Music Reviews



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Artist: CAPRICE
Title: Kywitt! Kywitt!
Format: CD
Label: Prilosnovenie (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
Three years after the third "Elvenmusic" part, Caprice are back with a new masterpiece of faerie music. For this new "tale", Anton Brejestovski took inspiration from the Grimm brothers tales translated by Zhukovsky. This time the elves world is seen under the human eyes and for this reason it could seem also more hallucinatory than the usual. Anyway, I was really surprised with the opening song of the album, because "Dundellion wine" is a really good melting pot where you can find progressive rock, jazz, electronic arrangements and, as usual, the beautiful Inna Brejestovskaya's voice. Really amazing. Another track which see the band's members experimenting a little with new sounds is the short "More", where piano soft notes are joined by ambient sounds. Also "Peggy" and the closing "Fae fae fae fae fae fae fae" have an unusual sound for the band, because they are a sort of folk rock ballad with no orchestral sounds (and the latter one has also quite a funny/joyful sound with elves playing around). The remaining tracks have, as usual, a folk traditional musical and lyrical influence with great orchestrations or, as for "Philomel with melody" we have folk melodies played with cello and flute with the addition of a jazzy contrabass. KYWITT! KYWITT! is a less classical sounding album and sees the band reaching a new level into their art.
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Artist: Down Below (@)
Title: Sand In Meiner Hand
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Vertigo / Universal
Rated: *****
No one can seriously expect a filling review by receiving a 1-track SI-CD with a new track of Germany’s Alternative/Pop act DOWN BELOW. Hailing out of the German state Sachsen-Anhalt, DOWN BELOW have taken part at the famous Bundesvision Song Contest which happens year by year as a rival contest to the Eurovision Song contest and it got transmitted via TV through the German TV station Pro7. This happened in the middle of February and – surprise, surprise – Goth Rock seems to get more and more exposure of the audience, since DOWN BELOW could enter a fantastic and non-expected 3rd rank. Congratulations, also it has to be mentioned that SUBWAY TO SALLY, another German Goth-Rock institution could win this contest. "Sand In Meiner Hand" combines all good but also all known ingredients featuring a good composition and production, some orchestral-like string-sounds leading the tempo, some guitar riffs are accomplishing the refrain. Catchy as hell it doesn’t wonder too much that this stuff comes out mass-compatible. I wish them quite more radio inserts, since I would appreciate it a lot if stuff like this would get more attention against the uncountable faceless plastic-pop bitches.
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Artist: CLARA CLARA
Title: AA
Format: CD
Label: S.K. (@)
Rated: *****
French rock is healthy these days or at least that an obvious impression since I see so many rock oriented bands coming from over there. This Clara Clara is another indie punk-rockish outfit that put it all on melody and sure on distorted fat indie rock, I say this since differently from many other french combos they’re not into the post/math-rock thing, infact while playing instrumental they’re closer to some weird mix of basic Trans AM but way less technical plus juvenile and more solar in playing their funny melodies. They use the voices but just to add more color to the canvas because it’s not real vocals, the first obvious reference to identify their style is instrumental punk-rock that reminds some indie band of the Matador roster from back in the days and I’ll name one band for all since they’re/have been really underrated but they were so damn good and their name was 18th dye. I dunno if you’re able to remember that wonder trio but this french band is so unclean in playing some punk-pop tunes they’re really close to that german trio. They use a keyboard or something with a strong organ sound but distorted bass is the driving force in most of the tracks therefore while the skeleton of the song is represented by an energetic rhythmic session many of the melodies are depicted by the keyboardist. At time it sound childish, it’s meant without any doubt, this a party band indie poppers may enjoy it.





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Artist: ENVENOMIST (@)
Title: abyssal siege
Format: CD
Label: Snip-Snip records (@)
Rated: *****
I could haven’t find any better title for this release and if mighty Jules Verne only could have the chance to choose a soundtrack for "20000 Leagues Under the Sea" I’m sure this release would have some serious chance to win the first prize as official soundtrack for that masterpiece. Envenomist is David Reed you may know for a bunch of releases he’s signed during the last three years, honestly I didn’t know that much about it till a couple of months ago but the while surfing the infamous myspace net I’ve been captured by a couple of tracks. For the simple the sound is, after having listened just a couple of recording I’m not afraid to write in a world overcrowded of noise and neo-industrial artists this guy has something that makes the difference and that I really appreciate. Abyssal siege is mainly based on distant drones, echoes and noises so that’s it all sounds like you were listening to the sonorization of the abyss while in the womb of a submergible. From what I can guess the majority of the material composing this cd is borne out of superimposition of layers, but the work has been done in a really soft way and you always have a dominant sound which usually corresponds to the darkest one. That said despite the odd and grey atmosphere resulting from that stratification you don’t have that never-ending drone effect many newjacks coming out from black metal use with no moderation dragging it around for the whole recording. As you’ve probably understood we’re really far from one of those Sunn o))),Wolf eyes replicants the world never asked for, David Reed works in a really discrete manner and with a really light dark ambient touch that displays he really knows how to reach the climax and when it’s time to do it.


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Artist: YOSHIO MACHIDA (@)
Title: Hypernatural #3
Format: CD
Label: Baskaru (@)
Rated: *****
While first approaching Machida's release on Baskaru I was quite sure what I was going to review was a good japanese ambient cd but in someway that's a restrictive definition for Hypernatural #3. Infact while working with ambient sound and not betraying her being japanese, Machida joins the aforementioned characteristic with a strong contemporary attitude that's why this work by some means reminded me some of the early ambient composers coming from a learned background like David Cunningham who's 1991’s "water" on Made to Measure label remains a real masterpiece. Hypernatural #3 also reminded me of David Toop and again I think there a thread between the two artist I’ve mentioned so far in this review. On the other hand as I've said he's from the land of the raising sun and you can bet those ambient-japanese electronic sounds you either love or hate are probably part of the DNA and sure I'm in the ranks of those who love them. It's a soft work that despite some electronic aesthetic is much closer to classic ambient than to Minamo, Neina or names like those we've encountered so far. Simplicity and refined gentleness as you probably expect a release like that to be and you won't be disappointed since Hypernatural #3 won't betray those simple but basic rules. What I found quite characteristic of this release and that makes the difference between Machida and many young japanese composers is the fact he has this old school ambient approach that makes it in some way heavier but in a positive way, for example just take the closing tracks of the cd, the music is so low it's even hard to get what's happening you have this really distant sound fading in the background while on the surface you hear a soft and silent field recording of birds singing I'm not surprised he gave this closing track the same title of this release, the fact is it probably embodies the spirit of the whole concept thought It really sounds hyper-natural. Another reason for which I’ve been comparing Machida and Cunningham, despite the fact their music is considerably different, is that they’re both musicians before using electronics, infact Yoshio is a steel pan player, believe it or not from this work is really hard to get this thing and to me that’s another point of interest to give a listen to his last work.

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