Music Reviews



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Artist: PINKNRUBY (@)
Title: Garden
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Rated: *****
Three years have passed from the previous Pinknruby album titled "The vast astonishment". In the meanwhile Pinknruby worked hard to record their new one, GARDEN. Since the first listening the most evident thing is the increased Brazilian influence on the duo's music (just listen to "Zanamajo" or "Jakdo"). Half of the tracks of the new album show South American influences but as usual there are also Eastern Europen influences (the opening "Broceliande", "White lady mirror" or "Kislica"). As far as I can hear the acustic solutions took an hold on the electronic arrangements and the result is even more rarefied respect what I remember of the old album. This isn't a bad thing but you've got to calm down and you have to try to give yourself to the music. Only then you'll appreciate Pinknruby. If you loved the Cocteau Twins influenced stuff, you'll find "Zeleno" with its soft echoing and the acustic arpeggios. On the CDrom section of the CD there's also a video track you can enjoy.
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Artist: Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
Title: The Proposition (original soundtrack)
Format: CD
Label: Mute
Rated: *****

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Chain D.L.K. is proud to present to our faithful readers the latest release by Nick Cave (with Bad Seeds member and The Dirty Three front-man Warren Ellis), to be released on Mute February 21st: "The Proposition" is the original soundtrack to the movie of the same name, accepted into 2006 Sundance Film Festival; and what is so special about the movie and the soundtrack is that they were BOTH written by Nick Cave himself. Cave is, needless to say, a prolific and extraordinary writer; as in songwriter (obviously, with The Bad Seeds and The Birthday Party), book writer ("And the Ass saw the Angel") and now screenplay writer (even though "And the Ass saw the Angel" actually was initially meant to be a film script, and he had also written some dialogue for Hillcoat's previous "Ghost... of the Civil Dead"), in addition to soundtrack music writer ("Ghost... of the Civil Dead") and actor too. An all around outstanding, super-talented artist, who, when faced with the challenge to write an entire film's story and dialogue, masterfully rose to the occasion and delivered an intense, extremely well articulated and well told, interesting, engaging and beautiful story that takes place in Cave's very own lawless Australia of the 1880'es, where two out of three brothers wanted for rape and murder are caught by a local law enforcer who jails the youngest and offers the other the option (hence, the proposition...) to save him from death sentence by tracking down and killing the oldest, yet uncaught, renegade and violent-perpetuating brother.

Before we dwell into more information about the movie, I'd like to spend a few words on what most of our readers are probably most interested in ultimately: the music. We all know that when Cave and Ellis work together magical heights are seemingly effortlessly reached, but in this case they possibly went a step further together to re-define the spontaneity of raw beauty and the realism of timeless interpretation. Ellis' violin arrangements are devine and sophisticated, yet minimal and primitive, even slightly de-tuned to enhance that specific quality that remains with the music of our ancestors. Their melancholic and evocative essence majestically balances out with the minimalist choice of instruments and arrangements that the two composers wholeheartedly adopted and perfectly adapted and synced to the on-screen action and tale. Cave's muttered vocal contributions are few and far between to interact with the dialogues that he wrote for the story, a job that he has performed outstandingly, in respect to accent-specific localizations and the time-sensitive historic placement. String arrangement intensive, very acoustic, hardly ever electric or even "digital", deep, powerful, rattling, cycling, improvisational and fragmented, droning and theme-recurring, ancient and ghostly, sad and perpetual. For those who expect a Bad Seeds or a Dirty Three record, "The Proposition" will reveal itself as a surprisingly different, and in my opinion, not nearly disappointing effort at commenting the landscape and the fury within. For those who can read the beauty in the minor keys, "The Proposition" has so much to offer and so little to disappoint you with, that you won't be able to take it off your CD player.
I basically have nothing bad good words for this movie or its soundtrack.

