Music Reviews



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Artist: THE PSYCHEDELIC AVENGERS (@)
Title: The Psychedelic Avengers and the Decterian Blood Empire
Format: CD
Label: Fuenfundvierzig (@)
Rated: *****
Hello, you psycho-freak! Try to be straight and clear for a second and read carefully cause here we've something good for your next extra-sensorial experiences. The crew of this spaceship presented this double cd not as a compilation, but much more as a collaboration that joined different musicians or freaks heads coming from different countries like Japan, Greece, Sweden, UK, USA, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Finland therefore we may say that's an international freak allegiance. The release is very varied so much that if you don't read the linear notes coming with the press sheet it all looks like a compilation. One track is quite different from the other even if it's true there’s a psychedelic sensation that permeates the general image painted on the canvas, the cut of the whole project is probably uniformed so to empower the impression it has been manufactured by the same hand. For stupid it may sound to use categorization to separate the different tracks we have ambiental-space-drones, psych-rock-songs, psych-pop-tunes/ballads and psych-electronic-fragments on both of the cds. This double work is rich of echoes and I'm not just referring to space-echoes or echo pedals (that you have to take for granted in some of the tracks), but also about the fact there’s an abundance of influences coming from the Seventies. To say it all the music is deeply influenced by artists like Can, Amon Dull, Faust, This Heat, Popol Vuh, Kraftwerk, Sun Ra (one of the song has his "space is the place" sentence haunting the refrain) Pink Floyd and only god knows what else. "Your attention please!!"... Have you noticed that all of that great musicians I've just mentioned were or have been into the whole idea of space trips or have been considered "avant-garde" during their hey-days. Ok, sorry for the small digression, but I think it could help you to see this delirious project with the right eye, actually the whole idea/mixture has a strange taste if drunk as a whole cocktail. Obviously some tracks have much more appeal than the others, following my personal taste I've had the best trips while experiencing the psych-rock/psych-pop tunes like "As darkness spreads its evil wings", "A little gravitron tells its tale" or "The last space station". The second cd is a bit more rock oriented and homogeneous but absolutely complementary to the first one. Usually when dealing with revivalism I don't go mad for innovative ideas or anything like that, but sometimes this space crew has been really blessed by good taste. Recommended to those into psychedelic music or into the "Seventies", but worth of a check for anybody else into weird projects/records.
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Artist: RF (@)
Title: View of distant towns
Format: CD
Label: Plop
Rated: *****
Top class electronic poppiness manufactured by Plop records and hi-profile cd as you could have expected it to be. Right with the coming of spring here we go with a relaxing sun bath in a pool of melody, the word is "pop", yes, Ryan Francesconi revitalizes the refinement of "easy listening". Consider RF could break the hearts of those into Stereolab, Mogway, Giardini di Mirò or Notwist but with the usual good amount of electronics that's the trademark of the artists on this japanese label. Differently from the rest of the releases I've heard on Plop, Francesconi’s sound is much more "normal instruments" oriented (that's probably where it gets close to many "post rockers" like those I've mentioned: bass, guitars, male and female vocals painting it all ethereal, trumpet, effects and a lovely use of tremolos. Soft without being neither pathetic nor boring like many others selling their soul and their creativity just to sella couple of records more. Sometimes I had the impression I was listening Belle and Sebastian ("The boy with the arab strap" era) filtered and remixed and that's ok with me. The fact all is "dreamy" and ethereal has to do with the light drumming he programmed, I mean being electronic it's obvious it all gets also rhythmical but he does it in a really elegant and "mimetic" (?) way. In the beginning there was 4AD and now their nephews, even if RF is not so ethereal and new wave like many of the artist on that cult label. Approved by my girlfriend.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Recreation-X Display Disobey V2
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Urbcom Music (@)
Distributor: Nova Media
Rated: *****
Already active since 1996 (and so we also have to celebrate their 10th year anniversary, congrats...), this Anglo-Dutch label leaded by both J. Hookens of JERICO ONE and Dave Escott (AWAX) returns with a double full-length CD set presenting rarities and special mixes out of their label program. Lately they could also get a distribution deal with the German Nova Media, so now their work and power will be spread all over the European continent. A DCD indeed has a lot of space to fill, so no real wonder, that several acts are here present with more than one track. Several "guests" are included here, for example the Alfa Matrix recording artist NEBULA H, the well known harsh IDM artist SOMATIC RESPONSES, or the artists of the German Sonic-X label SKORBUT, ANTISTASIS and GLENN LOVE. Bands also co-operate here often for mutual projects, so also this is responsible for a wide musically diversity. The music itself presents all known formulas of modern electronic-based music, styles ranging from Electro, EBM, Industrial, Synth Pop, but also Breakcore, IDM or Trance elements. Favorites can be named with the only one and real EBM piece here, "In Zenith" done by SKORBUT, then the very well worked out experimental tracks by ALIEN SIX, a side-project by Geoff Pinckeny of the UK Synthpop legend THE NINE. Almost well and with a rich amount of diversity is featured by the works of J. Hookens’ own project JERICO ONE, with 6 (!!!) contributions on the top. There is a lot of nice stuff here to be checked out, please read also the very informative introducing words by Amanda Lear and the rich give track informations. A release to follow without hesitation and an impressive start for this label to reach a wider recognition.

