Music Reviews



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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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Artist: ANDERS MANGA (@)
Title: BLOOD LUSH
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: CD Baby, Amazon.com
Rated: *****
There’s new blood on the Goth scene- his name is Anders Manga, and that’s good news for anemic music-vamps. I think this is a name you’re going to hear a lot in the future, so you better get used to it. So just who IS this Anders Manga, anyway? Well, if you’re addicted to Gothic music, go to Goth festivals and conventions and read the Goth publications, you just may already know. Hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina, Anders Magna is getting out of the coffin and doing what has to be done to take a bite out of the world of musical darkness. Already garnering a "Best Band Award" nominee by Gothic Beauty magazine, Manga has 3 previous albums under his belt, and he’s only been actively around since 2005! So how does the brand spankin’ new "Blood Lush" stack up? Well, I’ll tell you... .

Beginning with the title track, "Blood Lush" is a platform boot goth club stomper that has all the elements in place to make it a classic. Simple, effective, yet interesting enough to hold your attention. Great opening track that screams for a remix. Not only a memorable chorus, but a nice little bridge too. The music has been labeled "Gothtronica"- synths and drum machines are the primary musical backdrop for Anders’ baritone vocals. (Think Sister’s – Andy Eldritch crossed with The Mission’s- Wayne Hussey - minus the pretension, a dash of Peter Murphy and a drop of American Southern-Gothic.) Manga’s production seems to have improved a good deal over the early material delivering a lot more punch. The synths are raw and hot when they need to be ("Taste of Euphoria", "At Dawn They Sleep") and the arrangements, simple though they are, push Anders’ vocals out to the forefront. I checked out a couple of his videos on his website, and if that’s any indication, this guy has a truckload of presence, and that’s important in this genre. There’s a lot of Numanesque analogue sounds on "Blood Lush", which is great, but the one area that lacks is in the percussion. Sometimes it just sounds too much standard workstation drum-machine programming, and that’s a bit of a liability. On one slow song – "Sleeping (In the Fire)", I felt that Manga’s voice was reaching on the verses, but a strong chorus made up for it. A far cry from the strongest track here, but I appreciate the effort. A better slow track is "Science Fiction" with a cool 80’s style arrangement.

Lyrically, Anders Manga ought to please the dressed in black crowd- nothing too deep, but suitable for a night at The Castle, The Church, Slimelight, Dark Area, Salvation, Purgatory, Decadence, The Haunt, Sanctuary, Requiem, or whatever your local goth club happens to be called. Not every song on this CD is a winner (there’s a bit of filler here and there), but there’s enough strong material to make it worth a purchase. I think with a bit more time and attention to the percussive aspects and more songs like some of the stronger ones that have killer hit potential, Manga’s next release could be unstoppable. In the meantime, I’d recommend a purchase because when it comes to Gothtronica, good new CDs are few and far between.
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Artist: ALMANDINO QUITE DELUXE
Title: Potato Violent
Format: CD
Label: Wallace (@)
Rated: *****
What can you expect from a guitar/drum duo (male/female) dressing like some masked wrestler? I guess the answer it's obvious: rock'n'roll. Garage rockenrolla recorded in Detroit anything more you wonna add? You probably have all of the informations you need. For the sake of truth let's say Almandino Quite Deluxe have read well and learned by heart the "guidelines" to "rock the house down" written by (and for) In The Red and labels/bands in the likes but the italian power duo to me also revives really well the ghost of Lux Interior and Poison Ivy just to say the Cramps have been more than a small brick in the wall of history. In times like these when White Stripes got rich writing some good ol' fashioned rock’n’roll tunes Almandino are probably looking for an "hot spot" or are just doing their own thing careless of what's the actual trend. Good dynamics and the right recording for a funny "american" rock’n’roll album, if your into something that sounds vintage you should break your money pig and give this wrestlers a chance to jump on the ring. Rock is dead, sure...but there're some sparkles still left.
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