Music Reviews



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Artist: Joseph Murray
Title: The Starlight Suite
Format: CD + DVD
Rated: *****
"The Starlight Suite" is a suite of 10 tracks of cinematic lounge-inspired new age-ish electronic music that exists both in the format of a CD and a DVD, within the same slim-design dual-disc DVD-sized-case packaged release. Basically the CD and the DVD contain the same tracks, but the DVD features a video clip for every track (plus some very minor additional bonus material, such as a rather sparse photo gallery). The clips range from mediocre to interesting but do not stand out for excellence or originality. Except for the first clip (shooting a girl who preps herself a cup of tea), the other nine visual chapters are basically computer graphics inspired by the eighties' wave of fractal design video art (which by the way, as minor as this inconvenience is, aren't even divided by chapters, so that you can eventually only skip to the 9th by going back to the main menu and clicking on that 9th song - but you can't skip the first eight by hitting your "next" button eight times). Although some of them are rather nice, I can't fail to notice that it really is not that much different than listening to your CD on a Windows Media player with the visualization feature turned on (or whatever that is called - I am on Mac so I can't remember). I don't mean to be sarcastic or to diminuish the efforts that I am sure went into this project, but in todays market for DVD's and considering the average quality of some of these releases, I think one would except better than just a couple of entrancing and spiraling fractal visual candies to go with some Martini music (or at least, those like me who do expect more can't be blamed in my opinion). I am sorry, maybe I am missing something, but it seems to me that this is an excercise in style and although the the sonic and visual elements are of high quality (the audio for one thing is Dolby Digital 2.0/5.1) the sum of all parts does not excel.
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Artist: HYPE
Title: Desperately Yours
Format: CD
Label: Progress Productions (@)
Distributor: Border Music
Rated: *****
The Swedish label grows constantly and surprises the listeners with a well sought-out quality and surprising releases done by almost unknown newcomer acts. Also HYPE is a new act hailing from Swedish scene, but we surely cannot talk at all about greenhorns. Behind this project stands among others Robert Enforsen for the lead vocals and this guy made himself a good name in the Nineties with his band ELEGANT MACHINERY. And this explanation should already help you to find out his new musically field – no surprise – you’ll get Synthpop, mainly inspired from its kind and mood out the Pop/Wave era of the 80ies. The used technology of course is a new one but what counts is the mood. So this is definitively the stuff which makes the dreams of a glorious return of the past Energy/October days become somehow reality. On the danceable side we have own compositions which hit the target like "Modern Impact" or "Your Kind", while my personal favorite "Live And Learn" comes with astonishing played Synth lines and a finer melodic part. And for one track I see dancefloor actions by all genre friends, no matter if it will include Synthpop-, Batcave-, Minimal- or Electro-freaks, I’m talking on the cover version of the TRANS-X classic "Living On Video". Finally a cover not composed originally by DEPECHE MODE, that’s nice. Although regarding the fact that HYPE do not really surprise with something to be called "new", I am convinced with their efforts here. A must for Synthpop genre fans!
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Pandora's Box, Invasion And Friends 2k6
Format: CD
Label: Invasion Wreck Chords (@)
Rated: *****
A couple of years ago on the "Invasion and friends" serie compilations you could find mostly unknown bands and, most of the times, bands coming from the same Ambassador 21 area. With the years and with the different European tours made by the band the friends have increased and you can check it out by reading the tracklist of this new compilation. On PANDORA’S BOX, INVASION AND FRIENDS 2K6 most of the bands are already signed to a record label: see Dive, Synascape, Converter, Mimetic and Iszoloscope that collaborated for a track titled "Heard Voices", P.A.L. or Projecto Mirage, to name few. As you can notice most of the band are under contract with Ant Zen, label that is taking care of the distribution of the Invasion Wreck Chords releases. Anyway, if on the early volumes of the serie industrial distortion was the way to go, this time the seventeen bands try to explore every dark corner of melodic distortion mixed with rhythm hysteria. The wildness and the rage are now under the wise control of people that during their years of activity reached a good balance between philosophy and action. The sign that something has changed find the confirmation into the fact that the last name of the tracklist is Dalek, a band of electro hip hop (their track seems a My Bloody Valentine track with rappers). Something changed and this is good because music needs fresh ideas!

