Music Reviews



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Artist: ZONK'T (@)
Title: -trope
Format: CD
Label: Sound On Probation (@)
Rated: *****
Less than a year ago I reviewed the previous Zonk't album "Purr" and now Laurent Perrier is back with a new work titled -TROPE. Since from the opening "Somersault" the new album presents itself as an interesting one. At a first listening I heard echoes of early Biosphere mixed with i.d.m. and techno intuitions. Laurent alternates tracks based on ambient rhythmical layers to others focused on bleeps and rhythms creating in this way a good album which is able to balance different sounds and atmospheres. Tracks like "Disruption" and the following "Look part.5" are a sort of i.d.m. music coming from outer space (along with the web of intricate rhythm there's also a certain surrounding sidereal cold feeling) while the first three tracks "Somersault", "Throb" and "Spark" are sounding more ambient techno. After those three tracks Laurent started to be carried away by a minimal approach while I was preferring his rich textures of melodies, pads and rhythms. The remaining tracks aren't bad ones but you have the same effect you have when you switch from a Chemical Brothers track (took one of their singles where there's always a catchy tune) to one by Autechre.
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Artist: POLVERE (@)
Title: self-titled
Format: 10"
Label: Wallace (@)
Rated: *****
This 10" comes right after the japanese tour of the band and be it the oriental air be it the food with which they've been nourished there, but this slab of vinyl features some of the best songs ever recorded by the band. If you never heard Polvere I think you'd better start by this release, the band is a duo including Xabier Iriondo and Mattia Coletti, probably the most active artists of the whole Wallace roster. This time they've been surrendering to melody much more than ever before and receded from their experimental side, the final result is there: a short collection of inspired and unconventional folk ballads. Acoustic guitar driven songs with some field recording, noises, instruments to enrich the scenario but the folk essence this time is top notch. The cut and paste work of post-production done by Iriondo is good as always but really discrete and this time fits wonderfully with what I think it's a psychedelic/seventies influence that probably lays in the background of both the musician involved in Polvere. I guess for those who loved the previous cd this could be worth of their money while for many of you this could be a good introduction to the band.

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Artist: SHINJUKU THIEF (@)
Title: The Scribbler
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
Originally released in 1992 by Dorobo (the label founded by Shinjuku Thief's Darrin Verhagen) in a limited edition of 500 copies, THE SCRIBBLER was the second album released by Shinjuku Thief. Commissioned by the Australian Lygon Arts Festival and originally titled "K", the first version of the score was used for a "Son et Lumiere" performance based on Kafka's "The trial". The visual part was cured by Richard Grant which included a collection of images of Kafka's Prague along with drawings, architectural diagrams and textural close ups (on this re-issue you can find three video clips of these videos which have been edited with parts of the score you can find of the CD). Originally the intention was to do an orchestral edition of the work for the following year but due a funding loss the project was cancelled. The year after Darrin Verhagen and Francois Tetaz (who then was a member of the project) re-worked the original material creating the fourteen tracks of this CD. As you could imagine the tracks of this album are focused on an orchestral (mainly piano and strings with few organ parts and choirs on "The parable") arrangement and few vocal samples or light ambience noises. The score is a good minimal ambient piece even if sometimes you feel the lack of its image counterpart. There's also a little electronic arrangement on the closing track "Vogelfrei II" with guitar and rhythmic part. A track which works well for the closing titles. If you like the In The Nursery's orchestral scores try this one also...
Artist: Schildpatt vs. Peeni Waali
Title: Shah
Format: CD
Label: Mensch Music
Rated: *****
Shah is the recent work in progress by Swiss bands Peeni Waali and Schildpatt. The expertly produced album is a generous collage of worldscapes and polished musical arrangements. A fusion of groovy bass, reggae beats, Swiss folklore, throat singing and African vocals manage to commingle with hints of prog rock, where there are guitar parts reminiscent of bands like the 5uu's or the Thinking Plague. Track 03 titled 'Sha Zoo' is an homage to the band Gentle Giant and track 05, 'Beacon of Hope Revisted - remix 2006' includes a poem by Linton Kwesi Johnson. If you like your world beats with a touch of prog rock this could be what you have been looking for.
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anymore
Artist: R010R (@)
Title: Gradual Destabilization
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
The first time I’ve discovered an audio result of this act was the fine compilation appearance of the R010R track "Brain Death", released on "Noise Terror Vol. 1" (NTP/Dependent) – to me already an outstanding piece of work, which kicked hefty into the asses of some so-called global scene-players like LEAETHER STRIP or SUICIDE COMMANDO. Packed in a DVD case, here comes the first solo onslaught of the NOISE PROCESS musician Michael Renfield, who lately has made a highly recommended comeback with his NP partner Tim Garelick and the release of the long anticipated "Groundzer0" album (www.dsbp.cx). An interview with Michael explaining the details behind the long hiatus of NOISE PROCESS and the finding of R010R should be up here on the site around the next days. Thanks to the unclear future of NOISE PROCESS, maybe also thanks to the separation of both band members being living in different US states (Michael has moved to New York, while Tim is still based in Arizona), this side-project has come to life. "Gradual Destabilization" therefore features all of Michael’s works through the years, it is self-released and offers 13 tracks with 74 minutes "of intense anti-genre Electro".

