Music Reviews



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Artist: Pressure Control
Title: Vamp
Format: CD
Label: Daft Records (@)
Rated: *****
As industrial music marches on into its third decade so do many of its important figures. One of those figures Gin Devo formerly of Vomito Negro continues his efforts with the release of Pressure Control’s "Vamp." "Vamp" is an anthemic, and clearly Belgian industrial music that finds its inspiration from bands like Throbbing Gristle or the Klinik. Its pulsating rhythms and digital programming keep the body interested while its harsh vocals and array of white noises entertain the mind. Written much like an electronic pop recording in the sense that these are song structures, the difference here is in the style. Gin Devo and his collaborators Manie Grace and Jericho have a sensitivity to each other that is rarely found. The nine tracks are all apocalyptic warnings of the gothic nature and are quite catchy. The best two being the tracks are "Vamp" and "C.O.D." and you’ll find yourself singing along to them. There is a lot of bad Industrial/EBM Cds out there right now and this is not one of them. Highly recommended.
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Artist: White Trash Firecrackers (@)
Title: Awkward Music for Awkward Situations
Format: CD
Label: Heads Up Productions
Rated: *****
The genre of experimental sound art has long been a tradition reaching back to the early 1980’s collective known as the Los Angeles Free Music Society (LAFMS). Artists such as Neef or Bruce Licher’s Project 197 were experimenting with this format in its infancy. Inspired by free form improvisation work akin to those artists the White Trash Firecrackers set for an interesting debut. Unlike their predecessors they use an array of electronics, tape manipulations, and sampling to create compositions that range from clever noodling to the beautiful accidents of juxtaposition.
There are no politics here, no clever melodies you can hum and certainly no pretension. If anything the White Trash Firecrackers are bit on the raw side. Their sound art is confrontational and brave. It is industrial in nature but not industrial music. The soundscapes are dissonant at times and humorous at others, and certainly not for the squeamish.



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anymore
Artist: MERZBOW
Title: Sha Mo 3000
Format: CD
Label: Essence
Rated: *****
I haven't listened to much of Merzbow's digital production, and this cd made me regret that quite a bit. Coming in a gorgeous matte-cardboard gatefold sleeve (with Akita's ongoing obsession for chickens, here in a wildly psychedelic mood), "Sha Mo 3000", played with ma-computer, guitar and EMS synthesizer, is much more diverse and tasty than I expected. The noise element is crisp, and while I'm not a fan of laptop-generated noise, there is enough care here to keep it intense throughout. But what makes "Sha Mo 3000" particularly interesting is the attention to structure and flow. Save for the initial short burst of "Suzunami", all tracks are lengthy (above the 10/15 minutes mark) and quite elaborated. Akita is always minimal in choosing his sources (often just one looped sample), but at the same time very careful with variations and details, so that the sound doesn't stagnate - which is quite fundamental in a good noise (and ambient and...) release. The title track, with its drum samples creating a heavily rhythmic backbone for the screeching feedbacks, and the fuzzy guitar of "Hen's teeth", have a flamboyant rock feel which sounds like a respectful, if perverted, tribute to '70's space music and psychedelia. "Ghost hide your eyes" and "Dreaming k-dog", on the other hand, are full of subtle and disquieting atmospheres - electroacoustic/concrete music drenched in an acid bath? Of course, there is probably enough sheer violence to make this worthwhile for a noise freak, but, unlike many ultra-noise releases, this definitely begs for repeated listens.
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anymore
Artist: OPION SOMNIUM
Title: As they fly into darkness...
Format: 7"
Label: Drone Records
Rated: *****
A one man project from New Mexico, with a few vinyls and cdrs under his belt, Opion Somnium is the author of an impressive single (violet-speckled vinyl, hand-embossed and stenciled covers), my favourite one in the new batch from Drone. Constantly dealing with bird imagery (hence the titles) and the themes of eternity and death, Opion Somnium uses "voice, cello, violin, bowed guitar, saw, organ" to create two solemn and painfully beautiful pieces. Not much of the original instruments is recognizable, as if dissolving in the spacious reverb of some sacred place. Truly trascendental and spiritual music.
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Artist: STABAT MORS
Title: Ich bin so wild nach deinem Erdbeermund
Format: 7"
Label: Drone Records
Rated: *****
Hailing from Bremen, Stabat Mors is a noise collective who has released, among others, a cdr on MSBR's label. This ep on Drone (coming on red vinyl, with handpainted covers) is, well, not exactly what you'd expect from Drone - possibly its noisiest 7" this far? Dedicated to the mighty actor Klaus Kinski, "Ich bin..." features two quite similar pieces ("Die Frau des Direktors" and "Krepiert"), played with sampler, accordeon, feedback, metals and a (kind of reciting) female voice. But what you'll mostly hear is feedback and pedal-like distortion - not in a full harsh-noise way, as the execution is rather sparse (as in a live improvised session), but still pretty gnarly. Very minimal and primitive, but quite interesting - just confusing if compared with the rest of Drone's discography.
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