Music Reviews



Dec 03 2007
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Artist: DIFFUZION (@)
Title: Wired Tunes
Format: CD
Label: Machinist Records (@)
Rated: *****
Formed by three Belorussians (one girl and two guys) Diffuzion started their activity on 2004 and during these three years they worked hard. This effort is bringing to the electro e.b.m. audience a nice CD packed with sixteen tracks (of which three remixes and different mix of four tracks previously available on singles). The Diffuzion's style is in balance between e.b.m., future pop and electro and the characteristic vocals of Xev are able to make them switch from one genre to the other changing her way of singing: a little dreamy for the electro tunes a little more dark and mysterious for the e.b.m./future pop ones. In my opinion these latter ones are their best tracks as the upbeat tempo and the synthetic melody create a convincing web which don't push too much the pedal on the distorted side. On these ones Xev sounds intriguing and she enrich the whole result. Tracks like "Wired tunes", "One way" or "Fire" give the right portion of energy and melody while I find their "romantic" tunes and the electro ones (like "Our wings are gone" or the following "Round") missing a bit their target. In my opinion, the cold sounds don't match too much with the atmospheres created. It could be that this contrast will be their winning point, in any case they showed to me their quality on the other tracks and this is a good thing anyway...
Dec 03 2007
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Artist: Cryo (@)
Title: Mixed Emotions
Format: CD EP
Label: Progress Productions (@)
Distributor: Nova Media
Rated: *****
It’s the first time that the Swedish label Progress Productions takes a little risk and decides to release an EP, instead of a full-length album. After the victory in the contest "newcomer of the year" at the Swedish SAMA event in April and regarding the fact that CRYO a.k.a. Martin Rudefelt could gain a lot of international attention with his debut album "Cryogenic", this EP seems to be a consequential continuation. As usual for an EP, this "Mixed Emotions" are presenting the rather danceable side of Martin’s music, which still installs a cold and static mood on veteran-like EBM arrangements. "My Wall" and "Inhale/Exhale" are both the main tracks for this EP. Besides the original version of "My Wall", Martin has created a special Club Edit of this track to open this EP. This version of course turns sooner into the straight rhythmically part and offers more rotating bass line sequencing-work – I nevertheless still prefer the original because of its darker mood. Always a conspicuous point is the diverse usage of vocal manipulation effects on Martin’s voice, "My Wall" presents both, natural sounding to monstrous growling. "Inhale/Exhale" is a bit slower constructed in its original version and receives here two remix works provided by TERROR PUNK SYNDICATE (we recently presented an interview with this act...) and the newcomer duo of TRAKKTOR, one of the upcoming talents Sweden has to offer. While the TRAKKTOR-remix offers different pads and a straight-forward, nearly comparable to up-to-date productions dancefloor compatibility, the TPS-remix comes out with supporting guitar riffs and a generally American-like Coldwave attitude. At least, and to me still the most accessible track is "Freedom" with its nice vocoderized vocals and right speed to storm the dancefloors – this track got already previously presented on the last label compilation "Born/Evolve/Progress 2" earlier this year. Another so-called "b-side" is featured with "Go To War", where Martin picks up some related voice samples, plus he added a cover version of "Body To Body" (FRONT 242) to accomplish this EP. I guess this cover does work well on live performances, but finally I still think the original is unreachable. A good, in parts very good EP which features both, Martins rather cold and static sound-design and the required dancefloor compatibility. It’s cold in the Cryodome, but hot enough to move your body!
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Artist: ISIS SIGNUM (@)
Title: Communication
Format: CD EP
Label: Advanced Synergy (@)
Distributor: A Different Drum
Rated: *****
Second pre-release for ISIS SIGNUM a.k.a. DJ Helder before the upcoming full-length album "Electrosensual". "Communication" is another danceable club-oriented track taken out of this album and it features Kindel, maybe better known with her music project, the female-driven US-based act LIQUEFACTION (has released 2 full-length albums on DSBP). As usual, Helder takes care on all production terms including the lyrics, his chosen guest vocalists only offer their voice. For this EP he has again invited some talented acts to provide different reinterpretations of his original version. Best known act can be named with the French act PEOPLE THEATRE, lately often active with some conspicuous remix works mainly based into the Synth-/Futurepop genre, providing a straight, rather near to EBM-related remix work. KOPLIK is a name I haven’t discovered so far, they’re hailing out of Puerto Rico and offer the opening remix for "Communication". Best remix work got provided by the UK-based act FAKE FUR transforming the "Communication" original into a rather 80ies-inspired Synthpop-work. Their remix also features a tasteful FX manipulation on Kindel’s vocals and includes it better than any other version here into the mix. Another UK-based act is featured with HIDDEN, who like to push a bit the speed of the original by turning it to the best danceable Futurepop-oriented track here. With "Superficial" Helder has included an exclusive b-side, plus you’ll get a remix of TECNOMAN SF on the track "Liberty", which features vocals by Jennifer Parkin (AYRIA). And as usual (seems to become a trademark...), Helder has produced a video clip on "Communication", which is attached to the end of this EP. Good stuff mostly provided by names out of the scene, which still have to wait for some international response.
