Music Reviews

Artist: Chris Liebing / Speedy J (@)
Title: Collabs 3000
Format: CD
Label: Novamute (@)
Rated: *****
It’s been quite a while since I’ve kept up with the techno scene. It’s changed a bit since I saw Orbital in concert 10 years ago. You’ve probably heard of these two, so you should know what to expect. If you haven’t, suffice it to say that these are two of the more high profile DJ/producers in the techno scene and have been for quite some time. Perhaps the most surprising thing about this disc is how stripped down it is. There is a lot of atmosphere on this disc and there is a lot of noise. After listening to it a few times, I have grown to really enjoy it. It starts off a bit noisy with "Lego," but becomes more dance friendly as we move into "Modish Ride." Triflon is distorted house beats with what sounds like distorted samples. Kind of fun in a cheesy sort of way. "Tunox" marks a shift in the disc and stands as one of the best tracks on the disc. Layers of distorted beats with layers of noise beneath. This is stuff that could be at home on the Ant-Zen label. People who like rhythmic noise should take note. As the disc progresses, the tracks become progressively more complex. Weighing in at 12:02, "Assault" is the longest track on the disc. It is also one that doesn’t fit with the others as well. The beats remain, but it is considerably more subdued than previous tracks. In a way, the track acts like the cool down period after what has just been an intense barrage of sound. This is far more atmospheric than the other tracks with a lot of depth and texture. I would have preferred this to be the closing track, but the last track, "Trikco Live" demonstrates what the it would sound like in the club. A lot more organ / synth than in the rest of the album and not quite as harsh, but still satisfying. Overall, if you like your techno more on the harsh side, this would be a good disc to pick up. One surprising aspect of this disc is how accessible it is. My wife, whose tastes tend toward the mundane and 80 brit pop liked this disc. I generally listen to noise and dark ambient and liked it. Pretty much everyone I’ve played it for has enjoyed it to some degree. This alone speaks well for the quality of the material.
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Artist: Ahab Rex (@)
Title: The Queen of Softcore
Format: CD EP
Label: Lens Records (@)
This really isn’t so much an EP as five versions of one track. Remix singles are a two edged sword. When they are good, they can be amazing, but when they aren’t so good, it becomes a bit monotonous. I had not heard of this project, but with Martin Atkins on drums, I figured it had to be good. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite fit what I was expecting. This song is a bit too poppy for my tastes - catchy, but not really that engaging. The remixes are of varying quality. The Ahab Rex Remix doesn’t do much to change the original and the Press Remix just makes it more of a dance track, taking out the vocals and adding cheesy synth. The Countdown Remix is a bit more interesting than the previous two, heavier and more stripped down. The Nookleptia Remix is the only one that really attempts to do anything with the original track, cutting it up, tweaking it, and distorting the source material. I went to the label’s site to see if Ahab Rex’s other stuff sounded like this track, but it didn’t. The other stuff was a lot more interesting and harsher. Maybe this is a new direction for this artist. If you want to hear the original version of the track, you can go to Ahab Rex’s MySpace site at If you like the original, you’ll like the remixes.
Artist: MachineSoldier (@)
Title: Unit One
Format: CD
Label: Idle Works (@)
Rated: *****
A new release for the Danish Idle Works label, after the strong debut of the Synthpop act FAKE THE ENVY. With MACHINESOLDIER they present also a different musically direction, this project shares the harder EBM-related side. Consisting of Jonas Gudjonsson, this Danish solo project concentrates musically on the ideas of veteran acts like NITZER EBB or FRONT 242 – of course transmitted and played with the technology of today. Some Danish country mates like GODHEADS come to my mind for a comparison – you just have to delete their guitar onslaught. Some other references to PARANOID or BIONIC (have only released one full-length CD on the long defunct German Off Beat label...) are sure allowed and thinkable. Almost each of the presented 8 tracks here can offer hard pounding bass lines, a solid kick and snare work combined with deep male shouted vocals. Dancefloor-action is programmed with the fast-paced track "MachineSoldier", "Hacker" and "Perfect Order", while "Holy" surprises with a guest vocal performance by Kristian Kroll of FAKE THE ENVY for the slower intro part, while this track turns then with a tempo change into a marvellous EBM smasher of the finest kind – the best piece here! This band tries hard to renew the old style of EBM with modern elements without falling into cliches – it is a massive and accurate output and I’m sure we haven’t heard for the last time of this promising act. Keep it on and punish your machine!
