Music Reviews



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Artist: Richter (@)
Title: Cost of Living
Format: CD
Rated: *****
The soon to be released "Cost of Living" by the Canadian trio Jack & Lizz, known as Richter, bring an interesting combination of sounds the table. Compared to bands like Apoptygma Berzerk, Covenant, and Wolfsheim, I found some rather undefinable combinations involved as well. There seems to be a bit of New Order and Caberet Voltaire influences on the very synthpop "Come Clean". The follow-up "Dirty Prophet" takes us right into industrial territory showing a bit of KMFDM, 242, as well as the afforementioned associations. Richter definitely seems to create a fluid expression which combines the best of 80's wave and industrial bands with those of the modern EBM and synthpop arenas. They also create a smooth combination of analog and digital instrumentation without overdoing the guitars. Instead they are pleasantly blended into the overall texture of the project. The driving male vocals tend to have a bit of that 'android' feel to them that gives a sort of 'clinical' impression, much like early Gary Numan. The backing female vocals add to the atmosphere and enforce what the rest of the project is already doing. In other words, there is no vocal clash you might get in some projects where it seems like both are trying to lead. Instead they both work very well in combination and support everything else going on. Many styles combine to create a fluid translation of a uniquely new style, a bit monocrhomatic but with some interesting layering and mixing. While there is lots of activity, it maintains a very smooth texture that is somehow 'soothing' even while dark and kinetic.
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anymore
Artist: SUBINTERIOR
Title: Obstacles
Format: CD
Label: Deserted Factory
Rated: *****
Third cdr release from Andrea Freschi's solo project, and after the self-released "Outfall" (2003) and "Insomnie" (2004) it's also the first one to be released and distributed by a label, though on a limited run cdr. And, well, "Deserted Factory" could also be a good description for this work: deep cavernous drones juxtaposed or blended with reverberating machinery noises, truly bringing to mind a huge abandoned factory. Freschi uses pretty much the same palette as in his previous releases, but I really think he's dramatically improved the sound quality and mix, which obviously makes a huge difference in works like these. Electronics and software processing obviously play a major role, but there is no synth/keyboards abuse as in many ambient discs. A short, focused and monochrome (in a positive sense) work, "Obstacles" offers top-quality pieces of post-industrial ambient, like "The corridor of empty rooms" and "Asynchronism", which will hopefully give this now mature project the attention it deserves.
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anymore
Artist: CHEFKIRK
Title: Fields of paranoia and fear
Format: CD
Label: Organic Pipeline
Rated: *****
More diginoise from US vandal Chefkirk and dammit, I'm so slow at reviewing (sorry) that some more has been released meanwhile. As with the latest "Selection of domestic products", much of what Chefkirk does has been done and heard before, but he generally manages to keep things interesting. Not all of this is super-noisy, with some more minimal passages of crackling frequencies, and some programmed beats here and there ("720045"). As for me, I miss the manipulated field recordings that made "Selection..." more intriguing, and I think in general this is a bit less compact and inspired. I still wonder what Smith could do if he decided to explore his ambient side, leaving the distortion and beats for a while.
Artist: HHH
Title: Psychic stress discharge
Format: CD
Label: Plutonium distribution
Rated: *****
Coming in a truly lame layout which puts me off, "Psychic stress discharge" is the seventh solo work of HHH (not be mistaken for the Spanish hardcore band), aka Sweden's Hannes Hellman, and as you can guess it's noisy as fuck. I don't know if it's analogue or digital (probably the former - a synth), but it's super loud and with a preference for ear-bleeding high frequencies. It reminds me a lot of a project on the "Deafness is not a gift" sampler, but I can't recall which one (Anemone Tube?). Here and there, the distortion is replaced by low-end synth pink noise ("Collapsehead"). The violence and power are definitely there, though the pieces tend to become a little stagnating after a while.
Artist: FAQ
Title: Is Pornography Art?
Format: CD
Label: Synthetic Product Records (@)
I'm going to be frankly honest about this cd I review on after listening to FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) new fourth release "Is Pornography Art?". This Swiss band teamed up with porn star Jenna Jameson. They got permission to used her pictures from her website for their cd cover. I find the band's music too simplistic for me to get into. They are known to be progressive electronic pop. I am a fan of synth/electronic pop, but I'm not that deep into it like I used to. Alot of bands now days are using the same samples, which turns me off. A couple of tracks by FAQ sounds too techno-ish for my taste that can be played at a rave club/party. The only tracks I like is "Minor", "Home (Revisited Mix)", "We Come In Pieces", which feature Stephan Groth from Apoptygma Berzerk as guest vocalist, and "Heartbreaker" that feature samples/interview of Jenna Jameson taken from the dvd "Hell on Wheels". There's another track that's dedicated to the porn queen called "How To Make Love Like", which is based on her best selling biography "How To Make Love Like A Pornstar." However, I think the whole album is to her totally. I'm not feeling the band, but it's very interesting how they manage to hook up with a porn star for their music project.
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