Music Reviews



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Artist: Bizarre Musik Machine (@)
Title: Bizarre Musik Machine
Format: CD
Distributor: Bizarre Musik Machine
Rated: *****
First off, I owe these guys a big apology. I promised them a review well over a year ago, and due to circumstances ended up taking an overly-long hiatus from the reviewing biz. Now that I’m back in the grooves, let me give them the critical eye they certainly deserve. Bizarre Musik Machine is a duo out of San Antonio, Texas, a tough town to make it for most any band. And I’m sure that making dark music there really puts you at a disadvantage. Be that as it may, Yayumi (Vocals/Keyboards) & Gino (Guitar/Sequencing) deserve a lot of credit for trying. Probably the easiest comparison is early period Cocteau Twins with more easily decipherable vocals. Plenty of that shoegazing echo & verb to the guitar with drum machine keeping the rhythm moving along. Unlike some bands who consciously try to mine the retro-80’s vibe of bands like te Cocteaus, Joy Division, The Cure, et al, Bizarre Musik Machine are different enough to make you take notice. While Yayumi doesn’t possess a stellar set of pipes, she still has enough quality to keep you enthralled for at least 35-40 minutes. And from what I’ve seen of her visually, she’s almost got an interesting appearance, in a Bjork kind of way. Gino’s no slouch as creating the proper aural atmosphere either, even though sometimes his guitar work seems a bit meandering. Still, to my knowledge, there’s NOBODY doing just this kind of thing now, to my knowledge. (Then again I could be wrong, but of there is another band taking this path, I certainly haven’t been exposed to them. Most of the tracks on the CD are pretty good, but the most memorable one is titled "Silent Regrets" will really take you back to the early 90’s, the heyday of the Madchester’ and Shoegazer scene. If 4AD is still signing bands, Bizarre Musik Machine is one they definitely ought to look into. With some better production, this duo has the potential to carve their own niche (and maybe even write their own ticket) in the Goth n’ Dreampop music genre. Their website is definitely worth a visit, and while you’re there, BUY a copy of their CD. Don’t wait for them to become famous, because then it’s only the label that makes the money on product, and they really could use your support.
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Artist: TANKT (@)
Title: Club Life
Format: CD
Label: Static Sky Records (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
Originally self-released, later on licensed and marketed to the US-based Static Sky Records, this the already fourth release by this Melbourne-based Australian duo. Also they are permanent and active members of the Australian Crash Frequency community (www.crashfrequency.com). TANKT, consisting of the duo Dave Foreman (music) and Roberto Massaglia (vocals), provide a well produced Electro/Industrial album mixing the elements between EBM, Synth Pop and Futurepop with well thought lyrics full of social and politically criticism. To fit with the title "Club Life" (the cover art doesn’t fit with the title, note – these are not dancing people...) they made no break between the tracks from 1 to 4 as well on the tracks 7 to 10. Mixed in between are some more experimental arranged tracks, especially "The Storms Of Beslan" reminds me on some old KLINIK stuff. This of course can be named diversity and it shows that this band has the abilities to offer satisfying results taken out of several styles of Electronic-based music. Their critically acclaimed piece "Bush On Fire" is also available here and please note also the special and very personal content in "Night Ride" dedicated to Roberto’s died father. As I said, this album is extremely professional produced and it is no real wonder, that it got picked up by Static Sky, although that this promising US label is now in hiatus. Check out the Crash Frequency website, or check back the DSBP website in the USA (www.dsbp.cx) to get it right now.
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Artist: INTRASONIC (@)
Title: At The End
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
This is self-produced but yet very professional release of another new talent out of the Australian Crash Frequency community (www.chrashfrequency.com). The band is leaded by Toby Craig and hails from Fremantle, somewhere based in West-Australia. Musically they play a kind of well produced Electro/Industrial, here and there mixed with some guitars. A possible comparison could be named in the well known US acts SPAHN RANCH to the "The Coiled One" phase, while it should be said, that Toby doesn’t reach the same brilliant results for the sound of his voice like Athan Maroulis. Nevertheless he is a talented vocalist as well and he doesn’t need to come along here tons of FX to re-strange his voice. INTRASONIC added some more diversity in the arrangements, also a real experimental dark Electro piece combined with some rough rhythm programmings can be heard in the title track of this CD. Favorites well designed to hit the dancefloors of the dark and alternative clubs can be named here with starter "Sanctuary" and moreover "As Pitch As Black". At the later part of this CD INTRASONIC also slow down the speed of some tracks and they add some more classic instruments like a piano to their tracks (the very emotional "Adore", or the gloomy "Miss You" for example...). This is a more than convincing release of a new talent from Australia and I can only recommend to discover them somehow. Use the given contacts to the Crash Frequency community here or check back the website of the band. Satisfaction guaranteed!
