Music Reviews



Jul 18 2005
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Artist: PSYCLON NINE (@)
Title: INRI
Format: CD
Label: Noitekk, Metropolis-Records (@)
Distributor: Nova Media, Metropolis
Rated: *****
The debut of this trio hailing from San Francisco, CA, "Divine Infect" has gathered a lot of success and recognition, more than band and label could expect. The reactions were that fine that the US label Metropolis Records finally decided to make a license commitment with the German label Noitekk to release this new CD "INRI" under own flag as an Metropolis artist. Congratulations to this. Well, the band has worked on a new release and here it is. The look on the cover lets you already realize that you hold a kind of a conceptual album in your hands. A naked "female" Jesus Christ with the nails of the crucifixion pinned through her arms could cause trouble with several pseudo-catholic communities which are richly present in the USA. "INRI" takes up the essential questions of the bible and/or the Christian belief and the band reinterprets it new in their very own style. Musically the band seems to make a development since their debut which was based pretty much into the Terror-EBM style. The elements are still rich present here and also the vocals (are they high pitched?) haven’t lost any form of aggression, they are sounding a bit like the ugly neighborhood boy and need some rotations to find acceptance. PSYCLON NINE could fill in some more melodic synth layers which have won more and more meaning, and also here and there some guitar riffs to thicken the bass lines. "The Feeding" is finally the most guitar-driven track here and I am sure the short-hair Electro purists will get toothache by listening to this! But calm down, here is enough energetic Electro-infiltrated stuff to blow out your mind. My favorites can be found with the tracks which feature the most remarkable melodic content like "Lamb of God", "Harlot" or "Nothing Left". Mass movements on the dark club floors are guarantied with "Faith : Disease" or "You Know What You Are". Finally I understand the enthusiasm at the Metropolis base, this act with this quality release is a must-have!

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Artist: FINAL SELECTION (@)
Title: Meridian
Format: CD
Label: Black Flames Records, e-noxe (@)
Distributor: Alive!
Rated: *****
The already third release of this German synth pop duo on the Polish label Black Flames proves persistence and loyalty. With a look on this and the overall reactions on every release this talented duo earns, FINAL SELECTION could easily named to be the outstanding act on this label. At first I want to praise the excellent artwork consisting of a four page folded digipack with an extra included inlay full of melancholic impressions besides the music done by Michael Schubert. There’s existing a special website, www.worldofmeridian.de, on which you have a look behind the great ideas and realm of this release. Musically FINAL SELECTION prove again that they are one of the best – if not THE BEST – Synthpop acts of our lifetime. Tracks are ranging from slow and contemplative songs like "Coming Home" (features a pretty female vocal duet with Diana Röppnack), "Jupiter’s Child" (could be also found on their last EP "Heading for Graceland"), "Thieves of my Soul" (very gloomy bass line sequence combined with marvelous atmospheric synth layers) or the very sad final track "Styx" (featuring vinyl-like scratches in an endless repetition...) up to more danceable Electro-Pop songs like "Lava" or "Daybreak" which could impress not only Synth Pop fans. In all 16 tracks with almost 70 minutes of finest Synth Pop/Electronica combined with real song compositions and excellent vocal performances should be reason enough to check this out. Although I do not too often listen to this style of Electronic music, I must admit that this release totally satisfied me. A marvelous album to suspend away... and also my wife likes it!
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Artist: PAINBASTARD (@)
Title: Overkill
Format: CD
Label: Accession-Records (@)
Distributor: Indigo
Rated: *****

