Music Reviews



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Artist: Dicepeople (@)
Title: One From Many
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Syndicol Music (@)
Rated: *****
Finally, Dicepeople have released a new full album, very different from their previous one ('End of the Line,' ) but no less ambitious. The band has changed a bit too. Matt Brock (songwriter, electronic musician/programmer, producer) has contributed some vocals on 'One From Many,' Rafael Filomeno (visual artist) is still aboard, and (female) vocalist Zmora is now listed as a band member. Where Brock previously only used guest vocalists, now there is a permanent one. Still there are a number of guest vocalists on the album - Sara Dee, Atashi Tada, Darien Graham-Smith, and Hemiola. Additional guest guitarists include Roger Le Guin and Rob Ackerman. An overall description of the music would be dark electro with touches of EBM, techno-industrial, synthpop, darkwave and post-rock. It has a "grand scale," expansive, futuristic, cyber-sound with generally great production by Brock. Using different vocalists keeps the material from sounding too homogeneous, while not betraying the feel and theme of the material. There are 9 tracks all with single word titles running a succinct 47 minutes or so total. The odyssey begins with "Void," a track of mostly space ambient effects with a lengthy dialogue sample from the 1993 Aussie cult film- "Bad Boy Bubby". The dialogue is an existential rant on God, and seems to be a useful setup for what's to follow. "Gone" features Zmora on vocals with backing vocals by Atashi. For some reason she reminds me of Propaganda's Claudia Brucken here. A very spacey electronic ambience is woven between the beats, and the subtle chorus hook is beguiling. On "Multiplicity" Matt Brock speak-sings his way through this heavy electro track on the verses while Zmora sings the choruses. Okay, now I understand why he's used other vocalists. It's still a good track and also features a neat twisty instrumental section. "Celestial" (co-written by Darien Graham-Smith, who also provides lead vocals) is a bouncy number with Sara Dee also on vocals with vocoder processing. On "Nitro" Atyashi steps up into the lead vocalist spot for a song with a real EBM/technoir vibe. The angular bass synth motif of "Addiction" provides a stark contrast to the smoothness of the previous track with Brock on primary vocals, supplemented by the voice of Zmora. "Pigs' treads more traditional electro-industrial territory with vocals by Brock and Zmora. A processed (but unassimilated) Borgish vocal that opens "This" continues along electro-industrial lines with Hemiola's voice swimming against the slipstream of cosmic effluvia. If that track seemed like it was awash in an ocean of synthetic sound, it's nothing compared to "Duality". Zmora sounds like she's nearly drowning but somehow managing to cling to a liferaft, until it capsizes in the bitter end. This is one interesting and unusual album, brimming with cyber-vibes and wonderfully executed. I imagine that it's even more spectacular live when Rafael gets to work his visual magic. My only complaint is that the album is download only with no physical product. I'm kind of old school when it comes to that, but I'll save that rant for another time.
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Artist: Guilt
Title: Guilt
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Medical Records
Oliver Chapoy and Nathaniel Young, working together as Guilt, have put together a self-titled EP of fairly dark instrumental techno with elements of industrial relentless and just a slightest shades of elements taken from the underbelly of synthwave.

Lead track “We Thought We Were”, with its processed vocals as fills, is at times reminiscent of Josh Wink on an angry day. Both “Cult Leader Of My Youth” and “Demiurge” carry on in a similar vein, thicker kicks underpinning mesmeric, gradually twisting short synth patterns that are at times slightly Underworld-esque, at other points relentless like the first CNSNNT release, decorated with occasional spoken-word noises for added texture.

The Løt.te Deception mix of the lead track doesn’t fall far from the tree, with a slight increase in staccato urgency and a more pneumatic percussion but staying firmly in the centre of the same ballpark.