I thought my John Wayne days were over, but this film made me re-discover the beauty of the old western movie tales. It was directed by Cave's friend John Hillcoat ("The Blonde's Date with Death" and "Frankie and Johnny", as well as music videos for Cave, INXS, Depoche Mode, Robert Plant, Placebo, Muse, Manic Street Preachers etc) who did a great job (together with the director of photography) at capturing the hot, dry and lonely land of Australia, with its yellow-ish/sepia colors, its unbearable heat, its dust and sand and its flies... His stunning vision, which bends and adapts to the raw and realistic violence and to some of the movie's crudest blood-splattered scenes, was complemented and aided by a crew of five exceptional mostly Australian producers with experience in the music industry, photography and the film industry.

The amazing (almost entirely Australian) cast includes: Guy Pearce ("The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert", "LA Confidential", "Memento", "The Hard Word", "Seven Years in Tibet", "The Time Machine", "The Count of Monte Cristo", "Two Brothers"), Ray Winstone ("Quadrophenia", "Nil By Mouth", "Face", "The War Zone", "Sexy Beast", "King Arthur", "Ripley's Game", "Cold Mountain" and several TV shows), Danny Huston ("The Constant Gardener", "Alpha Male", "Marie Antoniette", "The Aviator", "21 Grams", "Silver City", "Fade to Black"), John Hurt ("The Dwarfs", "Krapp's Last Tape", "Crime and Punishment", "The Naked Civil Servant", "Midnight Express", "The Elephant Man", "Captain Corelli's Mandolin", "Love and Death on Long Island", "Miranda", "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone", "Afterplay", "Shooting Dogs"), David Wenham ("Lord of the Rings", "Van Helsing", "Moulin Rouge!", "The Brush Off"), Emily Watson ("Breaking the Waves", "Hilarie and Jackie", "Wah Wah", "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers" as well as TV and theater).
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Artist: Lustmord / Charlie Deaux (@)
Title: Zoetrope - The Motion Picture
Format: DVD
Label: Soleilmoon (@)
Rated: *****
"Zoetrope - The Motion Picture" (which is also available as a music-only CD release on Nextera records) is an 18 minutes long DVD in a beautiful gray packaging with embossed lettering that features a film based on Prague-born Franz Kafka's "In the Penal Colony", a writing about an imprisoned man tortured by a sadistic bureaucrat. "Zoetrope" is a kermesse of talented artists and another great example of how an independent film can match up in quality to much bigger and well-financed projects (altough, judging by the crew and the quality, this film was not made on a very tight budget at all). Director and writer Charlie Deaux (who previously directed clips for Mortiis and System of a Down) did an amazing job at capturing the claustrophobic environment of an abandoned, cold, dirty basement where Kafka's character underwent all sorts of (unseen in the movie) tortures, and he did so by choosing to shoot the very effective black and white 35mm 16:9 widescreen kodak film format. All this bonds very well with the amazing photography by James Hawkinson (who's worked on videos for Tool, Aphex Twin, Linkin Park and many other mainstream acts) and with the 3D animation by Student Accademy Award winner Robert Beebe (complemented by Andy Davis', Tim Zegenbein's and Asylum's special effects). The editing of the movie (by Lee Cowan) is also extremely well done and modern, fast-paced and often utilizing blurring effects to convey the sense of time passing (a great way not to make a movie "slow" but still allow the viewer to percieve that a long time is going by in the movie itself). The minimal casting is also well placed: a naked, scared and agonizing Nigel Bonfield and a well-dressed, bureaucratic and psychotic Michael Bradley. Melissa Berry produced the film and definitely chose the right crew. The production of something like "Zoetrope" requires countless hours to put together the right people and make sure everything clicks and she succeeded masterfully. Melissa Berry (co-founder of the Video Association of Dallas and the Dallas Video Festival, and producer of "Say Yes Quickly", "@alien" and award winning "To Seek, To Find").The movie itself is great. I expected more violence, but was not disappointed to see that instead it portrays mostly mental violence and the psychological unfolding of events and moods. The style itself reminded me mainly of the Saw, the Machinist, maybe (but only in small part) the Blair Witch Project (I personally like this more than the BWP) and another movie I unfortunately don't remember the name of about some people trapped in a castle whose maze is alive with violent and abused ghosts of another time.Last but