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Artist: FEAR FALLS BURNING
Title: He spoke in dead tongues
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Projekt/Ikon
Rated: *****
Fear Falls Burning is a new creature of Belgian musician Dirk Serries', whose long running activity in the areas of ambient and industrial as vidnaObmana surely needs no introduction. His new alias is still a drone-based project, but this time using electric guitars and a bunch of analogue effect pedals as the main sources - "vintage guitar drones" is indeed the laconic self description he offers. "He spoke in dead tongues" is quite a massive debut (recently followed by a self-released tour cd) - two discs, both over 70 minutes, which would be a suicidal choice if Serries didn't know how to grasp the listener's attention even with deliberately monotonous and often lengthy tracks. While occasional doom chords (disc 1, track 2) unavoidably remind of Sunn 00))), the rest of the two cds is made of lighter, intimistic guitar ambient, quite close to a more physical and stripped down version of Growing or Stars of the Lid - a "communicative" sound which surely does good to the emotional impact of the work. Don't expect much layering or variations: every piece basically revolves around a looped sound, be it a guitar chord or a more abstract and ethereal drone (disc 2, track 2). This deliberate reductionism, especially if associated to the mammoth length of the two cds, represents both the charm and the potential weakness of "He spoke in dead tongues", but as for me, the former definitely outweighs the latter. The current result is quite an exquisite listening experience; but I venture that, with a more daring composition and a synthesis of all the inputs offered here, Serries could give birth to an even more memorable work.
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Artist: MOLJEBKA PVLSE
Title: Irdlirvirisissong
Format: CD
Label: Mystery Sea
Rated: *****
A solo project of Sweden's Mathias Josefson, Moljebka Pvlse has a remarkable series of releases on cult labels like Cold Meat Industries, Eibon, Segerhuva or Fin de Siècle, not to mention his own Isoramara. Every cd of his I've listened to is slightly or notably different from the other, but always maintaining a heartfelt and passionate approach to minimalism which makes it unique. This limited release on beloved Mystery Sea is a lengthy 65-minute track which flows smoothly from one atmosphere to the other, eventually sounding like a perfect synthesis of Josefson's darker pulses (as in "Sadalmelik" or in some live performances) and the more melodic and less claustrophobic pieces on "The leaves of their songs". While shades are still present overhead (just listen from minute 40 onwards), it's clear that Moljebka's ambient doesn't belong to the same niche as, say, Lustmord's or Raison d'Etre's, being rather close to the suspended soundscapes of Monos, Mirror, Andrew Chalk or even Eno's "On land".
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Artist: CRIA CUERVOS (@)
Title: des tempes qui se vitrifient ou se marbrent
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Taalem (@)
Rated: *****
Lately I was talking with a friend about 3" discs and about the fact that's probably the most appropriate format for some genres. Be it the 3" dimension or the incredibly improved sound quality of the release, but Cria Cuervos has become a top notch "isolationist". Here you have a soft mechanical drones in slow motion that keep increasing for almost ten minutes. The sound grows slowly like a cancer, the atmosphere is cold as steel, and is as lysergic as an acid pill. This short "cold trip" stops its slow march all of a sudden and the listener is left with no ground to walk upon, after this violent interruption the suite starts again with a low echo from nowhere. With the second "movimento" an odd drumming awakes like a mammoth back from the ice age. After having reviewed several releases composed by this italian musician I have the impression he keep on spending the most of his days into a freezer cause if you ask me: "cold" would be the adjective I'd use to label his music. Cria Cuervos not unlike Lustmord has a soundtrack mood that could go really well with images, that's why is hard to deny this 3" was probably meant to be a one way ticket for visionary people. The comment is: "Severe music for heavy falls".
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Artist: TO AVOID (@)
Title: Voyage Into The Past
Format: CD
Label: Promo-Select / Dark Wings (@)
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
With the debut of this German duo, the now defunct Dark Wings label releases in collaboration with the new Promo-Select label its last output. So this will save the distribution through SPV, but for more future releases the label Promo-Select has to take a look for further partners and options. This "Voyage Into The Past" is indeed a well chosen title for this debut, because most sounds of the bands and the overall mood of this release has the feel of Dark Electro/EBM of some past days up to 10 – 15 years ago. The patterns of M.A.R.C. (vocals) and grandT (keys, synths) are self announced with big names like yelworC, FLA or LEAETHER STRIP. These are bands which are still active, but they had their most successful times back in the early 90ties. TO AVOID for sure do not play in the same league like their famous patterns for sure, but I see and hear it as a good point that this band tries to avoid (ha, what a nice limerick) the currently overrated Hellektro genre. It is not the newest water in use to cook the TO AVOID soup, but I appreciate their effort to try out something new. This is music based on classic, if not veteran styled anthems, lets say, a bit old-school like. The track "Cyberworld" is maybe the most one comparable to some current styles, but luckily without that stupid "onz-onz-onz-onz" Tekkno rhythms. "Hypocrisy" and "Deep" do surprise with some well worked out special effects and a strong composition. Although the possibilities of the band seem to be limited here and there, there’s nevertheless a strong potential behind this band. A fine debut which needs 3 - 4 more rotations than usual. Worth to check out – there is no reason to avoid TO AVOID!
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Artist: STURM CAFÉ (@)
Title: So seelisch, so schön
Format: CD
Label: Progress Productions (@)
Distributor: Border Music
Rated: *****
A huge portion of humor is required to bear the consumption of this debut CD from this Swedish duo. Jonatan Löfstedt and Gustav Jansson will surely not enter any high positions of a "best releases in 2005" contest, but they have for sure created the most funniest release for this year. The music of this two guys is mainly minimal Neo-Body music in a comparable style with old NITZER EBB or ORANGE SECTOR. As a further form of inspiration can be seen the early 80’s "Neue Deutsche Welle" movement, comparable with some minimal acts like FEHLFARBEN or DAF. About the fun – well, they’re "singing" in German – but with an scary accent and with grammatically mistakes close to the edge of asking a bit much. Their abilities in German are surely not designed to be printed in a textbook. And also musically there is nothing outstanding besides the endless 16tel bass sequences like we have heard it often enough from the mentioned patterns. I miss also a bit more effort to a more rough EBM-like sound like they have well done here with the track "Stiefelfabrik", maybe somehow in a direction towards to their countrymen of SPETSNAZ. It is fun and enjoying to listen to 2 – 3 tracks at times, to consume a whole album is for my personal preference a bit too strenuous. I am sure that this release will be discussed controversy – anyhow, also this is a kind of promotion for this band...
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