Music Reviews



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Artist: XABEC (@)
Title: Using Unused Methods
Format: CD
Label: Hands Productions (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
Xabec is several years that built up sonic sculptures training the senses with tiny noises, synthetic rhythms and dark ambient movements. His new album is titled USING UNUSED METHODS and has been released by Hands Productions (as his previous stuff). The CD opens with an eight minute track, "Open state", that recalled me the Sylvian/Czukay collaborations because the meditative atmosphere and the trumpet parts. After that track the album seems to starts slowly his run toward a darker reign where the melodies rarefy and long fluctuating sounds duel with creepy noises and distant vocals. Sometimes melody faces up again with "Gummaff", where a slow melancholic sound is reinforced by a distorted rhythm. Listening to this one it’s like having a distant window opened with a sunbeam that reaches you passing though it. The following "Oulu" changes the atmosphere by introducing again tension and little noises. Manuel Richter (the main person responsible of Xabec’s sound) is really good at alternating tension/noise and melody/meditation and when you let your senses loose, be prepared to a sudden steer thanks to distorted rhythms made of glitches and pulsating drums. The tracks I preferred are: "Open state", "If" (good effect the use of the recitative vocals along with hisses/noises), "Gummaff" and "No disko" (a real particular track that blend infernal choruses, noises and contemporary music).
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Artist: System Syn
Title: The Mourning Ritual
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis
Rated: *****
Clint Carney, the man behind Los Angeles-based electronic project System Syn, has a sort of affable, everyman persona that makes him incredibly easy to like. One finds them self actively wishing success upon his multiple artistic endeavors: in addition to his System Syn and Fake projects, Clint is also a painter and keyboardist/backup vocalist for Imperative Reaction. Perhaps it’s because there’s the innate realization inside all of us that nice guys rarely experience the full value of kindness and karma they have coming to them (which incidentally might explain the glut of enraged industrial acts out there). Sure, the underdog occasionally accomplishes the unthinkable, but such victories are too often fleeting... mutants of societal Darwinism.

As such, it’s not surprising that Carney’s efforts, however well intentioned, are often good, but never great. "The Mourning Ritual," an entertaining mix of neo-synthpop, futurepop and (marginally) ebm dance music, is no exception. As with his previous efforts, his vocal delivery and inflections here continue to be Peter Heppner-esque (Wolfsheim), emotional story telling that is honest and self-exploratory. While Carney may share Heppner’s penchant for dramatic vulnerability, he unfortunately cannot equal either the well known German vocalist’s tone or his range.

Take, for example, the self-affirming "Everything to Everyone," a pretty mid-tempo piece from the album’s first act. The orchestration is superb, soft kicks trot beneath a touching piano melody and synthesized strings, while Carney croons sarcastic, a slight but detectable semblance of Tom Shear-styled (Assemblage 23) self-doubt resonating in his voice. All of the pieces are there, but when the final puzzle is completed, there’s just something missing. The same could be said of "I Am Here," a heavier dance number in more of an EBM vein; or "Stillborn," on which we find Carney in a Ronan Harris (VNV Nation) stance, both in terms of sonic quality and presentation.

The second act of "The Mourning Ritual" is almost completely down tempo, with the exception of "Exit," and this bunched arrangement of slower tracks only serves to underscore Carney’s sub-star-quality vocal shortcomings. Carney clearly possesses talent as a songwriter and vocalist, as this album exhibits, but he’s missing that indefinable "it" factor that allows certain singers to strike chords in the listener’s heart as well as his ear. Nonetheless, to buy this album is to cast a vote in support of the little guy, the one whose dedication and sincerity easily qualify him for your respect and your dollar, so it’s strongly recommended.
Artist: Psi Vamp (@)
Title: Neckrolust
Format: CD
Rated: *****
Atlanta based Psi Vamp is back with another fiery Techno Goth release. Thick, sweet, tight, and so challenging with sharp production. All 14 tracks are so powerful that's so hard and aggressive to make you get up and dance. The tracks will even go great to a sci-fi movie, tv show, even Japanese anime. The sci-fi effects coming from the synths is totally sooo cool. The styling of the synth technology waves form, forceful high energy, and the programmed drums keep things deep and moving along. A couple of tracks have an industrial feel that reminded me some of the the music I heard on some of the cartoons on Cartoon Network that comes on late at night for mature adults. "Neckrolust" is a gateway cyberspace passage that will constantly suspend you endlessly on the dancefloor. The cd is dark, tough, heavy, and intense as techno goes. The tracks are full of stellar razor fast tempo. Synthesizers and samples streamlined remarkably futuristic with brightness and complexity. A cycling pattern just enough to enter Psi Vamp's matrix and take you on a galactic dance adventure. I was immediately hooked when I first put on the disc. And you will too after you give it a first spin. This is one brilliant excellent album! Definitely recommended to be played in bass stereo systems.

Tracklistings:

1. Prelude
2. The Ritualists
3. Sea Invasion
4. My Salvation
5. Seven Sisters
6. Neckrolust
7. La Fae Verte
8. The Dream
9. Hall Of Anubis
10. Gematria Domain
11. Crossroads
12. Asylum
13. Deceived
14. Invoked
Artist: Nörv (@)
Title: s/t
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Rated: *****
Here's a quite basic mini cd with a couple of songs floating ashore in the industrial sea. Ebm? Mm..I’d answer neeee, I'd throw Spk, and some Meira Asher "Spear into hooks"-era in the receipt and a bit of Novo Homo here and there. Martial, squared, sick and with that distorted vocals industrial listeners are so comfortable with. The recording is a bit lo-fi but you can still hear it and the vocals are declaimed in that sick/sexy manner as you expect it to be. Basic, simple and still naïve, improvable but listenable.




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Artist: MARINA SIERTIS (@)
Title: Disease
Format: CD EP
Label: Shadowplay Music (@)
Rated: *****
It’s quite some time that Marina Sirtis (now Marina Siertis) weren’t releasing something new. Their latest one was released back in 2003 and it was their full length "Delay And Depression". This new release DISEASE it’s the first single coming from the next album (the second) titled "The much needed second cold war". Respect the old recordings "Disease" seems to be focused on the electro goth influences that the band already had along with a bit of synthpop. The main title is a upbeat ballad focused on the vocal line (the guitars and other sounds come and go while there’s a synthetic bass line always present) that sounds a little like the Cure of the "Disintegration" period meet the Depeche Mode. The song is good but I feel it lacks of energy: it’s like when you are waiting for the explosion and it never happens. The following track "I never went to the English beach house" is a nice ballad with violins, picked electric guitars and everything and it is doing its work really well and it sounds more balanced respect the main title. There are also two bonus tracks, two versions of "Disease". The first one is sounding more like Sisters Of Mercy on acid and maybe I prefer this one to the "single version". The second one is the "Mad club mix" and it’s a nice version but don’t wait for a dance floor killer, because on this version after the opening phase the band followed the principle that less is best and they substituted some instruments with synth sounds. Nice single that it’s making me think that the next album we’ll see something new about Marina Siertis sound respect their old releases.
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