Music Reviews



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Artist: ZENI GEVA
Title: Maximum Money Monster
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
After years of unavailability, eighteen years since its original release on Pathological Records, here's surfacing MAXIMUM MONEY MONSTER by Zeni Geva. Merging free jazz, hardcore and repressed rage the Japanese trio open the album with a punch in the audience's face thanks to the sixteen minutes of "Slam king", a track based on a couple of chords that is able to hypnotize and devastate at the same time. "Blaze" and "Black out", instead, in less than two minutes are able to pick you up and make you do a roller coaster ride through hard rock psychedelia ("Blaze") and obsessive industrial core ("Black out"). Musically, is like listening to an extreme version of Black Flag on acid and by the way guitars are treated you can understand the reason why K.K. Null collaborated with Merzbow later. I saw Zeni Geva live twice at the times of "Desire for agony" and I assure you that their nihilism was throbbing and alive, on and off stage (the guitar player that time was so angry for some reason that he beat his head against a wall of the bathroom). Thanks to this new Cold Spring reissue you can check their live sound on the three bonus tracks: "War pig" and "Skullfuck" (coming from this album) plus "Dead car, sun crash".
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Drumpoems Verse 1
Format: CD
Label: Drumpoet Community (@)
Rated: *****
Drumpoet Community is a Switzerland label/community which collaborate with Compost Records to release their stuff. Their latest release is a label compilation titled DRUMPOEMS VERSE 1. It contains twelve tracks which have been previously unreleased or re-edited specially for this release. We have tracks by Foster (here with the original mix and the Quarion remix of "Quiet before the storm", a intriguing cinematic Detroit techno track with the peculiarity of having no drum), Manuel Tur & Dplay ("Rest your senses" is a lush house tune), Soultourist (here with the Dixon Edit of "Turn loose" and "Coming soon" providing us with two hypnotic house/soul tracks), Kawabata ("Movin on" is soulish and house while "Kadena" is more hypnotic with a certain lounge touch and a little bit of techno here and there), Sascha Dive (we have an obsessive and at the same time lushy Samuel Davis Deep4Life mix of "Deep"), Quarion ("Karasu" is a minimal house track which has a nifty tune and a driving 4/4 rhythm), Thabo ("Take root" is a cinematic techno house track with violins and a fat bass line) and The Lost Men ("Head:Unhurt" is a cool techno/hosue tune with a certain dark melody/touch. This one is a sure dance floor filler!). On this compilation lovers of smooth sounds as well lovers of techno house could be satisfied. Check some at http://www.myspace.com/drumpoet.
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anymore
Artist: MAJU (@)
Title: maju - 5
Format: CD
Label: Extreme (@)
Rated: *****
About a couple of months ago when reviewing the on-line free sampler just came out on Extreme, for the first time I've come into Maju and that song definitely put me on guard for my expectations for their forthcoming effort could have been to high, but here it is and it has blew me away as expected. I tend to be really sensible to japanese electronic music and I think Minamo, Neina, Yoshihiro Hanno, Sawako not to mention Ikeda (who's stile by the way is considerably far from this duo) did and are still doing some heartbreaking releases and yes, Maju can be unquestionably included in this list of "must have" if you're into modern-melodic-japanese-minimal-electronic music. If compared to the most of their country fellows they're probably more minimalistic (except for Sawako) but just cause they put the accent on letting every melody float as much as it takes for it to become narcoleptic. As many japanese artists playing this kind of music they create a dreamy ecstatic childlike dimension and even thought I'm the cynical bastard I'm, God bless the sons of the rising sun for having given us some melancholic but relaxing outputs like this. "Melody diluted in digital beauty" right as you're used to find when listening on labels like Spekk, Plop, 12K or in the likes, no surprise it has nothing to do with the rest of the boundless Extreme roster plus consider it's not even experimental. If you're not familiar with the rest of the material on this australian label or if you find the most of it's heavier than life, don't worry, this one may represent a sunbeam breaking a sky otherwise filled with black clouds (even if I'd better say "brain sticking materials"). Magnificence in simplicity.

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anymore
Artist: AUDREY (@)
Title: the fierce and the longing
Format: CD
Label: Tender Version (@)
Rated: *****
Lately 5 roses promo agency has sent me a couple of interesting cds and one of them is Audrey's " the fierce and the longing " and trust me when I say a female vocals sailing on a indie rock oriented music generally makes me want to skip to the end of the cd. Audrey from Sweden to and really traditional to a certain extent, and with traditional I mean if you’re an old fart like me it will remind you of Cat Power, Lois Maffeo, Lisa Germano, Kristine Hersh or Liz Phair. As you probably have noticed I've mentioned mostly american artists, but if in some ways Audrey sound american lo-fi-indie evolved into "pop", there's an all european melancholy/taste in the arrangements of this work. Great vocals, good songwriting skill and the right production that a product like this should have. Sorry if I'm boring but in general poppy indie-rock/indie-folk is repetitive, poor and it makes me think it's pop without the guts/balls to be "pop to the bone", but when a work is so well done and clearly genuine that there's a sort of reconciliation with something that generally you despise, well, it's worth of a "tip of hat"!. "The fierce and the longing" is soft and relaxing, is one of those record your girlfriend won't complain about when you put it in the player of your car, and even if this consideration is quite stupid helps you figure out how easy-listening this record is. They're probably reclaiming to conquer the airwaves up there in Sweden and they deserve it.


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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Messthetics #104 enhanced CD: 'D.I.Y.' and indie postpunk from the South Wales and the Z-Block scene: 1977-81 (part 1)
Format: CD
Label: Hyped2Death (@)
Rated: *****
Another essential chapter in the Messthetics collection of rare and forgotten tunes from the golden age of DIY. This one deals with the South Wales area, and you'll find a bunch of irreverent youngsters floating around the Z-Block label, a label set up in a disused student house in where Reptile Ranch installed themselves (check out their website ... they're still alive and spreding the DIY philosophy: www.zblock.co.uk) and playing various kind of do-it-yourself post-punk. As the previous Messthetics, along with those amazing tracks (24 songs + mp3s for a total of 90 minutes of music), you'll get a thick and detailed booklet with precious information, documents and interviews with the bands. Before this one, the only band I could remember from Wales were my beloved Young Marble Giants - quite obviously they're not here (even if I read that "someone" from YMG plays in the, here included, Table Table track) because they're well known and they've never been forgotten. So I discovered those rough diamonds with extreme pleasure - some highlights here: The Czechs track is like hearing Coxham's bass over a speed-fueled postpunk; What To Wear and Crash Action Winners both from Swansea and both more rough and punk-oriented; both tracks by Decadent Few that blend postpunk rhythms with softer psychedelic singing. A mention must be made to the work of the music archeologists at Hyped2Death, always after those lost b/w-cover 7"s - always caring to restore the sound avoiding tape hiss and vinyl crackles without compromising the full dynamic range of the originals (and that's where lots of re-issues fall short).
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