Music Reviews



Artist: vv.aa. (@)
Title: DTrash Records 2007 New Releases Mix
Format: CD
Label: DTrash Records (@)
Rated: *****
DTrash Records is a Canadian based label formed in 1998. The label’s mission is to create an international network of extreme electronic music. This compilation is meant to represent the label’s releases in 2007. This compilation is a single track composed of 10 artists and 18 songs. Most of the artists on this compilation are represented twice.

First, let me say that a single-track compilation is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that I was forced to listen to every second of this compilation, and was not allowed to make snap judgments. The curse is that I cannot easily return to the tracks I enjoyed.

Second, the music: Since this compilation is various artists in a single track, I will write all of my impressions in a single sentence. The music represented by this release is akin to Atari teenage riot meets mochipet with hints of mindless self indulgence and the riot grrl movement, and major digital hardcore and gabber influences. This release is, much like the label’s mission, extreme electronics. The highlights for me were the works of Hansel, Babylon Disco, Heartworm, Mind Disruption, 64 Revolt, and Contra. Honestly, I enjoyed almost everything I heard.

DTrash Records’ 2007 New Releases Mix is a very aggressive mix of heavy electro-percussive sounds and angry post-punk vocals. The compilation kept me on my toes for the entire hour it played. If this release is any indication of the quality output from DTrash Records, I would sincerely recommend anyone with an interest in progressive electronics to check this label out.
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Artist: BJ NILSEN & STILLUPPSTEYPA
Title: Passing Out
Format: CD
Label: Helen Scarsdale
Rated: *****
After "Viking Brennivin" and "Drykkjuvisur Ohljodanna", the three Icelanders' studies on the effects of fiendish alcohol use come to an end, quite obviously "passing out". The cd features a hour-long track, titled "Scandinavian Tourist", embodying several fragments, or movements, with a constant sullen haze. Sounds get blurred just like the sight before collapsing into unconsciousness, and as in a drunken trip, not everything is memorable, probably not much will be remembered at all, but a vague feel (and the hangover) is there. Out of the grey droning mass, a few more recognizable sounds emerge now and then, like Oren Ambarchi's maracas which give a sort of ritual feel to that passage, or some detuned voices (Leif Elggren's?), hisses and grinding loops. Thirsty and miserable.
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Artist: Samplescience (@)
Title: Plastikdisc
Format: CD
Label: Brown Coffee Records (@)
Rated: *****
Samplescience the electronica/near-IDM project of Pierre Parenteau, who hails from Canada. Plastikdisc is the first release from this artist since 2002, and is released by artist-owned Brown Coffee Records. This CD-r contains 15 tracks, which range between one and five minutes of length. The songs compiled on Plastikdisc are a collection of works composed between the years 2006 and 2008.

Samplescience’s Plastikdisc is a very unassuming release. The liner notes work as a disclaimer, explaining that this album is built for the purpose of simple, easy listening music. The liner notes did my job for me. All of the tracks compiled here are comfortable and unchallenging, and invoke a certain sense of dreaminess.

Plastikdisc reminds me of the early 90’s Artificial Intelligence movement by Warp Records. This is very much in the same vein as early Autechre and B12. The tracks are all enjoyable, and the only major complaint I have is that I wish Samplescience would have fostered more commitment. Parenteau has created a legitimately interesting release; he builds worlds that cause me to slip into a comfortable daze, but then ends most of the worlds within three minutes. I’d like to hear more.
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Artist: SUN PLEXUS 2
Title: En souvenir de l'horreur
Format: CD
Label: Ronda
Rated: *****
A new full-length from this Rumanian-relocated-in-France trio, who's been active since 1993 without the "2" in their monicker. Take a look at their promo pictures and you'll start noticing something ugly, totally confirmed by their gloomy, neurotic "rock". Sun Plexus 2 seem to have absorbed 30 years of expressionist, dischordant, fucked-up music which could still be remotely connected with the corpse of rock'n'roll: early Sonic Youth, Einstürzende Neubauten, Jesus Lizard, Oxbow, Chrome, Mars, Contortions... all came to mind while listening, which doesn't imply that Sun Plexus 2 are mere copycats. My picks would be "Pussy purée", with its robotic moves and a cascade of jangly guitars, and the remarkable last three tracks ("Die pipipuppe", "A force de suce" and especially "Planète fiston"), which increase the feel of doomed desperation and mental meltdown of the album, with paranoid electronics and tortured vocal rants closer to a black metal style than to anything remotely "singalong". The psychic fogs of these final minutes are worth the whole ride.
Artist: B-Machina
Title: DNA
Format: Tape
Label: Smell the Stench (@)
Distributor: Skull Fucking Metal
Rated: *****
B-Machina and Kenji Siratori’s DNA is the first collaboration by these two well-known underground ambient noise musicians. B-Machina also operates as Bone Machine and hails from Austria. Kenji Siratori is also a popular cyber punk fiction writer and hails from Japan. This 74 minute cassette release is not only a collaboration of artists, but a collaboration of labels: Smell the Stench Records of Australia and Skull Fucking Metal of Canada. This release is composed of six tracks, three on each side of the cassette. Each track is approximately 15 minutes in length.

The image DNA places in my mind’s eye is of warped transmissions from a dying planet. Indiscernible voices apathetically preach of the end of times as the world around them slowly fails and fades into another chapter of infinite history. The first track, Anti Vital, while in the same theme as the rest of the album, stands very much alone. It’s theme is very militant and oppressive, but is comprised of off-kilter rhythmic samples. This track is a strange offset to the rest of this release, but is very likable and I will return to it often.

As a whole, this release rides the line between a passive sense of loss and hopelessness, a collection of uncaring eulogies for the dead and dying. Every track is filled with ongoing drones and voice samples. I am somewhat familiar with the works of both B-Machina and Kenji Siratori. I could not honestly say I can tell which artist performed which role on this release. This is a very strong example of the abilities of each artist, and speaks well for the collaborative effort between the artists and labels.
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