Music Reviews



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Artist: ENGELMACHER (@)
Title: Birds Of A Feather
Format: CD
Label: E-Rhythematosus Records
Distributor: E-Rhythematosus Records
Rated: *****
Behind this German name hides another self-released debut of an US-based Electro/Industrial act hailing from St. Louis, Missouri. This project consists mainly of Michael, who’s doing almost all production and vocals, and Natalie, who does some live synth work. Engelmacher describes metaphorically the term of population control, and this act just could enter a free slot on the international renowned Interbreeding compilation series (Interbreeding IX – Kuru, just out while I’m writing this...) of the BLC Productions label. Now out with this first CD which presents the musically dimension somewhere between dancefloor-compatible Electropop tunes up to pounding EBM/Dark Electro-related tracks. Both opening tracks, "Retribution" and "Circumstance" are harder-edged danceable Dark Electro tunes (NOT Trance-inspired Hellektro...) with distorted, whispering-like vocals and remind strong on some works of INFORMÄTIK or older EVILS TOY – for sure not a bad reference. Things get a bit smoother with some catchy Future-/Electropop-inspired works like "Bypass", "Useless Gestures" or "Thrust". Also the vocals on this tracks are rather clear and naturally placed, without the use of uncountable effects. With "Devotion" this act proves that they can also deal with some slower and rather creepy tunes. It has to mention that the programming abilities of this act and the detailed worked-out synth textures are the winning points for this production, the arrangements and sounds are well-thought and installed. Nice artwork too, so this is one of the most promising and still unsigned newcomer acts around. A strong recommendation to purchase this fine item, also for some labels a quality tip to give it a try...
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Interbreeding VIII: Elements of Violence
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: BLC Productions / e-noxe (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
Winter time – Compilation time #1: Well, not really released in this winter, but until today still an undiscovered edition of the international extremely successful and renowned Interbreeding compilation series. Also for this edition label chief Brandon L. Clark could pick up and invite some promising newbies besides some already known forces of the internationally Electro/Industrial scene. Again released as a double-CD set, both CD’s are filled with up to 78 minutes to the maximum possible storage and you’ll get some new and refreshing appearances not to be missed. Like on most previous released editions the mass and the huge playing time maybe nails the listener at first and it needs some time and more rotations until the best pieces can be filtered. It is important to know that the first placed appearances on the so-called best slots are maybe not the best tunes; it was and is always target of this comp series to spread the favorites in every corner of the track list.
I would like to mention from the first CD entitled "Bloodthirst" the Chilean Electro/Metal-Crossover act VIGILANTE, which offer here a remix work done by the German act FUNKER VOGT. As usual – almost a trademark – remix works of FUNKER VOGT are very pleasant, at times more accessible than their own compositions. Their work on "The Other Side" is no exception, also nice to listen to a vocalist who sounds aggressive without the overdone use of distortion and overdrive effects. With BLC’s own THE PAIN MACHINERY the music gets rougher and more pounding, while the extremely dark sounding and rather old-school inspired one man act NECROTEK aka James Geist offers a "first cut" of the track "Wish You Dead" – one of the most remarkable pieces here. The French act NEON CAGE EXPERIMENT offers a pleasant Dark Electro instrumental work, which you should give a try under a good pair of headphones – maybe the best and most complex synth play here. Still into the Dark Electro vein comes the appearance of MIND CONFUSION, an act from which I haven’t heard of about more than three years now. Germany’s ACYLUM combines very effective some spooky Synth play drops with a hammering old-SC/DIOXYDE-inspired rhythm pattern work and an out-of-the-grave vocal performance of Kai Arnold aka WYNARDTAGE. Futuristic Electro as its best is offered again by the French act E.S.R., for the first time including a guitar performance, while the German SCHATTENSCHLAG give a high-speed tune in vein of HOCICO.
The second CD called "Brutality" starts with another Chilean act, the newcomer duo of PROYECTO CRISIS. The still recognized success formula to produce hard and speedy EBM with Spanish lyrics in vein of the favorites HOCICO or AMDUSCIA is an always discovered phenomenon of bands hailing from South America and this duo is no exception. But while HOCICO seem to take a longer break to collect some new inspiration, the rather filthy but refreshing tunes of some talented newcomers are welcome. Also back on track after a longer time in hiatus is the US act FUNCTION 13, here presented with an instrumental piece which got well done remixed by the German act MC1R. Some PUPPYan and rather old-school minded works can also be discovered by both heavily underrated acts LITTLE SAP DUNGEON with an edited version of "Empty Rooms Breathe Heavily" and the Slovakian act GAPING CHASM with a special remix of their track "Only Shadows Will Survive". The French act TAMTRUM, signed to Alfa Matrix, give us then their energetic and speedy recommendation to "Abort The Pope". Also hailing from France comes the duo of SKOYZ, which provides a remix by SCHATTENSCHLAG on one of their best tunes "Distorted Dreams". Also a recommendation to check out the great Russian project THE-PULSAR with a new and unreleased version of their track "Leaving Underground" featuring almost clear and undistorted well sounding male vocals.
As usual, to pick out and to mention this appearances belongs on subjective preferences – of course this doesn’t mean that the other not-mentioned tracks are worse. Different folks – different strokes. Another well compiled DCD set out of the BLC knowledge base which you better get NOW – before it is completely sold-out!

