Music Reviews



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Artist: KTL
Title: 2
Format: CD
Label: Editions Mego
Rated: *****
Second full-length (4 tracks, 71 minutes) for the acclaimed duo of Stephen O'Malley (guitars, effects, amps, tube oscillator) and Peter Rehberg (digital oscillator, laptop), just a few months after their debut, and again linked to the theatrical pièce "Kindertotenlieder" by Vienne and Cooper. Not really much has changed in their formula of downtuned guitars-cum-digital processing drones, but to be brutally honest (and talking pretty much as a fan of O'Malley's production) I don't find this a mandatory album. Most tracks are based on a simple, and slightly variated, set of sounds: the slowly uncoiling bass drones of "Game", the crushing guitar wall of "Abattoir" (incidentally reminding of Fears Fall Burning in his more aggressive mood), or the sparse feedback and creepy hisses of "Snow 2" (opening to a welcome melancholic coda in the last few minutes). Same goes for the longest and most ambitious piece, "Theme", clocking in at 27 minutes, which is, alas, also the one I find more tedious and redundant: a cavernous heartbeat-like pulse leads to a high-end digital drone (think of an organ through a bunch of plugins) loosely modulated for 20+ minutes. I recognize it's a matter of tastes: I'm not a fan of Rehberg's noisy laptop drones (prominent in his latest disc on Häpna), and this is it for most of the composition. Many will find it grand, I find it boring after a while - but the same could be said of most repetitive soundscapes, obviously. As a whole, "2" makes for an interesting experience while it lasts, but unlike many recent projects of O'Malley's (like Aethenor or Grave Temple), or Rehberg's excellent solo on Mosz, it's not something I'll crave to listen to again.
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Artist: Pimentola
Title: Misantropolis
Format: CD
Label: Cold Meat Industry (@)
Rated: *****
The sound of this album reminds me of art music and I like the fact that this kind of performance music (strange they don´t do performances!) are released by cold meat!!!
The bizarre cabaret/musical style vocals seem to be very inspired by Mr Doctor of Devil Doll.

The Percussions are almost on all tracks the main instrument and they sometimes seem a bit weak when they flirt with triphop/trippjazz. Sometimes they are very good!
The industrial parts are also pretty lame. It´s really a shame as the sound and some of the ideas are really great. "On Tuoni Pauloo Tinkoin Sitein III" the dark ambience is and atmosphere is intruiging and very suggestive. Reminds me of bands like Lycia.
The song "Black Globe" is a five star track. Very haunting and driven into strange corners.
"Wish Upon a Fallen Star" sounds like wild opera (but the voice is failing and not as good as for an example Sibelian).

The whole album breath 30s and 40s and retro film music and that I really enjoy. If that good have been a more obvious red thread I would have given this release probably a 4,5 or 5 but the diversity (normally really good) kill this album.
"Wann Endet die Zeit" could been so good but the drums are lame and to be honest: bad!