01. DIVE - Insanity [live at Razzmatazz 3 - Barcelona 12.04.03]
02. SYNAPSCAPE - White Trash [2005 edit]
03. AMBASSADOR21 vs. FRAGMENT KING - The Ballet Of Bullets
04. CONVERTER - Be Broken [unbreakable rmx by NERVE FILTER]
05. SUICIDE INSIDE - Angel
06. MIMETICISZOLOSCOPE - Heard Voices
07. CTRLer - Nuclear Device
08. RASPUTEEN - Auf Der Flucht
09. P.A.L - Overlap [slow strokes mix]
10. KLANGSTABIL - Wir Sind Ganz Zusammen [live in Leipzig]
11. ROGER ROTOR - Drown Delay [live in Morbio Inferiore'05]
12. MONOID - Credit
13. PROYECTO MIRAGE over BUBBLE GUM - Energy
14. SHORAI - U R My Self Destruction Button
15. NOT HALF - Become A Being Of Light
16. NTT - Defeatist
17. DALEK - Ever Somber
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Artist: The Silence Kit (@)
Title: In Regulated Measure
Format: CD
Label: Azteca Records (@)
Rated: *****
This 7 track CD by The Silence Kit certainly sounds familiar even upon the first listening. Yet, it is completely something new at the same time. It's like when you hear something familiar but you can't quite put your finger on why it sounds as familiar as it does. Careful listening will reveal varied aspects of influences from bands like Joy Division, The Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen, and maybe even a bit of The Swans. There is still something I cannot quite put my mental finger on, but this is something that will appeal to anyone moved by the barer forms of Gothic rock from the early punk ages. There is something raw and disturbing yet very beautifully revealing within the chords and rhythms of The Silence Kit. Patrick McCay, founder, lead guitarist, and keyboardist for the band, has definitely tapped into the emotional isolation portrayed by the early forms of his genre. However, he has updated the sound a bit with modern electronics but no so much that you would lose the raw, earthy tonality of the DYI rock band sound.
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Artist: THE PSYCHEDELIC AVENGERS (@)
Title: The Psychedelic Avengers and the Decterian Blood Empire
Format: CD
Label: Fuenfundvierzig (@)
Rated: *****
Hello, you psycho-freak! Try to be straight and clear for a second and read carefully cause here we've something good for your next extra-sensorial experiences. The crew of this spaceship presented this double cd not as a compilation, but much more as a collaboration that joined different musicians or freaks heads coming from different countries like Japan, Greece, Sweden, UK, USA, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Finland therefore we may say that's an international freak allegiance. The release is very varied so much that if you don't read the linear notes coming with the press sheet it all looks like a compilation. One track is quite different from the other even if it's true there’s a psychedelic sensation that permeates the general image painted on the canvas, the cut of the whole project is probably uniformed so to empower the impression it has been manufactured by the same hand. For stupid it may sound to use categorization to separate the different tracks we have ambiental-space-drones, psych-rock-songs, psych-pop-tunes/ballads and psych-electronic-fragments on both of the cds. This double work is rich of echoes and I'm not just referring to space-echoes or echo pedals (that you have to take for granted in some of the tracks), but also about the fact there’s an abundance of influences coming from the Seventies. To say it all the music is deeply influenced by artists like Can, Amon Dull, Faust, This Heat, Popol Vuh, Kraftwerk, Sun Ra (one of the song has his "space is the place" sentence haunting the refrain) Pink Floyd and only god knows what else. "Your attention please!!"... Have you noticed that all of that great musicians I've just mentioned were or have been into the whole idea of space trips or have been considered "avant-garde" during their hey-days. Ok, sorry for the small digression, but I think it could help you to see this delirious project with the right eye, actually the whole idea/mixture has a strange taste if drunk as a whole cocktail. Obviously some tracks have much more appeal than the others, following my personal taste I've had the best trips while experiencing the psych-rock/psych-pop tunes like "As darkness spreads its evil wings", "A little gravitron tells its tale" or "The last space station". The second cd is a bit more rock oriented and homogeneous but absolutely complementary to the first one. Usually when dealing with revivalism I don't go mad for innovative ideas or anything like that, but sometimes this space crew has been really blessed by good taste. Recommended to those into psychedelic music or into the "Seventies", but worth of a check for anybody else into weird projects/records.
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