Tracklisting:

bloodthirst

1. Y-Luk-O: Resistance (deflektor mix by Brainclaw)
2. Stark: Rfamekong
3. SMP: Hacker Like Me
4. Process of Elimination: The Sleepers of Telos
5. Vigilante: The Other Side (Funker Vogt Remix)
6. Gydja: element001: Host
7. The Pain Machinery: Scar Tissue
8. Necrotek: Wish You Dead (First Cut)
9. Servo.Hatred: Rage (Interbreeding Mix)
10. Neon Cage Experiment: Sequenced Lives (Edit)
11. Mind Confusion: The Final Chapter (Remix)
12. Acylum: Trip of Hate (BLC Exclusive)
13. T.H. Industry -- Die Wut (Massiv in Mensch Remix)
14. Omen Machine: MindMelt
15. ESR: Blood on the Walls
16. Schattenschlag: Breathing Evil (Interbreeding VIII Remix)
17. Brainclaw: This Human Condition (Souls in Transit Remix)

brutality

1. Proyecto Crisis: El Juego de la Muerte
2. Implant: Fading Away
3. function13: Prostitute (g-u-n remix by mc1r)
4. Tyske Ludder: Betrayal (Wertstahl US Remix)
5. Ilion Conflict: Genocide
6. Gaping Chasm: Only Shadow will Survive
7. LSD: Empty Rooms Breathe Heavily (Edit)
8. Tamtrum: Abort the Pope
9. Tau Factor: Cold Core (Mixdown)
10. Stigmata: No Way Out (Evil Dead Mix)
11. Wynardtage: My Hell (BLC Exclusive)
12. Wertstahl: Der Mechanische Soldat
13. Invisible Asps: Scarlet Design (Ravishing Mix)
14. Skoyz: Distorted Dreams (Condition Zero Mix by Schattenschlag)
15. The Pulsar: Leaving Underground
16. Anders Manga: Burn
17. The Crystalline Effect: When the World Ends (Implant Remix)

Artist: Tears For Fears
Title: Tears Roll Down-Greatest Hits '82-'92
Format: DVD
Distributor: Universal
Rated: *****
This dvd is a collection of all Tears For Fears videos from 1982-1992. Watching some of these classic videos make me feel like I'm a teenager all over again. Nothing like watching good old videos from the 80's that you grew up seeing on MTV and other video stations and programs. The collection of videos includes "Sowing The Seed Of Love" that have that Beatle-esque feel, flying buddhas and other special effects going on make the video more quite interesting and fun to watch. In "Everybody Wants To Rule The World", Curt Smith looks so cool driving in a convertible, which was filmed in California. And of course, another favorite scene I like is when the two black guys who's all dressed up in a white shirt, black tie, a two piece suit, and wearing dark shades came out of the outhouse and start dancing. Who can forget "Head Over Heels", which was shot in a library. In teh beginning of the video, Roland's arms and hands filled with a bunch of books and barely could walk and finally made it to the librarian at the desk, who supposed to play his girlfriend. Curt plays the janitor who sweeps up the floor. "Mad World" shows Curt singing while sitting in a desk by the window and Roland outside on the patio staring at the trees and somewhere with his hands in his coat pockets. Then later on in the video he starts dancing. I like the hundreds of paper airplanes flying everywhere at the British new wave duo while walking and one of the paper planes hits Roland in the eye in "Pale Shelter". "Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down)" have that animated visual effect. The black and white video "Woman In Chains" feature r&b artist Oleta Adams who Roland discovered at a night club bar. This video is six minutes long and have that powerful drama catch. The characters in the scenes feature a woman who is a stripper and a man portrays as a boxer and they're having a problem in their relationship. Later, both worked out the problem. Relive the memories of Tears For Fears by buying their 12 videos collection. A collector item to have to store in your 80's memorabilia.

