Music Reviews



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Artist: HOLLYDRIFT (@)
Title: Halting Gait
Format: CD EP
Rated: *****
Personal project of Mathyas Anderson, Hollydrift is releasing a free four tracks E.P. which mix ambient dub atmospheres with shoegaze attitude (his personal definition). Mathyas in the past experimented a lot into the industrial noise field but lately he didn't found it too stimulating, so he used his passion for field recording, sytnhs and his passion for the place where he lives (Port Washington, Wisconsin, near the lake Michigan) to record four tracks where he mixes the sound of those places with darkwave intuitions (see the rhythmic and melodic "Buckles and bows") and reverbered ambient ambience. His tracks have a certain cinematic effect but sometimes he tend to lose himself into the echoes of the sound produced. Anyway the tracks have a lot of good moments and interesting sounds so you can give them a try by downloading them at http://www.hollydrift.com/haltinggaitep.html. After the listening don't forget to write to Mathyas your impressions because he's offering his music for free but he'd like to share something with the listener (he's also sending another release for free in change of a letter where you describe the place where you live).
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Artist: XP_DEVICES (@)
Title: starrust & ballast
Format: CD
Label: DeVega
Rated: *****
Hailing from Genoa Xp_devices join the ranks of danceable melodic electronic music together with their town fellas Port Royal. Despite the fact they're coming from the same town and they both play melodic-electronic music they have nothing more to share with the Royals, these guys are way more french-electronics oriented. What does french electronics mean then? No old fart, no Metal Urbain and not even Plastic Bertrand... we're talking about Daft Punk, Air (even if their not as ethereal), Cassius, Luke Vibert, a little bit of Chemical Brothers and sure a spruce of Lcd Soundsystem. It all means you have the dance flavor, the analog keyboard sound a-la-eighties and a popular disco approach that's why I'm tented to add this cd features also an Italo-disco aftertaste a la Planet Funk, sure they're considerably different but I hope you get what I mean (and above all tip of hat to Planet Funk for having written a couple of chart-climber hits that were real killers). Well produced and with many guest-vocals even if the male singer in the most of the episodes is "Genoa's own funkster" Bobby Soul that many italian readers may remember for his past experiences with Blindosbarra. At the very first listenings I wasn't completely convinced but several plays later, thought it has its ups and downs, I've to say after all is a good product it just lacks of a that hyper-production like that which makes Daft Punk and all those bands we mentioned before major product. Anyhow "starrust & ballast" is a debut therefore I wouldn't be surprised if they could make it on a major as well the just have to refine the material here and there.
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Artist: DEAD BEAT PROJECT (@)
Title: Breaking The Shell
Format: CD
Label: Aesthetic Death Records (@)
Rated: *****

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In balance between ambient, 70's electronic with a dance hint and soundtrack to a dark movie, Dead Beat Project present its first album titled BREAKING THE SHELL. Personal project of Esoteric (UK) keyboard player Olivier Goyet, Dead Beat Project first release is able to convince since the first listening thanks to its wide range of sounds and ambiences. Some examples? The opening "Last faith" is a semi Celtic/classical tune, "Silent stream" is a cinematic electronic tune with electro rhythms, "This feeling" is a melancholic dark ambient track with synth pads, orchestration and piano while "Alive and living" is a melodic dark ambient track really evocative. One of the main thing that impressed me listening to the nine tracks of the album is Olivier capacity to switch atmospheres during the tracks in a subtle way thanks to the add of little melodies, rhythms and sounds. He is also capable to make turn one track from dark to melancholic adding only few melody lines and this is a key point if you want to keep the attention of the listener. Check the tracks' excerpts here: http://cdbaby.com/cd/deadbeatproject/from/chaindlk
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Artist: BILL LASWELL VS. SUBMERGED
Title: brutal calling
Format: 12"
Label: Karlrecords (@)
Rated: *****
New cover and new label for what I’ve read it’s a reissue of the mighty Laswell vs Submerged originally released in 2004 by Japanese Avant label exclusively for Japan. Should I introduce Bill Laswell? Should I tell he he’s played with everybody, he’s produced everybody, he’s one of the main responsible for the fact dub got fashionable again back in the days and for having done almost everything? Should I mention he’s one of those two, three musicians together with Zorn (executive producer of this release with engeneer Robert Musso) and Frith who’s discography is so vast it’s almost impossible to make a reliable list? I’ll just say he played in three of my all time favorite bands: Painkiller, P.I.L., Ashes. Here we go with a breakcore, drum’n bass rhythmical release where you’ve that characteristical Laswell bass/touch you recognize in a split second married with Submerged "in yer face" drums. While this rhythmical approach is going trendy again thanks to a whole wave of new breed of Laswell/Harris-sons like Bong-Ra, Venetian Snares and so on, some will surely recognize something you may have heard before in many of the "fast" rhythmical release by New York based producer be it on Axiom or or on other labels. I dunno that much Submerged but I see his beat-approach gets along really well with this long-respected producer/musician, it’s music you can move your feet to it’s aggressive but being this bass-heroe a soulful white man with a foot in black music, he didn’t limit himself to dance till you drop music without heart and here and there you’ve some visceral sounds and melodies. Visceral, yes... I think that’s the proper adjective for many releases signed by "uncle Bill" (just to quote mighty Burroughs, I’m sure both Laswell and Submerged would appreciate), you always have that nocturnal feel plus a strong narcotic post-dub flavor flowing underneath like in the closing killer track. Thought being one of those who prefer the american producer in his more relaxed, slowed down, ambiental salsa (just to contraddict my Painkiller infatuation) the release has its say above all if you’re into the most elegant breakcore materials or into many of the releases on Ohm resistance.

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Artist: BRANDKOMMANDO (@)
Title: Keine Arbeit Macht Frei!
Format: CD
Label: Beast Of Prey (@)
Rated: *****
Slightly different from the other release I reviewed the last year and always released for Beast Of Prey, the newest Brandkommando is bringing to the lovers of industrial music an album based on the concept of the negation of the "Arbeit macht frei" phrase that was written at the entrance of the nazi death camps. KEINE ARBEIT MACHT FREI! is more industrial than power noise and its six tracks succeed into creating the right ambience to describe pain and the annihilation of thousands of innocent people. Low grinding noise and humming drones compose six movement of a death suite which underline, once more, the human ability to create situations which goes beyond horror.
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