Music Reviews



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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: A Compilation 2
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Black Rain (@)
Distributor: Nova Media
Rated: *****
A COMPILATION 2 is a budget double compilation where you can find 28 bands of the Black Rain, NoiTekk, Ars Musica Diffundere and Funk Welten rosters. The first CD is basically focused on the first two labels and it gathers the industrial e.b.m.sound of bands like Die Sektor Life Cried, Psyclon Nine, Iwr, Cyborg Attack, Distorted Memory, Tyske Ludder (a track from their come back album), Feindflug, Dawn Of Ashes, Supreme Court, Fgfc820, Vigilante, Tactical Sekt and Violent Entity. Their tracks are all taken from previously released albums and with these you can do yourself an opinion about the sound of those two labels (and if you love classic or industrial e.b.m. I suggest to check them). The second CD has different kind of sounds and gathers the ambient, electronic, goth and medieval bands of Black Rain, Ars Musica Diffundere and Funk Welten. In this case it's more difficult to find a balanced tracklist but it seems that the labels guys find a way to make it work. At the beginning you can find the orchestral goth of Novalis Deux, the goth of Rise And Fall Of A Decade (a track coming from the forthcoming re-release of "You or Sidney"), the ambient medieval atmospheres of Predella Avant, the ambient ethereal sound of Narsilion (with a track from their forthcoming album "Namarie"), Reliquary, Brillig (with a track from their next album "Mirror on the wall" which is also on their single I reviewed a week ago), Dandelion Wine, the theatrical distorted goth music of Killing Ophelia, the industrial metal of Jesus And The Gurus, the folk of Kutna Hora, the good electro medieval e.b.m. of Lamia, the ambient industrialism of Flint Glass, the really good electro ambient of Oil 10, and Amateur God. A good compilation that you can have for 5 euros plus postage directly from the label's shop page. A real bargain!
Artist: Metsuo
Title: A Small Box
Format: CD EP
Rated: *****
Paul Stoney and Stephen French make up of the London, England based Metsuo. A electronic/techno duo who is incredible making infectious killer club tracks that will make you want to bob your head and dance to the rhythm. This four track ep signifies their signature sound. Polished electronic and synth sounds. Every track on "A Small Box" is top rate and easy to get into. My personal favorite is "House of Small Chairs" that have a funky catchy groovy bassline and can go to a movie, anime or videogame soundtrack. "AIX" is a beautiful ambient, which the band have a video clip for on their website on myspace. Good cinematography indeed. The track "Blind Angry Bear" leans inbetween techno and hip-hop. Metsuo reminds me of the electronic hip-hop artist Kurtis Mantronik. An 80's legend dj and former half member of the electronic dance & hip-hop group Mantronix. This British duo is fascinating, show promise and worth keeping an eye on in the future
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Artist: fatagaga
Title: Laudanum Vol. 3
Format: CD
Label: Satori Hype Records (@)
Rated: *****
Haunting and brooding dark ambient offering from Germany's fatagaga, third in a series named after that famous, delicious, opium-laced drink. It's a great, slow-moving, continuous wall of sound that breaks things up by jumping to a rhythm track in places, but is somehow a bit predictable and lacks an essential element of "surprise." Think of Richard H. Kirk teaming up with Hungry Ghost and you'll get an idea of the overall sound.

The review copy came without any CD packaging (the main run is a limited edition of 250, and strangely enough it is now also available in a box set with Vols. 1 and 2). All that was provided was a 3.5"-by-4" slip of paper with a yet elegant and apt description of the music (which can be read from the Satori Hype website): "Laudanum Vol. 3 is about dirt. The end of longing for pure Mother Nature...Old men burn garbage in back alleys...Lichens on the walls. Crooked, windblown scarecrows. Monocultures. A dead dog in the bushes. [etc]." A suggestion: an ambient release shouldn't need a verbal description at all, for the listener to get what's going on in the music. The CD artwork usually does help set the mood, and since it's missing in this case (it can also be viewed on their website, but at such very low resolution that the printed text is illegible), Vol. 3 loses a star.
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Artist: MAKINA GIRGIR
Title: The Spell
Format: 12"
Label: Das Drehmoment Records (@)
Distributor: Neuton
Rated: *****
Headed by Philippe Hayet, a guy coming from Toulouse, Makina Girgir is an electronic project focused on retro melancholic sounds. The project's name is coming from the name of a street in Harar, Ethiopia and Philippe chose that one because on that street you can hear always noises coming from the public tailors and typewriters. The five tracks of THE SPELL E.P. will lead you within different emotional moments being your soundtrack. Each track (on my promo sheet) have its note which explains the situation. "Plans for today" will bring you on a nice sunny morning where the radio is playing the usual music and ads and suddenly a voice asks: "What are your plans for today?" and continue "Today is your own day...". On "Moonshower", instead, tells about being in a desertic place lighted only by moonlight. It seems peaceful and calm but soon you realize that that is the world of dead people and soon the light will fade out. The notes are little ideas that will introduce you to the theme and by listening to the music you'll fill the missing lines of the plot. A good idea, nice music and a great cover made by Nils-Petter Ekwall (www.nilspetter.se).
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Artist: MAN AND MACHINES
Title: s/t
Format: CD EP
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Another newcomer act out of the US state Florida providing a harsh and pounding kind of EBM/Electro/Industrial, we like to welcome the Orlando-based MAN AND MACHINES. Contrary to the band name this act consist of three members, Ricki Gunz, Defex and the female band member Angi Gunz. This release is a 5-track teaser of some upcoming works and thanks to the response they could receive via their Myspace account, www.myspace.com/manandmachines, a coming full-length CD should be a sure thing and is in the pipeline. The music generally follows the known paths of the Harsh EBM/Hellektro genre, here and there with some trashy Punk-inspired attitudes, although MAN AND MACHINES can surprise with a charismatic male vocal performance, which differs to the usual whispered-like highly distorted kind of comparable colleagues. A possible comparison I would visually see with DAWN OF ASHES (... a lot of fake blood here...), while they musically avoid a to hefty influence of the known Trance-inspired textures. The opener "Blood, Guts, Rhythm And Steel" is a real smasher featuring some further well-done metallic percussive moments – this stuff should be able to fill some dancefloors. Also a remarkable piece is the last track "Cities in Dust", featuring a melodic female vocal performance by Angi. Definitively the track which offers some deeper musically maturity. MAN AND MACHINES are just at the beginning of starting a career but I’m sure they’ll earn soon some more attention, if they continue and develop their style. Some labels should put an open ear on them...

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