Music Reviews



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Artist: SAMHAIN (@)
Title: Violent Identity
Format: CD
Label: Aliens Production (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
Already well-known in the Czech/Slovakian scene thanks to some hard-to-get recordings and thanks to some live performances and compilation appearances, this Slovakian trio brings finally out their official debut. While some of the band members have done through the years some remarkable collaborations with some better known Electro/EBM acts of the scene, like KIFOTH or LAST INFLUENCE OF BRAIN, they now joined together their forces and provide us here a full-length CD with more than 72 minutes playing time. Who already thought, that there can’t be anything darker or more experimental-oriented out of Slovakia than their countrymen of DISHARMONY or the Czech solo artist ANHEDONIA, well – here comes a new fine proof. Walls of sounds, hard-to-realize worked out rhythm patterns, a dark, at times scary cinematic mood – this all fits with SAMHAIN. Who already has thought that MENTALLO & THE FIXER have provided in their early days ("Revelations 23" – era) a hard-to-grip complexity, has stopped to learn – SAMHAIN is here to teach you better! Mix to that M&TF reference some Powernoise/Ambient-infiltrated tunes, like offered from the French act REMAIN SILENT and you have a possible comparison, which almost fits. Although vocals – and when integrated, they’re mostly dark, rough experimental-minded - are sparse filled in here, and besides the fact that several voice samples are included, there’s enough music here which makes this "human factor" forgettable. It’s hard to pick out favorites, the opener "Undefinable" follows pretty much the already mentioned M&TF style, while "Apparition" turns with some rotten layers and heavily distorted rhythms near to the Powernoise genre. It’s one of this extremely valuable albums, which content is impossible to realize and to pick up only after 3 – 4 rotations. Give it more spins and make sure, that you can offer some time and attention, you will be rewarded with an album which never starts to bore. Doubleplusgood!
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Artist: DISHARMONY (@)
Title: Frames
Format: CD
Label: Aliens Production (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
This well-known Slovakian duo returns with their already 4th full-length release, and finally they officially release this new album under their very own Aliens Production label. This isn’t a new studio album, it moreover contains previously unreleased and never-heard-before stuff back to their early "Moonflower" era. It is a kind of collection to close the very first chapter in the evolution of this band through the years. But don’t call these tracks "b-sides" or such other negative word, that wouldn’t be fair and it wouldn’t reflect the offered quality here, which still is able to satisfy the highest expectations. DISHARMONY of course go on here with their fine worked out, slowly, creepy, with Ambient-textures infiltrated subtle kind of Dark Electro/Industrial music. They’re near – very near – to that sound and style which acts like MORTAL CONSTRAINT and/or the earlier KLINIK (Ivens/Verhaegen) have provided us – and which is nowadays sorely missed! But some tracks here really should surprise you, because here are some examples that this duo is also able to produce danceable tunes, just check "Blind" or "Masonic" here. Some remix works of tracks being originally available on their last full-length CD "Collapse" (out on Monopolrecords, www.monopolrecords.cz) are provided here as well, done by the Aliens label comrades GAPING CHASM, ANHEDONIA, as well as the French act FLINT GLASS. They all offer good worked out remix works – but can never hit the well done original version, which still is one of the finest pieces of DISHARMONY at all! Still unsolved is the secret, why there are especially in Slovakia and in the Czech Republic so many acts providing this special kind of Dark Electro/Industrial/Ambient-influenced kind of music. DISHARMONY, ANHEDONIA, or the also now released SAMHAIN – they all are more less dedicated to this special sound. Still so dark, still rich layered and arranged – and luckily without using any cliches, this release is again a must-have, if you like to check out a quality alternative to your usual Electro/Industrial listening. Note: like all releases out on this fine Slovakian label, also this piece here is limited to 550 exemplars and comes packaged in a DVD box. Get it!
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Artist: HOLDEN
Title: The Idiots Are Winning
Format: CD
Label: Border Community Recordings
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****

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James Holden started his musical activity back in 1999 when he was at college when during the summer holidays, thanks to a £500 computer with Buzz installed (Buzz is an advanced version of Fast Tracker, one of the first sequencer program that can also use samples), he produced his first track that later made him recognized as one of the best producer in England. Since then James worked hard remixing and playing his own stuff. He also founded his own label called Border Community for which he now released his full length album THE IDIOTS ARE WINNING. The ten tracks of the CD are full of good ideas as well as humour, because along with tracks titled "Idiot" or "Idiot clapsolo" there’s also one with two minutes of silence titled "Intentionally left blank". Musically we could divide the album in two main currents: minimal techno with light catchy melodies and minimal techno with sound experiments based on rhythms. On both James Holden is good at creating interesting sound sculptures that when are enriched by soft melodies are really surprising (like on the opening "Lump" or "10101").
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Artist: FLUX
Title: Electric Woman + Protected
Format: CD EP
Label: Na-no (@)
Rated: *****
I received a couple of CD from a new Finland label called Nano. Both the singles are from Flux but they seem produced by two different bands. The first single is ELECTRIC WOMAN: the main song is a tune that reminds me of the latest Karl Bartos tracks and the Tuohimaa and Markis L. remixes add to it a certain electro dance flavor without changing it too much. They added some rhythms plus some syth lines just to enhance the catchy factor. The original "Lo Fi" version is twice longer respect the video edit version (and on the extra section of the CD you can find also the video) but the sound doesn’t differs that much from the short one. Closes the E.P. an instrumental track, "Pulsar – tseburex special", a nice track that seems coming from a Japanese space base. The second single is PROTECTED: it contains only two songs ("Protected" and "No more than alive") plus a remix of the main track. On this single Flux changed totally and thanks to a new female singer (on "Electric woman" we had a robotic male vocal) we have a couple of sophisticated electropop dancey tunes really convincing. The lovers of early Client for sure will dig "No more than alive" with its analogue sounds (something similar to the first Depeche album) and the sensual female vocals. I don’t know nothing about the band but I liked these songs. Keep an eye on them...
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Fabriksampler 1
Format: CD
Label: pharmafabrik (@)
Rated: *****
This is the cdr sampler of this new mysterious Pharmafabrik label. The music captured here ranges from Seed's Steinklang inspired industrial to Glaxprism's IDM pastiche with some weird highlights like Richard Dunlap's quirky sonic extravaganza. From the first look at the artwork the drug factor is always evident and maybe the only point in common of the artists in this way too eclectic sampler (sorry but I don't appreciate bands, labels or in this case compilations covering so many different styles). Anyway some of those artits have a lot of potential and I'm looking forward to hear further progressions.
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