Music Reviews



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Artist: ITALCIMENTI
Title: Under Construction
Format: CD
Label: Hot Elephant Music
Rated: *****
It is always exciting when new electro bands show themselves, taking the 80's electro flag just to re-process the original sound giving to it a fresh reading of that synthetic sound. You can imagine how could be exciting when the precursors of the genre decide to release a new album full of cool sounds and ideas. In this case Alexander Robotnick and Ludus Pinsky (keyboard player of I Refuse It. Band who was active in the 80's with their particular hard core punk) decided to give their personal version of the modern electro clash showing us where everything is coming from. The eleven tracks of Italcimenti's UNDER CONSTRUCTION take inspiration from the italo disco sound mixing it with a good dose of humor (see titles like "Disco tamarro" where "tamarro" in Italian is a rough person which behave like a redneck). Rhythm and melody is the main thing and there's also some space for the re-interpretation of classic songs like "Bela Lugosi is dead" (while the original Bauhaus version was based on obscure ambience, Italcimenti makes of it a throbbing dance tune) or "Trigger happy" (if I'm not wrong this is a version of a Nitzer Ebb song and the duo is giving us an analog version of it). If you are tired of techno based only on looped rhythms and fashion I suggest you to check UNDER CONSTRUCTION. Enjoyment is assured!
Artist: COLD FLESH COLONY (@)
Title: Burial
Format: 10"
Label: Blade Records (@)
Rated: *****
After releasing "Sanatorium" back in 2003, Koen is back with his Cold Flesh Colony project, with a limited edition 10" (only 200 made) titled BURIAL. Released by the new Italian label, Blade, BURIAL contains eight tracks of total pain, where treated screaming and feedback is the main sound source. As you can imagine the effect of tension is really thick as well as the level of saturation is. The tracks haven't got proper titles and are called after their playlist order. Lyrics are buried within noise and layers of feedback. Unfortunately I can tell you what they are about of how the cover looks like because I've got this release only thank a cdr that Koen sent me, even if Blade promised me one. If you are into old 80's industrial and into stuff like Con-Dom you should dig this release as well.
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Artist: Any Questions? (@)
Title: Death (Special Edition)
Format: CD
Label: Floating Fish (@)
Rated: *****
Originally released with different cover artwork in 1996, this special edition re-issue of "Death" features the eight tracks from the first issue of this disc along with two new tracks recorded in 2004 and two live tracks from way back in 1991. All have been mastered/re-mastered by Brad Vance (who has also done work for Skinny Puppy, Hilt, and Download) at Red Mastering. The "Special Edition" is presented in an attractive, glossy digipak with gruesome artwork by Mike Bohatch (Eyes of Chaos) that suits its title.

Heavily distorted vocals rip through layers of heavily processed guitars, pummeling percussion, and squiggly synthesizer shrieks in "Bones Bent." Machines reign supreme in "Lousy Human," as AK-47 beats ride shotgun alongside blistering vocals and the tune closes with an ironically appropriate Schwarzenegger sample. Four on the floor beats from a retro-80s kit drive the pedal to the metal in "Presto (You’re Dead)," maniacal laughter ringing in the background. "Stasis Interrupted" is a two-minutes-hate interlude of digital dementia. Frequent sci-fi samples are littered throughout "Or I Die." "Even in Death" slows things down considerably, reminding me in equal measures of "Satellite" by Pigface, and "Carrion" by Project Pitchfork. "Dismembered" leaps quickly back into the fire, though, its vocals wafted upon a furious, bubbling cauldron of pounding drums, raging axes, and screeching electro-chickadees. "This Universe" is uncharacteristically laid back, a mantra-like sample declaring time and again "this universe is mine," as a creepy howl repeats over a disconnected drum beat. Where the earlier tracks are shorter on duration and longer on industrial-metal intensity, the newer ones are definitely more structured and disturbing in their own subtle ways. The vocals and samples on "War Broke (You Will Die)" and "Sonic Death Line" are much clearer than in most of the older songs. "Indust Shot" (Live) is a marathon instrumental of primitive eletro-percussion, and "Conformers Die" (Live) is similarly focused on electronic drum beats, and cut with Desert Storm samples for good measure.

The man vs. machine aesthetic is certain to remind listeners of bands such as Frontline Assembly, Numb, and Chemlab. Perhaps even the nightmarish, dystopian landscapes in the movie Hardware. Good stuff!
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anymore
Artist: SMACKOS (@)
Title: The Age Of Candy Candy
Format: CD
Label: Strange Life Records (@)
Distributor: Phear
Rated: *****
Even if you aren't an anime lover (the anime are the Japanese cartoons), probably you already heard of Candy Candy. The character has been created in the seventies by Kyoko Mizuki and Yumiko Igarashi. This is the plot: " Candy is a little orphan girl that grow up in the Great Lakes region of the United States at the beginning of the Twentieth century. The story tell us her life, her love for a rich boy called Anthony and then for an actor called Terence. Her involment in First World War, her joys and her sadnesses". Everything about that story was really sad and dramatic, so Danny Wolfers (the guy also active as Gladio, Klaus Weltman, Legowelt, Polarius, Raheem Hershel and Squadra Blanco) took the inspiration from that story to write a sort of dark electro commentary to it. The effect is really particular, because you could imagine that the mellowness of the anime has got nothing to do with electronic music and such. The fifteen tracks of THE AGE OF CANDY CANDY in any case, is a good release of weird electronic music. The sound is based on the wild analog generators of the Roland, Korg, Arp Odissey and Moog synthesizers. Most of the tracks haven't got a rhythmical line or a specific melody to follow but each of them succeed into creating the right ambience for the Candy Candy mishaps. The titles follow an ideal path that show the different moment of her life and of her misfortunes. The CD opens with "The age of Candy Candy" and follows with "The Countess visit the town", "Romantic smack", "Candy sells her body", "Forbidden world", "Journey through swamp", "Searching", "Codex calixtinus", "A new romance", "The hunting accident", "A defeatistic love", "The self sacrifice of Irena Karlstein", "Loneliest girl in the world", "Escape from captivity" just to arrive to the final "Look beyond the stars Candy". I'm sure that Danny put a lot of humor into this project but I assure you that he's damn serious when he plays his stuff so don't take this project as a joke. Try it!
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anymore
Artist: CELL FORCE ONE (@)
Title: Your Heart
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Dark Wings (@)
Rated: *****
Cell Force one is a duo coming from Germany formed by Jens van Meyer and Morten Aspen. Even if YOUR HEART is their four tracks first release, in 2003 the duo founded a producing company called "Team de la Cream" and they made of music their main activity. Deeply influenced by '80s electro pop (see their cover of The Twins song "The desert place") with this MCD Cell Force One produced a really good release. It is hard to judge a band from two original songs only ("Your heart" and "Before I die") but since the songs reach a good level of sound and a good balance of electro classic songwriting / modern production (with distorted elements and light e.b.m. influences) I can only be positively impressed. Let's wait for the album, but if my impressions are right we've got a good band that can be paragoned to the old good Covenant.
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