Music Reviews



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Artist: Emulsion (@)
Title: Blue Sky Objective
Format: CD
Label: Lens Records (@)
Rated: *****

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Chicagoan would-be wunderkind of electro minimalism Nathan Koch, aka Emulsion, comes up with precious few surprises and twists in his latest oeuvre, to really tip the scales in his favor. The pieces are nice and melodic, but the sequences aren't variegated enough and the melodies themselves never seem to leave the cul-de-sac they're stuck in. Ostensibly inspired by the video gaming idylls of Koch's 1980s upbringing, Blue Sky Objective at first reminds one of nothing so much as early instrumental works by Gary Numan and Kraftwerk (that would be late '70s) that never made it onto a B-side.

Nonetheless Emulsion's particular program of machine-made perfection does possess some craft. Track seven, "All Robots On Sale!" is the liveliest of the bunch, and could use more weird things in it (like the farty noises occurring at the end). "New High Score" is another pleasant moment, albeit all too brief. Following right after is track eleven, "Without," a very downcast piece of genius that finally digs at the Cabaret Voltaire influences which truly gave the Eighties noisescape its bite.

Blue Sky Objective does not deliver nearly all the goods it's supposed to, and when you finally do become interested it's over all too soon. But the CD has kick-ass graphic design and would go over perfectly well at your next LAN party. (And Nathan, I sincerely apologize for the late review -- hopefully your robots have been selling.)
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Artist: LES CHASSEURS DE LA NUIT
Title: Homo Homini Lupus
Format: CD
Label: Heidrunar Myrkrunar
Distributor: Tesco
Rated: *****
HOMO HOMINI LUPUS is the first full length release for Les Chasseurs De La Nuit. Divided into 14 untitled tracks, the album starts with an industrial explosion, proposing two tracks perfect for the battlefield preparation. Sounding like an organ playing from a sinking ship, the first two tracks made me remember of the first Boyd Rice experiments while with the third track the atmosphere changes with the introduction of a melodic line performed with xylophone, organ and synths. Fourth track remember me the early martial patchwork peculiar of the first Der Blutharsch while the fifth (as well the eleventh) blends the elements creating a sort of inspired Death In June tune. Mark Liens helped on some tracks by Mr. Larsen (:Of The Wand & The Moon:) and Hr. Thomas B (Die Weisse Rose) presents a blend of dark songs where the effect created is sorta cinematic thanks to the vocal samples and to the tension always present. The album closes the same way it opened thanks to track thirteen where distorted blows bring screams and distant vocals. Tracks fourteen end the album with one minute of greetings with a melancholic vocal line which surfaces from an infernal atmosphere. In my humble opinion this is a good first release...
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anymore
Artist: GRAILS (@)
Title: Burning Off Impurities
Format: CD
Label: Temporary Residence
Distributor: Wide
Rated: *****

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BURNING OFF IMPURITIES is the fourth Grails' album and, for you habitual readers of our magazine, it could sound strange to see me review this band which is inspired by psychedelic music. But, listen to this record and you'll realize that the subversive and experimental spirit of these recordings isn't that far from the experimental bands we usually review. Two of my preferred bands of the 60s of this genre are the Electric Prunes and Chocolate Watchband and listening to this tracks is making me think about an instrumental version of those bands. BURNING OFF IMPURITIES for sure is a rock album because the band uses mainly rock instruments (even if on "Drawn curtains" they use also a violin and some light distorted drums) but there's something else going on. Produced by Jeff Saltzman and Steven Wray Lobdell (members of Faust) the record is for sure influenced by psychedelia and Kraut rock but on some parts you can find also elements of noise music a la Slint (check "Origin-ing"). Don't think about hippies while you are reading this review because this isn't the case. Grails are capable of balancing the acid sounds of the 60's/70's with a modern vision of improvisation. I liked it and if you don't hate guitar sounds I'd suggest you to check it.
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anymore
Artist: NOISE PROCESS (@)
Title: Groundzer0
Format: CD
Label: DSBP (@)
Distributor: Icare Media
Rated: *****
I should admit in advance that I received a self-produced copy of this album from the band leader Michael Renfield more than a year before. So somehow I’m a bit familiar with the content of this new and second full-length album of NOISE PROCESS. After their remarkable debut release "Neural Code" and the follow-up Remix-EP "Synapse (The Dead World EP)", both out around 2002/2003 on the German Wire Records, there was a long time gap in between.
This happened due to the fact, that Wire Records has held back the recordings for "Groundzer0" and has left the band in unclear conditions. Finally and after almost three endless years it happened, what rumors out of the scene have expected before, Wire Records stopped all business activities in 2K6. What a shameful behavior of this label to sit out of childish reasons on a ready done recording until a band gets almost forgotten – this has had a damaging effect on the band evolution and I also guess that Michael Renfield has created his Harsh-EBM side-project R010R only "thanks" to the fact that "Groundzer0" was laying on ice and that the whole existence of the band NOISE PROCESS was quite questionable.
Luckily (...and with the help of some loud voices out of a forum... well, TEH FORMU...lol) Tommy T of the DSBP has paid attention and - as usual – he washes his ears from time to time. It would have been a real disaster if this top-notch Electro/Industrial album wouldn’t be released, so after E.S.R. NOISE PROCESS is the second previously-signed-to-Wire-Records act now collaborating with the NM-based label and mail order service.

