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Artist: RANT
Title: A Direct Sensuous Pleasure
Format: CD
Label: Schraum
Rated: *****
Second cd from this duo formed by Merle Bennett (drums) and Torsten Papenheim (guitar), surely the most "regular" outfit in the Schraum family, after "Seumsund/Sundseum" (2004; browse the archive for Andrea Ferraris' review). The new work doesn't change anything in terms of formula: clean, elegant jazzy guitar lines mixed with a varied, but never aggressive drumming. All is pleasant indeed from start to end, which is also part of the problem: Rant's instrumental music tends to sound all the same, and a bit anemic, after a while. Having said that, this could be a nice listen for cold December afternoons - as Ferraris put it, "winter melancholia for winter snapshots".
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Artist: LOW DYNAMIC ORCHESTRA
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Alice
Rated: *****
The Low Dynamic Orchestra is a Swedish ensemble featuring Kjell Nordeson (percussion), Sten Sandell (piano and harmonium), Amit Senn (cello) and Peter Soederberg (lute, teorbo and guitar); in this recording, from a concert at the Stockholm New Music Festival in 2003, they are joined by an Italian guest, Stefano Scodanibbio, on double bass. A couple of years ago I had the lucky chance to see Scodanibbio live in a mesmerizing concert of droning, mostly e-bowed contrabass; this time, though, he mostly plays it in a more typical jazz/improv way. The Orchestra offers a series of improvisations and versions of Cage ("Five"), Cardew ("Treatise") and Mats Persson ("Games", "Songs", "Refrains" and "Choral"). All sounds well-oiled and carefully played, but eventually without much grasp on yours truly. The final, and loger, piece, Persson's "Choral", stands out from the rest in terms of intensity and nuances.
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Artist: ENDIF (@)
Title: Meta
Format: CD
Label: Crunch Pod Media (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
This is the first "real" full-length by this one-man act leaded by Jason Hollis, if we don’t count the split-release with CAUSTIC to the discography, and I can still remember hearing about this act 3 – 4 years ago coming up through the Thirdwave Collective, which is still active (www.thirdwave-collective.com). A track like "Ashes" caught really my attention and got released on a collective compilation. That it took some more years until this act could leave its hidden status wondered me a bit. So here we have this full-length release out on Crunch Pod Media – and I’ve seldom heard this year anything comparable intense like this one! This isn’t the straight and monotonous beating Powernoise someone may expects, it goes deeper and shows a lot of depth, details and facets. There’s a real intelligent kind behind this 13 tracks, which take influences out of Electro/Industrial, Powernoise (of course...), IDM and Electro-Clash. This is somehow that kind of music where INDIVIDUAL TOTEM at their heydays ("SETI"-era...) have stopped and wouldn’t mind to integrate the "noise" component in their music. Hard electronics filled with real authentic ideas, can you remember to which other release you’ve been said this for a while? "Ashes" is included, but also "Sleeper Cell" which took place on the quadruple Alfa Matrix compilation Endzeit Bunkertracks 2. All relevant older tracks of this act got revamped into this new style, and nothing’s gonna disturb the float of this album. Some well-done co-operations with some different musicians are featured as well, J. Conley aka SAEMSKIN, an act I also lately discovered has laid his hands on "Blotter", one of the outstanding pieces here by combining noise aggression with a constant good but dark melodic content. "Gritscape" is one of the few harsh and fast-forward beating tracks and got manipulated by Mort Rigdon of POLLUTED AXIS. "Totenplatz", a more Dark Electro-oriented track which also has found a free slot on BLC’s Interbreeding VII compilation features lyrics and guest vocals in German by Siren313 of APRAXIA. If you have only a small sense of dedication to hard but still diverse pounding Electro/Industrial/Powernoise music provided with intelligent arrangements and structures, you’ll need to purchase this one. I tend to call this a milestone. Doubleplusgood!!!
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Artist: AND ONE (@)
Title: Traumfrau
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Out Of Line (@)
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
AND ONE return and release with "Traumfrau" their already third single out of the successful album "Body Pop". I think the high and not expected high entries at the German Media Control Charts of the predecessor "So Klingt Liebe" have played a role for this release. Against to both previous released singles "Military Fashion Show" and "So Klingt Liebe", "Traumfrau", available here in two different versions, reduces the speed a lot, while this track isn’t lesser attractive. The catchy and addictive refrain is one of the finest Naghavi-works for sure. Still good to see that AND ONE don’t need to "sell" their own created style and identity for having the current success, their 80ties influence is still alive and kicking. You’ll got also here a danceable Club Hit remix of "Body Company", two new B-sides with the instrumental "Naghavigationssystem" (funny title...) and the also slower interpreted "Tonight". And to make the good things complete, you’ll get the two video clips pressed on the enhanced part of this good release. If you wouldn’t mind to buy this SiCD for the title track, the good additional B-sides make this release worth to purchase. Note also the cover painting done by F. Naghavi (www.naghavi-kunst.de).
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Artist: BLUTENGEL (@)
Title: My Saviour
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Out Of Line (@)
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
It was about time for Chris Pohl and his both female vocal princesses to return with a new audio sign of life, just right and dedicated to some colder dark days and to help the tended listener through some gray autumn depressions. I think I don’t have to repeat something about the music style BLUTENGEL offers with a growing success, do I? The acceptance is increasing and entries in the German Media Control Charts – just like their label colleagues AND ONE and CLIENT - are only a matter of time. "My Saviour" features three different versions of this danceable main track, one original and two remix works by CEPHALGY (a real alternative version, but lesser dancefloor-compatible...) and ADAM (offers a harder stomping version...). Add to this the fine track "Verdammnis" with German lyrics, to my taste the better one compared to the title track because of the better included female vocals. With "In Winter" you’ll got another track showing the more ballad-like and orchestral arranged side this act has to offer. BLUTENGEL of course walking the same successful formula like they’ve done before, the Dark Romantic Electro/Futurepop style on which they can be called leaders of the genre. It’s like the daily burger: you’ll know what you’ll get. Definitively quality stuff which has my acceptance and best wishes for success, but no need to praise it like heaven. The Goth-kids will dig it a lot, a must-have for the fans.
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