Music Reviews



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Artist: Krystal System
Title: Underground
Format: CD
Label: Alfa Matrix
Rated: *****

"Underground" is the debut album from french coldwave/ ebm outfit Krystal System, a new addition to the expansive Alfa Matrix roster. There are 13 tracks total on this disc, and quite a lot of diversity is spread throughout them.
Some tracks are heavy on crunchy guitar riffs and anthemic structures ("Instar", "Demain N'existe Pas", "Mental"), while others focus more on symphonic atmosphere and eletro pop tendencies ("Krystal Song", "Underground"). The majority of the songs fall somewhere in between those two extremes, with each one having it's own unique personality.

While the music on "Underground" is awesome, it's probably the band's vocalist Bonnie that really seals the deal for me, due to her passionate and varied delivery. On one track she might sound like a sexy nymph and on another a distorted
aggro queen ready to destroy everything in sight. She sings in both French and English throughout the album, and sometimes when she's angry in the French parts Natasha from Ambasador 21 is brought to mind, but also because both bands have occasional male/ female choruses.

All in all, "Underground" is an expertly crafted and spotlessly produced selection of pounding beats, awesome synth lines, kickass guitar, and amazing vocals. I highly recommend you check this one out.
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Artist: Pulse State
Title: With a Single Step
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Rated: *****
What strikes me most in case of Pulse State is the approach to an audience. As Mike Phipps, the man behind the project says, 'the album is being offered at no charge as a way of saying "thank you" to the fans who have patiently waited for so long'. Sounds awesome, doesn't it?
The review could be ended in this point, as everyone can check the album themselves with no risk, but I'd like to make it clear that this is a very good release. The fact that it's free doesn't mean that it wouldn't be worth paying for. Undoubtedly it would be worth purchasing, as Pulse State seems to be as good as VNV Nation, Code 64 and other appreciated bands. The production is impeccable - it's definitely not low-end product or economy-class journey. Pulse State flies high, among the most notable futurepop bands. Sometimes it sounds like the bands I've already mentioned, sometimes it's close to Assemblage 23, Solitary Experiments and even Seabound. However, such similarities are not always an advantage, as you're rather unlikely to immediately recognise these songs clearly as Pulse State work if you hear it in a club. On the other hand, if you agree that in this genre there isn't much room for innovations, you'll certainly like this release as Pulse State definitely isn't a copycat.

'With a Single Step' consists both of emotional songs (January Love, Reconciliation) and potential club hits (Innocence, Watching Over). It doesn't make the album inconsistent though. Neither the fact that it was recorded in a long period of time does. These 9 tracks make a well-thought entity which would be attractive enough as a traditional release, and as a web release it is absolutely a must for fans of futurepop.
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Artist: GABRIEL LE MAR (@)
Title: Dubwize
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Thinner
Distributor: Finetunes
With a decade of activity and twenty albums on his shoulders, Gabriel Le Mar is releasing on the Thinner net label his latest one titled DUBWIZE. Active also as Subsonic Park, Aural Float, Justin Sequence and working with Aural Float (Alex Azary, Pascal F.E.O.S. and Gabriel Le Mar) on audiovisual concepts, Gabriel with DUBWIZE creates a wave of fluctuating sounds in balance from dub and house with a minimal approach to the musical structure. The tracks are long suites (most of them are 8 minutes long) where the variety of sounds isn't the main thing as my sensation is that Gabriel focused his efforts into creating tunes where the sound grow constantly and like a magma tend to trap the listener into its slow movement. Personally I'm more into techno/electro but I appreciated the fluctuating feeling I felt once I eased myself and closed my eyes...
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Artist: Eggbox
Title: Closed EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Al Dente Records
Rated: *****
This is a new EP from Italian minimal tech outfit Eggbox, released on the Al Dente netlabel. There are only 4 tracks on "Closed", but each track is around 5 minutes, which rounds it out to about 20 minutes, which I think is ideal time for the ADD world of internet music listening.

The sounds represented throughout these 4 tracks are all in the minimal techno side of things, with some glitch and ambient elements thrown in as well. Most of the tracks start with a small thudding almost 8 bit sounding bass drum in a 4/4 pattern, and slowly build up to add more depth with other drums and instrumentation, such as chilled out pads or reverberated found sound type things. However, the emphasis is placed clearly on the beat, which is fine by me.

This is nice stuff if you like minimal, somewhat ambient and chilled out techno. You can listen to it for free on the label's site, so you aren't losing anything but a few minutes of your life if you don't dig it.

Artist: Weetalife
Title: Wave Ta Bixe
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: 20 kbps recordings
Rated: *****


"Wave Ta Bixe" is a new album from Paris based project Weetalife, released on the 20kpbs netlabel. The release starts off as a high energy acid tech/house effort for the first two tracks, until the happy dance train is derailed by a minute long noisy, distorted, almost power electronics-esque track of vocals and beats that have been sped up to oblivion. It's actually not that bad at all, but it is rather jarring and unexpected on the first listen, which I guess is likely the point. I can dig it, but I can see how many folks who dig acid tech might not be as open to the burst of noise.

And while things do get less noisy, the album never returns to the more dance-able side of things, instead opting for an interesting, somewhat glitchy experimental route, which I also find enjoyable. If you think you can stomach the various different musical terrain explored here, I recommend you do so, because it's certainly worth the listen.

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