Music Reviews



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Artist: Technique Fabriquée Trop Tard (T.F.T.T.) (@)
Title: Un Oeil Autre Part
Format: CD
Label: Paranoise Records (@)
Rated: *****
This is a Belgian artist that I had not heard of before. And I have no idea what the name or album title translate out to. But what does it sound like? This is an album that sounds as if it were made in a junkyard. This is not to say that it is bad music – quite the contrary. But the sound source seems to consist mainly of metal that is struck or scratched. Other sources are not so easily recognizable. There are a lot of pulsing electronics that flutter over drones and the clanking of metal. The label describes this album as a "dark ritual ambient project from Belgium. Dreamlike sequences, spacey drones, rumbling noises and psychedelic tones to infiltrate the depths of your consciousness. Minimal half-rhythmic industrial spheres made with electronics and handmade sounds. Long repetitive patterns based on cold and metallic background." If, like me, you think of "dark ritual ambient" as something along the lines of Hybryds "The Ritual Must Be Kept Alive," you’re going to be disappointed. But the rest of it fits. The tracks blend well together to give the album a sense of coherence. Some of the tracks that stand out are Les Monstres and Les Forges Infernales. Les Monstres consists of steady pounding with pulsing electronics just beneath the surface. Plucked metal strings or wires intertwine with someone banging on metal. There is an odd sort of consistency in the randomness of this track that keeps it engaging. Les Forges Infernales brings in bells and drones but still maintains the noisiness with the clanging on metal that threads its way through this album. However, there are some places where the music begins to become tedious, such as Abscentation, which seemed to go on a bit too long without ever going anywhere. If noise is just too harsh but you want ambient that brings in more noisy elements, this is a good disc to take a chance on.
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Artist: Scott Solter (@)
Title: One River
Format: CD
Label: Tell-All Records (@)
Rated: *****
First, the comparisons. Solter’s work reminds me of Vidna Obmana ("River of Appearance") and some of Harold Budd’s more ethereal work. If you like these artists, you will probably like this album. This album seems to lack some of the structure of Obmana or Budd but this is not a bad thing. Instead, Solter strips the sound down to textures and drones, creating peaceful soundscapes with processed guitars and other sound sources (I could swear that in one track I heard one of those plastic tubes that you whip around to make a whistling kind of noise... .) This seems to be a significant departure from Solter’s previous album on Manifold Records, "The Brief Light," which Manifold describes as "a complex tribal/percussive-ambient trek into the heart of bright rainforest worlds and afro-alien rhythms, an endless list of primitive instruments and ephemeral human voices" (I haven’t heard this disc but the sample on their site corroborates well with this description). One River seems to perform the drone/ambient formula well. The songs intertwine and blend together and work well as a whole. Nothing too startling in the mix – this is nice ambience that provides an ideal background for reading or other activities. According to the promo material that came with the disc, the disc takes inspiration from the movement of water and "combines to form a continuous flowing piece, with titles that suggest a journey both through physical space, and through memory." This is a pretty accurate description. The music is the aural equivalent of watching a river. The water moves and shifts, but it is difficult to perceive any real change. The only real problem with this album is that it is a bit short. Weighing in at just over 35 minutes, the album is not quite long enough to sink into. Other than that, this is well worth checking out.
Artist: Enya
Title: Amarantine
Format: CD
Label: Reprise Records
Distributor: Amazon
Rated: *****
The beautiful Irish new-age ethereal songstress, Enya, is back with another extraordinary tranquility atmospheric album that is a follow-up from her 2000 release "Only If". Like all her previous releases, she will take you on a magical and mystical journey where love serenes, the birds flying and chirping , the sky is blue and the clouds moving so freely across the sky, the sun's shining so bright, the moon is full and the night is dark and cold, you can hear crickets and other insects noises close by and miles away, children laugh and play, taking a strode by the river and sea and listening to it sing, lovers embrace one another, the snow and rain falling from the sky, a moment of being sadden because of a lost love or saying a long goodbye to a dear friend who you may not see for awhile. So many times I've listened to this cd and laid in my bed listening to it and went to sleep like a child. I felt so calm and hynotized by Enya's beautiful trained vocals and harmonies. All 12 overwhelming emotional tracks are coaxed with the strength of happiness, sadness, loneliness, and lost. "Amarantine" is truly a passionate and compassionate dreamy and heart-warming album that shines and is polished majestically. Some music critics like Rolling Stone magazine criticized Enya for making the same type of music for years and a decade and not being challenged by doing something else different. Who cares what they think or say. Enya is the only recording artist who can sell 45 million records worldwide without touring. That my friends, shows you how well Enya can accomplish by winning hearts with her gifted voice what God gave her to use.Tracklistings:1. Less Than Pearl2. Amarantine3. It's In The Rain4. If I Could Be Where You Are5. The River Sings6. Long Long Journey7. Sumiregusa8. Someone Said Goodbye9. A Moment Lost10. Drifting11. Amid The Falling Snow12. Water Shows The Hidden Heart
Artist: G.O.T.H (@)
Title: G.O.T.H
Format: CD EP
Label: Goth Productions
Rated: *****
It seems like the state of Maryland is spawning more and more black goth acts. Let me introduce you a new artist called G.O.T.H, who is an expert in martial arts and likes Japanese/Chinese martial arts movies. He fuse hip-hop with gothic elements, which makes it very interesting. G.O.T.H is a gothic hip-hop or hip-hop goth christian project by Bobby Walker. So appealing, even the vocals are harsh with anger expressing from the bottom of the heart to the top of the lungs. The disc kicks off with "Out Of My Face", a very dark brooding track that's groundbreaking. The beat kicks ass with an industrial-gothic feel. The song is about telling the devil Satan to back off. The next track "Run" reminds me alot of bands like Diva Destruction, Love Is Colder Than Death, Wench, The Machine in the Garden, and Faith & The Muse. The track have a sample of a female singing in the background in an ethereal way. The tracks "Saved" and the instrumental "Sexy" leans more on the industrial edge that's in the like of Nine Inch Nails. The final 5th track "Fight (Heavy Metal Version)" is, of course, metal. The tension in the vocal really have that fierce and mad as hell attitude. G.O.T.H's ideas and music creativity in combining two different music genres actually worked out as planned. This guy is worth checking out.
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Artist: SYSTEM
Title: Sample and Hold
Format: CD
Label: Progress Productions (@)
Distributor: Border Music
Rated: *****
Another "retro" release to start a time trip back the late 70ties or early 80ties this time provided by the Swedish label Progress Productions. SYSTEM, so the simple name of this duo consisting of Herr A and Herr B, could already gather some attention in their homeland Sweden with releases on Lobotom Records and have gathered a strong fan base. They play a mixture of KRAFTWERKian ideals, sounds and vocoderized vocals ala "Video Killed The Radio Star" combined with modern kinds of electronic based music. Next to KRAFTWERK acts like TANGERINE DREAM or some WELLE:ERDBALL works would offer a nice reference. It is somewhat inspired by Synthpop and Minimal Electronic efforts, but still with a strong dedication the mentioned times. Somehow it seems to be typical that a release like this comes out of Sweden, who lately often surprises with releases of things and kinds which seemed to be already buried and hidden in the endless history of music. One problem I see on this release: the tracks often remain pretty well in their style and I’m missing a bit that "killing" melodic input to offer something remarkable. Nothing against the Synthpop pearls "Tonight" or "Your Creation", but finally the bomb doesn’t explode because SYSTEM can’t offer anything what could help them a bit to come out of a musically death valley. Nice stuff for the Pop/Wave elders, but nothing for the hardcore stuff lovers.
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