Music Reviews



Jun 01 2006
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Artist: SKOYZ (@)
Title: Hologram
Format: CD
Label: Cortex-Records (@)
Distributor: SXDistribution / DSBP
Rated: *****
This second full-length release of the both French Electro/Industrial musicians Stephane Ayas and Nicolas Ussel aka SKOYZ is a long-awaited one. It was entitled to be out on the Polish Black Flames label in summer 2005, but shortly before it got released, the label quitted its business. So SKOYZ had to look for a new label and after a while they got picked up by their fellowmen of Cortex-Records, the label which brought out the excellent NEON CAGE EXPERIMENT. It has taken a long time after the release of their promising debut "Decay" on the German Matrix Cube label, but to wait for this new one was worth it. A lot of stuff they’ve been produced and conceived as well, and so this CD really can be called a "full-length" with a playing time of about 73 minutes. 9 new track including the well placed compilation appearances "Dark Energy" and "Distress/Signal" are on here, plus you’ll get 6 remixes done and recreated by good names like the mentioned NEON CAGE EXPERIMENT, DESTROID, INTERLACE THE CRYSTALLINE EFFECT, POLYGON and SKOYZ themselves, offering a lighter version of one of the best tracks here, "Cold Colour". SKOYZ play a refreshing kind of Dark Electro with cold distorted vocals, thick arranged atmospheric synth layers and rotating bass lines, at times with some filter manipulations reminding on some Techno productions. This "Hologram" release got mastered by Mike Johnson in his renowned Mao-Music studios (AGONOIZE, INFEKKTION, VIRTUAL EMBRACE...), so the result is a well produced Electro/EBM album which is not like anything else. It features of course a lot of pieces which go straight forward to storm the floors of the dark clubs on this globe, although it avoids a curry favor of too often heard Hellektro releases. Rich and detailed programming work also give a total satisfying experience under some good headphones as well. SKOYZ are for sure next to the already mentioned NEON CAGE EXPERIMENT and some others like E.S.R. or TAMTRUM one of the leading acts playing hard Electro/EBM/Industrial music France has to offer and this "Hologram" is an excellent example of this from track 1 to track 15. What are you waiting for? Get it!!!
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Artist: MONOLITH (@)
Title: Talisman
Format: CD
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
There’s no need to introduce Eric van Wonteghem to the interested audience of Electro/Industrial music for sure, maybe I should mention that he is more active than ever before? Also with his main and classic EBM project INSEKT he just released a new CD at NTP/Dependent besides this already sixth studio album of his solo effort MONOLITH. With this project Eric always tested the audience with his more experimental side of music, mostly the music of MONOLITH is based in the genres between IDM, Electronica, Tribal up to some real Powernoise efforts. So also this new CD features a lot of stuff to break out through some genre boundaries. You’ll get a full dose of never heard before sounds, complex rhythm programmings and strange structures generally. It is definitively a piece taken from the intelligent side of music, although I miss maybe a bit a "composition" and the human touch behind this music integrated through some vocals. Some repeating voice samples in between do never replace a vocalist, so the music of this release has to speak for itself. Eric’s musically activity lately with harder acts like SONAR is best transmitted here through tracks like "Indigo" or the title track "Machinebreak", and I definitively prefer this side of him. The global album is well done and good produced, like usual, what has ever left Eric’s very own Prodam studio. Please note that also from this release – like on almost all Alfa Matrix releases – there’s existing a special packed set with a bonus disc in limited edition of 666 pieces for the die-hard fans.


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anymore
Artist: THELEMA (@)
Title: Burnt Memories
Format: CD
Label: Small Voices (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****
Thelema were and are a reality of the independent Italian music. I won’t talk about their past right now, because I’m preparing the follow up to my interview I did with Massimo back in 1985 so we’ll have the opportunity to talk about the various band’s incarnations and more. This record has been recorded by two members of the original 80s band line up, Massimo Mantovani and Giorgio Parmigiani. Their previous album has been released in 1997 and was produced by Pankow’s Paolo Favati. If the previous one had post punk tracks treated with industrial arrangements by Paolo, the new album BURNT MEMORIES finds the band renewing their style. BURNT MEMORIES didn’t born properly as a Thelema album because Giorgio prepared all the tracks and then asked to Massimo if he wanted to sing them. If you are used to the old post punk sound of the band, well, prepare yourself to something radically different. The twelve tracks of the CD (the double album contains four bonus tracks: a cover of Death In June’s "Heaven street", "Lost in my wonder", "Ballad of untold memories - radio edit mix" and "Ritual - Many moons ago mix by Muthant") are electro ballads with acoustic guitars (check also their cool version of Stranglers’ "European Female" where Thelema catch the original feelings reworking the song with their style). Even if sometimes the rhythm and the structure of the song are similar the beautiful melodies and the deep seducing vocals of Massimo (helped by Francesca Giuli on "Juice of life", who she co-written) help giving life to a good and convincing album. The tracks are written like for a concept album where the writing that you find inside the booklet (it talks about the life of an adept and about his different steps through the path of Magick until his death where he loose everything about his ego in the ocean of Aima) is the key that you have to read to understand the sensations and situations described into the lyrics. Thelema is setting up a band to tour, don’t miss them and visit their website to check some unreleased tracks.
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anymore
Artist: BOXCUTTER
Title: Oneiric
Format: CD
Label: Planet Mu (@)
Rated: *****

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Coming from Ireland, Boxcutter present his album titled ONEIRIC, a double 12"/CD (the CD has four bonus tracks) released by Mike Paradinas’ Planet Mu. Barry Lynn has chosen the right title for his album, because ONEIRIC is a blend of dub, i.d.m. and ambient where the reverb is the main effect used. The effect created is similar to certain isolationist records (some of the latest Scorn releases) but with the rhythmic attitude of break beat. Each track has a different flavour (for example see the jazzy "Mossy", the grime bass of the opening "Tauhid" or of "Hyloz" and the 60s soul r’n’b attitude of "Bad you do") and Boxcutter is able to switch through different genres with easiness giving to his first album a good balance for an hour of ambient danceable cuts where the bass is always pumping and the tension is always at the top!
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Artist: FIRST NATION (@)
Title: First Nation
Format: CD
Label: Paw Tracks (@)
Rated: *****

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Have you ever wondered to know how a cabaret version of Slits could sound? Well, now your chance to satisfy your curiosity has come. First Nation is a group of girls that were used to support The Animal Collective and now they have their chance to prove their talent and just by listening to the first three songs I can say that their distinctive tribal minimal style is really functional. Listen to "Monkey" for example and you’ll realize that the apparent shabby style could be an updated version of Virgin Prunes, where punk, folk and controlled chaos create a sort of friendly freak. "Swells" could sound as a new version of "Sweet Home Under White Clouds" only with the instruments out of control. I really appreciated their attitude and even if their sound is less devastating respect the Irish band I loved so much, First Nation in my opinion aren’t a hippy band of the new millennium. Maybe their way of dealing with music could make the audience think so but if creativity passes from here, then there could be only a word left to say... PEACE!
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