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Artist: Mind.In.A.Box
Title: Crossroads
Format: CD
Label: Dependent / Metropolis-Records (@)
Distributor: Alive
Rated: *****
Yeah, it has taken weeks until I found the right entrance to the multi-layered sound outfit of Austria’s best Electro/Industrial artist. A MIAB-release isn’t that kind of music to bring on some background noise while doing the dishes – this music needs and deserves attention. "Crossroads" is once again a hard-to-figure-out journey for the short-haired 4/4-on-the-floor addicts, since it integrates influences taken out of different music styles. This, of course, is the trademark and for sure one winning point for MIAB. Like on both predecessors, "Crossroads" offers Electro, Techno-impressions, mixes sonic synth-layers with at times effected, at times high-pitched, and at times natural sounding male vocals. Their style can be surely called authentic, and even if this duo has never entered any stages to perform their stuff live, their encouragement is still unbroken. Tracks "Amnesia", "Identity" or "Stalkers" can be compared with the last years’ SI-CD release "Certainty" with danceable, nearly Futurepop-inspired textures, straight arranged but with special and at times nonlinear percussion elements. And for magically pieces like "Fear" I tend to travel to our dear German pope to speak this Austrians holy – although extremely high pitched, it is the male voice of vocalist Markus Hadwiger which offers the catchy moments on this track – a refrain to sing along the lines, while still extremely tasteful arranged. Another musically outstanding track has to be named with "The Place" with some introducing piano sounds, vanished rhythms and a very layered outfit. Make also sure not to forget the last track here, "Run For Your Life" featuring some fine orchestral sound extracts. MIND.IN.A.BOX somehow personify the ideal of the German Dependent-label – not always on the hunt to sign and to release the easiest and trendiest kind of music, but to have some open ears and minds for the real innovation, even if this ends in a loss. MIAB may are sort of this game, although I still haven’t given up the hope, that more people do use their ears and listen. Not to forget the tasteful dark cover art featuring a short story written by A. Gruber, www.agruber.com , and a code number to get entrance to a secret area on the bands’ website where you can download some more tracks and goodies.
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Artist: Provision (@)
Title: The Consequence
Format: CD
Label: Section 44 (@)
Distributor: A Different Drum
Rated: *****
Although we had already a review of this release several months before, and this album surely can’t be named new at all, please spend a bit attention and note that this is the officially last release of this well-known Houston-based Synth-/Futurepop quartet – at least until further notice. Just a few days before band-leader Breye Kiser, who’s also a building member of the label Section 44, has officially called its quit, as sad as this is. To find reasons and explanations for the end of this band I rather like to explain Breye himself in an upcoming interview here on our pages soon. Nevertheless I guess that too much changes of the band membership have to named as a possible reason, that Breye at least got tired to search for additional new musicians, which can bring on talent as well as the right behavior to join this act. Musically PROVISION follow a classically arranged form of Electro-/Futurepop related to some early NO COMMENT, MATRIX or some acts out of the Memento Materia roster. Their appreciated floor fillers are available here with "Ideal", "Someone Like You", "The Only Thing" or "Perversions Of Conceptual Warfare", but the rather calm and catchy highlight lays on the ballad "Fade" – this track with its slight depressive mood should appeal every Synthpop music fan. Let’s finally hope that "The Consequence" at least won’t be the final release for this act and that they can find the concentration for farewell release. Some plans like a DVD release are still in the pipeline.
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Artist: EMPIRE STATE HUMAN (@)
Title: Popularity?
Format: CD
Label: Ninthwave Records (@)
Distributor: ITunes
Rated: *****
If you don't already own the previous Empire State Human releases and you'd like to know one of the best modern European electro pop band, POPULARITY? is the best way to get to know them. Even if it is a download only release it's worth it because the album contains 17 tracks coming from their previous CDs. Each one has been covered, so we have "Hand on the gun", "Film star", "Apollo" and "Swinging pendulums" from "Pop Robot", "Chase the ace" and "Devil in detail" from their latest album "Cycles", "Shoot the breeze" from "Music for humans", "Liquid blue" and "Little Alfie" from "Liquid blue", "Fallout", "Vegas years", "Wait until the night" and "Leap of faith" from "Alpha and omega", "We are industry", "Post Madonna", "Digital city" and "Dollar in blue collar" from their lost album (also released as digital only album) "Urbanism". There are no rare tracks (since "Urbanism" saw finally the light) but their best dancey tunes are here with some eletro ballads and are waiting for you to be discovered. As far as I understood from the interview I did with Aidan a couple of weeks ago, some versions could differ from the ones coming from the CDs but at the moment I can't tell which ones. I'll update this review, just in case... Wait until "October" and while you'll listen to POPULARITY? prepare yourself for the next album in line but there should be a surprise before the end of the year.
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Artist: Bestia Centauri
Title: Teratogenesis
Format: CD
Label: Afe Records (@)
Distributor: Eibon Records
Rated: *****
Bestia Centauri is a musical project that begun in 1999, I had the chance to listen just to his previous "The Antediluvian Earth", which was an interesting sonic exploration dealing with pre-human lifeforms and Lovecraftian/esoteric myths still avoiding many of the cliches of dark ambient. "Teratogenesis" slightly changes the approach and takes a further step away from dark ambient realms. In fact it's an example of electroacustic mastery with a thick gloomy atmosphere. The irrecognizable sound sources now resemble more the most enigmatic Xenakis ("Persepolis") but feel newly fresh in this context. This remarkable work is a co-production of Afe Records and Eibon. PS I strongly recommend to check-out the explanation beyond Bestia Centauri's concept on his website: http://somrec.com/bestiacentauri/
Artist: Jigoku Nohara (@)
Title: Seiyaku No Nakani, Shi Ha Otozureru
Format: CD
Label: Thee Disciples Of Penumbra (@)
Rated: *****
Emulating the allmighty Marafura Funfunjiru, here we have another European with a Japanese alter-ego (with super moves and powers I guess) - Jigoku Nohara is a 29 years old Belgian guy named Bert Janssens and plays a strange blend of ethnic ambient with ultra minimal rhythms. Think about mixing Vasilisk's peculiar ethnic side with some more recent minimal electronics - say Sahko or Raster Noton - and sometimes it works but as a whole I'd say that it could result a bit boring (68 minutes is too much for an ambient album). I'd like to hear Bert's further progressions. That review was written by Gurudutt-Barati (my Nepalese alter-ego). Namaste!
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