Music Reviews



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Artist: DJ? ACUCRACK
Title: Humanoids From The Deep
Format: CD
Label: Cracknation (@)
Rated: *****
After having regained completly their independent status caused through the end of a long-year distro deal with the well-known Underground Inc., here comes a full-scale release assault for the Cracknation-label. Besides this new DJ? ACUCRACK-release also the main project ACUMEN NATION releases a new full-length album. It was about time for new recordings after a long tour with both projects together with FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY and KMFDM. So the first result of DJ? ACUCRACK in form of this full-length album is out now, just one day after the last gig of the own booked "Psychotranshumanoid"-tour with CYANOTIC. That’s for sure an ominous chosen title for this new DJ? ACUCRACK-release and it shall indeed offer some influences out of some horror/splatter movies featuring a zombie-related theme. Globally the musically signature remains the same of this ACUMEN NATION side-project (I name it so, because AN-band leader Jason Novak stands also behind this project...) by offering a hectic rhythm construction taking inspiration out of D’n’B and Breakbeat-styles, some IDM and Trance-related textures, a huge amount of starnge sample manipulations and at times Jason’s insane and mostly distorted vocals. It’s positive that it doesn’t sound at all like an ACUMEN NATION-twin. "Reptilian Race" satisfies with some slower arrangements and quite different moods, while "Destroy All Robots" should be able to storm the dancefloors. But best work to me is "Ice Aces" featuring some melodic Ambient-like layers and a cool female background vocal performance. Although the main project ACUMEN NATION allows only a little change of the musically direction, this project of Jason Novak seems to be a kind of experimental field with which he likes to test different moods, rhythms and arrangements on his audience. Yep – experiment accomplished – keep it on!
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Artist: ACUMEN NATION
Title: Psycho The Rapist
Format: CD
Label: Cracknation (@)
Rated: *****
Since the last ACUMEN NATION full-length album "Anticore" was a reflection of a regime-critical onslaught, this new release by Jason Novak drifts in a different mood. As the title may gives a hint, "Psycho The Rapist" discovers a lot of dark and horrific themes man can think of. While the predecessor also musically was rather a full-scale Metal-album, this new one draws and includes some darker-minded sampling works and breaks some raging and fast-forward moving tracks to include those ominous sequences and textures ("No Imagination" is a perfect example...). The more Electronica-minded listeners will serviced extremely well with "Elective Surgical Strike", especially with its additional distorted effects on some percussion patterns, while club-goers will have a rather relaxing track in "Idle Lysergic Corpse". Also a must-to-mention track is the more than 10 minutes long epic Metal piece "Acumen Trepanation" with its diverse tempos. But don’t expect that the ACUMEN NATION would offer you a glimpse of weakness – by far NO, and those fast-paced speedy-Metal tunes like "Hatchet Harry", "200 Bodies Per Minute" or "Remedial Math", the latter with interrupted and attacking song structures, still don’t take any prisoners and invite you heavily for some head-banging action. This ACUMEN NATION-release shows different ways to present the formula Industrial-Metal compared to the last albums of this band. This experiment hasn’t failed although some macabre content has find its entrance in lyrics and art. Maybe a matter of taste, but I like to encourage Jason to continue in this style.