BUY from  HERE
"Overkill" is already the second full length album of PAINBASTARD, a German one man project consisting of Alex P. I see the cover with a black angel (the angel of death...?) in front of rotten industrial areas and it is all colored in black and gray. The used fonts of the track list are old Germany-like based on WWII ideas and I’m sure that Alex has seen and heard very often the stuff of :WUMPSCUT: for example. Almost the same goes out to the music. I am sure that Alex has taken in his career a deep look into all efficient ingredients acts like the already mentioned :W:, plus HOCICO and/or SUICIDE COMMANDO have already produced before and so nothing is really new here. PAINBASTARD play hard along the allowed cliches this music genre has to offer, nevertheless this new album has blown me totally away. It is really hard to look for an almost comparable album which hit me that hard like this "Overkill" has done. It must belong on the pure and naked aggression this project has to offer on almost all tracks of this release. I am impressed by the overall "slab-in your-face" attitude caused through the very aggressive vocals and the straight hitting beats. This is hard and ripping EBM par excellence played with known weapons, but still unique arranged. PAINBASTARD fills also in some guitar sounds ("System Failed" or "Final Day") to support the bass lines and the melodic content is tasteful arranged. So finally I am still searching for the track or the band in where I have already discovered the music from PAINBASTARD without success. Excellent mastering work again was done by Krischan of the talented ROTERSAND, who was also responsible for this on the last [:SITD:] release. Congrats to the label to this release, congrats to the band for giving a fine produced hard Electro/EBM album which can stand all comparisons.
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Artist: DésAccordes
Title: In C - Terry Riley
Format: CD
Label: Musea / Gazul Records
I had no idea what to expect when I put this in my CD player. Instrumentation listed classic guitars, electric guitars, electric basses, harp, chello, percussion, and drums. There was a credit for "conductor and bass". I had never heard of DésAccordes, Terry Riley, or even Gazul Records so I was pretty much a blank slate for this one. Seems that Riley is a frequent collaborator with Kronos Quartet (with whom I am much enamored) so I was interested to check this out. The piece was originally composed in 1964 and is now being reproduced by French outfit DésAccordes. There are 5 unnamed tracks that run for a total of 48.54. On to the music. According to the liner notes, "Terry Riley set down on paper within a few hours the 53 patterns that compose the one page score of In C." It’s all about interlocking patterns, but often we seem to hear the same thing over and over again. Track 1 is the shortest track, consisting of nice drone with an interesting build. Track 2 starts off being a bit more repetitive. It gets old pretty quick. Shifts slowly over time in an almost imperceptible way. About ¾ of the way through, gets a bit less like listening to a metronome hitting a steady 4 / 4 beat on strings at 200 beats per minute. Starts to sort of fall apart, which is where I think it becomes interesting. Track 2 flows well into track 3, which is unsurprising as the liner notes state that this was always meant to be performed as one continual piece. Repitition still reigns, but much more varied than track 2 and a bit more variation in dynamics. Track 4 was going along fine, until about halfway through when it kicked into what sounded like minimalism mixed with something out of a musical - a jarring, unholy union. It was as if DésAccordes suddenly decided that what Riley had written did not "rock" enough and they were going to fix it. Luckily it didn’t last long, and after about a minute they went back to what they were doing. I thought track 2 was the low point of the disc. I was wrong. This one minute pretty much ruined the track for me. Track 5 is an interesting track but it seems to end a couple of times, leaving you wondering if it will really end this time. I must admit that this was not really my thing. I like repetition as much as the next experimentalist and I have enjoyed other minimalist composers like Phillip Glass and Steve Reich. But if you thought that Steve Reich was not minimalist enough, this may be just the disc for you.
Artist: Vidna Obmana / Bass Communion
Title: Continuum
Format: CD
Label: Soleilmoon
Rated: *****
This disc consists of three tracks, each about 20 minutes each. Nice oversize packaging with three art inserts about the size of a postcard. The artwork was done by Lasse Hoile and is reminiscent of Ben Didier’s work for Ad Noiseam. Reminds me of Amplexus releases in their glory days. I have some of Vidna Obmana’s work, although I was unfamiliar with Bass Communion (he also records under the name Porcupine Tree, which I do have and that project is nowhere near as good as this disc).

On to the music. If you are expecting something more new age like Vidna Obmana's River of Appearance, you’ll be disappointed. The first track starts off a bit more dissonant, although no so much as with Obmana’s collaboration with Asmus Tietchens, employing long drones that shift subtly. However, about halfway through it shifts to a more minimalist stance, becoming more and more minimalist as the track nears the ending, to the point where I had to check the player to see if it was still playing. Track 2 starts off as quietly as the last track left off. This track takes on a darker tone, reminiscent of Lustmord, only not quite so sparse. (Doesn’t everything in the dark ambient realm get compared to Lustmord eventually?) This track also shifts about halfway through into lush drone with a bit less dissonance than the previous track. I like the complexity of this track. There is a lot happening under the surface that keeps it interesting. As expected, Track 3 also starts off quietly, building up to soft drones. This track has a slightly noisier undercurrent, but by no means is this harsh. Once again, at the halfway point it gets a bit more interesting with some bass synth kicking in to provide some melody at which point the noisy undercurrent becomes a bit more demanding. Track 3 is by far the high point of this disc. I really wish that the whole disc was like the last 10 minutes! Outstanding.

Overall, this is a decent disc, but I found myself wanting more from the music. It was almost too subtle. After 40 minutes, I found myself wanting to change discs, not because it was bad, but because it was no longer engaging. Luckily, it got better halfway through track 3. Even so, according to Soleilmoon this CD is limited to 1000 copies and already sold out and out of print. You can still get it on Itunes, but then you are missing out on the exquisite packaging.

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