Music Reviews



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Artist: 25 MEN
Title: The Dancing Wu Li Masters
Format: CD
Label: D-Monic (@)
Rated: *****
Ex member of Sisterhood and Gangwar, James Ray, is the main man behind the 25 Men moniker. He, with the collaboration of other musicians coming from all over the world (members of 4080peru, Fabric, The Otherfolk, etc.), created an album which sounds like a blend of electronic goth and dub. On THE DANCE WU LI MASTERS the melody is hidden behind waves of reverb and the rhythm is balanced between a dance attitude and a looped mantra. The main characteristic of the album is to be halfway from being catchy and being intangible thanks to its sound which tend to create a sonic vortex. The experimentalism of tracks like "Beneath the avalanche" (a semi ambient creepy song based on noise effects and hisses) are the counterpart to the electronic guitarism of "Are you receiving now" or of the closing "All the way". Goth audience will be destabilized by this album because it dares to be free from every genre boundaries. Sometimes James Ray kinda lost the control of the song construction being seduced by his psychedelic side but if you weren't expecting for a new Sisterhood album, you can sit and enjoy the ride.
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Artist: NORDVARGR
Title: Interstellar
Format: CD
Label: Beast Of Prey (@)
Rated: *****
If you are used to listen to industrial music or if you read magazines which talk about this genre it's impossible that you hadn't the chance to read the name of one of the projects that have Mr. Henrik Nordvargr Bjorkk involved. Names like: MZ412, Folkstorm, Toroidh, etc. This time Nordvargr is bringing to your speakers four dark industrial suites which aim is to re-create the dark sidereal sound of the space. Inspired by the Haglund theoy of "Absolute evil", INTERSTELLAR has been recorded using field recordings and sounds made by space objects transmitted over satellites. Space and its mysteries have always been the subject of ambient explorations since early 70's and it's difficult to being able to release something new and which works well. "Nothingness approaching", "Massive interstellar darkness", "Expanding matter" and the 17" long "Returning to a balanced existence" don't sound innovative but they succeed into creating a convincing and involving painful atmosphere. To be full appreciated this album mush be listened on a good hi-fi system or good headphones.
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Artist: Himiko
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: D-Trash records (@)
Rated: *****
Japanese composer/keyboardist Himiko has been living in Alberta, Canada, where she has been making all sorts of crazed music. If you read her biography you'd never imagine what she is capable of, but this is her 6th album, and probably the most extreme of them all, right at home with DTrash records (but if you know the label it should come as no surprise).
Himiko is an electronics-empowered jazz trained piano player who blends her performing skills with high-powered, fast-paced, mind bogging cut ups of sped-up beats, distorted guitars and all sorts of other saturated sources. Little to no trace of jazz is left, unless of course you consider Zornian free-jazz, which I probably is one of Himiko's influences.
It's really quite hard to describe an album where so much happens in so little time and where so many influences and sounds fight for balance and attention. Sensory overload is the name of the game and if you are prepared and trained to take it, you should give Himiko her fair chance to fuck your brain up real good!
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Artist: Lucid Dementia (@)
Title: Trickery
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****

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Next time I go to SxSW I'll be looking for the name Lucid Dementia, an Austin-based industrial-rock band inspired by KMFDM, NIN, Skinny Puppy, Marylin Manson, Gwar and the like, with a political agenda and an often spoken about live show that allegedly looks like the Muppet Show meets Iron Maiden's "Eddie" meets the Saw mask kind of thing (it involves a 6-foot tall singing puppet and is pretty theatrical and hard to describe, which is why I want to go check them out if they play in their native "weird" city).
As you might imagine from the above impressive list of influences, we're dealing with lots of guitars, samples, treated vocals, sequences and machine sounding drums (although they are supposed to have a drummer). The band is female-fronted but at times I could swear I was hearing a choir of children, which makes it oh so creepier I guess.
The musical complexity (flutes, asian instrument samples, harp etc) of their composition is ambitious and worthy of notice, the delivery might not as sonically dynamic and powerful as they maybe would like it to be, but nevertheless the intentions and ideas are there, but that might very well be a limitation of the genre.
Overall a well thought out album that speaks to their skills and dedication.
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Artist: Puscifer
Title: "V" is for Viagra - The Remixes
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: Red Distribution
Rated: *****
Great record. For those who are not familiar with Puscifer, that would be another pseudonym for Tool/A Perfect Circle singer Maynard James Keenan's solo endeavors. He first released the debut album "V is for Vagina" and now present us with its deconstructed and reinterpreted remix album version called "V is for Viagra". Maynard's voice is immediately recognizable and unavoidably marks this record with that aura of mysteriousness and coolness that surrounds his two main projects. But even if you are not a Tool/APC fan, this record has legs of its own and it stands tall against what's out there in this niche genre. There are no rock guitars and Maynard barely ever sings. All the vocals are either recited in a grandiose and powerfully enunciated way (almost Laibach-style) or spoken and distorted like many electronic bands do, or just simply heavily treated, cut up and staggering. The music is electronic in almost its entirety but still sounds very organic, dynamic and exciting, ranging from minimal and dark to climatic and chaotic. Remixes by Josh Eustis (Telefon Televiv), Lustmord, Dave "Rave" Ogilvie and Colin Janz, Danny Lohner of NIN/Renholder, Mat Mitchell and Contradictator (QOTSA, APC), Joey Jordison (Slipknot), Paul Barker (Ministry, USSA), Aaron Turner (ISIS), Richard Devine, Michale Patterson and 8MM insure freshness of approach and style and a true and established connection with the electronic world that we support and represent. Highly recommended.
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