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anymore
Artist: TONIKOM (@)
Title: Epoch
Format: CD
Label: Hymen Records (@)
Distributor: ant-zen
Rated: *****
First off, the extravagant cover art design by SALT of some icy landscapes impresses extremely and can’t be once again praised enough – that’s maybe another secret behind the success story of ant-zen and/or Hymen Records: the art mostly fits with the musically content and quality of the releases. The mysterious female-leaded project TONIKOM isn’t an exception. Once started under the moniker TONIK the change of the band name into TONIKOM happened in 2K6. After the 2 self-released CDR’s " Tonikom Killed Tonik" and "Ocular Pitch", this "Epoch" marks the first release of this act on Hymen Records. And I must admit that I’ve seldom heard a release with such a huge amount of diversity, which grips in several genres to offer the elements out of several worlds. TONIKOM can be generally sorted in into the styles of IDM and Electronica, while the beats and rhythm patterns take mostly influences out of styles like D’n’B and Breakbeat ("Salvo Infinitum" or "Dark River" work well as references). But that wasn’t it at all. Furthermore styles with Ambient, Trance, Techno or Industrial get touched and extracted to built a very own and unforeseeable sound design (excellent: "Swollen" and "Nightwalk") which sounds new, innovative and intelligent. This music isn’t designed to get consumed as a "Wal-Mart-background-sound", it needs fully attention, the best under a good pair of headphones. If this will be the "truly epoch-making release", which the info sheet likes to suggest, well, that depends on you. TONIKOM has done the best and improved on all thinkable terms of production, so the quality of this release is unquestionable.
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anymore
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Extended Electronics Vol. 2
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Skizzo / NEO (@)
Distributor: Sony / BMG
Rated: *****
Well, this is the dream of any DJ: why wasting the whole free time on some club events, instead to press the "Play"-button of this DCD set and to share more important things like smoking, drinking, lurking for chicks, etc.? Regarding the fact that this compilation got compiled by Inga Uphoff and Sven Enzelmann of the German Club-promoter Hardbeat, it may gives you the hint, that this DCD set presents some tunes of their represented acts, which are mostly some so-called scene-leaders. The second criteria is fulfilled if these acts can look on some "extended" versions – the idea to create extended versions like it was presented richly in the golden 80ies. So this DCD set collects and unites some alternative versions of some remarkable club-tunes, and generally seen, this comp also offers a good choice and diversity of styles. That newbies or greenhorns wouldn’t get any glimpse of a chance to take part on this compilation was to expect – if this is to rate positive belongs on your personal preferences for sure, but I must wonder, what kind of "music" nowadays played in the clubs can grab attention by any audience. Some appearances here are that retarded, stupid, plain and that sort of repetitive that they're causing tooth-aching – well, I rather like to point out the most outstanding works here.
ROTERSAND are that sort of elegant produced Futurepop-acts and "Lost" is for sure one of their highlights. It seems to become a kind of art not to fall into cheesy Pop music and they’re an outstanding example for remaining in an own identity. Same counts for the Electro-/Wave-artist DIORAMA and their Extended Version of "Erase Me" –always tasteful arranged, it slows down the speed a bit. LADYTRON, although mostly very Pop/Alternative-oriented, can impress with smashing bass lines and cold female vocals. The factor "coolness" also counts for SEABOUND, "The Promise" offers once again their enormous programming skills and features a slight Dark Electro influence which drives this piece completely away from any redundancy. "Exit" of DISMANTLED is definitively to old to get featured here once again, since it was already available on the now three years old "Post-Nuclear"-album. I suppose that the only one reason belongs on the fact that DISMANTLED couldn’t produce any comparable quality tune since those days... even if this sounds very tacky. "Japanese Bodies" by LEAETHER STRIP is originally much older – a classic for sure – but Claus Larsen currently works hard to re-release his old back-catalogue and he revamps all of his classic recordings and presses them in a new and updated sound design. This "Free Tibet Mix" is refreshing – a must-have and definitely better constituted than the millions of :WUMPSCUT:-re-re-re-releases.
