Music Reviews



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Artist: STEFANO GIUST
Title: Linked
Format: CD
Label: Setola di Maiale (@)
Rated: *****
Like it or not together with Zu, Roy Paci, Stefano Giust is one of the most prolific extravagant-jazz (?)/306° musicians coming from Italy at the moment. This’ again an electronic release but a really atypical one above all for the creative procedure. All of the rhythms and loops have been played live on Yamaha keyboard and electronic pad and recorded via digital effect processor into a Yamaha recorder that means no computer has been involved neither in the performance nor in the recording. It's again a live recording but as I've wrote before, this guy is into every form of improvisation acoustic/analog/electric, and it obviously implies some tracks are more inspired than others but the whole record is good. Is also interesting how Giust's releases average length is around one hour, sometimes probably it weakens the global effect but I think it has to do with the fact he democratically votes for a "session" presented in its whole. "Changer" and "Plain" brings to mind some old electronic/analog releases on Warp, above all the most dub-influenced ones, there’re a couple of reasons, one is related to the instruments played but the other one to a common/heterogeneous background they share. I think if you're into 90ies electronic on Warp you should give it a listen.
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Artist: CAMOUFLAGE (@)
Title: Relocated
Format: CD
Label: Synthetic Symphony (@)
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
The name of this German Synthpop trio will always stay in a common line with their most recognized single hit like "The Great Commandment" or "Love Is A Shield". These are classics taken out of the 80ies, still alive and still often on airplay. Their biggest success indeed they could earn later on with better sales of their full length releases and sold-out concerts and tours. Also on "Relocated" this fine trio, luckily still consisting in their old formation of Heiko Maile, Marcus Meyn and Oliver Kreyssig, proves from the first to the last tone that they have nothing unlearnt. I would rather tend to say they moved towards to a highest possible status of quality regarding all important stages of production. The best point on this: it is still Synthpop in its classic form and meaning, there are only a few pieces tending into an Alternative/Rock/Pop outcome like "Confusion" or "Something Wrong" here. May also "We Are Lovers" and my favorite for the next SiCD release after the already announced "Motif Sky", "Passing By" can be easily filled into this, but to me personally these both tracks prove, that CAMOUFLAGE haven’t stopped to listen to the Basildon boys of DEPECHE MODE after "Violator". As I said, "Motif Sky" has received the vote to be released as a teaser in advance of this album – and I’m not sure if this was the right decision. I have found several more impressive tracks which also would do well as a teaser. Check back tracks the ballad-desque and slow "Real Thing", the real Synthpop pearl "The Pleasure Remains" or the long last piece "How Do You Feel?" featuring a special Gospel choir in the back. Well, you see already on this review, that there’s much more to discover on this 13 tracks here. For every Synthpop supporter a real must-have piece, CAMOUFLAGE are back and stronger than ever before!
This is a German trio musically based in the Rock/Pop/Alternative genre and with this release they definitively start their assault to enter high Media Control charts. If this will already happen with pre-released SiCD "What They Want" belongs – as usual – on the airplay of the song via radio and TV with an too expensive video (The MTV compatibility). I personally can not find anything interesting at this track, it’s nothing else than a simple Rock/Alternative song, luckily without any Metal-like headbanging syndrome. The promotional efforts are near to perfection I would say, it’s seldom that I’ve read a such a long list of responsible people for all parts like radio, TV, press and online promotion. Yeah, already the graphically art (done by www.18october.com) for this promotional CD and the packaging itself is worth to mention positively. This release has to have success and the management expects a lot. Already with the second piece on this full length here, "Alien Girl" the band proves that there’s also room for the electronic side of life. Some fine worked out synth bass lines made me already grab some interest. More impressive – because it keep almost all rocking elements out of the music – is the track "Cocaine", a real "foggy" Electro track. Yes, this band is able to create something special, something which can pick up people out of many different genres. If this will work and get the deserved recognition – the future will tell us. I of course prefer the more electronic-driven tracks and I tend to leave this review without any rating. With so many efforts and professionalism in the back the big success should be only one step away...
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Artist: HAERETICI 7074
Title: Haeretici, Sxhismatici, Excommunicati
Format: CD
Label: Some Place Else (@)
Rated: *****
I already knew the label by name but I'm actually new to Haeretici 7074, it should be a live recording but the sound is actually good and that's beyond doubt an official release. The only hint I've recognized on this release is the name of Niko Skorpio, I've seen he's put out several records (and he’s probably the label guy at Some Place Else) and his moniker is circulating from quite a while and it simultaneously bring me to the post-industrial panorama. Indeed this' an industrial release, dronic-dark ambient with a cold cut that probably gets hitched perfectly with the fact it has been recorded in Finland during the month of January. "Bythn et Silentium" starts slowly, it quietly increases till it overflows in the abundance of white noise of the second track which is more electronic oriented, they give more power to the cyclical loops till it all dies out. The last movement of this continuum (cause the whole recording has probably been made during a session without pauses) is more rhythmical and someway different from the rest of the cd but you definitely hear that's the same band. If you're into industrial music that's a good performance for sure: tight, cerebral but not anal as many other releases of the genre.
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Artist: Datafreq (@)
Title: Fun For The Whole Family
Format: CD
Label: Das Drehmoment (@)
Rated: *****
First CD for Das Drehmoment records after the release of six vinyls (four compilations, a MLP for Divider and an LP for Ich), FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY is the first Datafreq album. Hailing from Toronto, Canada and headed by a guy called Dave Rout, Datafreq isn't the project of a youngster in love with '80s synthetic sounds. Dave already worked with different musical projects since the mid '80s. You want to know the names? Here are some: Methods Of Danse, Technique Berlin and Rational Youth. FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY contains eleven songs deeply influenced by '80s synthpop, new wave and by arcade games. As you can see on the photos contained into the booklet, Dave used early '80s gear like Roland TR 606, Roland Juno 106, Korg MS 20, Clavia Nord Lead 2, etc. He also used along with a vocoder, those educational keyboards called Speak And Spell, creating a retro atmosphere that with the retro gaming visuals of the booklet creates a particolar atmosphere especially if in your teens you owned a Commodore computer or a Spectrum. Talking about the songs, Datafreq doesn't sound exactly like a synthpop band because even if on tracks "Just like 1981", "I desire" or on the instrumental "Circuitropolis" the influence of that genre is clear, on "Diskophonic" new wave and techno are the main references (and that is a really catchy track) while on "Silhouette city" I can hear echoes of the early John Foxx. Blending instrumentals, electro pop songs and new wave sythetic tracks Datafreq succeeded into creating a multifaceted album that convince for its freshness. Daring to experiment a little bit with genres without sticking the songwriting on synthpop and with the right dose of irony, Dave did the right thing and also Das Drehmoment showed its will to produce different kind of bands always being true to the electronic world. P.s. The CD contains also the nice "Arcade junkie" videoclip.
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