not least (especially since we at Chain D.L.K. are writing this review), the incredibly murky, sadistic, claustrophobic and nightmarish music and sounds are by Brian Williams, aka Lusmord, who, aside of his successful and prolific solo music career featuring many many releases over the years and basically generating the offspring of what is now called the "dark ambient" genre, believe it or not, has also been able to extend his film scoring and sound-designing talents to the Hollywood industry, landing jobs on such movies as The Negotiator, Underworld, Ghost in the Machine, The Crow, Spawn etc.Talent obviously means something here and you can tell right away! Two thumbs up!Unfortunately the DVD contains no special features whatsoever, which is a pity considering how little of the DVD's available space is used by the short film. The price, however, is honest ($11).After Yahoo and their Yahoo Internet Life Online Film Festival allegedly tried to screw the crew of "Zoetrope", I say we owe it to them to show some true spirited support from the underground scene!
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Artist: THOLLEM MCDONAS (@)
Title: Piano works
Format: CD
Label: Pax recordings (@)
Rated: *****
Somewhere I've read Mcdonas mixes many different styles and influences but at the same time he doesn't remind any composer in particular and that's undeniably true. The american performer is definitely talented when sitting in front of his piano and that's something you hear immediately even if your not trained in the listening of classic or contemporary music, some fast passages as well as some complicated structures emphasize the skill of this composer/musician. The more time goes by, the more I lose my interest in many soloist performer, but apart from the obvious fact I'm getting a boring lazy fart, Macdonas work is really interesting. After several listenings the quality tends to emerge by itself, it doesn't take so much, it's just there're so many classical and "un-classical" (to quote one of the most interesting series on Subrosa) styles that at the beginning you're partially disoriented by the big aura of colours expressed by this performer. God, if I had to say it all I've heard fragments of Satie, Feldman, Cage ("piano works" in particular...obviously), Bartok, Weill but also Ellington, jazz piano, funny sketches fused with some fragments of serialism. This is a snapshot of Mcdonas' ideas during the last five years and this diary is full of contrasting pages written with irruence (some moments of "Ancient futures"), quietness ("faithful skepticism"), somewhere he looks for a communication ("Through confusion comes understanding"), somewhere else just for isolation ("Min's found an opening). As I've said Mcdonas succeed where many other fail.
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Artist: WYNARDTAGE (@)
Title: Waste Of Time
Format: CD
Label: X-Cem (@)
Distributor: SX Distribution
Rated: *****
WYNARDTAGE is the Dark Electro solo effort by Kai Arnold and he stands also behind the label X-Cem. X-Cem can’t be called a real label, it is more a kind of co-operation and the featured bands have to pay themselves for a CD production. WYNARDTAGE’s track "Sterbehilfe" could lately enter some compilations and it received some positive recognition in the clubs. Here on this first official release of this act this track is also available – featured as a hidden bonus track at song position 66. The music is dark Electro/Industrial with mostly distorted lyrics often changing between German and English language and it reminds me a bit on old SUICIDE COMMANDO mixed with early TERMINAL CHOICE influences. The title track is the main piece here, danceable with hard and steady bass kicks and distorted vocals, and it is next to the original version featured in four more remixed versions done by both X-Cem artists MAY-FLY and ACYLUM in a live improvisation, plus also both relatively unknown bands NOSTROM and ENCEPHALIN. The remix of ENCEPHALIN is the best one here and can add several interesting parts to the original – definitively worth to get heard and I have to make a look after this project! Stuff for the dancefloor is also well featured on the track "My Hell (Exclusive Mix)", while most of the further 6 tracks are slowing down the tempo and do more feature a sick and depressive mood. The lyrical content deals mostly with disappointed relations, death or dug abuse – stuff which does not allow to sing about the beauty of live. This CD does well in the mentioned style and it is worth to get checked out. Some slight improvisations on the end master of some tracks wouldn’t be bad, but here it’s real "underground". Give it a try and support the scene.
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