Music Reviews



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Artist: ATTRITION (@)
Title: 3 Arms & A Dead Cert
Format: CD
Label: Two Gods (@)
Distributor: Voiceprint
Rated: *****
Originally released in 1996 by Hyperium (Project took care of the U.S. edition) 3 ARMS & A DEAD CERT has been one of the most successful album for Attrition and for sure it is one that re-defined their sound. Thanks to the collaboration of Franck Dematties of the Paris Opera on viola (check the closing "Prelude" to be pleased by the sound of his instrument), the twelve tracks of the album are sounding particular thanks to different "oppositions": first we have the chants of Julia Waller which are balanced by the deep whispered vocals provided by Martin (this style remembered me a little Adi Newton of the second Clock Dva period started with "Advantage"), then we have the upbeat electronic textures of drums and synth lines which are balanced by the romantic but at the same time sad tunes, performed by the viola. The opposition of dark atmospheres and upbeat rhythms are making of this album a good one where you can find a strong electronic background along with some ambient dark experimentations (see the piano/vocals/viola/samples mix on the cinematic "Predicament"). A really good album which now see the light again with a remastered version available worldwide.
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Artist: MEAT BEAT MANIFESTO
Title: Autoimmune
Format: CD
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****
After the success of 2005 "At The Center", Jack Dangers is back with a new album titled AUTOIMMUNE, released by Planet Mu on CD and double vinyl. The ten tracks base their sound on four things: exaltation of bass frequencies, grime bass lines, dub ambience and distortion. The album opens with "Hold the mic!" which features reggae muffin like vocals of Daddy Sandy. Reverb, picked strings, tight rhythm and upfront bass lines are the key elements of this one. "Children of earth" slow down the rhythm a little bit but it always pushes hard on the the intricate web of rhythms pedal by duetting with the fat and distorted bass. "House of unique stink" (which features Dubloner) sounds more like an upbeat ambient house track with subsequent dubstep rhythms and vocals. "Live and direct" is a live track which is focused on rhythm craziness and reverbered bass. "Less" and "Lonely soldier" are a good mix of fluctuating atmospheres and bass distortions with tight rhythms and vocal samples. "Spanish vocoder" and "Return to bass" follow the same scheme but being more distorted than ambient. "Guns'n'lovers" could be a good hypnotic dancefloor killer with its liquefied guitar/synth lines and distorted drum. The album closes with a distorted dub killer titled "Hellfire".
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Artist: ARKANE
Title: Enraptured Serene Mesmerism
Format: CD
Label: Secution Prod (@)
Rated: *****
ENRAPTURED SERENE MESMERISM is the second Arkane album which has been released six years after "Arcane Elitism" published back then by Fossil Dungeon. This new work contains eight tracks which sound like movements of an opera. Based on the female vocal ability of ArcanumX and on Drg's strings orchestration (with the participation of Stephen Svanholm/Sibelian and Arcanstra M. for some recitative parts), the album create a convincing dark opus. Sounding like mermaids' hypnotic chants, the tracks are composed by few elements (few orchestral parts plus the female vocal performances) but the bravura of the musicians is here evident (because isn't simple at all of being able to catch people's attention which such few minimal elements) and make them succeed into the creation of a magical atmosphere. There's also a recurrent theme which we find since the opening main track that is a sort of link that lead us through the different movements. From Greece, Arkane are here to let you lose your senses by enrapturing your soul with witch like abilities...
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Artist: Liar's Rosebush (@)
Title: Circle the Squares
Format: CD
Label: Hive records (@)
Distributor: Storming the Base / Metropolis
Rated: *****
The gray industrial urban landscapes of Newark NJ must be what inspires Hive records' owner David Pittman to pick this extremely talented and great sounding breakcore-industrial bands without ever missing a beat, pun intended. Seriously, Hive records is one of the few record labels that to me represent a guarantee of quality. When I get a Hive record I already know it's good, the question is just how good and good in what way... which of the shades of this widely-eclectic genre will it live under?
Canadian Matt Rosen's Liar's Rosebush's long anticipated solo debut is no exception. "Circle the Squares" is an incredibly mature debut. The 12 tunes crawl towards you quietly, with echoes of dark-ambient music, nerve-wracking atmospheric sounds and ill-fate-anticipating drones before unleashing the full sonic assault of the distorted and sliced-n-diced breakbeats featured in the following pieces that make this album. The full extent of the assault is further intensified by cut-up and re-pitched chords of a super heavily distorted and compressed electric guitars. Eventually, and every once in a while, the listener can take a breather again as the music loosens its grip to let some more rays of atmospheric sounds and even small non-distorted guitar parts ("Like a Nicotine Halo") shine through. Liar's Rosebush direction is still taking shape, I believe, but obviously Mr Rosen in inspired by bands that know how to bring haunting melodies and atmospheric moods into the formula. Except for the intro of a piece like "AAA", this is not really a Nine Inch Nails sounding record, but it does borrow some aspects of their formula in that way. Rosen understands as well as Reznor does that tension and release is the name of the game and that the quieter and moody this part is, the more brutal and visceral that part will sound. Differently than Trent, Matt seems to be more inspired by the warpy british ambient scene when it comes to his more subdued compositions (or part thereof).
If you absolutely must have some references, think of it as a mixture of Squarepusher, Flugschadel, Noize Punishment, Ambassador 21, Venetian Snares, Duran Duran Duran, Autechre, Cenotype and Uglyhead and but don't let those names be a limiting factor. Rosen is very personal in his approach and obviously his musical skills as an instrumentalist (and not just a laptop programmer) have heavily influenced the making of this record in ways that only instruments can do. Very interesting record. I am already looking forward to the next one.
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Artist: HOH (@)
Title: We Can Work It Out
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Zang: Records (@)
Rated: *****
Active since early 2000s Hoh a.k.a. Helge Olav Øksendal is releasing for Zang Records a new MCD after his latest album "Bestemor" published the last year. Unfortunately for me, this is the first time I have the chance to try his music and it's really difficult to understand his music having two original compositions and four remixes of those two. Anyway, the CD opens with "Lovebreak", a track which starts slowly like a dripping water tap and slowly it's rhythmically enriched sounding like a dub i.d.m. track. After a couple of minutes the track reveals itself adding a nice nervous bass line which subsequently is coupled by the performance of an agitated vocalist. The Dj Woo and the QRT remixes give to that track a break-beat and an electro experimental treatment. The second original track is the main one "Wecan work it out". The track is twelve minutes long and it starts with a calm synth loop. After a while rhymth and a nice female vocal are added and some other little synth layers are added. The tracks plays with these elements for its whole length without being changed that much. Is like HOH wanted to create a melodic moment suspended in time. The ".P remix" of the tracks de-construct it by slowing it and adding distortion little by little until there's nothing left of the melody. After three minutes (on the middle of it) a sort of industrial scenario made of a looped synth pattern plus some other throbbing sounds has take a hold and it sounds like Godzilla stomping on a birth cake. Nice one. The closing track is a radio edit which represent the essence of the track. A better one, because it's less dispersive.
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