Music Reviews



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Artist: reFLEXible (@)
Title: realgar
Format: CD
Label: Amirani (@)
Rated: *****
First non-Italian band on Amirani and from what I’ve heard it’s part of natural process of internationalization/expansion of their catalogue, I don’t think it’s up to an intentional choice, it probably just happened naturally plus from what I’ve seen Gianni Mimmo (label owner and musician) has been playing quite often up there in Belgium (reFLEXIble home country) so if I it has to be consider it a logical step. "Times are changing" and it’s interesting how beside this new release, the global atmosphere of the label has gone darker and more abstract lately, if you had any suspicion about the fact the jazz background of many musicians of the roster could restrict the range of the label, you’ll probably change your mind about it. This trio combines an alto saxophone, a trumpet/fluegelhorn and a guy on live electronics, they sail a quite calm but misty "contemporary sea". I think they combine acoustic sound and electronics in an intelligent manner flirting with electro-acoustic music, but I’m glad this recording doesn’t present the same interchangeable variety of sounds where you hardly distinguish a guitar a piano and the nature of every sound, infact even when "lost in sound" reFLEXible develop every sentence for the sake of what ends resulting a coherent dialogue, that’s why besides playing those oddly strangulated notes they follow some logical progression or they look for stops leaving epiclesis back home. "Realgar" belongs to the category of recordings where silence has a central function, let’s say a real role as the forth band member, silence is not just the fourth element with which the other members have to confront but weights on the whole recordings giving it its character it has. Also natural live reverb of the location in which it all had been played/recorded paints the music with a strong color and considering reFLEXible is a really measured trio, it may give a big hints of the sound of the whole work. When saying they’re measured I meant this trio belongs to that category of bands that have no rush to push every sound straight in your face and while going for sobriety you won’t have any doubt that every firm or soft sound they play is well pondered. Last and most important: if you’re looking for any traditional form of melody you’ll be disappointed since in these four long tracks they didn’t surrender to any form of traditional music... mittle european abstraction to the bone.
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Artist: SHINJI YAMASHITA
Title: Niraikani
Format: CD EP
Label: MOMT (@)
Rated: *****
Available as CR-r EP or via mp3 downloads NIRAIKANI is the latest release by the Japanese electronic experimenter Shinji Yamashita. Mixing traditional Japanese melodies with i.d.m./de-constructed rhythms and ambient synth sounds, Shinji creates particular cold electronic experimental moments based on synth sounds. The best track of the lot of three you could check to have a clear example of what he does is "Hakanasa": it starts with a short piano melody just to turn into a '70s electronic ambient tune with jazzy rhythms. Little by little the rhythms increase thanks to bleeping electronic sounds and loud drums. The track has different stops and go where each time it changes a little. The final result is a particular blend of jazzy electronic experimental traditional track. The closing track "Kuroi uta", instead, changes totally the approach with its free core approach where melodic parts turn suddenly into a rhythms orgy. Interesting release for experimental lovers.
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Artist: ATTRITION (@)
Title: Smiling, At the Hypogonder Club
Format: CD
Label: Two Gods (@)
Distributor: Voice Print
Rated: *****
SMILING, AT THE HYPOGONDER CLUB is an album I'm fond of. Firstly because my brother used to receive Third Mind records and I was checking the releases I liked most (and Attrition along with Bushido were the ones I appreciated most along with the "Rising from the red sand" tape compilations) and secondly because the album along with the "Shrinkwrap" 12" is able to mix dark atmospheres, dancey attitude and electronic sounds. This reissue will satisfy all the people out there that like me dug these two releases, because this remastered CD collects them both along with "Fusillade III" originally released on the "For your ears only" compilation. Here with an expanded line up including Alex Novak (Venus Fly Trap), Pete Morris (later of Psychic TV), and Dutch singer Marianne Teunissen, Attrition were at their first high budget production and they didn't spoil the chance of doing a good album able to show their less experimental dark side (on this CD it stars with "Fusillade Pt.1" and originally it was the first song of the album B side) and also to make songs like "Mind drop" or "Pendulum turns" (also included into the "Shrinkwrap" 12") which mix electro dance attitude, dark atmospheres and catchy melodies. Here with Alex Novak on vocals (check his particular deep hoarse voice) Attrition reached a new level where tracks like "My eyes" (a semi ambient dreamy spoken word) or "Hallucinator" (a claustrophobic energetic electronic cold wave tune) are coupled by electro wave gems like "The game is up" or the aforementioned "Mind drop" and "Pendulum turns".
