Music Reviews



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Artist: THE-PULSAR (@)
Title: Awakening
Format: CD
Label: Advoxya Records (@)
Distributor: Last Exit
Rated: *****
Electro/Industrial music awakes currently in East Europe and Advoxya Records is present at the frontline to service us with some not expected talented acts like they did with the Estonian band CYCLONE B. THE-PULSAR is a three men outlet from the heart of a growing Russian scene which has found its home in St. Petersburg. The band already exists since 10 years but their output is limited to only three demo with the last one released back in 1999. And now, 6 years and a lot of more experience later, this trio is now ready to release its debut called "Awakening" with 11 tracks and 63 minutes playing time. Their music is influenced by diverse EBM structures but they have also to offer some not expected programming surprises. I would tend to qualify their music in far away vein of acts like NOXIOUS EMOTION for example. Most steady EBM beats, some nice old school influenced EBM sequences and here and there some melodic ingredients as well. The vocals are dark, melodic but mostly without overwhelming distortions, sometimes they add some vocoder effects to it. Personal favorites I have found in "Huge Satisfaction", an excellent played EBM piece with hard ripping sequences and in the bombastic melodious piece "Father" with a very personal lyrical content. Another remarkable piece is the track "Stalker" with some cool sounding Russian voice samples and a globally dark atmospheric touch. THE-PULSAR have produced a nice and diverse debut album and they are acting well for a newcomer. There is still enough music to discover behind the iron curtain and THE-PULSAR give a decent release to follow this trend. Well done, guys.
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Artist: ELIO MARTUSCIELLO (@)
Title: Aesthetics of the machine
Format: CD
Label: Bowindo (@)
Distributor: Fringes
Rated: *****
Ever heard about Elio Martusciello?...I think you should, above all if you're into exsperimental music and electronics. This musician plays in the ensemble of Ossatura and recorded for/with: Elliott Sharp, Recommended records, Staalplaat, Splas(h) records, Goethe Insitut, Giancarlo Schiaffini, Metamkine, Chris Cutler, Otomo Yoshihide, Sachiko M, Christian Calon...just to name a few (yes, a "few"). Anyhow, beside being a versatile musician he's a composer and a researcher and this cd joins together the last two sides of his complex personality. "Aesthetics of the machine", following the words of Martusciello, goes beyond the "point of listening" and sometimes is much closer to Cage "idea of performance" than anyone else. The sounds on which this cd is based often cross the soil of the auditory apparatus: "ultrasounds" (up to 20kHz) and the infrasounds (down to 16Hz) and when these sounds are audible, sometimes it's a total blast (on the back of the record there's a warning, infact cause of the loud-recording of the release and the power of the frequencies the record could damage ears and hi-fi systems...and hell knows he's not joking at all!). Martusciello uses the adjective "concrete-electronic" and explains it, but I can't say if that helps to figure out how it may sounds since it's such a singular audio-experience it's hard to imagine something like that. If power-electronics someday will become academic I'm sure Martusciello will be the headmaster and it's funny since this record is not meant to be power-electronics at all but it's is twice as solid and thrice as hard (even if you try to turn the volume down). This work has much to do with theory and aesthetics (therefore with philosophy), probably it goes beyond what many people means with music but that's the point. There's music borne out of an idea, but there's music that fills you mind with ideas, this release "just" instills big question marks into the poor head of the listener...if you think that's not extraordinary , tell me what then?.
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Artist: LASSE MARHAUG
Title: Carnival of Souls
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Thisco
Rated: *****
"Carnival of Souls" is a 20-minute track culled from the soundtrack done for Tom Lohberg's short film "The Letter". I have no clue about the nature of that work, but the rather ghastly stills used by Marhaug in the layout, and the title he's chosen for the ep ("Carnival of Souls" being, if I'm not wrong, a cult ghost movie), suggest something creepy. The piece begins with almost total silence, then a bass-heavy drone starts to billow, until it eventually - around the 9th minute - bursts into the harsh noise Marhaug is very well known for. The second half of the work is a somewhat more disjointed series of fragments - disquieting field recordings, fast-paced noise cut ups and all-out feedback. Still quite nice, but I definitely like the drone+noise mix of the first half better. I'd be pretty curious to see how these sounds are mixed with the movie.
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Artist: ELLENDE
Title: Heroin
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: AFE Records
Rated: *****
A nice addition to this mysterious Dutch/Japanese project's extended discography, "Heroin" is a 20-minute piece as grim as the title and the graphics suggest - the concept obviously being taking one's like via drug overdose. Ghost voices crawl in and out of the sullen drones, and Ellende surely know(s) how to mix all the different sounds in a cohesive composition. Even the final litany, apparently filtered through a vocoder, sounds credible and effective. Limited to a mere 50 copies, so hurry while you can, as it's very good.
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Artist: COSMICITY (@)
Title: Definitive
Format: CD + DVD
Label: Kiss My Asterix Records (@)
Rated: *****
After riding the synthpop waves for seven years Mark Nicholas decided to give an end to his project Cosmicity. For about a decade the name of the band has been linked to A Different Drum label as they kinda "grew" together. DEFINITIVE is a good sum of what Cosmicity have been but it hasn't been released by ADD as the Kiss My Asterix label released it giving to it also a visual counterpart because along with the nineteen songs compilation you can find an hour long DVD titled TWO CAMCORDERS & AN iMAC. The DVD contains different moments of private life deeply connected to Mark's music. It is a sort of home made documentary of the band story and by watching it you'll realize that behind the melancholy taste of Cosmicity's music there's a funny guy who's trying to have fun with people/friends bonding with them kindly. So, you'll find the different recording sessions of the five Cosmicity's albums (one of them actually is a fun re-creation of the recording session with trained actors....yeah, you wish they were! Actually they are Mark and his wife Sara). Along with tour shots and sessions you'll find also the "Technology" and "Sedgwick" videos. After watching this DVD you'll have the impression of knowing Mark a little more, you'll appreciate his attitude and you'll realize that his music is genuine. The CD compilation will make you know a little bit more the band's music, if you haven't listened to them yet. Only the first two pre A Different Drum CDs have been excluded, so if you want to check them you've got to get "The vision / The moment" double CD separately. Strangely enough, the compilation go backwards starting with the tracks from the last album "Escape pod for two" (four tracks are included from this album) and arriving to four tracks picked up from "Isabella" (passing through Pure's "I want you", "The princess of Detroit" and "Hotel Allegro Chicago", The Binary Language Of Love's "This city", "Digital delays" and "Technology", Resynthesized's "Orange", Reinassance's "Too far gone" and "Fate and time" and Forgive My Sins' "As long as it takes"). With nineteen tracks you'll have the opportunity to check Mark's synthpop dancey melancholy and you'll ask yourself how will sound the new tracks his preparing. Well, you can check two of them at his new website www.marknicholas.org: they sound less melancholy, they are more pumping and a bit distorted. Also the lyrics seem different: they sound darker than usual. Anyway... I think at this point if you have already checked the Kiss My Aterix website to purchase your copy for 18$ and checked the new tracks leaving to Mark your thoughts about his new stuff. ;-)
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