Music Reviews



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Artist: Muscle and Hate (@)
Title: a tribute to Nitzer Ebb
Format: CD
Label: Nilaihah (@)
Distributor: Amazon.com, Best Buy, Metropolis, A Different Drum, Harvest Media, CD Baby, Isolation Tank, DSBP, Middle Pillar, Musicwerks, Storming the Mailorder, Kinetic Response
Rated: *****

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Due to the huge number of very very bad bands and lame attempts at copying the style of the original masters of the EBM/Industrial genre, lately I had been experienced a huge loss of interest in Electronic Body Music, the very thing that got me hooked many many years ago and that actually made me start D.L.K.. This record brings me back good old memories of what it is supposed to sound like and how it is supposed to be. It re-awakened my initial excitment and passion for EBM at once!Douglas McCarthy and Bon Harris, a.k.a. Nitzer Ebb, have been among the most influential and historical artists of that period... Along with Skinny Puppy, Die Krupps, Cat Rapes Dog, Depoche Mode, Die Form, Das Ich, Sloppy Wrenchbody, Nine Inch Nails, Front Line Assembly and many many illustrious other great bands of that time, Nitzer Ebb were writing history one record after the next, with german-sung anthems, pounding beats, fast-paced keyboard sequences, distorted vocals and all the other elements of the original blend.Today, thanks to the collaboration of the Italian band XP8 and Sebastian R. Komor (of Icon Of Coil, Monofader and Moonitor fame), you get to re-live it all in this awesome tribute record, that goes to show not only how tribute records outta be made, but also what EBM is supposed to sound like. Teach those many talent-less kids a lesson.
Jan 30 2006
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Artist: Moldover (@)
Title: Live Remashing
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
I don't know what the hell is wrong with today's labels... When I see a band like this still unsigned, I get mad angry and wonder what's wrong with the picture... I even think about starting my own label to make things right, but you know what they say, been there, done that, not worth the hassel in today's industry (of course I can see how clearing and licensing of an album like this might be the hellish reason why Moldover wasn't picked up yet)... Then again, maybe this Brooklyn-artist actually is indiependent by choice and has the balls to prefer remaining un-affiliated, so that he can do whatever he wants. Wherever the truth lies, Moldover's CD has been following me around the world for the last 30 days and I've listened to it more than any other CDs. It's been in my car, in Europe, in my home CD player in my head... It's too soon in the year to make bold "best CD of the year" type of statements, but this is definitely the best CD I've heard so far and I am wholeheartedly giving out my first 5 stars in 2006 (which I do rarely...). But let's cut the chit chat right to the chase and get down to business. What is so special about this guy?
Mash-ups, or the art of mixing together two differnt songs, usually the instrumental version of one song and the vocals of another one, by matching tempo and pitch (like you might have heard DJ Dangermouse doing in "The Gray Album", where he mashes up Jay Z's "The Black Album" with The Beatles' "White Album") have become a pretty popular phenomenon lately, but Moldover takes it to a whole new level because he actually does the shit live, on the fly, real-time!
It's relatively easy if you do it on your home Pro Tools system and you spend hours tweaking, pitch-correcting and time-stretching until it sounds just right, but to do it with a laptop equipped with Abelton Live and Native Instrument's Reaktor software, requires a whole other new set of skills that obviosuly very very few people master. That is exactly the area of expertise where Moldover excells and exceeds your every expectation.
His "Live Remashing" features 27 mash-ups featuring Tom Petty & the Hearthbreakers, Billie Holiday, Beastie Boys, AC DC, Janis Jopin, Edgar Winter, Dr. Dre (Snoop Dog), Steve Miller, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, Prince, Michael Jackson, James Brown, Kool & the Gang, Steppen Wold, Jane's Addiction, Nirvana, System of a Down, Dick Dale & his Del Tones, A-Ha, Johann Pachelbel, NIN, Violent Femmes, Black Sheep, Metallica, Chirstina Aguilera, Kermit the Frog as well as samples from countless movies including Pulp Fiction, Pi, some Kevin Spacey flick I don't remember the name of, and god (or Moldover) only knows how many other bits and pieces that I haven't recognized (besides the ones I just haven't mentioned to keep this review acceptably short).
NYC's Moldover has been playing guitar in various bands, spinning records in clubs and even built his own mobile dance club, hauled it to Nevada's Burning Man festival just to burn it afterwards. That's what I call an inspired dude who gets things done!
As far as I am concerned, I'll try to go see him perform as soon as I can... As far as you are concerned, stop messing around and get this CD from his website right away! There are no excuses that will hold up here... "Live Remashing" is an encyclopedia of modern pop culture in sound format, it is the milestone of ultimate digitally-assisted live performance, it is the best example of how to use modern technologies to enhance and extend musicianship and artistic vision, it is the new form of DJ-ing, it is two thumbs up, straight up!
PS The MC Esher-inspired and reworked (or should I say remashed?) front cover is very cool as well!
Jan 30 2006
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Artist: Mana Erg (@)
Title: Red Dust
Format: CD EP
Label: Glyptique (@)
Rated: *****