It hurts me giving this crazy and well played album such a low grade. Sorry!
If you are into a strange mix of goth, industrial, darkwave, neo-classical, retro, tripjazz and dark ambient all at once (yes it´s crazy) you should check this album out. Do not expect to love all tracks because some are great and some suck.
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Artist: MARK HANNAFORD (@)
Title: The Garden Of Forking Paths
Format: CD
Label: Extreme (@)
Rated: *****
Here we’ve another chapter of Extreme Antripodean series and a really good one indeed but quite different from Vincs. The lowest common denominator is still jazz music, but in some ways this work sticks much more to the context, if to you that implies "it’s canonic jazz", you’re on the wrong lane. Discerning the main elements of this improvisational effort is not that difficult since you get a well proportioned blend of "free jazz" plus contemporary classic music and the alchemy is good due to the fact Hannaford keeps far from easy mannerism and works hard on defining his own style. The first aspect you notice after many listenings is that the interaction of Hannaford with the rhythmic section is really equilibrated, which is one of the most interesting quality of this cd, above all if you consider the majority of the material comes out of improvisations. The aforementioned sentence is referred to the fact nowadays working in an idiomatic way (but let’s be honest... that also happens in "non idiomatic" impros) brings forth the risk to fall in anonymity, if this problem has to do with the hypertrophy of our recent musical history or with the fact in a massified society like this it’s hard to have an identity, I sincerely don’t know. By the way, Hannaford has built accurately his own personality and has chosen carefully the other team-players, that’s why he collected an interesting number of "sketches". "The Garden Of Forking Paths" made me think the afroamerican elements/root of jazz sometimes gets dissolved in the style (culture?) of many white musicians, not that you won’t find Monk, Mingus or Coloman traces in the genes of some of these players, but everything is "colder", "more suspended", subdued in a way that characterizes many white (and usually Europeans... unlike Hannaford) musicians. If it was not for the fact it’s quite far from contemporary compositions, I’m sure people like Berio, Feldman or even Cage would have loved this musicians’ taste for dissonance, but even if the abstraction is somehow similar, the speed is different alas let me say he could be "a swinging contemporary piano player listened at 45 rpm", does it make any sense? (I think so, but just if you consider the solo tracks like "All booze"). This pianist makes you believe there’s still hope for the for the future... nay for the present of improvisation while half of the jazz world survives with one foot in the grave.
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Artist: DAS PRÄPARAT (@)
Title: THX LD50
Format: CD
Label: Scanner / Dark Dimensions (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
After a 5-track EP "Mein Schmerz Trägt Deinen Namen", this German male/female duo returns now with a complete full-length album. DAS PRÄPARAT, consisting of Dr. Hyde and Nachtschwester K., continue in their style by providing a rebelled kind of Electro/EBM with charismatic vocals, musically somehow influenced by acts like WELLE:ERDBALL, old DORSETSHIRE or THE PSYCHIC FORCE. The lyrics are provided mostly in German always dealing with some human failures regarding the choice of wrong medicines ("THX", "LD 50"), diseases, scandalizing professional blunders, or illegal mortal help ("Psyche Amor") – at times very bizarre and drastically formulated. They like to stir up a filthy impression over their whole work, i. e. you’ve got always the feeling that they point out the opposite of things you would expect of being a patient, like sterility, anonymity, etc – a portion of disgust is always included. Also conspicuous is the fact that they have avoided on some tracks that genre-typically quantisizing of some instruments, mostly on the piano/organ-driven works ("Das war noch nie ein Liebeslied", "Da Vinci" or "La Croix") – they sound as they would have been live recorded, featuring the factor "human". Of course – and I guess I’ve said this already on their debut EP – this all is a matter of taste. Applause for sure still for their tracks "Euthanasie" or "Maschinenherz", both are real smashers, but generally the Electro/EBM purists may can find their efforts as being too Goth-infiltrated. Solid and satisfying for sure, this duo reflects both styles on this album.

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Artist: NAEVUS (@)
Title: Silent Life
Format: CD
Label: Hau Ruck! (@)
Distributor: Tesco Germany
Rated: *****
Fifth full length release for the project of Lloyd James and Joanne Owen, SILENT LIFE is bringing, after three years from the previous "Perfection is a process", more songs influenced by folk (less than usual) and post punk. The duo is joined by Greg Ferrari and John Murphy, with guest contributions from Rose McDowall, Matt Howden and David E. Williams. The eight tracks sometimes made me remember of early Nick Cave because of the distorted feedbacks provided by Greg Ferrari and also because the tension created by the tribal style drumming. To get my point try tracks like "Hasty bastard" or the following eight minutes long "The ballad of Benjamin Munt": here the feedback and the guitar riffs, along with the treated violin, create a strong structure which duet with the acoustic guitar and Lloyd vocals. Also the lyrics of the tracks sometimes made me felt the same feeling of the stories sung by Cave: stories made of lost men with no chances of redemption. "White love", instead, is a song on its own because of that little noise loop which go with the slow jazzy drum/piano duet. The album is closed by "Dominic song", a track deeply influenced by Joy Division/early New Order, maybe because of the feelings which the song is permeated with. Maybe it sounds like that because it is a tribute to a dead friend. Good album...
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