DISC-1 [ DISPLAY ]

001: NEBULA-H FEAT PANGEA - andalusion +
002: JERICO ONE & AWAX - dcoy *
003: BIODRONE- c02 *
004: INTERCITY3 - windows [ club mix ] *
005: AWAX - statica [remix] *
006: ALIEN SIX - c sqared [edit] *
007: JERICO ONE> flashing light *
008: GLENN LOVE & T.H.INDUSTRY- iceland
009: KINHO- terminal *
010: ALIEN SIX & JERICO ONE>- stratastate
011: BIONIK PHUNK- supersonic +
012: INTERCITY3 city at night *
013: SEROTONIN- funkwall *
014: DEATHSTAR- mybodydrifting *
015: AWAX- lines *
016: JERICO ONE>- extol *

DISC-2 [DISOBEY]

001: AWAX- ion protocol *
002: DJ****- breakthrough *
003: ANTICRACY- uso derog [edit] *
004: SUDDEN INFANT- angelic agony
005: SOMATIC RESPONSES - omnivox [edit] *
006: SKORBUT- InZenith
007: DJ****- abberration *
008: JERICO ONE>- ulackra *
009: ANTISTASIS- TraumZeit
010: BIODRONE- pusher *
011: JERICO ONE>- bodyshock *
012: DJ****-metrophage plan B *
013: KYOSUKE TOKANAGA- extreamviolation
014: AWAX- know enmies *
015: BIODRONE- distrangled *
016: UNIFORM- day 6 in the season of mistakes *
017: BLACKPEPPER-thOughts

* Exclusive unreleased mixes or edited previously unavailable mixes / compositions
+ White label only or Dvd / promo-video transmissions
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Artist: DIVISION OF DEATH
Title: No Life Here...
Format: CD
Label: Nelly Record (@)
Rated: *****
Born in 2003, Division Of Death is a personal project of Kommander L. He recorded soon an album that he didn’t distribute and after a couple of years he started to prepare his new work titled NO LIFE HERE. The nine tracks of the album take inspiration from the early MZ 412 and from early industrial music. The main elements used for the forty two minutes of the CD are: distorted percussive sounds, modulated noises and simple synthetic lines. Containing few elements the effect created by the tracks is kinda alienating but for sure functional. Tracks like "The violent silence before the surgery" or "Relationships cut like veins" are distorted but at the same time melody always surface from the icy atmospheres. Try to imagine a raw version of early Die Form with the industrial element driven to the extreme and you’ll have an idea about how Division Of Death sound. Only the closing "No life here" is pure industrial desperation but the other ones sound more varied and with better intuitions.
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Artist: Kitaro
Title: Spiritual Garden
Format: CD
Label: Domo
Distributor: Columbia International
Rated: *****
As one of the leading representatives of the new age avantgarde music scene of Japan, 12 time nominee and Grammy Award, Golden Globe and Artist of Peace Award winning composer/musician Kitaro now takes us onto a new musical journey inspired by the Harupin-Ha Butoh Dance of Koichi Tamano. Kitaro's eclectic and multifaceted approach to composition delivers twelve tracks of unique genre-defying music that references back to sound palettess from avantgarde progressive and psychedelic music (Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, Can, Keith Jarret, Pink Floyd) as well as fusion (Pat Metheney, Lyle Mays) but arranges and incorporates them in a graceful classically-inspired fashion. The twelve tracks of "Spiritual Garden" travel from sci-fi-ish new age ambiances to slow classical piano pieces through orchestrated compositions of educated heritage and time-travelling synth pads, nature sounds (forest, birds) and occasional guitar sounds. Rhythmical elements throughout the record are few and far in between, but its sparse percussivness is cleverly augmented by the delivery of these tunes.All the songs on this record have been written, arranged and performed by Kitaro and his wife Keiko Takahashi (together for the first time on a Kitaro record) and occasionally feature acoustic guitar by Paul Pesco.Released by the Californian label Domo records this last February, "Spiritual Garden" is already #4 on iTunes, so if you happened to have listened to 2005's Kanpai records' "Reinterpretations (a remix album of timeless Kitaro songs)" CD, you owe it to yourself to discover the true original Kitaro world.
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