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Artist: PLASTIC NOISE EXPERIENCE (@)
Title: Dead Or Alive
Format: CD
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
Another Claus returns here and the rising Alfa Matrix label seems to have a special fable to release old school stuff for the elders. Again a veteran release of the well known German act PLASTIC NOISE EXPERIENCE, giving the audience a kind of special "Best of..." compilation. Not just a simple compilation, because Claus Kruse has worked hard in his studio to create for all relevant classics a special revamped 2006 version. This is a special "Thank You" for all of his fans and a special release for all new listeners which tried hard to get stuff via internet auctions of this band. His scene hits like "Das Ritual", "Kill The 6", "Reduction" or "Gold" received a completely new sound design, and the globally result is satisfying for both, supporters of the new style as well as old school lovers. Not all of the new versions do it right for me personally (the "Smalltown Boy" cover version of BRONSKI BEAT, or "Reduction"...), I still prefer the mood and identity of the original recordings. You’ll also find here a few rare to get live recordings for hits like "Kill What Kills You" or his cover version of THE KLINK’s "Moving Hands". Also to find here are three special remix versions done by the new Alfa Matrix signing TECHNOIR, Claus’ special friends from Hamburg SERPENTS and from CYSONIC. Please note that there is also available a special DCD edition of this release featuring on the second CD the real "Best of..." and some very hard to find B-sides and rare recordings. Act soon and try to get this limited edition item which is a valuable and historically important release.
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Artist: SILENCE
Title: Key (Anthology / Rarities)
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Accession Records (@)
Distributor: Indigo
Rated: *****
If music would be that easy to understand and consume after only 2 – 3 rotations, I would have written this review much earlier. "What the FUCK is this?" – well, that does fit with my first impressions on the music of this Slovenian duo and I have also to admit that I’ve never heard any of their highly acclaimed releases before, although they were signed on the well known Germany-based label Chrom Records. No, their musically career went totally away of my attention. Here are two musicians at work – I mean "real" musicians – persons which are able to perform live on stage with real instruments, although when there’s someone switching off the voltage. In short – people with more talent in a little finger than any else PC musician around. Also the named category I’ve chosen for this review explains nothing at all. It’s not Synth Pop, it isn’t Wave or something else. I would tend to name it Pop-Art, only at times Synth Pop, but also often inspired by orchestral/classic related themes. The Polish act CABARET come to my mind somehow, but also acts like DEINE LAKEIEN. As I said, this stuff is a musically discovery, but I mostly like to dive into it. This DCD set features one the first "Anthology" CD a kind of "Best of..." compilation to give the greenhorns (like me) a first overview of what has happened through the years. The mainly Synth Pop influenced tracks like "I Love You", "Belief" or the outstanding melodious masterpiece "Kraljestvo macjih oci" convinced me the most. Please check also out the addictive cover version on KRAFTWERK’s "Hall Of Mirrors" featuring Anne Clark on the guest vocals. Also available here is a "rocking" remix of the DEINE LAKEIEN musician Ernst Horn on the track "Scream, Greeneyes". The second CD entitled "Rarities" features (you got it!) unreleased stuff this band has recorded through the years. On it you can find an impressive dark piece named "Der Untergang", featuring a nice German lyric content. Not all of the tracks can grab my totally attention here, some stuff turns to much into classic inspired or Avantgarde anthems. Globally I must say that I am quite impressed and surprised by this abilities of this act. That they’ve signed to Accession Records, a label mainly focusing on Electro/Industrial music, is just another surprising point. What could I read in the inlay of their CD? "Music is art, as long as you don’t ask me what art is" – well said – keep it on!
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