Music Reviews



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Artist: ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE
Title: Starless and the Bible Black Sabbath
Format: CD
Label: Alien 8 (@)
Rated: *****

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"Starless and the Bible Black Sabbath" is Alien8’s third release with the Japanese psychedelic ensemble Acid Mothers Temple. They have recently changed the "Melting Paraiso UFO" in the heavier sounding "Cosmic Inferno". With that title, which refers both to King Crimson and Black Sabbath and the album cover, which sees AMT leader Kawabata Makoto standing in for the mysterious woman on the front of the first Black Sabbath album, they're paying a tribute to two bands they love. While this album is certainly a tribute record it doesn’t consist of covers. The band sound like if they are simultaneously paying respect to other Sabbath influenced projects such as Melvins. Having a lenght of about 40 minutes, this work might technically seem like a short album, but the majestic, mind-bending soundscapes you can find in it, are virtually infinite. It’s a monster jam of epic, amped-up proportions that seems more like a tribute to heavy Hawkwind or maybe Monster Magnet. "Starless and Bible Black Sabbath" consists of two tracks, the first is a mammoth, mostly instrumental 34 and a half minute workout full of plodding, heavy riffage and gibbering gobs which are then offset by the swirling, often beautiful atmospherics of the rest of the ensemble. Also notable is the use of two drummers playing virtually the same thing all along the lenght of the track, but with slightly different timing, once again adding a feeling of massive depth and space to the track. The second cut, "Woman from a Hell", is a mere 6:14, but it sounds like an outtake from the Nuggets box set with its jackhammer guitars, phased vocals and acid-rock accents. This piece has more in common with the gentler sound found on the "Mantra of Love" release or the recent "IAO Chant" release, a tribute to Gong. As usual, The Temple blend heavy-metal madness, krautrock pulses, free jamming and outer space sonics resulting into a thrilling, freaky effect. A must!
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Artist: Can
Title: Can DVD
Format: 2 x DVD
Label: Mute records / Spoon records
Rated: *****
As one of the most influential bands in the history of krautrock, Can, have contributed to changing the rules of the game and keep contributing with their many side and solo projects even today. This jam packed double DVD release is a re-release and comes without the third audio disc contained in its original form, but is still a very good testimony of all of that. Among other things, you'll be able to enjoy a documentary (compiled by Rudi Dolezal & Hannes Rossacher), a short tribute film by Brian Eno, footage from the Echo Awards, the "Can-Free-Concert" (shot by Robbie Mueller and directed by Peter Przygodda, who edited most of Wim Wenders films) filmed live at the Cologne Sporthalle in 1972, "Can Notes" (filmed by Hildegard Schmidt and compiled by Przygodda), classic and rare TV performances, studio footage, 4 new 5.1 mixes and the making of them in studio, interviews, photo gallery, biographies of all band members and collaborators, discography, history and more... Most content is in german but has english subtitles. Basically the content will just keep rolling out of of your media player, so if you like Can, it is pretty obvious what you outta do.
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Artist: Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
Title: The Road To God Knows Where / Live at the Paradiso
Format: DVD
Label: Mute
Rated: *****
After the success of "the Proposition"'s movie (written and scored by Cave and Ellis) Mute tops it off with the release of this double NTSC DVD, featuring Uli M. Schueppel's 1990 movie "The Road To God Knows Where" and the 1992 Amesterdam concert "Live at the Paradiso". The former is a b/w documentary film (113min) with subtitles in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish that documents their 1989 coast-to-coast US tour and features footage shot backstage, on stage, at the hotels, in the tour bus and on the road in general. It's "only" 15 years ago but, probably because of the style and the absence of color, it really feels like (in a good, nostalgic and authentic way) you are watching a documentary from the seventies. This first disc also features a vey interesting short film (by the same director) entitled "The Song", with scenes from one of their recording sessions in Berlin and a "City of Refuge" video clip. For more info about the director check out his site www.shueppel-films.de. The latter DVD features a live concert (in color) edited by John Hillcoat (who was also involved in "the Proposition"). Well shot, a lot of cameras, well edited, "Live at the Paradiso" really showcases the intimate and intense cathartic and raw energy that Cave and his Bad Seeds can release from a stage.
If you are a fan of Cave you can't miss this!
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Artist: YUKI KAWAMURA - YOSHIHIRO HANNO
Title: slide
Format: DVD
Label: Lowave (@)
Rated: *****
The joyful wedding between Yoshihiro Hanno's musical gift and the enchanting images of Yuki Kawamura gave us a pure piece of art, I still can’t say if this a must have but it’s top class for real. As many of you can probably deduce a series of clips appropriate for Hanno's melodies necessitates a couple of important characteristis: the first one is an strong lyrical power, the second one is an (apparent) simplicity with which the afore mentioned power is articulated. Different videos for different atmospheres, but there's a "file rouge" that links the nine videos (ten including the bonus one) of this dvd, here your eyes are gonna meet sliding doors, the womb of a void warehouse, breaking pieces of glass, leaves...beautiful leaves, clouds and an ocean of colours. If you think (like I do) some contemporary japanese electronic music is strongly emotionally charged but also gentle and shy (think of Sawako or Minamo for example): the images featuring Kawamura's clips are made out of the same fabric and embody the same spirit. It's hard to choose between the different clips but it's also so easy to fall in love with episode like "Slide" or "Jour de reve" or "Play at dusk"?!...above all in the last case how can you resist to dive plunge your thought s into such a good-looking cumulus of clouds?. When the images aren’t rendering beautifully the unseen passing of time they will guide you into the secret life of elements (take "Ve" for example). In the last case the view I probably really close to that of a an insect or a rock thus we can say the ordinary becomes extraordinary. Hanno's music keeps its enchanting effect intact but with the aid of Kawamura the inward eye experience brings into another dimension.
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Artist: BELTANE (@)
Title: Spell Of Harmony
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Electron (@)
Rated: *****
Beltane released in the past two albums and an EP. Their newest release SPELL OF HARMONY isn't exactly a new album, because it collects seven reworked versions of their previous songs. This EP isn't a dj remix collection of band's songs, because Paul Handley (the man behind Beltane's lyrics and music) did all the work. The MCD contains "Spell of harmony" (coming from "Dyonisian blood" EP and "The fire of becoming' CD), "On the fly", "A self willed commission" (coming from "The fire of becoming' CD), "Dyonisian blood" " (coming from "Dyonisian blood" EP and "The fire of becoming' CD), "The enchanted ocean" (coming from "The fire of becoming' CD), "Foreign shore" (coming from "World of dreams" CD), and "Impasse" (coming from "The fire of becoming' CD). The new versions present a sound that convinced me more respect the original ones. This time the dancey rhythm and the electronic arrangements are the main elements of the tracks and in my opinion this helped giving to the female vocals a support that wasn't present on the old versions. In this way the old electro goth sound is revived and it finds new energy thanks to the new sound.
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