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Artist: Nordschlacht (@)
Title: Silence, Beauty and Cruelty
Format: CD
Label: Klangdynamik Records (@)
Distributor: Mono-Culture
Rated: *****
This is the debut release of one of Germany’s most sought-after Dark Electro/Industrial-acts, which has finally found a decent label home with the Bavarian-based Klangdynamik Records. Consisting of Arnte and Schmoun, this female/male-leaded duo presents a sort of Dark Electro music in a classic manner. Heavily inspired by the works of acts like MENTALLO & THE FIXER, older X MARKS THE PEDWALK, PUPPY or PLACEBO EFFECT, the dark-minded sound of the early 90ies generally, can be found and discovered in the music of NORDSCHLACHT. For some of their tracks you’ll have to add a rather sedating IN THE NURSERY-like cold mood ("Strokes", "The Sear And Yellow Leaf") to get a nearly complete idea for a comparison. While the band name hasn’t any further or historically explainable meaning, NORDSCHLACHT offer an outstanding debut from the very first instrumental track "Fortune Of Humanity" to the last tune, "Forrester (FAZE remix)". Their well-thought arrangements and synth-textures can be called epic, they always fill in thick, melodious, but also cold-minded synth layers. Dancefloor-compatible and beat-oriented tracks are in a minority ("Adrenaline Overdose", "Forrester (FAZE remix)") here, this music is rather constructed to get consumed on your home entertainment or a good pair of headphones. Mostly Arnte takes care to provide the main vocals, which are sort of distorted whispers mostly subtle integrated in the mix. Schmoun gets her inserts too, offering a clear, almost romantic sounding performance ("Causality Paradox", "Don’t Let It Go" – what a catchy track!). Besides the known formula of reflecting social-problems and failures of mankind, some rather scientific content like cybernetics ("Forrester") or mathematically problems ("String Theory (Album Mix)") can be discovered in their lyrics as well – quite unusual and unexpected. The whole album comes out quite tastefully arranged and aggressive moments are really reduced. I guess seldom before a debut release could impress that much with such a coherent and majestic outfit like this one. Take the recent OBJECT-recordings or FIX8:SED8 and fill NORDSCHLACHT in this fine line – Germany’s multi-layered and complex arranged Dark Electro-league marches forward and grips to the stars.
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Artist: Blutengel (@)
Title: Labyrinth
Format: CD
Label: Out Of Line (@)
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
And once again a new full-length album for Germany’s scene-leader when it comes on romantic Electro/Wave/Pop-music. At least also the still growing success of BLUTENGEL has meanwhile brought up a lot of copy-cats, but at least nothing matches the original. For Chris Pohl this project reflects rather more the electronic-driven sound compared to the Goth-Rock-infiltrated TERMINAL CHOICE – and BLUTENGEL gets more successfully than ever before. On "Labyrinth" BLUTENGEL still offering their known formula by offering classic compositions with catchy melodies, Futurepop-like easy-to-consume arrangements and the clear vocal performance by Chris and his two female counterparts, Constanze Rudert and Ulrike Goldmann. Why slapping that cow before it stops to give milk? Of course, the sound quality is top-notch and crystal-clear, so are the vocals and several tracks offer a great singing-along-the-chorus-attitude ("Dreamland", "Shame") – but stop! Before I start complaining that nothing changes this sultry program, the track "Body Move" differs the most from the usually BLUTENGEL-recordings. Quite harder bass lines and a manipulated vocal performance by Chris give this track the required mood to figure out the desire of the lyrics. Not a high-end layered composition of an Electro/EBM-track, but a difference to interrupt a bit the mood of the BLUTENGEL empire. At least and as a conclusion, BLUTENGEL can surely impress the 14-years-young Goth-newbies the most with their rather simple-minded song structures and arrangements, while others may accept this album as the right soundtrack to recover after a broken relation at a dark autumn day. Nothing to spectacular, simply a new BLUTENGEL-album. In latest news, this album could climb on some high positions in the German album sale charts, congrats.
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