Music Reviews



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Artist: HELLOTHISISALEX (@)
Title: Stump Act
Format: CD
Label: Aelectric
Rated: *****

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Malissa Creasey and Mark Prier are a Canadian duo who releases music with the Hellothistsalex moniker. The duo is also active with their online record label called Aelectric (it was a CDr label before deciding to go online only). Their latest release is titled THE STUMP ACT and it is a limited edition CDr (only 125 copy) containing 10 tracks of minimal electronic pop. Don’t ask me why it has been released on CD even if the label is now mainly online. It is probable that the releases of Hello This Is Alex will be also released as CDrs and the other bands releases are going directly online. Anyway... From their press sheet I read that THE STUMP ACT project born from a trip on Ontario's Yonge Street, 1,896 km from the shores of Lake Ontario to the US-Canada border at Rainy River, not far from Manitoba. Along the way, they put up twenty rectangular wooden signs depicting tree stumps, dividing the street into twenty sections. The whole experience inspired this new collection of music a brief and seamless travelogue taking you along Yonge Street at a scale of approximately 8 km per 5 seconds of music. From Popular Lane to Swedish Adventure Church, we’ll guide you through ten different sites of activity. Their electronic pop short experiments succeeds into giving to the audience the same sensation of discover and melancholy that a travel could give. Sometimes they sound like an alien combo playing with Atari and a tracker program (the first version of samples sequencer) but their music has feelings and if you love bands like The Books you could also dig Hellothistsalex.
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Artist: MAPLE BEE (@)
Title: Hello Eve
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Rated: *****

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Maple Bee is the newest release by Prikosnovenie which after Misstrip seems to have found a new path to follow after the dark folk medieval sound that characterized the past years of the label. The folk attitude is always present but on the new releases you can also find a sort of electronic pop attitude that could help the promotion of the releases to a wider audience. Maple Bee is the creature of Melanie Garside (already bass player with Queen Andreena and singer with Mediaeval Babes as well guitarist/vocalist with Vertigo Angels) and HELLO EVE is her first album. Prikosnovenie did an international version of her "Chasing Eva" double album and picked up eleven tracks out from the twenty one lot and added a new track: "No place". Since the first tracks you realize that Melanie is a talented and gifted vocalist/music writer and ideally her music is linked to names like Kate Bush or Tory Amos. How does her music sounds? Well, try to imagine a combo of a jazz trio (piano, guitar and drums) teaming with some folk players (cello and strings) all produced by an electro producer. A perfect example are tracks like the opening "Something" or "Turn in". There’s also a beautiful track produced by John Fryer (he produced bands of the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Cocteau Twins, Cradle Of Filth, etc) titled "Rare colors" where the cello and the flangered guitar duet with a synth bassline and a jazzy light drum. If you love acoustic songs with a little bit of electronic and folk, try this one. P.s. Check also the video of the beautiful "The messanger" (maybe that was the song I preferred).
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Artist: AMBASSADOR 21 Vs FRAGMENT KING (@)
Title: Good Morning W.
Format: CD
Label: Invasion Wreck Chords (@)
Distributor: Ant Zen
Rated: *****
Divided into three parts "Midnight", "Afternoon" and "Morning", GOOD MORNING W. is an Ambassador 21 / Fragment King collaboration. The album is the proud son of its parents, because it gathers the musical styles of the two bands: the industrial raging guitars of Fragment King and the anarchic industrial break core of Ambassador 21. Recorded during an improvised session, GOOD MORNING W. is an album that sounds thick, if you know what I mean: tense, distorted and experimental. The perfect example is the final 16 minutes track which gives the title to the album is a sort of bomb that is about to explode. On this one Natasha free all her rage crying her lungs out while on the background the tension builds a wall of noise that seems to fall down on the last minute where only a feedback lasts. Intense...
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Artist: CRUISE [CTRL] (@)
Title: Garmonbozia!
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
The newest Cruise Control (now Cruise [Ctrl]) is a CDs titled GARMONBOZIA!. On this one John Cult and DJ Gore are giving to the audience a taste of what’s next on their first full length release (which will see Jean-Luc Demeyer from Front 242 on vocals on one track and C-Drik remixing "Eat my fear", track that you can find on their previous MCD "No Hay Banda") with three new tracks of their granitic mixture of industrial noise, techno and drones. The first track "Black lodge" seems to be a techno remix of a Godflesh track where the remixer took off the guitar parts replacing them with guitar drones. The following "Smoke and nude I" is more minimal with its hisses and dark ambient noises while the closing "Crow’s nest" introduce again some rhythm and also a bit of melody creating a sort of electro industrial loop. The tracks sounds great on the short distance and I’m curious to see how the duo will deal the whole album length.
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Artist: BEATRICE ANTOLINI
Title: big saloon
Format: CD
Label: Madcap collective (@)
Rated: *****
"Sweets are my opium..." sung Shawn Brown (ex Dag Nasty-Swiz) in my fave Sweet Belly Freakdown (3/4 of Swiz) song and here we got some poppy sugar for you honey. Ok, with the coming of age and of cynism I've to admit I'm hesitant when approaching to many of these female musicians glorified for a second hand "petty romance" desire hidden in the backyard, but that's not the case, so go on reading if you’re into tiny and lovely tunes. If you're not familiar with Madcap consider they've an hi-profile lo-fi-poppy-folk-label with an eye open on american music. Beatrice Antolini is a good surprise, definitely able to write refined structured and well arranged songs without throwing it all on the average girl singer a la Cat Power like many nowadays, she went for soft psichedelia (post-Beatlesian) with an ironic feel. Piano, vocals and keyboards are the dominant tools to forge this minimal pop parade, thanks to her brilliant folk attitude she reminded me of Lisa Germano coloured in a definite post sixties salsa, that could also be a fishy coincidence considered one of the two label involved in the production of this debut is run by some Jennifer Gentle's folk (the "master of Sixties" landed on Sub Pop). This "big saloon" could have been influenced (or indirectly remind) some other 4AD female artist like Kristine Hersh or Belly but you know this "saloon"-singer thing is much more close to miss Germano and that's why I’ve put the accent there. A funny, light hearted portrait in a funny lo-fi formula.
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