Music Reviews



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Artist: RAN (@)
Title: Ran
Format: CD
Label: Decadance Records (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
Ran is a new project of a duo formed by Giorgio (ex Templebeat) and Romina (ex Antinomia and estAsia). Their music blend elements of ethereal/fairy music (thanks to Romina’s vocal style) and electronic music with some industrial arrangement. They are experienced musicians and you can hear that thanks to the atmosphere they are able to create but I must admit that I liked mostly the musical part respect the vocal parts. Unfortunately for me when I listen to female singers that use that style automatically I compare them with Lisa Gerrard or Elizabeth Fraser and even if I don’t care if technically we are facing the same level, I like to be carried away by the personality of that voice. Romina is a good singer but her voice don’t make me feel the emotions I would expect to. Ran’s music seems to be built around her voice because the tracks are based on mid tempos and there’s lack of a carrying melody. To be sincere there are also good tracks like "The great below" or the closing "Splinters" where there’s also a certain amount of energy that exalt Romina’s vocal qualities but, for my tastes, this is what is missing on the previous ones.
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Artist: Ahab Rex (@)
Title: Blood on Blonde
Format: CD
Label: Lens records (@)
Rated: *****

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Ahab Rex's minimalistic electro-rock bounces back and forth from being a noir songwriter's most intimate and convoluted creation to showing the aggressive energy and raw sonic attack of an entire band. Unapologetic naked lyrics sung out with the conviction and the soul of one of the last of the spoken-word urban poets. If you tend to prefer the focus being shifted on words you'll appreciate the vocal characteristics of this young talented and very personal singer, who, without sounding like a clone will make you think, for one reason or another, about David Bowie, Tom Waits, Trent Reznor, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave etc... And if you are longing for big names, the collaboration on Ahab Rex's debut full length CD should make you seriously think about checking them out: drummer Martin Atkins (NIN, Killing Joke, Pigface), singer Chris Connelly (Ministry, Revolting Cocks), Steven Seibold (Hate Dept), Dylan Ryan, Pigface and Assassins (who both remixed one song on this record), The Countdown, Griffin Rodriguez (him) and engineer Adam Yoffe (Big Buildings) all lend a helping hand for an album that does sound mature and ready for a much bigger audience.As a music producer, this is the kind of band I'd be seeking out to work with and the kind of band where I'd wonder why they are not signed, so I am glad that somebody (Lens records) noticed them and is (hopefully) providing them with good promotion and distribution. I don't think I need to stress any further that this m+f duo knows what they are doing and are determined and set out to be noticed.
Nov 21 2006
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Artist: BEAMSHIP (@)
Title: Big Brother
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
With a look on the cover art and regarding the band name I can assure you that this trio hailing from Brno, Czech Republic, hasn’t got anything to do with the Klingon empire out of Star Trek :-). It’s moreover a self-produced debut of this newcomer act, from whom some of you have maybe heard the name Martin Pavlik before. He’s a constant member with the DEPRESSIVE DISORDER front man Patrik Lev of the Dark Electro/Ambient side-project HEEL, which could release an amazing debut last year on Monopolrecords (www.monopolrecords.cz). BEAMSHIP has something different to offer. It is globally placed into the Dark Electro/EBM genre, but with some hints to different music styles like Techno and IDM. They’re also not afraid in the use of some guitar riffs here and there. This all builds a diverse sounding Electro/Industrial album and the dark and deep male voice of the singer reminding me a bit on a rough intoned J.-L. de Meyer. Favorites can be named with the catchy title track, the dark arranged "Mind Control" and for sure "Welt Gegen Welt", featuring some German lyrics. Two tribute tracks are also featured to conclude this CD, "Radioactivity" (KRAFTWERK), and "Monument" (DEPECHE MODE), but both can’t grab too much attention. Not to forget the video part at the enhanced CD, a 3-D clip of "Welt Gegen Welt". The globally content of this release features a critical view on ovious state control of the USA and has several critical reports about George Orwell’s famous book "1984" with the "Big Brother Is Watching You" theme. It also features some reports on the CIA programs "MK Ultra" and "Echelon". Interesting stuff to read and to listen to, get it!
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Artist: PORTION CONTROL (@)
Title: Filthy White Guy
Format: CD
Rated: *****
After two years from their 2004 comeback welcomed by the double CD "Wellcome" and after the 2005 "Stansted" EP, Portion Control release a new full length titled FILTHY WHITE GUY. If you hadn’t the chance to listen to their previous release and you have still in your ears tunes like "Chew you to bits" (my favourite track of their old period), well, the fourteen tracks of this new album can somewhat recalling those old atmosphere even if the sounds are been refined being now more sophisticated. If that track was sounding rough and powerful at the same time the new tracks are still powerful but are more permeated by a sense of isolationism. New songs often play around a bass line melody and then some sounds are added to thicken the structure. This way of concentrating the track around an idea for almost the whole length make arise a certain sense of claustrophobia and by the cover used (a picture of snarling teeth) I think this is the effect Portion Control wanted to have. Fortunately the tracks don’t sound boring because they aren’t all sounding the same thanks also to Dean Piavani who used different style of vocals. If "Wellcome" tracks were varied by containing elements of ambient, electronic a la Clock DVA and e.b.m., FILTHY WHITE GUY have a radical approach to sounds and themes (they also collaborated with the Japanese cyberpunk writer Kenji Siratori for the lyrics of "Susano"). Probably the creation process affected the tracks as the band choose different locations like a caravan park in Peacehaven, a power sub station, a front room, a chapel of rest and a bingo hall. They linked two different laptops that were running Cubase SX3 and they used uniquely software keyboards and effects. Sometimes I feel the lack of roughness that the analogue gear was giving to their sound but it is a good thing that Portion Control are back and I feel that they are here to stay!
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Artist: BJERGA/IVERSEN
Title: In broken dreams the world still keeps turning
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Dead Sea Liner
Rated: *****
I was not thrilled by Iversen's first efforts, and I haven't kept track of his ever growing discography, but I guess I've missed some pretty good stuff, judging from this new duo recording with Goldsoundz' Sindre Bjerga (their nth one together). Coming in a spartan photocopied cover on silver paper, "In broken dreams..." features a 27'30" track from a concert played last March at the Underkurrent in Amsterdam. It's not easy to tell what the two were using, most probably laptops, synths, pedals and possibly a guitar, but anyway, the set is very intense and coherent in its controlled mess of droning feedback, digital chirps and overdriven frequencies. Quite loud, especially in the final climax, as you would expect from these two noisemakers, but eventually falling more in the atmospheric than in the harsh category. If the performance was improvised, as I guess, the two must have developed a well-oiled alchemy.
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