Music Reviews

Artist: VESTIGIAL (@)
Title: Vestigial
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Distributor: Tesco
Rated: *****
Dark ambient is a difficult genre. This could sound a stupid sentence because everyone with a computer and a decent sound card is able to growl into a mic and to sample some CDs, but in the same sentence you can find the naked truth, because if everyone could be good at making industrial or ambient music the difficult part is represented by giving a good ambience to the recording itself. Vestigial, fortunately for my ears, is really good at making sound his music involving and disturbing thanks to the good mixture of pads, reverbered vocals and treated noises. The four tracks of his first MCD remembered me something of Lustmord of the "Paradise disowned" period. The grinding sub-tones and the cyclic synth sounds form suites where the concept of the "sun that never sets" take form. Check Vestigial myspace page to check his sound at
Artist: MORIARTY (@)
Title: Equation Of Madness
Format: CD
Rated: *****
Moriarty is the collective project of John Cult, JeFF Boss, Bertand Barbier and Stan Adry, all involved in electronica / dark electro projects in France and Belgium. After their first CD "Synthetic feelings" they prepared their second full length by sharing ideas and recordings through the web. EQUATION OF MADNESS is the newest release of the combo and at a first listening I have to say that it is a real dark one. Most of the tracks are based on a dark ambient/experimental approach. At the end of the album I can't tell that I remember something of it, I feel almost disturbed and this is a good result anyway. Of the twelve tracks I preferred the dark suites based on synth sounds (like "Staring at yourself" or "Dark light") to the ones based on pure sound manipulation, because they were sounding more personal. For sure this is an album that needs more than a listening to be full appreciated and for sure along with that disturbing sensation you'll find something more.
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Artist: KOJI ASANO (@)
Title: Trio Suites No. 1 - No. 3
Format: CD
Label: Asano Productions (@)
Lately Koji Asano focused his releases on compositions for orchestral elements leaving on his back his experimental noisy side. After releasing the "Violin and Viola Suites" and the "Baroque Ensemble No.1-No.5 Ensemble DENEB", Koji wrote three suites of Oboe, Piano and Cello. Like on the previous releases he wrote the score but he didn't play it, leaving the place to Bin Ueda on piano (he's a respected piano player, check his website at, Akiko Nakae on oboe and Shunichiro Miyasaka on cello. Someway similar to the tracks you can find on "Baroque Ensemble No.1-No.5 Ensemble DENEB" because of the modern classical style, this new TRIO SUITES No. 1 - No. 3 is focused on modern compositions but without the baroque influence. The three suites have dissonant parts and frequent changes of melodies but without having a main theme. If the other time I could find something known to my ears (the baroque music influence), this time the three compositions leaved me a little dizzy: because of my ignorance about this kind of music I can't judge it. For this reason I'm leaving it without rate.
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Artist: The Young Gods
Title: Super Ready / Fragmenté
Format: CD
Label: Ipecac (@)
Rated: *****
The Young Gods' brand new record was an unexpected surprise in my mailbox today. One of my favorite bands, I've been following them since the early days (mid eighties) when nobody outside Switzerland (where I am originally from) knew them yet. 20 years and 13 albums later, The Young Gods are still ahead of the curve and haven't missed a beat!

"Super Ready / Fragmenté" contains 12 compositions that invest you with the dazzling power and audacity of a violent album about violence that covers pretty much all the ground they've covered extensively in the past, stylistically quoting themselves and bridging the gap between the guitar-rock-infused "TV Sky", the flying up-tempo electronica of "Only Heaven" and "Second Nature" and the spacey and ethereal atmospherics of "Heaven Deconstruction" and "Music for Artificial Clouds". You'll find it all in this album: a complete vision of The Young Gods, touching base with what was but reaching out to what will be.
It's the Young Gods all over again, from the trademark held out guitar samples to the steady and syncopated drumming, from the climaxing singing and the poetical and socially inspired lyrics to the unique art of sounding like a rock band without actually being one (or are they?). Brief and straight to the point tracks that breath and throb with energy, style and intensity as well as psychedelic sound-work that elevates the random but career-recurring ten-minute long pivotal compositions.
With amazing sampling and sequencing work by Al Comet and untiring swiss-clockwork precision drumming by Bernard Trontin, this album intensifies their sonic attack and weaves among colorful palettes of sounds and visions, from the minimalist rock-driven to the tripped out and deviant.

Considering that in the USA people start shooting themselves at age 2 and go mall shopping for fire arms of any kind, it amuses me a little bit that Trichler is concerned with the number of unaccounted for guns in Switzerland (probably one of the safest and most livable and civil places on earth) but Treichler's unmistakable multi-language voice spits out lyrics of high sociopolitical value that you should get translations for right after you burn through your first round of track-fire.

