka Moritz Friedrich, is a real survivalist, played in a band for many years and is a fan of old keyboards. As a professional artist (painting, illustration, graffiti) Siriusmo lives off temporary jobs and even does construction work now and then". Well, I can only tell since the first track titled "The door" that Moritz is able to mix catchy electro beats, irony (the fake vocals of the wolf who's trying to catch the three little pigs is hilarious) and great sounds. The main track is a mix of electro and techno with upbeat tempo and obsessive but catchy melodies. "High together" is starting like an electro salsa tune and then it blasts off like an electro funky dance irresistible song. "Nights off" is a nice instrumental electro pop tune a la Digitalism but a bit more melancholic. "Let me in" is techno, electro and grime at the same time and it is really bouncing. The closing "Von kopf bis fuss" is an orchestral/techno short madness. This 12" will be released in June, don't miss it and write on your calender that at the end of the year will be out also Siurismo's debut album always on Monkeytown Records. Great release indeed!
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Artist: CROSSOVER
Title: Space Death
Format: CD
Label: Punch Records (@)
Rated: *****
The fact that Punch Records was changing was already evident with their latest compilation I reviewed here few months ago. Crossover's new album SPACE DEATH is the first full length release after that compilation and now we can see that Tairy definitely focused his attention on electronic music (but nothing is definitive and even if the next label's release will be a new 12" by ex Ersatz Audio's Magas, you can never tell what's next with Punch Records). Anyway... Let's talk about Crossover now. The duo is active since early 00's and released two albums on Gigolo Records (their second one "Cryptic and Dire Sallow Faced Hoods Blast Off into Oblivion" has been released in 2005). Their music could be superficially filed under electro and even if in the past they have been invited to fashion events their music has more than one disturbing/disturbed elements. Calling their style "gloom" music, Crossover on SPACE DEATH delivered ten songs in balance from electro with minimal arrangements and dancey attitude and something with a sort of theatrical approach (see for example the closing "Caveman To Spaceman" which musically seems a jazzy weird version of the opening "Black Mess" or the semi Devo like craziness of "Computer Simulated Mountains"). The lyrics have been written on a summer in the Arizona desert and someway also the music have that sort of acid approach. Check five tracks at the Punch Records' release page.
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Artist: NIKO SKORPIO
Title: Psilocybe Necrophilia
Format: CD
Label: Some Place Else (@)
The album title refers to a mushroom which grows on decomposing flesh so for his newest album, PSILOCYBE NECROPHILIA, Niko Skorpio applied the same transmutation process to music using Km of old tapes to give birth to new music. From death arise new life so the six track of this album are like born from an alchemical process. Musically most of the tracks sound experimental and ambient but with a certain amount of tension which is crawling between the sounds of the CD. The treated tape cut-ups, sound like struggling dead souls and the whole result is a sort of psychedelic death trip.
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