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Mana Erg's UK-based Italian mastermind Bruno De Angelis is at it again, but the result is very different from his previous undertakings. The new Mana Erg EP "Red Dust" (released by French Organic's sub-imprint Glyptique records) will stone you with its juxtaposition of different genres, and in the short space of only three tracks, will attempt to sound like Marylin Manson, Clock DVA and a number of other bands you might think ok... Basically, the main difference is the catchiness of the tunes and their intrinsic pop melodies. Mana Erg is trying to preserve his aura of mystic and experimental "out-there-ness", while reaching out for more listeners with attractive, affordable and approchable quality music heavily influenced by electronica, industrial rock and dark. No need to worry about BDA selling out, he knows what he is doing and he does it well. Even if I personally preferred his previous work, "Red Dust" stands out in the crowd of listening-friendly electronic music products and definitely retiains its edge and its vision for quality.Read the Mana Erg inteview by David Weiss at http://www.chaindlk.com/interviews/index.php?interview=ManaErg
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Artist: AEOGA
Title: Zenith Beyond the Helix-Locus/Triangle of Nebula-Devourers
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Aural Hypnox (@)
Rated: *****
Aural Hypnox, started almost out of the blue in 2004, has become one of the best - if still underrated - outlets for ritual dark ambient, with mysterious magic-inspired projects like Halo Manash, I. Corax, Zoat Aon and, of course, Aeoga. The duo's debut, "COAV", was already remarkable, but "Zenith..." easily surpasses it in terms of evocative power and sound quality, surely being one of the best, if not THE best, dark ambient record of 2005. Its 15 tracks, with a total length of 67 minutes, flow smoothly like the various movements or steps of a ritual performance; I don't know if they were conceived like that, but the cohesion of the whole cd is astonishing. Aeoga use a wide range of instruments (synths, cymbals, voices, percussions, strings, metals, etc.), which adds to the power and variety of the pieces; and on an emotional level, "Zenith..." is a chilling and mesmerizing experience. As a companion to the album, in a 150-limited box which is now sold out, Aural Hypnox also released a separate cdr, titled "Triangle of Nebula-Devourers", with three lengthy tracks. Don't think they were leftovers because of the limited run: the cdr is actually as good as "Zenith...", or even better, as in the unbelievably menacing and bleak "Menstrual Skull Consumed" and "Seize the Flaming Droplets", or the percussive vehemence of "Let the Sun Become Your Eye". Both discs are excellent in their own right (track down the box in some mailorder), and I'd definitely recommend Aeoga to anyone into Zero Kama, early Current 93, Tribes of Neurot, Maeror Tri and Herbst9, though the Finnish duo is consistently individual and different from any of these acts.
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Artist: PAUL BRADLEY
Title: Drone Works # 6
Format: CD EP
Label: Twenty Hertz
Rated: *****
The Drone Works series has already reached its tenth volume with irr. app. (ext.), but the sixth one, by Bass Communion, was immediately withdrawn from sale, so here comes a much welcome replacement by label owner Bradley. The ep is pretty much in the style of the recent, and brilliant, "Liquid Sunset" cd: deep, warm organ-like drones slowly unfolding and wavering. Changes and new layers are introduced at a glacial pace, but surely contribute to the emotional climax of the piece. Not much to add - if you've read my previous releases you surely know my penchant for Bradley's work, and this is no exception.
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