Music Reviews



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Artist: THE BEAUTIFUL SCHIZOPHONIC
Title: Musicamorosa
Format: CD
Label: Crónica
Rated: *****
Last time I heard from Jorge Mantas was with his cdr on Mystery Sea. I had shared a cd with him on Thisco, and I really liked his dark, concise, sometimes lo-fi approach to digital drones. I've lost traces of him for a while and now I discover he's mellowed out: pink layout, Proust quotes everywhere... what the hell... No, really... This is undoubtedly a new course for Mantas, but it's a great one, and his musical ability has improved dramatically. His drones have turned melodic and moody, and beneath the sugar-coated layout they have maintained an edge that prevents them from becoming dull or nauseous (with the darker "L'amour, c'est l'espace et le temps rendus sensibles au coeur" reminding of his previous production). With its 13 tracks and 65 minutes, it's a quite lengthy work, and my loveless heart forces me to take a break now and then - but the quality is high throughout. Guests like José Luís Merca (Matéria Prima, at electric guitar), Tobias Strahl (Dies Natalis, at acoustic guitar) and Cécile Schott (Colleen, reading Proust, obviously), help make some tracks more varied, and Mantas knows how to dose their contribution. @c closes the album with a glitchy, more upbeat remix, which is ok but maybe a bit redundant. I would recommend this disc to anybody into Dead Texan, latest Beequeen or Stephan Mathieu, and melancholic electronica in general - it hardly gets any better than this, me thinks.
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Artist: KEVIN DRUMM & DANIEL MENCHE
Title: Gauntlet
Format: CD EP
Label: Editions Mego
Rated: *****
Two heavyweights of contemporary noise/drone/electronics jamming together, and if you're wondering, they were in a bad mood. "Gauntlet" is a 28'47" block of scorching feedback and cavernous bass rumbles. Drumm used a guitar and Menche an organ, and both added a variety of pedals, but you can hardly recognize any instrument if you don't read it first. I suppose that the sizzling, ear-screwing high end frequencies are due to Drumm, and that the downtuned lava flow is Menche manipulating the organ tones. The piece is a leaden, suffocating tour de force, but as expected, the violence is sadistically dosed so that you don't lose your senses (or yawn!), and the sound quality is crisp and detailed, filling the whole audio spectrum. Sturdy, relentless but elegant noise shaping, which proves why the two have left a few milestones along the way.
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Artist: GUSTO EXTERMINATION FLUID
Title: The Cleaner
Format: CD
Label: MOMT (@)
Rated: *****
Formed by PT, a guy who in the 90's was playing with Sonic Violence, Gusto Extermination Fluid is his outfit for his soundtrack to a decaying world. Mixing industrial, dub and dark ambient, PT composed the ten tracks you can find into his first album (available on CD and download mp3 files). The tracks are ten nice instrumental soundtracks which mix elements of the above genres trying to creating a new blend. For example, if "Scurvysh" is based on obsessive industrial percussions, "Bee tick" (one of the best ones of the lot), is dealing with slow dub/dark ambient atmospheres succeeding into creating a thick atmosphere. On other tracks, like "Below" or "Horselip", PT tries to find a personal way of dealing with the sounds and he made two particular orchestral/ambient/industrial tracks. The only weak point I found about his compositions is that in the process, sometimes, he lose the power and the ambience peculiar to the genres he took inspiration from. This isn't a great loss if these elements are substituted by creativity. This is the main point, some tracks don't seem to develop the initial idea, so they sound like good intuitions that need something more. His work is to be appreciated anyway, because he tries to deal with known sounds in a personal way. Sometimes he succeeds and sometimes he don't but the album does for sure sounds interesting.
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Artist: SAWAKO
Title: madoromi
Format: CD
Label: Anticipate (@)
Rated: *****
After several listenings I can truly say this new Sawako release hasn't deluded my expectations and if you consider I've bought her last release on 12k, plus I've heard many of her previous releases, you can guess why I was quite curious. This record is not only good, it strengthen my opinion this japanese girl actually residing in the Us (if remember well) is a talented and inspired electronic artist. The fact she's from Japan is not secondary at all since the music is minimal melodic japanese electronic music, and above all if you compare this one to some of the previous material recorded by Sawako it remind the esthetic of bands, artists like Minamo, Fourcolours, Yoshihiro Hanno just to name a few. This' the kind of release I wouldn't be surprised to se on a label like Cubic Music to help the most informed among you. If "Yours grey" was minimal but at the same time cerebral, this new release is much more immediate and easy to be listened due to the extreme melodic essence of the tracks. Simple ambiental-oriental repetitive melodies embody the corpus of the tracks, while Sawako comes in and out with vocals, soft noises, electronics: the end result is a good number of sweet lullaby that will drive you straight to close your eyes after Morpheus' kiss. Simplicity is the keyword in the making of this work, but what amazes me of brilliant japanese music (and Sawako is a top class artist) is how they paint it all with that childish atmosphere that makes you feel you're floating on in a soap bubble. On the other side it's quite easy to classify some of the tracks as ambient music and it's hard to deny that, but still I think this ambient esthetics has much more to do with oriental minimalism than with Brian Eno. This' the kind of music they should use in the cure of stressed people, I'm sure many would start relaxing after a few songs. If you're looking for something soft to the sound of which you can finally catch some sleep: here we've what you're looking for.


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Artist: VV.AA
Title: Hoera! Een Hex voor thuis!
Format: 12"
Label: Enfant Terrible (@)
Rated: *****
Compiled gathering tracks by bands who took part to the Hex nights (the nights that Enfant Terrible organize since 2004 at the OCCII in Amsterdam), HOERA! EEN HEX VOOR THUIS! (released under the new Enfant Terrbile sub-label Hex Grammofoonplaten) is a fantastic compilation with twelve tracks/bands that will please your needs of pure raw electro/experimental/wave/post punk music. Most of the names included here are unknown to me (I only knew and appreciated Sixteens, Wermut and Agent Side Grinder) but their tracks make me want for more because songs like the opening "Lovesick" (by Vanishing) or the fantastic "Blind" (by Frustation, a band which recalled me late 70's N.Y. sound of the No New York movement mixed with post punk), the punk attitude mixed with electronic bleeps of "Lydon on tv" (by Laurence Wasser), the raw pop electronic punk of "Ice double nice" (by Kania Tieffer) and the closing electronic experimental sound of "Ehrliche Juristen" (by Punk Soul Loving Bill, a band that sounds like a mix of Der Plan and early D.A.F.) are bringing fresh air renewing the spirit of the fathers of the genre. Don't miss it...
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