"Goundzer0" has matured and evolved since the initial recording, with now 78 minutes playing time it fulfills the description "full-length" release. Also musically there are worlds between the now five years old debut "Neural Code" and "Goundzer0" – NOISE PROCESS have heavily worked on their sound and compositions through the years and could reach a modern and up-to-date sounding outcome. What has sounded as some easy-to-follow arrangements on "Neural Code" has grown to more complex structures and textures, "Half-Life" also featuring some cool vocoderized vocals is a fine example and proof for this. With "Desolation" they like to present an ultimate follow-up smasher for "Dying World", rather melodic with a clear verse-bridge-refrain arrangements.
No doubt - "Groundzer0" has to be named to be one of the best releases of this year for the hard Electro/EBM/Industrial scene so far. This is an aggressive and intense assault from the first to the last track which won’t leave any listener unimpressed. Last but not least the excellent abilities to create a dark, mechanical and futuristic looking artwork has to mentioned – "Neural Code" was already awesome, but "Groundzer0" is the masterpiece. I like to advise you to check out the special "art" folder on the NOICE PROCESS website, which features all relevant music projects and a tremendous designed look
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Artist: Fire In The Head (@)
Title: The Remedy Has Become The Affliction
Format: CD
Label: NCC RECORDS (Noise Control Corporation) (@)
Distributor: NCC RECORDS
Rated: *****
Okay, I admit that the "noise" genre isn’t my favorite sonic art form. It takes a special connoisseur of this type of dementia to fully appreciate it. However, when done well, it can be an interesting audial experience. Fire In The Head, (henceforth to be known as F/I/T/H for brevity’s sake) put in the effort and do it very well. Currently consisting of Michael Page and Benny Nelson from somewhere in Europe, Germany most likely, the duos create an ominous pastiche of brutal but engaging madness and menace. A lot of "The Remedy Has Become The Affliction" sounds like a nightmare in an underground metro station. Psychotic voices occasionally break through the industrial miasma like crazed homeless people you could imagine living in subterranean city tunnels. Even though the first track seemed to come on a bit too strong with distorted vocals, the majority of this album shows a certain maturity and refinement that F/I/T/H must have developed over a number of previous releases. Don’t expect beats or regular rhythmic content on this grinding, grating outing; it’s not that kind of "music". There is enough variety in the compositions on "TRHBTA" that for true lovers of esoteric noise, it will stand up to repeated listenings. The use of (heavily processed) vocals and vocal samples is mercifully sparse, excepting the first and last tracks. By the time you get to the last track, you’ll be looking for someone to tear it up vocally anyway, so it all works out pretty well. I can’t really take into account F/I/T/H’s socio-political agenda- as they say "TRHBTA is the carrion we collectively accept and ingest as reality, a dirty needle in the neck of a complacent society and a further descent into the bowels of unmitigated psychosis." I’d prefer to leave it open and let it feed my own inner demons. If you’re into well-constructed noise projects, I’d definitely recommend this CD. I think it’s limited to 300 copies, so get yours while you can.
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