Music Reviews



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Artist: ARRINGTON DE DIONYSO
Title: Breath of Fire
Format: CD
Label: K Records
Rated: *****
Arrington de Dionyso is surely known to many as the mastermind of one of the most relevant "rock" (between a thousand brackets) bands of the last few years, Old Time Relijun, an incendiary mix of blues, garage, free-jazz and avant music (if you don't know them yet, do yourself a favour and buy at least "Uterus and Fire" and "Witchcraft Rebellion"). If you're Italian, you could have also witnessed one of the hi-octane performances by the Arrington de Dionyso Quartet, featuring Old Time Relijun's Aaron Hartman, Jacopo Andreini and Fabio Magistrali (member of A Short Apnea, and one of the best producers in Italy). This solo album was actually recorded last year by Magistrali in his house in southern Puglia, and the liner notes state clearly that no overdub or electronic manipulation have been added. It's quite easy to know why this has been specified: these very short solo pieces by De Dionyso (here using "voice, bass clarinet, copper kettle, newspaper, and Siberian khomuz", which should be a type of jew harp) sometime have an alien, monstrous sound: in "Emptiness and Void" the vocals have a deep metallic resonance (is that the kettle?), in "Breath of Fire (Part One)" and "White Fire on Black Fire" they could be mistaken for a didjeridoo, in "Holotropic" for some kind of reeds, and so on. De Dionyso's accomplishments in throat singing and vocal improvisation (techniques about which he has also given several workshops in the USA, Europe and Israel) are surely the most interesting thing here. I was not that impressed, on the other hand, by the short free-jazz bursts which add nothing to what Arrington has offered in a band context. As a whole, this is a genuine and at times explosive record, but like many, many improv works (be they solo or not) it often repeats itself, and its fragmentary nature doesn't help either to clutch the listener's attention throughout.
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Artist: HUM
Title: Inner Navigation
Format: CD
Label: Mystery Sea
Rated: *****
Russian dronemaker Christov Dmitry is the author of a few self-released cdrs (which I guess you can easily find via Drone Records) and a nice 7", obviously on Drone, which I reviewed some months ago. I recall a vibrant, powerful piece of minimalism on one of its sides; in this Mystery Sea release, however, things are considerably quieter, faithful to the night-ocean theme. There are 8 tracks clocking in at 56 minutes, but while each one has its own peculiar structure and development, it's easy to see them as movements of one longer track. Hum play straight isolationist ambient, the one that slowly lulls you to sleep only to guarantee some genuine bad dream afterwards. Trance-inducing, solipsistic and grey-tinged, Hum's pieces will surely please die-hard fans of Lull or Thomas Koener, and, though they're obviously not breaking any new ground, they have an emotional value that makes them heartily recommended by yours truly.
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Artist: TT
Title: Opfer : Einheit
Format: CD
Label: SkullLine (@)
Distributor: SkullLine
Rated: *****
This is the first official release of the specialized German mail order service SkullLine. Like so many mail order services did a comparable initiative in the past (to name the best known: Out Of Line / Crazy Horse Music), also the responsible people at SkullLine decided to enter the dangerous world of the music business by starting some efforts as a label. You have to know, that SkullLine is specialized to cover rarities mostly hailing out of the Industrial and Ritual Noise genre, but they hold also a few hard-to-get items out of Electro/EBM and the Darkwave/Goth genre in stock. Diversity musically placed between Dark Electro, EBM, Powernoise, Minimal up to Ambient – that’s also the given stuff of TT, which stands for Tronic and Triton83 and this duo presents here 14 tracks discovering all above mentioned styles more or less of quality. This release is strictly limited and available in two different versions. The first one is limited to 80 exemplars and comes in a DVD case, holds some graphically militaristic but nice done stuff on board and provides a pin. Pin but different artwork comes also in the special limited version (20 pieces only...) which is well hidden in a metal box set. What counts is the music and it takes some influences out of acts like FEINDFLUG, XOTOX, :WUMPSCUT:, NOISUF-X and related. Here and there are also included some shreds of vocals, mostly richly destroyed and placed in the mix. I adore the classic Electro tune "Automat" with some remembrances to the classic THE KLINIK, while "Gott wo bist Du?" gets my vote for being the most disruptive noisy piece here. Some obscure and experimental stuff is featured as well, just check out "Leichenliebe". Like the mail order service so is the presented music here, at times structured with known elements, at other times unconventional and chaotic. The given sound and recording quality does need an improvement for sure – but that’s the only thing I would like to criticize. Please note that this release is only available – as far as it is strictly limited – directly from SkullLine, so please join them through the given contact references here. A next production featuring Triton83 is already in the works...
