Music Reviews



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Artist: KUSH ARORA
Title: Bhang Ragga
Format: CD
Label: Kush Arora Productions
Ok, here's for a tough one to review, not because I dislike dub (which I actually like quite a bit), but because I lack terms of camparison and most of all, I really haven't made up my mind about this album yet. I dig some parts and would gladly do without others. For sure, this San Francisco's musician (here at his second full-length) has a personal approach to dub music, mixing raggae/dancehall styles with electronics and a heavy slab of Indian (Punjabi) music - with a list of guest musicians playing live tabla, dhol and dholak, santoor, flute, etc. More guests offer vocal duties, which is where my main problem lies - I find it really hard to get into N4SA's style, for example, though it could well be a perfect raggae performer. I just don't get into it at all. But the instrumental side is quite interesting throughout, with a sort of Bill Laswell/On U-styled approach and that heavy dose of Eastern sounds. Not my favourite style of dub-cum-electronica, but someone more competent than me could find this a masterpiece.
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Artist: Obfusc (@)
Title: Internal Countryside
Format: CD
Label: Boltfish recordings
Rated: *****

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I dig this. It's a Brooklyn-based IDM/electronic/ambient artist with a lot of good ideas and talent. It's on British record label which has a good and clear vision of how to achieve cinematic atmospheric music and how to showcase it to the world (very neat and well designed website, low-cost but creative promotional press-release design, beautiful and modern record covers).Think of "Internal Countryside" as beat-driven ambient flirting with harmonious idm. Nice overlapping of cozy relaxing sound bits with smooth glitch down-tempo soft-tronica. Smart programming, heavily influenced by the whole Brit thing (the "other" brit thing, that is). If you like the warm, organic, digitized sounds of Warp and of some of their best selling ambient artists, as well as artists rosters of labels such as Toytronic or Expanding, this CD will feel right at home on your shelf.The album includes four remixes by Cheju, Mint, Ova Looven and Milieu as well as a video clip by Jason Banker.
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Artist: TEMPLE OF TWILIGHT (@)
Title: On Your Knees
Format: CD EP
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Formed in Dortmund three years ago Temple Of Twilight is a goth band that tried and succeed into avoiding the goth cliché thanks to the warm and personal voice of Andy and thanks to their particular goth metal formula. If you want an example check "Away", the fifth and closing track of their second E.P. titled ON YOUR KNEES, it is a rock ballad that has also a moment where it turns into a seventies catchy track (if you know the Persuaders series main theme, you can understand what I mean). Another good example of their eclectic approach is the second title "All the believers": it blends goth metal with a semi techno e.b.m. synth and it has also a couple of changes that make of it a cool track. The opening "On your knees" sounds like a classic goth metal track while "Through the rain" is a pure rock ballad that prepares the audience for "Graveyard", another good goth tune. Don't make you stop by the unappealing cover and if you are a curious guy, Temple Of Twilight sound has something to say...
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Artist: TECHNO SQUIRRELS (@)
Title: Om Mani
Format: CD EP
Label: Rave Police (@)
Rated: *****
After releasing the last year their debut E.P. Lisa and Ryan continued working on their music developing it in a sort of trance pop techno. The new single OM MANI contains two new tracks "Om mani" and "My shrimplike beat". The first one, as indicated by the title (coming from the mantra "Om mani padme hum"), insert obviously Indian sitar sounds and a trance rhythm. Lisa vocal is like a gently loop that repeat the mantra constantly (adding some verses here and there). Also the melody follow the same scheme and the repetition of two of three patterns meet the sitar sounds that come and go. The second track is more influenced by trance and acid house and it sounds less pop. Here Lisa vocals are surrounded by layers of synths and ambient pads and the upbeat rhythm make of it a track more dancefloor oriented. The remaining three tracks are remixes of the main title. Rene Patrique version is more techno house oriented, he removed most of the vocals concentrating the attention of the main melody and on the pumping rhymth. Mount Oliphant worked more on the techno front adding also ethnic sounds making a particular version excessive but also with some delicate sounds (acoustic guitars, sitars, etc). The last version is the Robert Jax vs. Techno Squirrel version and it removes all the ethnic references but the voice, focusing the sound on a pure house techno sound really functional. As for the first single the Techno Squirrels prove themselves good at making pop dance tunes that work well also on clubs. If German style is too aggressive for you and you love remixed versions of Madonna's songs, try this one.
Artist: Modern English
Title: Mesh & Lace
Format: CD
Label: 4 AD
Distributor: Amazon
Rated: *****
Modern English was very well known back in the 80's by being a new wave band with their number one chart buster hit "Melt With You", which is still being played on the radio stations and being used in television commercials such as Ritz Crackers. Their second album "After The Snow", which the single appeared on was a successful seller that took their music career off the ground. before the band went through transformation by being a pop band, they was once Goth & Punk and very heavily influence by Bauhaus, including Joy Division and The Sex Pistols. Their first 1981 release "Mesh & Lace", which is now digitally remastered and feature bonus tracks tells it all. Before Bauhaus, Dead Can Dance, The Cocteau Twins, Clan of Xymox, The Pixies, Throwing Muses, X-mal Deutschland and many others who was signed on the label by Ivo who started the company, Modern English was the very first band to be signed on the 4AD label. "Mesh & Lace" is a dark gloomy album that shows off being deep mentally disturb, angry, frustration, sadness, and depression. All 15 tracks on the cd is worth a listen. Whoever thought Modern English making dark moody music? The Children of the 80's and Goths will be certainly get a big surprise once they hear this classic release. The album feature the singles "Swans On Glass", "Gathering Dust", "16 Days", "Smiles & Laughter", and the self-titled "Mesh & Lace". You can hear the Bauhaus influence with a combination of scratched guitars, industrial noise, and film samples in their music, but also their signature sound as well, which you can hear in their 1983 release "After The Snow". This first release is brilliant and impressive and delivers a strong emotional intense COLD and DARK moody side. The cd cover a bizarre shocking that is characterised by ethereal imagery and surreal visual shocks; a masturbating fish. This is an import and was only released in England. But you can check your local record stores or order it off Amazon.com or from the 4AD label. A classic collection item to have for Modern English, New Wave/80's and Gothic fans.Tracklistings:1. Gathering Dust (4AD 15A)2. 16 Days3. Just A Thought4. Move In Light5. Grief6. The Token Man7. A Viable Commercial8. Black Houses9. Dance Of Devotion (A Love Song)10. Smiles And Laughter (AD 110)11. Mesh And Lace (AD 110)12. Tranquility (AD 15B)13. Home (BAD 11)14. Swans On Glass (AD 6A)15. Incident (AD 6B)
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