Music Reviews



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Artist: Sshe retina stimulants
Title: Gnostick +- Aktionable
Format: CD
Label: Diophantine Discs (@)
Released by a new US CDR label run by Kyle Wright of Ames, Iowa. The disc presents us with four tracks. I’ve been told that this isn’t as noisy as their previous releases.

1. "high-octane gnostic-praxic disturbances"

- deep percussive ringing tones over loop - swirling razor sharp static over deep percussive ringing tones - droney scary sounds, machine rhythms - mid-high frequency sonic overload

2. "when they awaken the consummate prescience"

- roiling washes of static drone punctuated with high freq shards of noise - scary effected voices - swelling, spacey old school reverb - electric hum and buzz

3. "through the variation of the lecherous combustion"

- high pitched electro-noise with perturbed low freq - shuddering metallic drone
- deep bass tones of rolling spectrum punctuated by sudden spasms of mid range frustration - tines of high freq cloudburst melting into uncertain fits and starts

4. "aggravated gift of alertness"

- shifting distorted feedback tones and percussive interruptions of spastic euphoria - reverberant searching voices - reticent imaginings crying for release
- rusted machines hiding damaged intelligences - a sudden quiet revealing structural underpinnings of hope
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Artist: LOUISA JOHN KROL (@)
Title: Apple Pentacle
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
After her collaboration with Oophoi Louisa didn't stop and she prepared this delicious album that gathers classic folk elements (Gaelic as far as I can understand of folk music), a little bit of jazz (because of some instrumental solution and sometimes her voice) and a little bit of electronic arrangements a la Laurie Anderson on "Which of these worlds" (the vocal treatment remembered me "Oh superman"). Sometimes her voice remember me some Cocteau Twins melodies (like on "Ceracini") but her main vocal reference on this release is Kate Bush (as stated on the presentation sheet). Musically I can't say that Louise remember me Kate Bush because she and and her collaborators use a wide range of traditional instruments that made the tracks do sound different: the harp, the mandolin, the viola and all the acustic instruments are picked gently creating a charming atmosphere. Also the traditional references, made of various stories coming mostly from Green Man mythology, made of APPLE PENTACLE an album of its own that will please your spirit and awaken your ears.
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Artist: ARTICA (@)
Title: Plastic Terror
Format: CD
Label: Decadance (@)
Rated: *****
After releasing two albums ("Ombra e luce" and "Natura") Artica come back with a revised musical style and a major change: the English language for the lyrics. It took almost eight years to refine the project but since the first riffs of the opening song "Black eyes" you can say that it was worth it. I mean, the band had already their sound that was personal and powerful enough but if you listen to "Sarayevo" (from "Ombra e luce") and "Angelica" (from "Natura) you can say that they were paying an high price to their influences (early Liftiba in my humble opinion). For PLASTIC TERROR the band decided to clean the blackboard with a firm wipe and to work really hard to define a new sound. Goth music is always their main influence but they added power to their guitars and to the vocals which now are more intriguing and almost growling. The songs are composed gathering different moments that pass from the energetic guitar riffs (that sound almost death metal) to the ones where the keyboard orchestration is the main actor. The band is good at creating pulsating tracks that sound never static or without inspiration. There's also space for good ballads such as "Ocean", "Fade away" and "I don't fit" (try to think what could mean the term "ballad" for a goth metal band and forget stuff like Evanescence) and for a couple of songs in Italian "Aggressione" and "Roma brucia" (which is the only song to remember the old style) where is evident the growth of the band. I think that they are definitely ready to be exported over the Italian border and their American gig of the 24th of February in California (check http://www.releasethebats.info) is a sign of it!
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Artist: ANDREW COLEMAN (@)
Title: Tony Alva's hair
Format: CD
Label: Cocosolidciti (@)
Rated: *****
This autumn I've seen "Lords of Dogtown", an ok movie, nothing special in comparison to the documentary "Dogtown and the Z-boys", but definitely worth of the ticket (above all if you're into skateboard, or underground culture). Even if the average skater nowadays listens to crappy third rate punk bands or even worse to cheap gangsta rap, this work has nothing to do with the afore mentioned categories. Cocosolidciti is interested in high-quality electronic music and judging by they back catalogue and listening to this their costumers won't be disappointed. The menu is: electronic music with a 4/4 relaxed beat, sometimes it recalls some stylish Warp artist like Prefuse 72 or Savath and Savalas minus the post rock/instrumental feel, but that's just one percent of the whole mixture. With a such a cool rhythmical skeleton I was awaiting some rapping and it finally came with the third track ("Not a speculation" where Dose One is the mc!) and the song is a pure kick ass hit. Another interesting characteristic of this release is represented by its heterogeneity, one good example could be the electro-jazzy sketch of "Fingertip control". Andrew Coleman put together a smart tracklist and while listening you won't have the time to get bored by a single kind of song, just give a listen to such another great stylish exercise like the piano of "Rain and dogs" or to the acoustic guitar of "Constraints, huddles and hoops". Melody, melody and again melody, a great dose of class and if you're into hip-hoppish rhythm, electronic music, melody and post jazzy influences I think you outta add "Tony Alva's hair" to your want list.
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Artist: ABSURD MINDS (@)
Title: Noumenon
Format: CD
Label: Scanner (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****

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This trio hailing from Landau/Germany is maybe the most successful act recording for the Scanner label and they give us here just another example of a continuous good work on their known success formula. While I made my fun with their kind to win a "singing like Peter Spilles" contest in the early days, I recognize that this obviously intended sound of male vocals works well with their fat arrangements. It is Dark Electro in vein of IN STRICT CONFIDENCE or comparable acts without that scary and mystic feeling – maybe mass compatible Dark Electro? Anyhow – music and production are worth to listen to and flawless. For the vocals – well, that’s a kind of taste. ABSURD MINDS remain mostly in their one and only style globally. There are some hints here on this 14 new tracks, some alternative beat programmings on "Lord", or the use of some guitar sounds in "Stop The Fall" and "A Man Received The Answer 05". Especially the both last tracks I would call outstanding here, because also the Synth layers offer some more life and seem to be better worked out – while I am not sure if I really should advise them to concentrate more on guitar efforts... The one and only flaw is that this band cannot really surprise with anything else what couldn’t be compared with their earlier works. I would like to advise them to change something that can be called a real improvement. Try to compose different, change the kind of vocals – simply do something that nobody would expect from you. Globally a well done release which gets a few rotations, but nothing what can become my favorite. This release is also available as a limited DCD edition with 5 extra tracks, remixes of three album tracks, a remix of their classic "Damn The Lie" and a new unreleased piece called "No Saints, No Sinners".

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