Video Tracklistings:

Sowing The Seeds Of Love
Everybody Wants To Rule The World
Woman In Chains
Shout
Head Over Heels
Mad World
Pale Shelter
I Believe
Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down)
Mothers Talk (UK Version)
Change
Advice For The Young At Heart
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Artist: GESCOM
Title: MiniDisc. only 3cd
Format: CD
Label: Or
Rated: *****
Still haven't understood if it's a real repress or a fake old-school-cun'n paste electronic thing, anyhow this realease as you che easily understand from the title is mainly based on minidisc. I'm sorry to say I ddn't know anything about Gescom but now in someway it remind some old electronic production mainly generated from cut up and samples. Enough said to paint the picture of a quite varied salad and infact this sort of epectation are not gonna be disappointed, but sure there's a good point of contnuity that links thse chaotic heap of tracks. From a glitchy track you can happen to loose into a serial ambiental loop a la Steve Reich, later on a devasted 4/4 hip hop rhythm to confuse again the cats. Hi frequencies, low frequencies barely structured tracks near to framework assembled in a apprarently random collage. The global effect is bizzare of course but some of the loops are more interesting than others (I mean basicly the serial/minimal tracks), and despite the supposed limitation given by the minidisc sound definition that give this "yestterday" taste to all, the soundquality is good. I can't say it's a bad release, it's good for nostalgicof some early electronic music but I've caught myself thinking if relases like that aren't a bit too anal.
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anymore
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Berlin Insane IV
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Pale Music Int.
Distributor: Neuton
Rated: *****
This fourth volume of the Berlin Insane series has been a real surprise. Pleasant? Somehow, dunno if for you it will be the same. It depends how much are you fond of r'n'r/punk sound. To cut a long story short, the fist CD opens with the beautiful "Gott sei's getrommelt" by N.U. Unruh, a track made using metal percussing sounds that reminded me Polynesian folk sounds (if not from Polynesia you have understood what part of the world I am referring to) but after that you find a crescendo of r'n'r'/punk tracks/bands that make you question if you are listening to the right record. Some bands like Electronicat, Mount Sims (his new track sounds a little different from his previous ones but it don't changes his style. It is a little more r'n'r because of the melody chosen) or Boys Of Scandinavia have a oblique approach to the r'nr' verb (i.e. they use a lot of electronic stuff and in the case of B.O.S. the singers remember a little Jonny Rotten). The same goes with the following bands but little by little their sound is more and more based on the bass/guitar/drum sound and it surprised me to see Kid Congo Powers (ex Cramps or Gun Club) on Pale Music. A little exception is T.Raumschmiere Vs. Motor which uses samples from an old Cypress Hill song (it is "Insane in the brain"). Wow, man, listening to these tracks it was like listening to a particular Crypt Records compilation. There's also space for indie a la Bloc Party with Rich & Kool's "A 13". Also Neonman sound different from the album they released... I'll write it again: wow. This is innovating a genre, for sure. It is all about audience: if you plays to techno/electro guys, danceable punk rock this is something new for them... Anyway. The second CD is opening with a semi rap track, "Crime scene" by Stinkmitt and at this point I thought: "No! I'm not ready for this!". He, he. Luckily enough the following tracks are top electro tracks thanks to Glamour To Kill, Jake The Rapper, Mark Moore & Kinki Roland, Waldorf (their "a touch of glass mix" of "Get ready for your last dance" sounds like a 70s/80s mix. Do you remember the early Phoenix songs?). Also on this CD there are little exceptions like The Scandals or Crack Whore Society, Pink Grease and Grizzly that mix r'n'r/punk and a little of electronics. Noblesse Obliges is something totally different, because you must mix a chanteause with a bass guitar and a cool atmosphere. It was a surprise also to see Punx Soundcheck (featuring Gene Serene) dealing with a semi punk tune a la Suzi Quatro. The CD closes with Jammin' Unit's "Ich bin punk", a track that sounds like a drunk ragamuffin playing a rock song (the track I like less). Approaching to these 38 tracks compilation you have to remember that this is the document of an event that take place each year in Berlin and that shows that many faces of a city and of its music. Don't take it as an electro compilation of cool tracks as you won't be satisfied...
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