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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Klangfusion Vol. 1
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Accession-Records (@)
Distributor: Indigo
Rated: *****
A new format concept realized by the German Accession-Records to start an autumn offensive after the summer hole. This compilation, if you like to name it so, features two of the most active bands of the label in the last three years, [:SITD:] and PAINBASTARD. Both acts are collaborating not only for this double-EP release, which features some first teasers of their coming autumn full-length releases and a mutual tour entitled "Bestie:Mensch 2007". Since both acts offer their very own EP on this release, I would like to review both separately:


[:SITD:] – Kreuzgang

"Kreuzgang" is a typically [:SITD:]-smasher as expected, featuring an energetic drum programming, German lyrics and – as expected – the always tasteful and fine worked-out melodic synth layers. A club filler for sure, maybe one of their best compositions so far, but nothing what we haven’t heard from them before. Two b-side-tracks as being own productions are featured as well, "Atonement" slows down the speed and provides a mighty bass kick work, while "Metamorphosis" features rather unusual and more experimental sounds and Breakbeat drum patterns – a least a recommendable alternative to the known outfit. 5 additional remix works on the title track "Kreuzgang" accomplishing this EP and the featured names are mostly known forces in the scene like ROTERSAND, ANGELS & AGONY, AGONOIZE, PAINBASTARD and a collaborative effort by DIORAMA, KLANGSTABIL and VA SEE. A bit hard to figure out the best work here, since all bands have something special to offer, but the last mentioned collaborative effort is for sure the most unusual version by providing a different vocal performance and feather-light synth spots. What always and ever speaks for [:SITD:] is the high quality in all terms of production, "Kreuzgang" is no exception. "Metamorphosis" also offers something different from which I hope for a continuation, while the [:SITD:]-part of this release generally leaves out any bigger surprises.


PAINBASTARD – Nyctophobia

I guess the most surprising fact on this new PAINBASTARD track is the slow hymn-like mid-tempo composition – not the awaited club filler, but intense like acid on skin. That’s finest Dark Electro out of the classic school, while the expected floor stomper joins immediately the scenario with "Psychological Disintegration" – PAINBASTARD rules, who ever will speak of :WUMPSCUT: again as being responsible for aggressive end-time Electro/EBM made in Germany? "Torn", completely new remixed and featured by DIORAMA for the vocals, is a look-back on the last full-length album, where you can find the original version of this smoothest of all PAINBASTARD tracks. Follows then another new track "MenschFeind" featuring DIARY OF DREAMS - the construction is electronic-based, some acoustic guitars and the vocals are the contributions of DIARY OF DREAMS. 6 remix works by among others [:SITD:], ASSEMBLAGE 23, IN THE NURSERY, THIS MOURN’ OMINA, STRAFTANZ and SUPREME COURT on "Nyctophobia" are filling this EP, while this isn’t meant negative. Since the original is a mid-tempo based track, it is curious who and who wouldn’t follow the given speed and mood. Tom Shear of A23 has to be praised for his work featuring slightly distorted drum patterns and some ideas out of his "Contempt"-era. What is it – DIVE meets early A23? Applause! IN THE NURSERY, of course, have worked out something more orchestral-tuned and pushed the speed. Best floor-compatible attitude I tend to rate on the THIS MOURN’ OMINA-remix, Mika has done a marvelous job. I had never a positive opinion on STRAFTANZ, but their remix RAWKS, and should animate the masses to storm the floors.

