Music Reviews



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Artist: RANT
Title: seumsund / sundseum
Format: CD
Label: Schraum (@)
Rated: *****
Judging from the website I've thought that probably Schraum is mainly focused on post(?)-jazzist coming from Berlin and if that's true, Rant fits in the mold. A guitar and a drumkit taking over on the most of the tracks and sure, the acoustic "shape" of the sound design is respected has it requires. It's great since I imagine most of the people reading "jazz" thinks of a cascade of notes, scales played at 300 bpm, but no way! Rant are located somewhere else. This duo works patiently on simple melodies but also on abstract atmospheres (Nur hier nicht is a good example of it). Slowed down and relaxed, if this music was a bit slower I could also dare to say it brings to mind the style of Loren Mazzacane Connors, but as I've said that's not "american music". Melodic, jazzy and abstract, right? I've heard somebody calls it "cool" and why not?! Let's say it can be cool but with a soft indie-rock attitude...hey!?!...Indie-rock? Jazz? Abstract? Ok, I'll try to describe the cocktail by saying Mazzacane Connors has joined the ranks of Bedhead, they all went jazzy and went for a solitary lane that every once in a while gets crossed by Jeff Muller before June of '44 became more fusion. Winter melancholia for winter snapshots.
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Artist: AD OMBRA (@)
Title: Smaragdine
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Rated: *****
The Ad Ombra project is a solo concept/performance composed and played by George D. Stanciulescu with the help of Maximilian Lupu for what concerns orchestration. Even if it's symphonic music, it's probably played via computer or with keyboards, I'm not such a great fan of this kind of things but that's just a personal opinion. The orchestral result of these seven movements pays indirectly (or directly...who knows) tribute to many great composers like Morricone, Bryars or Nyman, but since I don't want to be misunderstood consider I'm referring just to their soundtrack works and above remember this' symphonic. "Smaragdine" is undeniably filmic, I think it's a pity it hasn't been recorded with a real orchestra (or that's what it seems to me) 'cause the whole suite is affected by a low-quality sound. Ludwig Van Beethoven influences mixed with Tchaikovsky? For what I know I'd say: yesss...some samples coming from Bresson, Greenway and the divine Pasolini add an extra filmic feel to the music. Sad, emphatic and well structured, I think Stanciulescu should work with movie directors, but this record is a bit weak, sorry.
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Artist: LEAETHER STRIP (@)
Title: After The Devastation
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Soulfood
Rated: *****
Welcome back, Claus, back to the forefront of hard EBM/Electro/Industrial music! What has started in August/September 2005 first as a rumor placed at the popular Myspace community got finally reality, LEÆTHER STRIP strikes back now with a double CD after his pre-released appetizer EP "Suicide Bombers". More than 5 years in silence, Claus has chosen the 13th of January 2006 to be the release date of this DCD, the date which marks his 18th year active in the music business. That this new effort finally got enough stuff on board to get released as two filled CD’s is just another sign, that Claus wasn’t inactive although he hasn’t released anything new in the past years. So there is a lot of music to check out here – but nobody should really expect a new millenium masterpiece like "Solitary Confinement". No, this new CD features almost all facets of the musically development, which Claus has experienced in all highs and depths through the years. The used sounds, especially the bass lines, are still similar to his very own created style, the vocals ranging between clean and unaffected up to the hellish screams we like and enjoyed so much before. Favorite tracks are to me the ones which feature some well played synth layers and musically complexity in the given arrangements, "Death Is Walking Next To Me", "Sleep Is Only Heartbreak", "Homophobia", "This Is Where I Wanna Be" or "One For One For One" are to mention here. Also some musically surprising pieces are here, "Dying Is Easy – Live Is Harder (Daddy Please Love Me)" starts with a child-like melody and offers some heart-felting lyrics, while the very dark piece "I Was Born That Day" features some church-like organ sounds. There are also two very long instrumental pieces placed both on every last position on which Claus reaches the strong intensity of the past days, one is surprisingly "Leaether Strip Part 3 (Symphony For Kurt)", although it hasn’t to much comparable things with the classic original. Although we can’t find anything related to "Strap Me Down", "Adrenaline Rush" or "Don’t Tame Your Soul" I have with every note on this full DCD package the feeling that Claus could easily create such piece! It’s good to have this genre leader back on track and I am looking curiously out for more. Please note also that Alfa Matrix offers a lot of special editions of this release in limited conditions – just check out their website and try to get it.
Jan 19 2006
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Artist: ACYLUM (@)
Title: Your Pain
Format: CD
Label: X-Cem (@)
Distributor: SX Distribution
Rated: *****
Another fine but also very dark and scary release for the Eastern Germany X-Cem community, this time the project of Pedro Engel called ACYLUM. Kai Arnold of WYNARDTAGE is also integrated here, he offers his vocals and is responsible for the lyrical content. Musically ACYLUM differs from WYNARDTAGE, they are moving hard on the thin balance between harsh EBM and Powernoise. So you get here a lot of distorted beats, some really sick layers and a very depressive mood, somehow comparable to FEINDFLUG, INFACT, DIOXYDE or old PAIN STATION. The tempo of the tracks are pending from mid tempo up to some faster placed stuff like "Trip of Hate" or "Final Shot (Club mix)". There is a big "slap-in-ya-face" attitude behind this sound, and also the black/white cover art awakes some possible comparisons to FEINDFLUG. The used elements here are surely not designed to be called new or innovative, but the kind and talent of this act is well present here to grab some attention of friends from the above mentioned acts. Please note also the hidden extra track placed on position 77 on this release. The underground is alive and this release can be called a quality exclamation mark for the new X-Cem group. Get it!
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Artist: The Psychic Paramount
Title: Live 2002 - The Franco-Italian tour
Format: CD
Label: Public Guilt (@)
Rated: *****
Psychotic Paramount is ex-Laddio Bolocko Americans Drew St. Ivany (guitar) and Ben Armostrong (bass) and Japanese Tatsuya Nakatani (drums). They formed the band five days before embarking on a tour in France and Italy where they recorded the live performances to a cassette recorded with one stereo microphone (performances are from Lyon, Paris, Perpignan and Naples). The result is obviously not as hi-fi, and at times it must have been so loud that the tape recorded couldn't quite take it and the result is very saturated, but at least the separation between the instruments is good and you can actually hear most of what every one of them is doing. In spite of all of the poor sound quality, the sonic aggression is perfectly translated onto tape. The trio played their heart out furiously and fiercely and the outcome is intense and powerful, unpredictable and genuine. The sense of "turbulent emergency" they speak of comes at you in the form of a freight train of distorted bass lines, improvised guitar riffs and super intense restless drumming by the amazing Nakatani (you might have heard of him through Brotzmann, Kowald, Vandermark, Masashi Harada, N.R.A., From Between Trio, Blue Collar, Yukijurushi etc) who is now replaced by another great drummer, Jeff Conaway (from Sabers). This CD (originally released as a CD-R on the band's own label Bewilderment and Illumination) comes packaged in a nice black digi-pack and also contains a very well done and interesting quick-time video-diary of the trip that will give you a better idea of how powerful these performances really were. The band has been busy and several new releases are planned for 2006 so try to catch them live and keep an eye and ear out for them...
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