The Young Gods are the holy grail of timeless rock-inspired electronic music! They climbed the alps and the mountains of marketing that is required for a band from Europe to make it overseas, or even just outside of the national boarded, and their calling has reached you now: Answer it or you'll forever wonder what one of the best bands of our times sounds like! (is it really obvious that I dig their music? did the point get across?). "Super Ready / Fragmenté" will come out on Ipecac in stores April 24th. Don't miss it!
Artist: CONCISE (@)
Title: Revive
Format: 3 x CD (triple CD)
Label: Wycombe Music (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
The Rostock/Germany-based label Wycombe Music returns with a new release, which comes as a special 3-CD digi-pack (or how they call it: CD-digifile-triplepack). It features three (you got it!!!) full-length releases by the acts CONCISE, FLAQUE and X_DYNAMICS, while the globally concentration lays on the male/female duo CONCISE. With Soulfood they could also get a new and better distributor, so that my hopes are high for some more attention. Three different CD’s featuring very different music, I prefer therefor to separate them here.

CONCISE – Revive
Consisting of Katrin Segert (vocals) and Christian Graß (music, also active with the act HIGH WYCOMBE), this duo returns after their last year’s release "The Power Of Love", an EP featuring a cover version of the classic ballad originally composed by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. It should be mentioned that this EP in comparison to this new full-length release could only give a limited insight to the sound and ideas behind this project, the EP was therefor a bit too much influenced by the different guest artists which have created remix works. It’s definitively Synthpop music, yes, but with several influences taken out of IDM, Trip-Hop or Dn’B music. CONCISE manages hard to avoid any repetitive 80ies influences, it is rather concentrating to sound modern and to show different interpretations of Synthpop music. Not all song structures remain into the 4/4-on-the-floor formula, several times the tracks are unforeseeable arranged and break out of known convention. This stuff is intelligent arranged and needs some attention to pick up the whole content. It should be also mentioned that the music construction at times causes a kind of nervousness. It is hardly thinkable that the music would come to a smooth result, if there wouldn’t be the sedative vocal performance by Katrin Segert, which sorts the whole musically output a bit. This duo also received additional help by Lars Sembach, who provides here and there some acoustic Side Stick performances. Favorites I would like to name with "Innocent E-walk" for its rather "floating-along-known-paths" attitude, "Done", which features the completely range of Katrin’s vocal performance, and "Ojibway". Globally a different kind – I tend to say experimental kind of Synthpop music rather seldom heard before.

FLAQUE – Mindscapes
The name FLAQUE I’ve heard before only from CONCISE’s previously released "The Power Of Love" EP, on which this one-man act has provided a remix for this well-known track. This project consists of Florian Ziller and it is musically rather based into Ambient and Electronica music. He combines surreal and cold synth layers with environmental noises (for instance a thunderstorm on "Flares, or a driving train on the piano-driven "Stonehill"), experimental drum patterns and different digital sound manipulation. FLAQUE have found a niche with their unique sound and remind me strong to the latest works of the sorely missed US act GRIDLOCK, experimental tunes of haujobb. and/or OIL 10 come to mind, too. Take the opener "Alive" for instance; cold but somehow melodic synth layers, some background noises and minimal-experimental beats give a clever and unique opening track. "Acoma" features to me the best all mentioned attitudes in the sound landscapes of FLAQUE, while the definitively highlight has to be named with "Deceive" featuring the smooth vocals of Katrin Segert. Outstanding, I hope for several more cooperation efforts between CONCISE and FLAQUE. This act leaves an impressive kind of work and I could name several tracks more, but it all gives the best result if you’ll take some time, use a good pair of headphones and consume this album in one flow. Amazing, a release on its own instead of being hidden behind the omnipotent CONCISE CD would be well deserved!

X_DYNAMICS – Regular Loader Routine
My euphoria after checking out the FLAQUE album got a bit slowed down with the audio results of the one-man act X_DYNAMICS. This project plays a kind of instrumental Electronica, mostly straight and rhythmically arranged, taking several inspiration out of related music styles like Techno, Trance, or Trip-Hop. Definitively not EBM-inspired, some pieces remind me on works of Bill Leeb’s side-projects INTERMIX and/or later NOISE UNIT, also the BLC Productions recording act S.E.M.I; can be named as a reference. It’s a bit hard to categorize the complete influences of this artist, so no surprise that you’ll get some foreign instruments like a saxophone woven into this electronic music ("Jammin Denim"). Note also the cooperative track "Insensate Rmx", originally composed by CONCISE, on which Katrin Segert’s vocals got restranged with some vocoder effects. The used sounds and the kind of arrangements are on top and up-to-date, while I tend to rate it as a sonorous background music. A fine and detailed worked-out Electronica music which mixes several genres.

If you’re looking for a special release, which manages to break out through your usual Synthpop/Ambient/Electronica listening, you’ll need to pick up this item. Thumbs up also for the idea with the digi-package, the discreet art featuring showroom dummies, and for the addition of two extra and promising acts. Three CD’s on sale for a price of one should help you a lot to give some new and quality stuff a try.

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