CD2 opens with [:SITD:] and their 2007-Version on their classic "Snuff Machinery" – fair enough arranged but nothing too spectacular. SUICIDE COMMANDO offers an alternative version of his last smasher "Bind, Torture, Kill" and it is appreciated to offer something exclusive. But the sound quality and a failed mastering without any dynamics is out of any discussion – especially for an international renowned act. Boredom comes along and rules with SOMAN, 32CRASH, REAPER and IMPLANT with their musically similar TBM-try-outs. Unbelievable that this music style can really grab attention with those plain arrangements – although that these acts have a lot of prominent guest singers on board (32CRASH = J.-L. de Meyer/FRONT 242, REAPER = Mark Jackson/VNV NATION, IMPLANT = Anne Clark) these acts are failing, what a shame! In between we’ll find DISTORTED MEMORY and FROZEN PLASMA, whose appearance can be called decent but not flawless. I’m thankful to hear something more dark and harder-minded, although DISTORTED MEMORY have a lot of better tunes to offer than a Club Edit of "God’s Wrath". FROZEN PLASMA can point with elegant synth textures and clear male vocals – the only complaint can named in the always and ever repetitive use of "drill-instructor-voice-samples. Best track – although originally more than 15 years old – is definitely "Die Totgeweihten" provided by the German legend DAS ICH. This is of course a new and revamped version – but a harsh one taking influences out of Powernoise and Dark Electro, congrats! With FORTIFICATION 55 the re-animation of some German classics continues in a – how surprising – updated Futurepop sound-design. And any original version on CAMOUFLAGE’s "The Pleasure Remains" would fit much better than this useless Alternative-minded collaboration with WET FINGERS.
I’m in a good manner and will rate this compilation with three stars today, although some appearances are useless like ice-bears in a desert. Also I need to accept the fact that this release is driven by a lot marketing strategies and to strengthen the good collaboration between the presenting labels and the promotion agency Hardbeat. But only a little bit more of the so-called "Independent-thinking" which would allow the compilers to include some "real" underground artists would turn this compilation to more acceptance from the base of the scene.

CD 1:
01 Rotersand - Lost (12" Inch Version)
02 Diorama - Erase Me (Extended Version)
03 IAMX - Spit It Out
04 Covenant - Brave New World (Alternative Radio Version)
05 Ladytron - Destroy Everything You Touch (Vector Lovers Edit)
06 Grossstadtgeflüster - Ich Muss Gar Nix (Director's Cut)
07 Seabound - The Promise (Club Mix)
08 X-Perience & Midge Ure - Personal Heaven (Michael Bachmeier Remix)
09 Bermuda Triangle - Breathe Freely (Extended Electronics)
10 Boytronic - Diamonds & Loving Arms (Front Mix)
11 Melotron - Das Herz (Club Mix)
12 Purwien mit Witt - Alle Fehler (Clubmix von The Promise)
13 Dismantled - Exit (Long)
14 Leæther Strip - Japanese Bodies (Free Tibet Mix)

CD2
01 [:SITD:] - Snuff Machinery 2007
02 Suicide Commando - Bind, Torture, Kill (Extended Torture)
03 Soman - Mask (FMv9 Extended Remix)
04 32Crash - Lone Ranger (Punx Soundcheck Remix)
05 Reaper feat. Mark Jackson - Twisted Trophy Hunter (Caught Line Remix)
06 Distorted Memory - God's Wrath (Club Edit)
07 Frozen Plasma - Warmongers (Fuck Them All Remix)
08 Implant - Your World (Global Meltdown Mix)
09 Das Ich - Die Totgeweihten
10 Fortification 55 - Changing My Exist (2007 Mindworks Remix)
11 Camouflage - The Pleasure Remains (Camouflage vs. Wet Fingers - Club Version)
12 Trisomie 21 - Midnight Of My Life (Instrumental Mix By David Caretta)

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Artist: Screen Vinyl Image (@)
Title: The Midnight Sun EP
Format: CD EP
Label: Safranin Sound (@)
Rated: *****
After several listenings all I can say is that this 5 tracks EP is a little monster of 90's psychedelia and synth-driven kraut'n'roll with vocals reminiscent of 80's synthpop. The duo (E*lectra Blue* and J. Sequential) spawn their sonic assault with guitars and electronic devices through those hellish Death By Audio pedals and effects (created by Oliver Ackerman - ex-Skywave now with A Place To Bury Strangers). This ep is out on the great Safranin Sound label - property of Alcian Blue and among the labels supporting the new shoegaze/nu-gaze scene. I bet SVI play a killer liveset and surely would be a perfect dj-choice for demanding dancefloors. All you could ask for in a record.
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