Music Reviews



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Artist: H. BJÍRG┌LFSSON & JONAS OHLSSON
Title: King Glitch
Format: CD
Label: Crˇnica
Rated: *****
A bizarre album, only partially true to its title, from Björgúlfsson (ex-Stilluppsteypa and Vacuum Boys) and Ohlsson, plus some guest collaborators like Gunnhildur Hauksdóttir on vocals and B. J. Nilsen (aka Hazard) on keyboards and vocals. "King Glitch" is a raw and boorish record, which would be no problem if the music was actually good and convincing. Unfortunately, it mostly sounds like a bunch of unfinished sketches, with some shimmering idea here and there rapidly wasted away. It has plenty of fat beats which could lead to good techno/funk/hip hop tracks if really developed, but they're quite haphazardly broken up into digital noise pieces (which on the other hand are not remarkable themselves) or just all-around nonsense. I'm surely missing a lot of its post-modern irony, but this sounds just like a bad record to me.
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Artist: DISMANTLED (@)
Title: Breed to Death
Format: CD EP
Label: Dependent / Metropolis-Records (@)
Distributor: Alive!, Metropolis Records
Rated: *****
A more than 50 minutes long EP considered to be the appetizer for the forthcoming new full length CD "Standard Issue" by DISMANTLED should be easily reason enough to get purchased. And this EP spins over to be a perfect bridge from the past "Post-Nuclear" by presenting a few remix works of the most remarkable track "The Swarm" done by big names like :WUMPSCUT: or HAUJOBB up to some new tracks. So were also my thoughts at the beginning and my expectations were big. Finally and overall too big - and after listening this new release I am rather disappointed. I know that DISMANTLED did experience a wider musically evolution with the release of "Post-Nuclear" for sure – but this EP has nothing of the old and magical moments this band was able to produce with their self-titled debut CD. Where are all the sick atmospheric layers, where are the terrific samples and where are some marvelous vocals as well? Whoever has advised Gary Zon to "sing" without the FX machinery? Sorry to say it, but it sounds a bit that it would be better for Gary to cure at first his bad cold...
The music finally – and so to come back to the main flaw here – lacks a lot from inspiration. All what I am missing here has changed to a lighter sound and yes – it drowns from times up to danceable Futurepop music ("The Swarm (Easy to Swallow-Version)"). Also the funny cover version of Paula Abduls "Straight Up" can’t be taken too seriously for sure. Good moments are sparse filled in here, the new instrumental track "The Blind" awakes a bit some remembrances how it was and how it could be. And their new Metropolis label mates of PSYCLON NINE did their best to fill in diversity through including thick synth layers to the title track "Breed to Death" and finally the :WUMPSCUT: remix of "The Swarm" gets my respect for the handling with different tempo changes in the track. The rest dwells in uninspiring average and I keep my fingers crossed that Gary will remember his talent for his upcoming full length CD.
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Artist: Infinity Interrupt (@)
Title: Hybrid Still Life
Format: CD
Label: 1over0records
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
"Hybrid Still Life" is the newest release from Chicago's "Infinity Interrupt". Riddled with oppressively dark moods and textures, "Hybrid Still Life" plays from beginning to end like a detailed soundscape to a life gone wrong. You can still see glimpses of a beauty that used to exist but now only shadows and detached memories of what that beauty was remain. It sounds great I know BUT I'm a bit split over this release. When sticking to ambient textures, tones and whispered story telling (used to great effect here) "Hybrid Still Life" excells. Haunting, dark and always intriguing. If this were the entire CD the review would end here and I'd say run out and get it. However, not everything is rosy in this darkland. "Hybrid Still Life" starts to lose ground a bit when Infinity Interrupt moves away from the previously described textures and start to employ more arpeggiated synths and drums. The songs aren't bad... they just aren't inspiring and seem flat when compared to the more texture oriented tracks. These tracks just take on a generic tone that don't match up to the coolness of the ambient stuff. All that said... I still recommend this disc for anyone who is a fan of relentlessly dark music and for those fans of Cold Meat material, you will find a good deal to like in "Hybrid Still Life". Stand out tracks: "Still Life" and "Crawl".
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Artist: VV. AA.
Title: Funkwelten 01
Format: CD
Label: Funkwelten (@)
Distributor: Nova media distribution - Audioglobe
Rated: *****
The world is just too big and there are too many records, labels, bands or just names I'm not able to remember, but right when I hear somebody complains for the millionth time about the lack of good bands/projects and blah, blah, bah...here it is: a sampler with a bunch of good electronic musicians I've never heard before. "IDM": Intelligent Dance Music, can you remember? Once it was Warp records, later some other interesting labels like Rephlex, Hefty...Funkwelten could be the next one, why not?!. Ok IDM means a lot and nothing in particular at the same time, let's say that the most of the songs contained in the sampler have a beat (that doesn't mean a strong beat "Detroit-techno-style"), but the interesting thing is that the tracks have a sort of "trait d'union" that's represented by the "dreamy-trance-post-wave" atmosphere. Piano loops, sad melodies, keyboards/strings symphonies and bass loops, does it sound like something that could be on K7! or Compost? Sure! But it could a selection of the best artists on both of the labels. Reminiscences of Carl Craig's "piano works", emotions a-la-Peace Orchestra, nordic touch not unlike Gus Gus, Bjork or early Biosphere. I think it could be a great record to relax yourself after work and at the same time something they could dance to in a club up there in the deep North. The most of the tracks have a really high standard but For A Space, Satsuma and Echorausch (probably the most introspective artist of the whole lot) deserve a particular mention. In your cd collection it could be the cd next to Warp records' "Artificial Intelligence".
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Artist: CHRIS BROWN (@)
Title: Rogue wave
Format: CD
Label: Tzadik (@)
Rated: *****
It's always great to review a record on Tzadik, you never know what to expect, obviously something "not so ordinary" and Chris Brown is exactly that: "not so ordinary". This composer comes from the West Coast like Terry Railey and James Tenney and like them can be considered an innovator in the composing process as you can easily hear from this release. Chris Brown sound is different because he uses "different means, different tools and different approaches", that's a cheap explanation, but now you know why it all sounds a bit "weird". If I say besides being a composer and a pianist he's an electronic musician it can make you think to the latest Afx Twin (Draqs), or on the other side you'll think to something in the vein of John Zorn's "Songs from the hermetic theater", but "Rogue wave" is not like the most of the things you may have heard before. This collection of six works/compositions from 1984 to 2004 is a complex portrait of a composer striving to find his own particular way of expression. "Transmission tenderloin" could be a patchwork of radio transmission played/de-composed by two computers, in "Retroscan" a piano work gets processed live by an interactive computer program (it reminded me of the swiss electronic musician RM74). The title-track erupts into a sort of magma made out of electronics, scratching and percussion (nothing in comparison to "Cloudstreams/Bellwethers" in which the "Orchestra" is represented by a "five piece computer ensemble"). In "Flies" the atmosphere returns to what could be defined "the bastard son of chamber music and live-electronics". Probably the most "traditional" track (if you consider Railey and friends "traditional") is the last one "Alternating current", it has been composed around 1984 but as you can hear the mind of the "young Brown" was already incredibly fertile. It took me three or four listening to "catch this Wave" but with some patience I did it, well, that's the point: the music of Chris Brown is not "weird" but simply "personal" and innovative, it puts Chris Brown at the forefront of electronic composition while coming from a "classical" background (you can still hear it here and there). "Rogue wave" it's outstanding and you'll discover a new detail after every listening.
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