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Artist: CRUCIFORM INJECTION (@)
Title: Aftermath
Format: CD
Label: Negative Gain Productions (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Mailorder
Rated: *****
Chicago’s leading Industrial act returns with their already fifth full length release and so we have also a nice return for the label behind this act, Negative Gain Productions. The men (pardon: one woman) around Micah Skaritka provide us here without doubt their best and also most updated and modern sounding release so far. This counts especially for the included sequenced bass and synth lines taken out of some Electro and Trance genres, which could belong to the marvelous work of the producer of this release, Oliver Taranczewski of EVILS TOY, who is also member of the NGP label mate YAVIN 4. 11 new tracks in all are featured here, plus two new remix works on some older CI tracks ("Embryonic Testaments" and "Black Tides"), plus a collaboration effort between CI and YAVIN 4 on one of the best tracks here, "Deadline". CI now combine the mentioned modern Electro/Trance sounds with the mostly clear sounding voice of front man Micah and here and there are some crafty guitar riffs as well. I’m a bit surprised how damned catchy this stuff can be, the "untypical" use of some guitar sounds doesn’t disturb the mood here. It doesn’t sound too much American-like, the European influence is well set in here. Some favorites to mention are "Venus Corpse" or "Dreaming Siren" featuring the most recognizable melodic efforts. The new version of "Embryonic Testaments (Still Born Mix)" satisfies with some distorted vocals besides the well done music. Make sure also to check out the male/female duet on "Sugarbomb". There’s no filling fodder here, all tracks prove a good and well-thought quality. Excellent artwork done by www.rolob.com as well, so go and get it!
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Artist: SANG.RAEL (@)
Title: Seasons Change And Illusions Fade
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
This debut release of the US one man act SANG.RAEL proves once more, that it doesn’t need a label contract to bring out professionally a CD. Hailing out of Arizona, Nikolas Phrasavath could already enter some recognition thanks to his both tracks featured on both quadruple CD compilations "Endzeit Bunkertracks" Vol. 1 and 2, out on Alfa Matrix. This CD comes in a well done digi pack providing all relevant information and the cool artwork is done and executed by Michel Renfield of NOISE PROCESS (www.soilodge.net). I’m wondering a bit that until now no label could pay some attention on this act, moreover because the good quality of the music is without doubt. Musically you’ll get a fine arranged Dark Electro/Industrial stuff following the paths of known acts like the older INFORMÄTIK, yes, and it should be allowed to name NOISE PROCESS as a possible reference as well. Nick’s pieces here are pending between faster and danceable tunes ("A Brighter Day", "Prophetic" and my personal favorite "Inside Of You") to slower and more melodic pieces like the must-be-heard "This Moment" and "The Blue" (featuring a nice vocoder effect on Nick’s vocals). Three remix works are also available here done by THE AZOIC ("Prophetic"), HARDWIRE (an unknown name for me, but a well done work on "Inside Of You") and NOISE PROCESS (the winner of this "contest" with a darker than the original version of "This Moment"). Please make sure to contact Nick to purchase this limited to 1000 exemplars and numbered release of one of the best kept secrets the Electro/Industrial genre has to offer. Next to the lately discovered FIX8:SED8 another favorite which won’t collect dust here, get it!!!
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