Music Reviews



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Artist: EMPLOSIA (@)
Title: Emplosia
Format: CD
Label: Q-Code Records (@)
Rated: *****
I don’t want to be offensive because I like Emplosia, but listening to a Russian female duo that plays electro pop it made me think about T.A.T.U. There’s nothing wrong about this but fortunately Emplosia aren’t sell out and their music is far more darker respect the one of the two fake lesbians. Anyway... Darja and Julia formed Emplosia back in 2000 and since then they only participated to several compilations as their self named album is their debut work. Since the first track "Tocka" the sound of the duo shows the right attitude by presenting cool melodies, a certain dancey upbeat rhythm plus an electro e.b.m. sound with synthpop attitude. The 13 tracks of the album (you can find also two good extra remixes of "Mhe Bbl" reworked by Babymax and by Inner Conflict) denote a good taste about melody a good production and the right balance between accessibility and quality. Do you remember Depeche Mode’s songs like "My secret garden" or "Leave in silence"? That perfect way of producing melodic songs with a certain dark attitude is present into Emplosia music and this is stunning! I only hope they will get the exposure they deserve!
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Artist: HĆRETICI 7074 (@)
Title: Heard Flayings
Format: CD EP
Label: Some Place Else (@)
Rated: *****
Recorded live at Club Depo in Riga, Latvia, HEARD FLAYINGS is the second release by Hæretici 7074, project formed by Niko Skorpio and Ovro. The 23 minutes concert develops into six different movements that will please the lovers of early Current 93 as the sound and the themes treated by the duo are really similar to releases like the LaShtal 12". The opening track "Israel and the broken bell" contains samples of Israel Regardie voice (he was one of the members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and he also wrote some books containing order’s documents). Also the closing "Vive oncle AL" basically contains the recordings of Aleister Crowley singing "Vive la France". The track originally was recorded (along different Enochian Calls) on a wax cylinder and a decade ago it has been releasing on vinyl and CD on various bootlegs. Anyway... The six tracks create a good ritualistic ambience with echoed sounds, manipulated sources and if you loved bands like early Current 93, Anti Group and Lustmord you’ll want to check this one!
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Artist: Vinterriket (@)
Title: Synthetischer Tonkunst 1996-2002
Format: CD
Label: Parasite Records
Rated: *****
On the surface, there doesn't seem like much to the somber synth dirge instrumentals presented here by this (presumably) German entity. But "Brise des Todes," the second track, begins to instill fond remembrance of Spleen-and-Ideal-era Dead Can Dance with its plodding drums and half-step, minor-chord progression. Granted, these songs apparently came to be realized over a period of several years, but none of Vinterriket's thirteen (of COURSE there are thirteen) songs really constitutes a centerpiece, and the inclusion of some kind of thematic unifier to tie this album together as a recorded work would have helped a great deal. Also, when we finally do hear a full rock drum pattern -- on "Das fahle Liehl," that 13th track, no less -- it's a drum machine. Yes, that is in keeping with how "programmed" the CD is supposed to be, but live drums would have really blown us away after our DCD/Laibachian rigor-mortis-fest. Yet it is listenable without being (too) soundtrackish -- mysterious enough and adequately cliché-free to be perfectly good, generic background music; think of a TV hospital drama played out in a haunted house.
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Artist: VV.AA
Title: Dark Sonus Compilation Vol. 1
Format: CD
Label: Glitch Mode Recordings
Rated: *****
For anyone looking for an entry-level introduction to the classic Industrial "sound" by newer bands -- without having to slog through the requisite war horses of the past -- this is where to start. The opener, v01d's "Revolutions" and track 7, Cyanotic's "Suspension of Disbelief," are both great, chugging and churning industrial/metal contributions. The third track, PTI's "iDentify," mixes a Download-style menace with Depeche Mode hummability in its hook-y chorus, a very winning blend. Deadliner's soundtrackish, instrumental epic "Aurelander," track 8, is just begging for some vocals to better set off its cinematic mood. The refrain to Dichotomy Incarnate's "Defiant Majesty" is awesome: "She's gonna straighten my spine and wrinkle my mind...." Anyone is hard-pressed (pun intended) to find much lyrical originality such as this, anymore. But the extraordinary twist about this compilation is that it actually has a centerpiece: the amazing track 5, "Seems to Be" by CEOXiME. Female vocals fronting a jazzy, swinging cabaret torch-song of sorts make for the most intriguing and infectious spot on the entire disc. If it sounds the slightest bit out of place, it merely goes to show how much new ground can be broken for Industrial/EBM/etc. if people will only look around.

This compliation is clearly dependent on its various Industrial/EBM genre-roots, yet shows an exceptionally broad range of imagination. If this is not the perfect way for a newbie to get acquainted with the Industrial beast, this is the closest you can come. Pick it up now, if you still can....
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Artist: FRANCISCO LÓPEZ
Title: Untitled (2005)
Format: CD
Label: Anoema
Rated: *****
As I have just written below, this is the second "Untitled (Year)" release coming out this year, this time on Finnish label Anoema. The four tracks range from 8 to 25 minutes, and are well, uhm... splendid. The opening "Untitled # 177" is based on Bangkok field recordings that I can't really recognize, but the abstract violence of the piece reminded me of the collaboration with John Duncan or the (in)organic reasearch of "Building [New York]". It's a stunning dark piece, but the best is yet to come. Track 2 and 4 are lengthy wild environment-based pieces (with recordings from the Amazon forest and Québec respectively) that instantly plunge you back in the mesmerizing soundscapes of "La Selva" or "Addy en el país de la fruta y los chunches". As layered and complex as only López can be, with an amazing amount of sonic details even in the most minimal passages. Last but not least, there's the "Untitled # 111 [for Jani Cristou]", commissioned and performed by the German ensemble Zeitkratzer. If you're familiar with their works (with interpretations of pieces by Duncan, Ikeda, Merzbow, etc.), you'll know that their strings and wind instruments don't sound like a normal ensemble at all - indeed, while having a power and a sound texture of its own, the piece in unmistakably 100% López. Guaranteed to be in my personal 2006 top-list, for what it's worth.
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