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Soundwave Assassins Vol. 3
Format: CD
Label: Dungeon-Recordings/Backscatter (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
Already the third compilation of this series which predecessors were mostly created for DJ’s, press people and promoters to introduce or to give a deeper insight into the musically activities of the Salt Lake City area. Dungeon-Recordings and Backscatter again collaborated for this release, which will - thanks to the musically content – make a special mark into the history books of Electro/Industrial music. Lets have a look to the featured names – SYMBIONT, LITTLE SAP DUNGEON, LEXINCRYPT, ROSES & EXILE and 23EXSTACY – all this bands have lately quit their business or are in hiatus. The best is yet to come – all of them presenting unreleased stuff, outtakes or their very last recordings. Besides the above mentioned some more well-sounding names are featured here like DIVERJE, PCP, ASSEPTIC ROOM and BOUNDLESS. Of course also these acts present never heard before mixes, tracks and fit therefore well with the intention of this compilation. I can’t find enough praising words of thanks to the both conductors, Kevin J. Cazier and XoN, to open the archives for the greedy ears of the fans hunting for unreleased stuff. After an instrumental intro tune the things start here with the Spanish act ASSEPTIC ROOM, which is signed to the DSBP label. You’ll got a Dark Electro and danceable tune "Faith Without You" in a remix provided by the Argentinian act SUICIDE SOLUTIONS, also an up and coming new act to follow immediately. Follows then Justin Cameron aka LEXINCRYPT who provides with "Purjuress (Face Two)" and "Aftermath (Gutter Slut Mix by L.S.D.)" two unreleased versions of tracks placed on his debut album era "My Sepulture" back in 2003. Tasteful Dark Electro with that special thrilling effect – as usual from this act and I hope that Justin will decide one fine day to continue with his project. Dungeon Recordings’ very own LITTLE SAP DUNGEON have to my surprise still a track in stock taken from their "Silent Entities" recording session. "Nightfall’s Prey" is a typical piece of this act, maybe a bit lesser scary produced than the other tracks placed on "Silent Entities" – this might be an explanation, why this track got removed lastly. DIVERJE are also present and provide us their track "I Walk Alone" originally available on the last studio album "The Distortion Chamber", a collaboration effort between Tommy T. Rapisardi together with the already mentioned Justin Cameron. This track got remixed by the BLC Productions-recording artist THE PAIN MACHINERY from Sweden, turning this piece into a pulsating Powernoise assault. It is lesser danceable, but filled instead with crunchy rhythm patterns of the hardest kind – as usually provided by this act. PERCEPTION CLEANSE PERCEPTION is musically maybe one of the most diverse acts around and Kevin J. Cazier shows us his dedication to the works of GODFLESH by providing a cover on the track "Blind", originally designed for a tribute compilation, which never came to realization. We then have here two new tracks by 23 EXTACY aka Chris Alvarado providing that typical and chaotic Punk-inspired Crossover-Industrial with harsh and destroying guitar performances. Kevin J. Cazier has lately left this project, so also this act is in hiatus. And also ROSES AND EXILE’s – Chris Alvarado’s solo effort - existence is questionable and we have to see what the future brings. Comes the last ever recorded and sorely missed SYMBIONT track "Five Of Cups", which is a rather slow Dark Electro piece with the strong and remarkable melodic input this act is known for. So finally XoN’s solo effort BOUNDLESS sets the last two pieces on this comp both designed for the BOUNDLESS debut release "Perpetual" back in 2003 – to me still one of the most underrated DSBP releases at all. You shouldn’t expect another track of the quality of "Sordid Trouper" or "Unconscious", but both pieces "Infinitus Assuage" and "Repression" nevertheless do well and fit with that album stuff. A lot of valuable stuff to discover as usual on this comp series – let’s hope and keep the fingers crossed that this collection of unreleased stuff doesn’t mark the very last chapter of these quality and promising acts. Check our website here to discover several reviews and interviews with these acts – LITTLE SAP DUNGEON, DIVERJE, SYMBIONT, ASSEPTIC ROOM, PCP, THE PAIN MACHINERY, LEXINCRYPT – they are all here. Keep the machines warm and start your comeback – we need you back on track!
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Title: Furrowed Brow
Format: CD
Label: ATP records (@)
Rated: *****
I'm glad my ears are still working after all of this good and bad records, I mean I was listening to Alexander Tucker and I was repeating to myself it remind me of Jackie O'Motherfucker and later I've found he has came out on Tom Greenwood’s U-Sound Archives label. "Furrowed Brow" differently from The Drones (the previous release on ATP) is more wrapped up in a folk dimension, I'd add weird folk, just not as freaky or out of time as Jackie O'. Acoustic guitar driven ballad with some acid arrangements of banjo, distorted guitars, harmonica, harmonium, piano and many other traditional instruments as you would expect from such a release. Mr. Tucker has an incredible writing skill just try his acid-folk gems I think they could blow away you mind of your elder freak brother as did with mine. There's a confidential, stoned mood diluted in this cocktail and it enriches this release, I also think it's quite easy to getting the right listening mood since it’s kinda immediate. American folk? Not just that anyhow, infact some tracks gave me the idea this guy liked some old Pink Floyd psych-ballads when he was young. I've read somebody thrown in Papa M to identify it but I think apart for those I mentioned before you could compare it to the last Current 93 or to some sort of Oldham on acid. Definitely catchy.
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