Music Reviews



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Artist: RUKKANOR
Title: ENDE
Format: CD EP
Label: War Office Propaganda (@)
Rated: *****
Sixth release for the personal project of Robert Marciniak (one of the two guys who run War Office), ENDE contains six tracks focusing on martial orchestral sounds. Listening to ENDE a couple of times, I realized that even if Rukkanor didn't compose these tracks thinking about a proper release (this EP is a collection of five unreleased tracks and a live one composed during the Scontrum Act IV, the "Triumvire" split CD and the latest album "Despartica face one") has been able to chose tracks which succeeds into creating a solid atmosphere. The tracks aren't simply tunes with marching rhythms, orchestral sounds and vocal samples, because Robert enriched them distinguishing the melodies and the ambience. If the opening "War" is a blasting opus, "Hail, Rome victorious!" has strong moments as well melancholy ones which blend, the live track "Virus dei" is an industrial ambient track with grinding treated noises/choirs and thundering rhythms and the following "Függetlenség, szabadság ! (Freedom, Independence!) Hungary 1956" (from Wikipedia: "Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the Communist government of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from October 23 until November 10, 1956") is a track where the battling sounds are really convincing. Good one!
Jun 14 2007
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Artist: VEDETTE (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Stilll
Rated: *****
Uuuuhhmmm weird release here, not experimental, but at the same time not your average copycat of this or that artist. Vedette is a duo dealing basically with a strange cocktail of ingredients, I’ve recognized Xiu Xiu, Nine Inch Nail (just they're ethereal pop side), 80's new wave pop, indie rock and it's hard to say what else. The music is really melodic but at the same time has that characteristical "out of tune" aroma that demonstrates Jamie Stewart and Stephen Malkmus were/are two geniuses. Sometimes you have a strong drumbeat, sometimes the vocals swim in an ocean of soft music like "They are only gardening". If you think you have all the elements you need wait a second more since it's time to add the x factor represented by Flaming Lips just to say this psychedelic deformed image of modern pop is complete. This' an interesting record for what I suppose it's a debut release, you identify many influences but you're far from a cheesy clone. The funny thing is that they also play with that lovely stupid computer game sounds that always bring my mind to Japan...who knows maybe Vedette can have lot's of chances there. I can't say I've appreciated all of the songs but this could be an hint they're unconventional.

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Artist: VV.AA
Title: Scontrum act VI - Bisclaveret, Sect, Ab Intra
Format: CD
Label: War Office Propaganda (@)
Rated: *****
Sixth episode of the Scontrum Act series the CD brings, as usual, to the attention of the listener three bands for a total of nine tracks. This time an artwork based on the Dariusz Branski's oil paintings has been used (check this link to see some of his paintings: www.branski.republika.pl) and the sixth chapter sees the participation of three Polish acts: Bislaveret, Sect and Ab Intra. On their three tracks Bisclaveret explore the same kind of atmosphere I talked about into the review of their latest album "Psyche nomine": ritualistic dark ambient atmospheres with effected recitative vocals, mysterious melodies and some distant industrial rhythmical noise. They are good at what they do, so if you are into this genre their are worth a listening. Sect presents a set of three percussive tracks where industrial and dark ambient atmospheres merge, creating a tense battling scenario. Ab Intra instead with "Demiurgia Part I" are slightly less percussive and the track has got a final part focused more on an experimental ambient approach with a piano which duet with some drones. "Demiurgia Part II" sounds like a hymn performed by a organ sound with some background percussion, the percussions fade out into a distant orchestral sound and some choirs. The third part of "Demiurgia" is a good soundtrack for an "end of the world" scenario, when there are only ruins left. This six chapter is a good one where the guys at War Office did a good work by selecting bands which doesn't sound similar but someway create similar atmospheres.
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Artist: ROTERSAND
Title: 1023 (tentwentythree)
Format: CD
Label: Dependent / Metropolis (@)
Distributor: Alive / Metropolis
Rated: *****
Third full-length album with a rather conspicuous title for this well-known German trio, which marks one of the summer highlights of the Dependent roster, licensed for sure to Metropolis-Records. Regarding the title, the band has explained that it was taken from a room number of a hotel in Chicago, where the band has stayed a night during their last years’ US tour. It happened after a spooky and eerie trip with the lift into the basement of this once luxurious, but nowadays rather forsaken hotel. Still consisting of the three professional musicians Rasc, Gun and Krischan, ROTERSAND could once again develop their wide-ranging musically output and prove their outstanding status. There’s much more behind this act than a simple reduction their musically abilities on the term Futurepop – elements out of EBM, Alternative, Pop-art and a constant Classic influence can be heard as well. Impressive songwriting and compositions, excellent arrangements, a charismatic male vocal performance – this all are the ingredients of this three very different musicians, which can unite into an emotional combination to form and perform ROTERSAND. Examples? The track "Lost" surprises with some slightly distorted bass lines and synth textures, while the song structure offers a marvelous change between straight and forward-moving to calm and harmonic – a piece full of contraries, but catchy as hell to satisfy feet and mind. "I Am With You" is a masterpiece of a ballad which offers opulent and addictive layer sounds. "I Cry" features a CURE-like acoustic guitar play as being the outstanding melodic content, while the mood of this track turns into depression. "Rushing", "Don’t Know" or "I Don’t Remember" are killer food to storm the dancefloors, often infiltrated with non-expected and detailed integrated effect textures. I can easily now continue with praising hymns on every other track as well – let’s say and be sure that this album doesn’t offer space for so-called filling stuff. ROTERSAND have again set the measuring bar one slot higher and nobody will ever talk again on their last album "Welcome To Goodbye", since this new one is so much more excessive and brilliant.
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Artist: The Machine Gun TV
Title: GO->
Format: CD
Label: PUBLIC EYESORE (@)
Rated: *****
I've always thought that the Japanese music scene (noise & experimental) is populated by aliens and Machine Gun Tv are the proof that I am actually right. The first half of the cd is an unusual amalgamate of catchy jpop jingles raped by bursts of noise... and surprisingly it works fine! The second part of "Go" consists of a 12-minute, well executed but not so exciting drone. This cdr was released 2 years ago and I couldn't find any recent info on the web. I've never heard anything similar but they will surely appeal to japanoisu junkies and maybe even intrigue some fearless shoegazer lovers (in which I include myself). Stunning!
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