Music Reviews



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Artist: MIND:STATE (@)
Title: bbbc2x
Format: CD EP
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
First EP release for this Swedish newcomer signed to the Belgium Alfa-Matrix label group. MIND:STATE is the solo project of Per Holmström and he provides us his version of danceable Electro/Industrial music – as expected after some compilation appearances – pretty much along the same formula which made acts like ASSEMBLAGE 23 that big and appreciated. Also in the kind how Per provides his good sounding male vocals here allows for sure to take those comparisons. Recorded and produced under the magically hands of Len Lemeire (IMPLANT), 4 new tracks are featured on this EP, and the most catchiest track "Close Your Eyes" gets my vote for being the best tune here. Also 4 remix works are featured here, which don’t leave you unimpressed. Great to see and hear the US cult act CUT.RATE.BOX back in front of the scene offering here the finest remix works on the track "Black Angel". Thumbs up also for both works of STATE OF THE UNION and IMPLANT, while the remix of AURAL VAMPIRE moves far away from the original. This one provides minimal 303-like bass lines – interesting work, but it tends to burden the melodic content of the original. Catchy arranged lighter Electro music for sure without any loss of quality, but Per has to take the reproach not to work out a sound which the audience hasn’t discovered before. An own signature and authentic style is still missed, also after this four tracks. Nevertheless it’s a good appetizer for the first full-length album "Decayed, Rebuilt" which doesn’t shrink the expectations.
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Artist: NEIKKA RPM (@)
Title: Rise Of The 13th Serpent
Format: CD
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
New full-length release for this New York-based female-leaded act. The charismatic Dominique tries to solve the riddle of the 13th Serpent here and acts with their vocals contributions between whispering and gasping like the serpent conjurer. Somehow her kind to place her voice between her most danceable produced songs has become a kind of trademark, it gives the tracks a very mysterious and icy feeling. Musically the whole disc is influenced by Dominique’s own style combining danceable Electro with IDM and Electro-Clash. Think of a straight-forward producing Len Lemeire of IMPLANT – this could be a possible comparison of the music. Other influences can be taken out of the guest vocal performances of some well-known scene acts and people. Claus Larsen (LEAETHER STRIP), Claus Kruse (PLASTIC NOISE EXPERIENCE), DJ Rexx Arcana (BRUDERSCHAFT, FGFC820), J3 (à;GRUMH...) and the already mentioned IMPLANT-mastermind Len Lemeire are featured here and offer quality performances – especially the raging Claus Larsen on "Sacrifice (Sever The Delusion)" earns a special vote! Another favorite is Dominiques’s very own performed track "Spread Myself / My Sex On You" – not for her (hot) performance, moreover for the excellent ripping bass line arrangements. This is a straight produced and very club-oriented quality Electro album, which has ist own identity thanks to the mysterious edge Dominique brings in here. Good stuff.
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Artist: CLIENT
Title: Lights Go Out
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Out Of Line (@)
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
The signing of the relatively known female-leaded act CLIENT to the German Out Of Line label is for sure a strike of a genius. Without doubt, after the not expected success with AND ONE here comes the next smash hit guaranty and it shouldn’t wonder the scene any longer that some structures of the Out Of Line labels tend to work and act like a Major label. Time will tell, if they really can reach this status, but with some fine Pop art releases like this CLIENT SiCD featuring the title track and the fantastic b-side "Northern Soul" in their original versions, I lately don’t have any doubts on this. Much more dedicated to storm the international sales Charts like the mentioned AND ONE, plus the produced video to satisfy the all-time MTV/VIVA youth generation. No longer worries from my side that the given further three remix works can’t follow in any way and kind the quality of the bands’ own compositions (very courageous to let the old-school EBM duo SPETSNAZ providing a remix on this Pop/Alternative tune...).German Media Control Charts, here we go now, good luck for this exposure!
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: City2city
Format: DVD
Label: Lowave
Rated: *****
