Music Reviews



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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Compost Blacklabel Series Vol.3 - Mixed by Jay Shepheard
Format: CD
Label: Compost Records (@)
Rated: *****
Compiled by Jay Shepheard (here present with two of his tracks), this third volume of tracks coming from the Black Label series of Compost Records (series focused on a more house and techno sound) gathers fourteen of them starting with "Bikini" by Phreek Plus One (a good 4/4 mid tempo instrumental with some 80's electro intuitions) and fading into Alex Attias pres Mustang's Quarion dub version of "Finding who we are" (a sensual dub ambient). With the following Muallem and Manuel Tur &Dplay we are again diving into the house techno pool (two tracks which create a good ambience but that sounds a little static). Motor City Drum Ensemble with "Stripped down to the bone", instead, sound more psychotic and nervous (and to me, interesting) while Phreek Plus One, with their second track, explore the techno field blending it with a little of ambient and funk. Motor City Drum Ensamble, instead, present some more of their techno house (I preferred their previous track but this one is a nice one). "4NC" by Jay Shepheard is the first of his tracks (the other one is "Pipes n sneakers") but both are based on minimal tech house variations which tend to create an soft warping sound. Of the remaining one I'd like to name TJ King & Nuno Dos Santos feat. Robert Owens and their Wild Glitch Dub version of "Merging" (after a smooth beginning the track start to develop a certain catchy melody) and the following "Break it down" by Shahrokh. Most of the tracks of this compilation are dance floor oriented and I found them a little too hypnotic for a home use so approach to them if you are a hard core fan of the genre.
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Artist: TONAL Y NAGUAL (@)
Title: The Hidden Oasis
Format: CD
Label: Thonar Records (@)
Rated: *****
Tonal Y Nagual is a Bavarian band and their second album THE HIDDEN OASIS sounds like a middle way from neo-folk and pagan experimentation with acoustic sounds (see the opening "Lafayette, à l'aube" and its ritualistic percussions). Mixing chants, medieval melodies, a bit of electronic synths and acoustic guitars, the German combo created a particular album which recalled me the musical concept of the 70's hippie culture, where music was lived like a cathartic event. The whole album atmosphere is permeated of mystic moods (see "La figlia della morte" which means "The death's daughter" and its blend of chants, strings and percussions) and the band offers also some powerful neo-classical orchestration based tracks like "Midday calling" and "Fiumente". Execution perfectionism isn't the main thing here but Tonal Y Nagual in this way are able to make you feel better their musical vision. You have just to let you loose senses and abandon yourself to the flow...
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Artist: Blame (@)
Title: Water
Format: CD
Label: Klangdynamik Records (@)
Distributor: Mono Culture
Rated: *****
This debut album by BLAME was originally released under the flag of the small Serbian label Cold Trinity. But since BLAME-mastermind Boris Posavec has moved a few years before completely to Germany, the German label Klangdynamik has picked up this very limited edition and has brought it out as a re-release. Of course with the knowledge to hold something special in the hands, since the Klangdynamik-roster grows with demanding Dark Electro-acts. BLAME are a bit lighter minded than the usual Dark Electro-sound, the label sheet has explained with a mixture of COVENANT and DIORAMA. Well, the sound of Boris’ voice can be related to DIORAMA for sure, but I would also add some earlier STROMKERN works as a possible comparison. Musically BLAME plays in the field between Futurepop and EBM/Dark Electro, here and there some additional influences of some Techno/Trance-like productions are complimenting this. The programming abilities of Boris are indeed the winning point of this beautiful and varied album. The arrangements and chosen sounds are witnesses of an experienced musician, although Boris’ daily life is leaded of his being as a computer game programmer (he’s a quite good one, just check: www.3d-io.com). Solid stuff to invade the dancefloors is surely enough featured here, "I Hate Your Evolution", Legions – Across These Oceans" or "Evolution" have to be named. Boris’ duet with Jelena Kevic on the track "Unless (Violent)" has to be mentioned to be one of the outstanding pieces of work, even if Jelena’s good female timbre offers that featured special melodic content. "Waterside (Hypergeum)" then is the nearest example to the Dark Electro genre and another favorite. Jelena Kevic is also responsible for the cover art, showing a bluish drawing of a winter time area, which fits to the main theme of this album. For a debut already a very matured piece of work and worth to check out.
