Music Reviews



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Artist: CREME DE MENTHE (@)
Title: The Impossibility Of Eroticism In The Suburbs
Format: CD
Label: Disko B (@)
Distributor: Wide Records
Rated: *****
THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF EROTICISM IN THE SUBURBS is the debut album by Scottish producer Matthew Aldworth but this record doesn't sound at all a debut album and Matthew uses all his skills to make of this album a treasure for every electro addicted. Creme De Menthe music sum up new wave electronic a la John Foxx as well as Felix Da Housecat disco impulses passing through the astonishing simplicity of modern acts, just like Dopplereffekt. All this making it sounds like he couldn't make no other music. Tracks like "Do you want my love" (which features Bree McMasters) sounds like Kraftwerk visiting a sexy shop while the following "Elektrobas" it sounds so 'Metamatical'. All the CD sounds sensual in its 4/4 rhythm structure and the melodies used by Matthew are so catchy and retro that you'll ask yourself if this is a reissue. After the listening of all the twelve tracks you'll release that this is more modern than the lastest Madonna record. Where lady Ciccone fails into her seach for a perfect dance hit Creme De Menthe succeed by sounding genuine without forcing the eye to wink to the old days and I think this will be enough for you to want to check this out! Believe me, this is a good advice...
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Artist: NEGRU VODA
Title: Unplugged
Format: CD
Label: Autarkeia
Rated: *****
As the tongue-in-cheek title suggests, this is a live album of Peter Nystroem's long running project, recorded in Vilnius and indeed released by the Lithuanian label Autarkeia. While the last studio album, "Dobruja region" (Fin de Siècle, 2004), featured a well-balanced mix of dark ambient and rhythmic industrial, the live performance predictably opts for the latter side. The set (6 tracks, circa 38 minutes) is intense and to the point, based as it is on grinding rhythms, screeching feedback and eerie samples. Sometimes, as in track 3, the tempo speeds up a bit, coming close to the beat-oriented sound of Ant-Zen or Hands projects; in most tracks, however, it stays as monotonous and heavy as a factory machinery. Honestly being no die-hard aficionado of this type of industrial, I find this a honest but not memorable disc, but I suppose that fans of Negru Voda, The Protagonist or Stratvm Terror would rejoice.
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Artist: DEEP END
Title: Kiss the Light Goodbye
Format: CD
Label: Fratto 9 Under the Sky/Zahr
Rated: *****
This is the first and much improved full length from Italy's finest post rockers, after the mcd "Tsunami" and a 10" split with Giardini di Mirò. A fourth member, Enrico Brunoldi (keyboard, synth, samples, laptop), has joined the original line up, formed by Andrea Ferraris (vocals, guitars, bass, samples, glockenspiel and accordeon), Umberto Fabbri (drums, cymbals, samples) and Lolli Sacco (guitar, e-bow and effects), and this obviously makes a difference; but it's also clear that the band itself has become more mature and experimental over the years. Deep End maintain their evolved indie/post-rock background (with some similarities with Shipping News, later Calla and A Minor Forest), which shows through heartfelt and epic songs like "Home is" and "...the fires"; but everything is blurred, scattered and rearranged through a wise use of effects, electronics and post-production. Many instrumental tracks definitely show the interest of band members for Kranky-oriented ambient, quite obvious since Brunoldi and Ferraris are also involved in the promising project One By One We Are All Becoming Shades. A positive aspect is that this more experimental approach, and an extreme attention to production and mixing, don't reduce the emotional impact of the work, which is a sort of sombre and troubled sketchbook. However, and I'm writing this as a fan of the band, I feel Deep End still have to find a balance between their different artistic inputs, and maybe develop a more powerful and darker sound, similar to the one of their intense live sets. Thus said, this is an important album.
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Artist: LAWRENCE ENGLISH
Title: Happiness Will Befall
Format: CD
Label: Crónica
Rated: *****
I regret I don't know English's back catalogue, which ranges from concrete music to electronica to guitar-based compositions, as this album on Crónica is a real treat. Recorded in his native Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and South India, and lavishly accompanied by Aki Onda's photographs, "Happiness Will Befall" is a collection of intimistic minimal music unfolding at a very slow pace. Its immediate reference is Oren Ambarchi's masterpiece "Suspension", especially in tracks like "Adrift", "I've been happy like this" or "Relocated (UTC)", with their understated but emotionally explosive guitar playing; but also more droning and ecstatic pieces like "Two weeks I'll never have again" and "Within confines of glass", closer to Stars of the Lid's melodic approach to ambient, are successful compositions. Out of the more humane forms of minimalism I've listened to lately, this is undoubtedly one of the best.
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Artist: EX-P
Title: Ancora Saigon
Format: CD
Label: Fratto 9 Under the Sky
Rated: *****
Ex-P are an Italian trio formed by Andrea Chiuni (bass, effects, clarino), Alessandro Allera (bass) and Diego Rosso (drums and percussions), and this is their debut album, clothed in an eye-catching red cover (by the way, the food is dried tomatoes, not meat as I initially thought). It's not really easy to define their style, as using words like "prog", "electric jazz" or "post-rock" would be equally partial. Ex-P's instrumental pieces frequently reminded me of the bottomless cauldron of Italian '70's movie soundtracks, where you could find often daring mixes of pop/folk melody and contemporary experimentation. Here, influences range from country to '70's rock, from psychedelia to klezmer, and the sound manages to be both naive and extremely modern and focused. The only comparison I can come up with is with other similar (and underrated) Italian projects like Anatrofobia, Caboto and Comfort, which are talented "beautiful losers" for the arid music market.
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