Music Reviews



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Artist: Ariel Kalma
Title: Osmose
Format: CD
Label: Beta-lactam Ring Records (@)
Distributor: Massive Music
Rated: *****
Hailing from the realm of Tangerine Dream is this pleasant collection of original synth music paired with nature sounds, from French ambient pioneer Ariel Kalma. In 1977, the year of its original release, the recording was sophisticated enough in both concept and execution not to be at all your typical space-trip. The music on each track is blended with rain forest sounds from Borneo brought back to Paris by composer/recordist Richard Tinti and layered in tastefully, if not artfully. On certain of the tracks different instruments are featured, such as soprano saxophone (track number one, "Saxo Planetariel"); harmonium (number three, "Planet-Air"); flute (played modally through "Forest' Ballad"); and guitar and organ (the also-remarkably-titled "Orguitar Soir"). Kalma himself claims to have employed a "circular breathing" technique whilst recording his wind instruments, a physiological twin to the classic technique of tape-looping, which is also featured in spades. The overall effect is eerily terrestrial and space-age at the same time. This can take you back to a blissful, pre-digital era just before the 1980s -- when the Yamaha DX7 took over all synthesized sound, and the terms "New Age" and "Rain Forest" came to mean phony crystal magic and overblown, insincere environmental causes. (And by the way, don't let that soprano sax scare you away -- this is a safe distance from Kenny G territory, so indulge yourself without worry.)
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Artist: THE-PULSAR (@)
Title: Re-Awakening
Format: CD EP
Label: Advoxya Records (@)
Distributor: Poponaut
Rated: *****
Sooner than expected the Russian trio of THE-PULSAR returns with a new remix EP (please check out the current interview with them here on our site...), comparable conceptually somehow with their label mates of CYCLONE B, who also just released their great "Demolished" EP. The biggest difference can be found in the list of the "who is who" – the acts which have created remixes. While CYCLONE B have chosen mostly internationally known acts, THE-PULSAR against to this have concentrated to offer some unknown names mostly hailing from the national borders of Russia and Hungary. I have never heard of acts like ID MOLOTOV, SANGUIS IN NOCTE, REPUS TUTO MATOS, [T.3.R], [R_000] PROJECT or SPIN PROVIDER, but after this listening experience I have no doubt, that we'll be soon invaded by a quality new Eastern wave of Electro/Industrial. This wave will start soon, because the label Advoxya Records just announced the signing of another Russian act called WAVEFALL, which will soon release a debut CD on this promising label. On this "Re-Awakening" EP they united with THE-PULSAR to create a new version of one of the best THE-PULSAR track, "Father". Also a name always worth to remember is the Russian trio of ALTERA FORMA. This trio offers here a remix on "Leaving Underground" and I must admit that I have seldom heard before such an effective way to use a vocoder on given vocals. Excellent programming abilities turn this track into a nice Futurepop cut, it is only a pity that this marvelous piece got faded out to the end. SANGUIS IN NOCTE is definitively the next name I still have to check out later on, they did some remarkable remix work on both "Leaving Underground" and "Resistance". Also here on both remixes I am surprised by the additional programming work of this act – I tend to say that this remixes can hit the originals. Two new tracks of THE-PULSAR can also discovered here, "Myself" as the opener (which also receives a quality remix work by [T.3.R.], and "Last Pray" as the final track of this amazing 12-track EP, which also would work well as a full length CD. Both tracks show a good development from their earlier stuff and also a special sense for some unconventionally structures, like rich presented in "Myself". The Hungarian label mates of THE-PULSAR, SCHYZZO.COM are also present and - as usual - they add the distortion factor to the track "Resistance" and give this piece a trashy club feeling. This is a nice trip to some unknown but damned talented efforts and THE-PULSAR did choose some excellent acts for some remix contributions on their stuff, from which we in the Western oriented world still have to hear from. I’m sure we will hear – sooner maybe then someone can think of...

Jun 27 2006
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Artist: IMPLANT (@)
Title: Fading Away
Format: CD EP
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
A new output of Belgium’s most dedicated studio wizard, Len Lemeire, and his known IMPLANT moniker. Released to be an EP, but 12 tracks close to what can be called a full-length album. As usual, Len’s music is still hard ton categorize. He’s one of the very few talented musicians who is able to handle with lot of diverse styles ranging between EBM, Electro, Dark Techno, up to Trance and Electro-Clash. This release is another fine proof of his unbroken talent. His high prolific work is known also internationally, and some known scene acts have made some valuable contributions, like the female Dark Pop/Wave icon Anne Clark, who gave her known voice for three tracks here. We have also big names like LEAETHER STRIP (offers a remix on "Was It Always This Way", added his own voice to the track and produced in this way a nice duet with Anne Clark...), ZOMBIE GIRL (a remix for the title track, plus a special vocal appearance of front girl Renee C.-Komor...), the sorely missed US legend CUT.RATE.BOX (a remix for "Murderous Thoughts", hopefully the time in hiatus for this acts ands now...), NOISUF-X (a "piano-versus-distortion" remix of the track "Your World", also featuring Anne Clark...), UNTER NULL (guest vocals on "You Push Me", plus there’s also a rough remix by C-DRONE DEFECT of this track on here...), NEGATIVE FORMAT (a typical remix on "Murderous Thoughts"), MILLIMETRIC and AUTO-AUTO (both created remixes for "Fading Away"). So get a full scale of modern Electro/Industrial music which should be able to satisfy all tastes. A lot of stuff to pick up, no filling stuff available here, this release will rotate often in your player, get it!
