Music Reviews



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Artist: TERESA 11 (@)
Title: Smoky Heaven
Format: CD
Label: Eibon Records (@)
Rated: *****
Teresa 11 is a Japanese band formed in 2003 which recently signed for Eibon Records. Their first full lenght release is titled SMOKY HEAVEN and it features ten tracks. The people involved into this project are also active with Cross vred, Roco + Rie, Lambdoll, Freeman and LSD Engineering. The peculiarity of Teresa 11 is the use of harp along with progressive improvisations and dub solutions. Creativity is a main point into the composition of the tracks and it isn't a surprise to find also European melodies (like on "Tell me" where the bass, the accordion and the passionate vocals give birth to a strange Spanish version of Portishead), Asian atmospheres ("Into the indian rhythm - impro"), western movies soundtracks mixed with dub and electronics ("The end of smoky days"), jazz (like on the closing "Don't explain" where the harp and the voice create a passionate song), etc. It is always a surprise when you are going to listen an album released by a Japanese band because they blend all the influences in a particular way but this time it has been a pleasantly surprise because Teresa 11 sound particular like the early Portishead but they do it following their peculiar idea of sound, made of "chansons" influenced by dub, ambient, progressive music and improvisation.
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Artist: COVENANT
Title: Skyshaper
Format: CD
Label: Synthetic Symphony/Metropolis
Distributor: Metropolis Records
Rated: *****

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We at the Chain D.L.K. are proud and thankfully to get the possibility to review this release much earlier until it will be released officially. Of course, the release of the already 6th full-length CD of this Swedish Electro act will be a dominant theme in all scene-related print and press media and the official release is currently set to the 6th of March for Germany and a bit later for Europe. I don’t have an official release date for North America, but I ma sure that this piece also again available through Metropolis-Records right in time. 10 new tracks here and it starts with now released first single release "Ritual Noise", a danceable and linear Futurepop piece with some cool vocoder effects on the vocals for the refrain; it sounds a bit KRAFTWERKian. The track "Happy Man" is rather slow and the synth lines reminding me on some old C64-based sounds and the overall mood turns back into the good old Eighties. Another favorite for a next single release could be the track "The Men", another remarkable track in a typical COVENANT-style which convinces through melodic vocals. Both, "Sweet And Salty" and "Greater Than The Sun", then prove, that the band does not fall in any conformity to offer only mainstream stuff for high chart positions. The bass lines on both are sounding more dirty than before, also the vocals spread a darker mood. Comes then maybe one of the best tracks which COVENANT have ever written: 20 Hz. A strong melody, clear vocals, danceable and still with the special note of some experimentation which only COVENANT can produce – the worth of recognition is rich given with this track. Comes finally the slow and depressive last track "The World Is Growing Loud" with some outstanding synth layers. The best result out of this new CD is the fact, that COVENANT still remain COVENANT. They avoid it to use guitars for example to get a wider mainstream-influenced audience. Fans of the band will dig this plus they’ll add a remarkable new chapter of their successful story.

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Artist: SLIDING ELEMENTS
Title: Destination: Fear
Format: CD
Label: ProNoize (@)
Distributor: Broken Silence
Rated: *****
Another new signing for the growing Harsh Noise label ProNoize out of the Dark Dimension group, this time a project by the multi-talented Patrick Stevens from Belgium. Yes, Patrick Stevens, also the man behind known projects like DAS SCHRECKENSGESPENST, HYPNOSKULL, SONAR and, and, and. He also had a first solo effort called SONA EACT out on the ProNoize label and could release three full-length CD’s under this moniker. While I mostly thought that SONA EACT was too repetitive, things do change with SLIDING ELEMENTS. Patrick’s work here, to lay multiple rhythm patterns taken out of different and very diverse music styles, has something special and it turns this project away from the often used expectation to get just another Powernoise release which is impossible to separate from comparable releases. This project is also open for co-operations and so we find here some contributions by SCREAMBOY or ELEKTROSCHEISSE, both mostly offering vocals. Patrick also integrates the influences of his own HYPNOSKULL project into the track "Clash It Up!" with the result that this track is surely one of the harshest pieces here. Other favorites I could find in "Biest", "Bombenanschläge" and the title track. This release is filled with some strange acoustic surprises here and there and it reminds me somehow a bit on the latest works of a band like H.I.V.+. For fans of Patrick’s work, as well as for fans of the label, this is a must-have release, but it can also satisfy some open-minded friends of styles like Electro, Techno or Trance.
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Artist: JOZEF VAN WISSEM
Title: Objects in mirror are closer than they appear
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Bvhaast (@)
Distributor: Toondist
Rated: *****
The list of instruments includes lute, field recordings and electronics (lute is the dominant one), it may appear explicit but it doesn't say everything. With a cover like that, the obvious conclusion is this cd could be filed under classical/traditional music, sure, Jozef Van Wissem talks about classical studies in the booklet, but that's a reactualization of classical music and it's also full of grace. These "palindrome" pieces (which sounds the same played forwards and backwards) sometimes are really severe but every once in a while are twisted and their medieval (?) root becomes almost "contemporary-solo-performing". I imagine all of you are left wondering what the hell is this: "contemporary-solo-performing"...mmm...I'd say with that "self-made neologism" I just wanted to classify all that performers like Ikue Mori, Zeena Parkins, Augusto Parra, Fred Frith (just to name a few) that in some of their solo records have a learned style to which this musician is pretty close. Van Wissem's music has this strong classical accent but is also brilliantly mixed with an odd/abstract feel. Despite the obvious differences these litanies can be compared to those of Amber Asylum (except for songs of "sex and death") if it was not for the fact they have a different line up and they also sound darker. The title betrays a use of field recordings and electronics that by the way is really light, notwithstanding that "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear" is fresh and incredibly inspired. If the guys at Neurot recorings could have the chance to give a listen to this cd, I'm sure Van Wissem would appear in the guest musicians of the next Neorosis or Von Till/Kelly's solo. I suggest this record to many kind of listeners, including those with a strong goth taste, but it could be an interesting experience for many kind of music lovers. Recommended.
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Artist: MATTIA COLETTI (@)
Title: Zeno
Format: CD
Label: Wallace (@)
Rated: *****
Shangai surprise!! Here comes the debut solo of Mattia Coletti from Sedia fame, I've never been so much into that band even thought they're a good combo, but this solo album is completely different and above all damn good. To avoid any misunderstanding consider, differently from his mother band band, "Zeno" is an acoustic record borne out of psych-folk/weird-folk, the most of the song are guitar driven and this cd features outer space ballads coming from the seventies, neo-freaksters keep reading!. While playing this psychedelic-melodies many names came to my mind, basically: Red Krayola, John Fahey, Syd Barret, Devendra Banhart and obviously his mentor, mr. Marc Boland (no glam trip please, it's just for some vocal parts). I was also tented to mention Nick Drake, but Coletti is not so easy listening even if his music is relaxing. I think the fusion of every single musician I've mentioned gives the proper picture of the resulting whole, but for the youngster reading Chain dlk let's say this could recall Tim Kinsella during his weird acoustic trips relative to Joan of Arc. An high quality recording helps the songwriting to reach its full potential and some interesting arrangements define each particular of this album. Acoustic, freak and relaxing, good work.
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