Music Reviews



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Artist: Humour Malade (@)
Title: Humour Malade
Format: 12"
Label: Brouillard Définitif (@)
Rated: *****
Another great release from the Brouillard Définitif label after the new album by Guerre Froide and the Leitmotiv collection (a must for everyone into coldwave or darkwave). Humour Malade are an obscure French act hailing from Aix-en-Provence. They were active between 1988 and disbanded in 1992 - they recorded more than 100 songs and covers but no records, singles or even demos were put out - this lp is a selection of their finest moments plus a cover of Joy Divison's "Exercise One" and let me say it... the result is a monster of an album. Musically they are close to the coldwave bands and the overall sound of the album is soaked in a lo-fi reverb, so it's all a little abstract (Cabs are stated among their influences). The LP is on clear vinyl and comes with an amazing artwork. A major recommendation for this one and I strongly hope to hear something else from their archives.
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Artist: Moth Electret
Title: lil
Format: CD
Label: mystery sea (@)
Rated: *****
Stig Berg is famous for having created one of the most beautiful and inspiring ambient albums of the last few years, "The Nacrasti", released under the name R|A|A|N, sadly overlooked but with a strong cult status in the dark ambient scene. This new release as Moth Electret keeps its obscure roots but deals with different sounds - the compositions here on "Lil" are made by field recordings collected in areas with fishing activities like Eureka in California or Barcellona's Harbour. The result is slightly different from the usual droney works out on the Mystery Sea label - there's a lot of movements here, best enjoyed with your headphones on.
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Artist: OBJECT (@)
Title: The Ethane Asylum
Format: CD
Label: E.A.R. / Vendetta-Music (@)
Distributor: KDG Media
Rated: *****
Still numbed by the last months’ release of the French NEON CAGE EXPERIMENT, the Denver-based label Vendetta-Music in collaboration with E.A.R. has already a next valuable horse to start off, this time the German one-man Dark Electro artist OBJECT. OBJECT is Andreas Malik and he has made himself already a good name with his earlier 2 full-length albums "Part Time Paranoia" and "The Reflecting Skin", both released during 2001 – 2002 on the now defunct German label Broken Seal (MIMIC MIND, TERMINAL STATE, BLINK TWICE; DISHARMONY...). Also not to forget his glorious days during a fruitful tape phase starting in 1994 to 1998 where he released three own produced demos and a first CDR entitled "Self-Designed Eden". It has happened in early 1996 that Andreas could make his first CD appearance ever with his track "Amkura 3" available on the compilation CD accomplishing to the German Vertigo-magazine 02/1996 (r.i.p.), an appearance which had my personal involvement and brings still a smile back in my face.
Lately here and thanks to his hard work and will to improve and to grow on all terms of production, OBJECT became very soon a secret tip and could grab the attention of the responsible people at Broken Seal, who have always distributed Andreas’ demo tapes through their mail order service. Broken Seal built their label with the intention to release the first CD releases mostly by bands which have sold well their demo tapes through them. Therefore the signing of OBJECT was rather expected than a wonder. Both albums are still quality relicts of a past where was a lack of quality Dark-Electro music in vein of old INFORMÄTIK, PULSE LEGION plus the layered works of earlier MENTALLO & THE FIXER in Germany. Often, very often Andreas gets compared with the before mentioned patterns and there’s surely a constant amount of truth behind this.
A typical trademark in the music of OBJECT can be named with the cold, but melodic multiple synth pads, his abilities to work out some spacey moods are still outstanding. Andreas trusts once again mainly his programming skills on the Roland workstation XP-50 and it seems a bit that he can’t think of to produce music without this not very new synth. To each its own, also "The Ethane Asylum" seems to be completely composed and arranged thanks and through this synth. Therefore all who have been consumed the earlier works of OBJECT before, will find themselves quite familiar with the new album. Andreas didn’t exchange that much of his equipment, the used sounds and drum programs as it seems, he may develops some of his compositional efforts here and there.

Some pieces have be named as being outstanding. "Dreamer Without Dreams" convinces completely through its well-thought usage of eerie synth layers and smooth piano textures. Not very danceable thanks to the use of some "broken" drum patterns though, but a complex kind of programming which "wows" the listener. The ballad-like "Existence On Trial" surprises with a vocal performance by RESPIRANCE, which drifts between Synthpop-like calm to vocoderized to slightly distorted. "End Of Sin" is maybe the most accessible work of Andreas with a steady beat and an easy-to-follow bass line and drum pattern programming. Two additional remix works by MC1R (presents a remix of "The Reflecting Skin", the title track of the last OBJECT album) and BRAIN LEISURE (a very FLA-sounding remix on the title track "The Ethane Asylum") accomplishing this top-notch dark Electro album with a playing time of more than 75 minutes.
"The Ethane Asylum" is an expected album and this isn’t meant negative. At least it is also an album a lot people were hoping and waiting for. Too much Hellectro/Trancewhackedgoregalore-productions (copyrighted term by electrofreak) are still the leading force in the clubs, let’s hope that this production receives enough positive recognition to become a constant force against this virus. Let’s finally hope that OBJECT won’t let us wait another 6 years before a next new album will be ready.

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Artist: Joseph Auer
Title: Inner Galaxies
Format: CD
Label: Boltfish Recordings (@)
Rated: *****
Spare, no-frills, 13-track space-music techno CD from this Tokyo-based artist comes on in retrograde, in the form of thudding, vintage-drum-machine-sound, early Rave done up in sad, melodious Ambience. Many of the treatments and sounds bring back fond memories of The Orb's U.F.Orb in particular, but these are no longer the glory days of '90s techno. Only track 2, "I Can Feel It Tonight," makes any effort to bend the boundaries of convention.

There's nothing really wrong, here, it's just that the pounding, tribal rhythm paired with the lush chimes, echoes, uniformly-chorded synth progressions and offbeat scales makes for a puzzlingly incongruous blend. If you happen to be a more forward-thinking member of the musical populace, as far as Inner Galaxies is concerned you may wish for there to be more to the story. On the other hand, although Auer's intentions may be otherwise, this CD could be the perfect soundtrack for the world's loneliest rave. But seriously, this is not to knock it, because it's the kind of universe any number of folks could enjoy getting lost in -- you never know.
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Artist: SARALUNDEN & ANDREY KIRITCHENKO (@)
Title: There Was No End
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Nexsound (@)
Rated: *****
Second CD release for Sara Lunden and Nexsound both. This time Sara is working with the label's boss Andrey Kiritchenko. The six tracks of the CD present a particular blend of electronic arrangements (almost glitch) mixed with light noises, electric guitars and the characteristic Sara's vocal approach which is in balance from melancholy and intimacy. These tracks recalled me one of the most melodic releases of Bpitch Control (Damero first album) but without the rhythmic research which here is substituted by the synth/noise multi layer approach. "Take your chance when you have it", instead, is a sort of alternative modern folk track with acoustic guitar and noises. This is the track I appreciated most along with "Erotic dreams", a track with a good mix of melody, rhythms (the other ones didn't have a rhythmic section) and electronic experimentation. This release is interesting as well the other was but they both tend to be focused on a calm melancholic approach which is ok in this case since we have six songs E.P.s. but which could tend to be a little repetitive in the case of a full length.
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