Artist: THE EFFIGIES
Title: Reside
Format: CD
Label: Criminal I.Q. Records
Distributor: Criminal I.Q. Records
Rated: *****
Just saw The Effigies last night at club Damaged and it was history in the making. The Effigies have been around since the early 80's and have played throughout the circuit for years and years. They took a break for a while and now are back older but better than ever! The album called, " Reside " and it rocks. we open with Track one, " The Full Weight of Failure" is a fun guitar oriented track about the art of failing. John sings to us, " There once was sky, hope was high, now full weight and is just heavy on the eyes ." Truth to be told and told well to teach us a lesson that the chips may be up but sometimes they are down. Next we move on to Track two, " Night Train " which is an all out dance assault to begin with. In your face and ready for action to get you moving and dancing the beat of this great band. John sings to us , " Once was hoped for it's now too late, once was worked for it's now too late, once was planned for it's now too late, once was loved towards it's now too late. " John things of the grim things in life how they don't stay the same and how sometimes it's not for the best. I personally got up to dance to this then resumed on this review. Still progressing on we move to Track 3, " Cold Plate" which is a track I see racing against time. A pure mission track to be played in the car for that long drive to your destination through pure rock and roll. John sings to us, " Do you remember we met? , a better man would forget? This track had balls of steel and really told the tale and well to the many that wanted to listen to this dark tale of past and present. One particular track that stuck out was Track 6. " The Guv'ner " which was one hell of a political track that really had some blood, sweat and tears poured into it. John sings, " Cause this is war, we've had enough, if you need more, this is the place where I live." I admire anyone that can sing about the concept where it stands, too much war and to tell it like it really is, kudos to that.! All the tracks on this album have a continuing thread of chapters in this mans life through good and bad and great challenges and ricks that make up life. I really can appreciate a singer who tells it like it is no matter how bad the truth hurts, rock on to that aspect. The rest of this album is just pure heavy energy all mixed up in a ball waiting to burst out and get you rocking to the beat and leaving home with something to remember. See this band, buy there album and burn the effigy and celebrate history like it should be, in your face and telling its tale to be written again. 4 stars ~ Michelle Russo
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Artist: EXTRAWELT
Title: Schöne Neue Extrawelt
Format: CD
Label: Cocoon Records (@)
Distributor: Intergroove
Rated: *****
Formed by Hamburg born artists Arne Schaffhausen and Wayan Raabe, Extrawelt is releasing the first album SCHONE NEUE EXTRAWELT after three years passed releasing 12"s for labels such as Kompass Musik, Traum Schallplatten, Gemini Recordings, etc. Active since the early '90s in the dance scene Arne and Wayan started to release their own tracks on 1999 as Spirallianz and the year after also as Midimiliz. The duo started to work at the first Extrawelt album two years ago: they wanted to span through different genres of electro/techno/ambient and prepared 25 tracks but they soon realized that in the end that wasn't working for them so they experimented different tracks during their live show and then they re-worked them during that period. The twelve tracks of SCHONE NEUE EXTRAWELT (nine on the double album edition) deal with minimal techno music bringing to the audience different ways of interpreting it. Using a lot of melodic ambient subtle melodies on the opening "One three hill" and on the following "Darkside of my room" the duo created two fantastic tracks that are able to hypnotize with their dreamy like sound and at the same time energizing the listener with techno low frequencies rhythms. "Wippsteert" and "Messy machinery" change the approach by using less catchy melodies and sticking more on cyclic rhythms/melodies more usual to minimal techno. "Must attack" mix ambient to acid techno while "Trümmerfeld" has pure distorted techno bass lines mixed with treated/reverbered synth lines. "Wolkenbruch" mix house rhythms with acid/ambient sounds creating a particular effect. "Added Planet" mix ambient and techno with electro vocals while the one minute short "Kurt Curtain (Skit)" sounds almost like an experiment with rhythms. "Daten raten", "Lost In Willaura" and "Homing" mix ambient atmospheres with minimal techno and close this 77' long album which has a lot of good tracks and sounds but if you want my honest opinion at a first listening you'll fall in love with "One Tree Hill" and "Dark Side Of My Room" because they are able to create a great ambience with catchy melodies.
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