It’s a purposeful techno 12” which rolls well but doesn’t harbour any real surprises or highlights.
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Artist: Phaedrus
Title: Game Of Tones
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Transfusions (Medical Records)
Seattle-based Joris Kamma’s new EP has a clear and simple vision- classic-sounding minimal techno in its purest form. Steady kicks and short percussive patterns do their work underneath two-note analogue-sounding synth lines while filters and knobs get slowly twiddled to twist each track gradually for six minutes a pop. No shocks, no sudden movements, just steady rhythm-and-synth exercises aimed at your feet. And provided the mood is right, it’s a total success.

There’s enough variation between tracks to give each a slightly different texture, but everything’s in the same ballpark. “Bender’s Game” puts the attention on the (appropriately slightly bendy) lightweight synth sounds. “Encyclopod” has a little more attitude, with some nice muted-explosion-as-cymbal effects. “Violet Dwarf Star” ups the squeaky bleep factor and “Xenotaph 3” adopts a slightly harder, somehow more American tone with backwards FX, thumpier kicks and crispy noise-based snares.

It’s a nicely focused bit of well-made minimal techno with nothing up its sleeve.
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Artist: Ekin Fil
Title: Maps
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: The Helen Scarsdale Agency
Ekin Fil continues to expand her discography of soft, gentle near-ambient dream-pop with “Maps”. It’s a succinct, 9-track, 36-minute work that’s so consistent it’s often hard to notice where one track ends and the next begins, and it melds into one continuous piece of reverb-drenched keys, soft breathy vocal noises, warm ambiences and super-long echoes.

Fittingly for an album which describes itself as a reflection on small island life, we occasionally get waves, beach and running water noises to further enhance the mood, and it’s interesting to hear how this sometimes evolves towards white noise and develops an interesting counterpoint against the purity of the piano and key noises- a statement about the bustle of everyday life, perhaps. It’s invariably tinged with a tired melancholy throughout, that runs without any grounding in geography or specifics.

It’s an album with a clear vision, and certainly deserves a place on many people’s chill-out or go-to-sleep playlists.
Aug 15 2018
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Artist: Blastromen
Title: Cyberia
Format: CD
Label: Dominance Electricity
Rated: *****
Mika Rosenberg and Sami Koskivaara best known as the electro Finnish duo Blastromen, four years after their second album for Dominance Electricity are delivering for the same label their newest one, titled „Cyberia“. Available on CD and double 12“ (black or red plus poster) as well as digital (which contains the bonus track "Into The Void (Video Edit)"), „Cyberia“ contains ten new songs that somehow continue where „Reality Opens“ left. Conceptually the theme is like a story and this is the third chapter. Robots, humans, space travels and such are always the main thing although this time there’s a mysterious thing which involve „Cyberia“ and it’s what that is about. Blastromen write: „They call it awakening. It is now about to be born - the final invention of mankind. Perfect, limitless and able to raise beyond what its creator could ever forsee. It will remain after time has left humans. Cyberia“. So, what Cyberia is? A new city for cyborgs? A way to become a cyborg? That is unclear, but the cover graphic made by The Zonders let us think about something that went wrong. You can see a light coming off from what it seems a divinity. Who the people on the cover are? Some are looking like zombies, some others like experiments. The titles let the mystery opened for you to let your imagination run free. Here they are: Cyberia, Into The Void, Load Reload, Outsider (track that features Acid Hausmeister at the 303), Dream, Unite Arise, Signals, R.U.R, Light Traveler and Eternity. Musically, the album opens with three songs that are classic Blastromen tunes where vocoder, catchy synth melodies and haunting electro breakbeats are the key elements. Luckily, there are also tracks where the formula has been tweaked a bit and on tracks like „Outsider“ (more based on bass lines than on pads), „Dream“ (a short cinematic one with vocoder effected vocals where arpeggios and bass drum are upfront), „Unite Arise“ (another one focused on bass lines, drums and high pitched arpeggios), „Signals“ (these one have also little guitar like solos) and „R.U.R.“ are straight electro and less breakbeat and this is a nice counterpart to the other tracks. „Cyberia“ is an album to check for sure and the new influences are just great. A nice release brought to you again from Dominance Electricity!
https://soundcloud.com/dominance-electricity/de027
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