"Anti-genre"? Let’s say that Michael tries to point out that R010R isn’t trapped into a tight musically corset, which may counts more for NOISE PROCESS. He simply reflects with R010R his own audio preferences, which break here and there with some known boundaries. Therefore I tend to compare the musically output of R010R as a fine mixture of the works of NOISE PROCESS, DIE SEKTOR and new MENTALLO & THE FIXER. Not only regarding the opening track "Exist (Override)" I’m surprised by the offered speed on the first tracks and the provided complexity well-balanced in the arrangements and textures. The works of NOISE PROCESS can already be called high-energy and modern, but R010R definitively kicks more asses.

As a musician I would rate Michael’s at times unconventional efforts to integrate harsh and noisy textures as being inspirational – not to forget his fine sense to place the right and not-heard-before synth layer to offer a small catchy attitude ("Hypocrite"). Another striking exclamation mark he sets with the track "Soul Destruct" by providing distorted drum patterns, heavily manipulated textures and a strange disturbing vocal performance – a track which would be a pearl on every release out of the rhythmical Powernoise genre. "Brain Death" – for sure one of the most melodic tracks, while not at all offering a smooth mood - can’t be praised enough for its classic Dark Electro attitude. Be sure that this for sure best known track of R010R isn’t an exception – "Field Mechanik" or moreover "Peripheral" are standing in their starting-places to storm the international clubs immediately. With the track "Human Circumference", Michael likes to show his audience that he’s capable to offer a real Hellektro/Harsh EBM track featuring all the typical elements, which can cause envy to some artists out of the NoiTekk roster – a top-notch work musically and technically. Finally the above mentioned comparison to the latest MENTALLO & THE FIXER works finds its perfection with the track "Room With A View" – all I can see/hear is a massive wall of epic sound - hard, unconventional, disturbing, creeping, but also addictive – Gary Dassing would be proud to hold such item! Last, but not least, the final track "Crystal Cells" slows down the tempo and comes rather sedating thanks to a "Crucified Division"-like (:WUMPSCUT:) rhythm programming and melodic layers, while still offering a huge complexity.

So after this now more than 15 times consumed diverse and authentic sounding Electro/Industrial album, I come to the conclusion, that there are only two small riddles to solve:

1. What has Michael Renfield driven to use the pseudonym Michael McNulty?
2. And more important: why is this album self-released? Come on, it totally RAWKS and it is that awesome that it needs to be signed!!!

A top-notch album and a constant rival for the "album of the year" contest!

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