Both acts, [:SITD:] and PAINBASTARD, can totally convince with this fine EP’s, the teasers here make hungry for more. As mentioned, both will release this autumn new full-length albums, and both will cooperate with their special guests DESTROID for a mutual European tour. Highly recommended!
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Artist: PROVISION (@)
Title: Ideal Warfare
Format: CD EP
Label: Section 44 (@)
Distributor: A Different Drum
Rated: *****
For sure not the newest release of this Synth-/Futurepop 4-member-outfit hailing out of Houston, TX, but somehow important. Since PROVISION have recently announced their end of existence, this 15-track remix EP marks one out of two last official releases for this band. It is the companion release to their last studio album "The Consequence" featuring two of the most remarkable tracks out of it, "Ideal" and "Perversions Of Conventional Warfare" (Here abbreviated "P.O.C.W."), which got both remixed several times by diverse colleagues and label comrades. PROVISION’s talent can be discovered with an own revamped version on "Ideal", somehow their sounds and arrangements remind a bit on some earlier NO COMMENT works. To pick out some remarkable remix works, the Radio Mix of "P.O.C.W." by RENAME comes smooth and very Synthpop-stylish, but intense and fat arranged. The Austin-based act CTRL has worked on the same track and added some Rock-like guitars, for sure a decent idea and contrast. Metropolis-recording artist SYSTEM SYN offers an unusual remix on "P.O.C.W." and nails the listener with some rotating harsh bass kicks, one of the most aggressive works on the PROVISION tracks. NULL DEVICE have entitled their work on "P.O.C.W." Misadventures in Dub – well, it comes conspicuous with some vocoderized vocals. The remix work of CLOUDLESS on "Ideal" brings back a retro-EBM-feeling and can be counted to one of the strangest works. EBM seems to be also the hobby of UNITCODE:MACHINE, but besides the expected different rhythm patterns, they also surprise with some well worked-out synth layers. This release of course appeals Synth-/Futurepop-fanatics, but has also some further interesting moments to offer.
Sep 11 2007
Artist: Scrape (@)
Title: Cruelest Intentions
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Dark Reality Productions (@)
Rated: *****
Scrape�s latest effort entitled "Cruelest Intentions" is an album that can best be described by a single word, which is trite. While other reviewers have praised the album for charting unexplored territories in the realms of terror EBM and noise, I simply do not see what all the fuss is about. Most of the tracks on the album rely on most of the tried and true clich�s that have made the once exciting genre of EBM the bastion of mediocrity that is today. We all know the clich�s rather well from repetitive late 1980�s and early 1990�s sounding synthesizer patterns to indiscernible vocals using bad vocoder effects to the same 4/4 distorted techno rhythm. In the case of Scrape, they use the same obnoxiously corny vocoder effect on every single track, which is made worse by their incredibly hackneyed lyrics, which is the stuff of disaffected fifteen year old angst with lines like "When all love has washed away, I hate myself for how I feel, I see the world in a grey haze, I hate everything about my life." The best track on the album is actually the intro track, which is a short ambient, yet rather dark and menacing instrumental piece that gives one the false hope that "Cruelest Intentions" is going to be the "Music for a Slaughtering Tribe" for the next generation. However, this hope is fleeting as everything from the second track forward descends into a malaise of bland and uninspired EBM where every track sounds exactly the same. This is rather tragic given that it is very apparent that the members of Scrape seem know their way around the studio and are well versed in sequencing and programming.
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Artist: Alarmen (@)
Title: There's No Place Like Hoan
Format: CD
Label: Audiophob (@)
Rated: *****
The brainchild of a German computer scientist, Alarmen's sound can best be described as an intelligent mixture of glitch, ambient, and IDM that utilizes very mechanical synthesizer effects to achieve its aesthetic. The artist behind Alarmen describes the project’s full-length debut "There’s No Place Like Hoan" as "the soundtrack to the information chaos of our society." I find this description to be misleading, as the album is far from chaotic. But rather, "No Place Like Hoan" offers a collection of compositions that are very methodical and well thought out. Indeed, the beauty of Alarmen is his ability to create evocative music utilizing what would otherwise be cold and sterile sounds. This ability is best represented on the tracks "Feeling Better is Like a Dream" and "Three Inches Longer." The ability to make evocative music with such harsh sounds is a skill possessed by only a handful of experimental artists, which makes "No Place Like Hoan" a very exciting album. Moreover, when listening to the album I could not help but think that this is what CD2 of Alec Empire’s "Intelligence and Sacrifice" should have sounded like. Additionally, the album is that it is suitable for both active and passive listening, which allows it to be enjoyed in a number of different settings. While the final track on the album "Rocken Roal" is a bit disappointing for its repetitiveness and campy vocoder effects, the album as whole is very solid. In sum, I would recommend Alarmen’s "No Place Like Hoan" for any fan of the more digital branch of experimental electronic music.
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Artist: CORDE OBLIQUE (@)
Title: Volonta' D'Arte
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
Project of Riccardo Prencipe, born while he was still playing with Lupercalia, Corde Oblique is a personal place where he gathers different guests with the intention of create something magical. VOLONTA' D'ARTE sees Riccardo on classical guitars and medieval lute and guests coming from Ashram, Spiritual Front, Dwelling, Argine and Lupercalia at vocals, piano, clarinet, violin, percussions, etc. The thirteen tracks are in balance from medieval atmospheres and melancholic acoustic ballads. Usually I'm not keen to this kind of music but I have to admit that Corde Oblique is a different thing. Tracks like "Before Utecht" (a piano/acoustic guitar duo) or the tense and energetic "Kaiowas" (the less classical inspired track) create a strong atmosphere where with the undoubted professionalism is half of the recipe's ingredients, the other half is into the heart of the people who created it.
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