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Artist: FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY (@)
Title: Artificial Soldier
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Distributor: SPV
Rated: *****
FRONT LINE are back, now mutated to a four-men super act. Bill Leeb could add next to Rhys Fulber his other partner in crime, Chris Petersen, and the new band member Jeremy Inkel. The info sheet promised a lot regarding the quality and that "FLA will pass all expectations". Well, to say it in short, this "Artificial Soldier" can not at all be called that outstanding, it is more a mixture of already known elements and earlier presented styles in the long time career. Think about a combination of "Hard Wired" and "Epitaph" flavored with some D ’n’ B elements and you may got an idea how it is. That also means, that the more melodious coarse presented with "Civilization" has found a sudden end, the new stuff is more energetic and harder constructed. This is maybe for one or another fan a good new info, but I miss some of their typical fat synth layers on this new album generally – their bombastic melodic input on "Artificial Soldier" is more reduced, but with respect to a few exceptions. So it took a while until found completely entrance to this album. The opener "Unleashed" is one of the best tracks here, featuring all the mentioned elements with Bill’s typical vocals well set in – like it or not, a lot of people see in the sound of Bill’s vocals the one and only weak point at FLA generally – I would say that they are a trademark which deserve respect and attention. Also well done is the second piece "Low Life", on which I like the experiments on Bill’s vocals for the refrain. "Beneath The Rubble" features a remarkable melodic content which grabs my attention, while I have my problems with the four following pieces "Dissension", "Buried Alive", "Dopamine" and "Social Enemy". Too much of the mentioned D n’ B elements are mostly causing hectic here, FLA can never fill in their own signature – in short it means you hear the tracks once, you hear them twice – then you forget them. We have then here two tracks featuring guest appearances for the vocals, Jean-Luc De Meyer of FRONT 242 ("Future Fail") and Eskil Simonsson of COVENANT ("The Storm"). While both compositions will also not reach the hall of fame for FLA, the vocal input of J.-L. De Meyer can totally satisfy and features the known and beloved intensity, the input of Eskil Simonsson against to this seems misplaced. His voice may works well on Futurepop productions, but here it bores. Finally we have the best track of this album, "Humanity (World War Three)". Call me a bit old-fashioned, but – isn’t it conspicuous how similar it sounds to "Infra Red Combat"? Yes, that’s the piece that saves my day (and also this CD...). Add to this a hidden track afterwards, an experimental instrumental cut. As for a generally result, well – the surprise lays somewhere in between. I for myself was pretty much impressed with "Civilization" and it’s lighter but also darker mood, no wonder also that I tend to say "never" to call this album as outstanding. But I am sure that FLA will score with "Artificial Soldier" especially in the USA thanks to the more presented guitars and up-to-date styles. And – the most important point – it is FLA – and so still a quality product generally.
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anymore
Artist: (etre) (@)
Title: A post fordist parade in the strike of events
Format: CD
Label: Baskaru (@)
Rated: *****
Hey, there're two remarkable points concerning Baskaru catalogue so far: one is the fact at the moment the label seems to be a kind of italian colony, but second and most important, the high quality of their releases is surprising. I was amazed by Ent but with Urkuma and (etre) I'm unquestionably convinced the label is one of the most interesting european electronic oriented one. Coming down to (etre), the "freeglitch" word in the net address and the beginning of the cd could be a good suggestion "glitch" is one of this musician’s favourite weapons, but he's been able to work differently from the average pointless glitchy release. In "A post fordist..." glitches are nothing but a platform from where to leave to get somewhere/nowhere, cyclical structures quite often get violently stopped or are subjected to a gradual transformation, the juxtaposition of glitches and psychedelic (?) influences helps to digest what otherwise could result obsessive. Yes, as you can guess the most of the tracks have a definite rhythmical cut, but (etre) added melody (he's italian for God’ sake!!). Great production, good taste and some intense tracks (Considering the hypnosis of the stone, When you cry for the first time on this heart) after some private and net release that's a confirmation for those who believe it in his qualities.
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