It's the second dvd I happen to review from this Paris based dvd/visual label (does it make any sense?) and it's the second time I'm impressed by the high quality of the products they put out (just give a check to their full-catalogue). The first time it was the dvd project involving Yoshishiro Hanno and that's absolutely a must if you're both into electronic music (Hanno isn't absolutely an "average Joe" in electronica) and visuals. This time the project is quite simple: ten artists from nine different towns all of them working on urban subjects. According to the premises the project should have been quite similar to that pressed by the good canadian label Coconsoliciti, but this dvd is much more focussed on films than music. At last it's also true this and other works on the same label have been realized with the collaboration of CNC that's the french national centre of Cinema and you can guess it all has been meant under a most definite visual perspective. The works featured on this dvd belong to different periods but I'd say that to some degrees we can also say there's a common thread that joins most of the short film. Here’s the point, aren't we living in a global society that to some extent is what tells you more about the fact this world is flat but round at the same time?. As said, every single effort here featured is well boxed up and highly structured as you expect it to be, but at last this material is the kind of exhibit you can find at Centre Pompidou where it belongs. "Art and the city" is better than "sex and the city"?!...probably this dvd offers many interesting views of the same anthill, but isn’t that how we look like if seen from the perspective of a skyscraper?...nothing but little ants?.
Artist: Tears For Fears
Title: The Very Best Of
Format: CD
Label: Mercury (Island)
Rated: *****
I'll never forget the very first time I heard of Tears For Fears is when I saw their video "Change" on MTV. Then later, their video "Pale Shelter". Both off their first 1983 release "The Hurting". TFF will always be remembered for their writing of psychological explorations dealing with emotional feeling songs. Major label Mercury released a cd compilation of all their greatest single hits from 1982-1992. Like most bands from the 80's, they used synthesizers and a drum machine that had that cold and eerie feel. Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, who both met at the age of 13 came from unhappy homes. The addition to their troubled adolescence, they shared a love of music. In 1985, the English duo released their best selling record that invaded America's Billboard charts and radio stations "Songs From The Big Chair", which sold over ten million copies worldwide. Their climbing top number one singles "Everybody Wants To Rule The World", "Shout", and who can forget that video they shot in the library for the song "Head Over Heels" became a money making commercial huge success. 1989 rolled around, they released their third album titled "The Seeds Of Love" that feature the singles "Sowing The Seeds" that have a Beatles feel and "Woman In Chains", a duet with R&B singer Oleta Adams, who Roland discovered at a club in Kansas City performing and was a struggling artist who was trying to make it in the music industry. "Advice For The Young At Heart" became the third single which shows off Curt Smith's best vocal talent. Curt left the band following the world tour. Then later released a solo album. Roland carried on as solo with the group's name and released "Elemental" in 1993 that feature "Break It Down Again" and "Goodnight Song". Both tracks lyrically deals with the break up of Roland and Curt. TFF also appeared on a Hollywood movie soundtrack "Threesome" featuring the song "New Star".

Other non-album and singles that was release are included on disc are "Mother's Talk (US Remix" and "The Way You Are". "Suffer The Children" which also appears on "The Hurting" album is the fourth track on disc along with the well known dark single "Mad World" that reached number 3 on the UK charts, which starts the disc off as being the first track. The album "The Hurting" is known to have gothic elements. The single "Mad World" have that cold and darkening synth feel. "Laid So Low" was the only original release as a single in 1992 on the very first BEST OF TEARS FOR FEARS album. The final single "I Believe (A Soulful Re-Recording)" is a jazzy tune.

2000 was the year that Roland and Curt got back together again as a band duo who now have the same musical vision. They may have had a bitter sweet musical divorce and haven't spoken to each other in a decade, but the two manage to sought out their problems and move on forward together as they originally were in the past. The duo now have a new release called "Everybody Loves A Happy Ending". Their first two early releases "The Hurting" and "Songs From The Big Chair" will always be a memorable time classic. Otherwise, this collection of their 80's and early 90's singles are the enduring of their best years.


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