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Artist: System
Title: Self-Organising System
Format: CD
Label: Progress Productions (@)
Distributor: Border Music
Rated: *****
No, that isn’t a typo in the title, which really wonders, since the mysterious Swedish Duo SYSTEM featured through the both members Herr A and Herr B are doing their best to fulfill a sentence found in the attached label sheet: "Machine made Electro-pop-music with the minimum human involvement." So it sounds if robots are producing music – and then such a typo? Oh dear, something went wrong in the SYSTEM I guess... But seriously, this Swedish duo somehow continues with its know style presenting a sort of Electro-Pop music heavily inspired by KRAFTWERK. As for the vocals, they mostly got provided in this typical "robot-like" style and someone may finds this quite entertaining and unique. To me this kind of emotionless vocal performance destroys a lot of the better-than-before compositions and arrangements. At least it is and will ever be the factor "human" in Electro/Industrial productions, which orders the ups and downs in this scene. That seems to be a lecture SYSTEM still have to learn, the importance of good sounding vocals hasn’t to be underestimated. Strange is the fact, that we had even a Swedish newcomer act named VOIDE which provided music in a similar way. It seems that this kind of music, but also generally Dark Electro/EBM currently reaches new ground especially in Sweden. As for SYSTEM, there's nothing wrong with their Synth-/Electro-Pop music, since some tunes are well designed and seem to be a bit more convincing than on their last release "Sample And Hold". But there's surely better stuff in this kind out there...
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Artist: EX-VOTO
Title: DOLOROSO
Format: CD
Label: POOR ALICE MUSIC
Distributor: POOR ALICE MUSIC
Rated: *****
I got the pleasure of seeing this quartet at the Wale the Dead 2 fest in Los Angeles. This band is one of the most Goth Rock bands I have ever seen, they hail from New Orleans and are not to be missed live! The cd is "Doloroso" and it is pure Goth Rock at it's finest. We open with Track one ~ Seven Sisters . a Gothic masterpiece with Larry singing.in a dark haunting voice, " They run, they run, they run, someone watches over me." This track is sure to tear up a dance floor for sure. We proceed on to Track two ~ " Spiritual Lies " which is one of the hardest sounding tracks on the album. Guitar driven and full of speed. Larry sings, " Why can't you see, why can't you listen to me, spritual Lies, spiritual compromise. " A kind of I told you so lesson to be learned that we can all relate to. This track has some kick to it to get you moving and grooving. The next Track three ~ Clean on the Outside was the most amazing track to me on this cd. Larry screeches , " So clean on the outside, Jesus Christ what a mess on the inside." making us think of all that have hurt us in the past. This song should be an anthem to the ones that wrong us. Super Goth Rock guitars blasting with heavy beats beating hard with the heavy expressions that match this song. With lyrics and uniqueness all around. Larry sings again, " My world is crashing, sound the alarm." Once again, clever as it gets. We then proceed on to Track seven ~ She Got it Big which is another great dance floor hit. This song truely Goth Rock at it's finest. Larry sings, " She got it big, she got it hard, knife in her back, right through the heart." This song tells the tale of animals that can tear you up and take your soul. A no hold barred in your face track that has fury and gets under your skin to warn you of evil that is making itself known. A track we can always keep in the back of our minds to have a tale to tell. Then next is Track eight~ Not a Single Tear which describes myself to a tee. It was a track that I had too much in common with and made me laugh a bit. Larry sings, "A black dress and spider webs, crucifix around her neck." Track after track they are all unique and awesome in their own way but Track nine ~ I Can See Right Thru You is by far my favourite track on the whole album. This track was embedded in my mind from the first time I ever heard it. Too damn cool and making me a believer that Goth Rock still exist I got up from my chair and starting dancy in a frensy when I heard it agaiin for this review. Larry sings so dark and so savage, " Your lies will crucify you" Your lyiing ways, your cheating days, and yourself my friend." A tell all, tale that once again is a thorn in our side, that we all bear of the ones that have betrayed us. Everythng about this song I love and will always cherish. It is a new song that I will put up in the high ranks of my favourites. The rest of the album is pure Goth Rock Elegance at it's best and everyone should buy this cd and give praise to " Doloroso " ~ 4 stars Michelle Russo
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