Music Reviews



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Artist: TOTAL MACCHINA (@)
Title: Dream Machine
Format: CD
Label: Kinetik Media (@)
Rated: *****
Total Macchina is a side project of John Langdon (a.k.a. Inform3r) and Katya Casio which are both active also as Hong Kong Counterfeit. DREAM MACHINE is their first release and it contains ten gems of electronic purity. The sound cherishes '80s but John and Katya for sure dig also electronic music of the '70s. Listening to tracks like "Elephant storm" you immediately think about Jean Michel Jarre (of the Oxigene or Magnetic Fields period) or Kraftwerk when you listen to "Cash register". Total Macchina balance really well the dance bits with the experimental side of their music, thanks to the dissonating melodies or the arrangements (most of the tracks are instrumental), maybe. This blend of rhythms and research of the inusual (check "Grid jumper", "Valley of the kings"or "Faded photograph") create a sort of dark vein that give to their music something that isn't that normal to get nowadays: creativity. Great album that makes you wish for more! Follow them...
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Artist: HANA MIYA
Title: Hank! The Herald
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Sonic 360
Rated: *****
"Hank! The Herald" is a classic X-mas carol and Hana Miya make of it a tortured soul's song. Her internt was of playing a three minutes forty one seconds song that makes everyone stop listening to classic lyrics and whishing for peace on earth. The song is arranged with piano, voice and few lines of strings and it is very touching. A sort of female Nick Cave version of a carol that is brought to you by Sonic 360. P.s. As always this is a download only release.
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Artist: DIORAMA (@)
Title: Repale
Format: CD
Label: Accession-Records (@)
Distributor: Indigo
Rated: *****
Not really a complete new CD by the German Electro-/Wave act DIORAMA, more a kind of collection of unreleased tracks recorded during some studio sessions, rare pieces, or remix works are featured here. "Repale" offers an excellent insight view of the band’s work ranging from real Futurepop anthems like "Drowned" or "Contradictive (yes = no version)" up to the both remix works done by KARTAGON ("Logic Friends") and FROZEN PLASMA ("Friends We Used To Know"). Also some slight Electro/EBM tunes are here with "The Girls (Bombay Overdose version)" or with "The Rich Are All Perverted" and both can satisfy. I must say that I am quite impressed how strong their compositions are and how easy they are able to realize their musically vision into listen-able tunes. The whole album gets never boring, it’s moreover a strong monument of the music of this introvert duo. Highlight of this almost 80 minutes long masterpiece is the "Chamber Version" of "Leaving Hollywood" where they place a fine melodic piano line with smooth vocals – a track you won’t forget already after the first listen! There are not too many releases out of this music genre which get consumed over and over again – and also my "outer-scene" wife likes it a lot! I think there can’t be any better words to describe how marvelous this release is!
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Artist: EXILANATON
Title: EBM Is Not Dead
Format: CD
Label: Codeline-Records (@)
Distributor: SX Distribution
Rated: *****
A new label from Germany on the horizon presents here its first release, the debut of a new EBM/Electro duo called EXILANATION, a band which maybe some of you have seen as a support act for FUNKER VOGT on their last tour. "Trancey sounds and hard edged rhythms", so the description in a promotional slogan and indeed – some of the presented tracks fit with this. This also means that real classic EBM is hard to find here – the music of this duo can be more placed into the currently up-to-date Hellektro/Futurepop-inspired scene. I find it quite annoying to share this thinking in categories for only one real style of music, but some hard and maybe elitist old-school EBM fans could stand on this. So if I have to do comparisons to describe the music of this duo, I would name acts like ACCESSORY or yet FUNKER VOGT to be the most in their vein. The band tries a lot to fill in diversity into their music and compositions, hard and danceable rhythmic tracks here with "Killer Application", "Confusion" or "Apocalyptica", ranging to a female leaded track ("Destiny"), up to a Futurepop-like live version of the title track. They do well and flawless on the hard mentioned pieces here, but my favorite track is "Decision", which is a collaboration with GODS FUSION, a project more based into Dark Electro music which will soon release its debut on Codeline-Records. Some flaws are also present here, the use of boring and repetitive speech samples ("Stronghold") could need some improvements, also the female vocalist on the track "Destiny" sounds more sweet than strong enough to win the duel with the rotating sequences. As a bonus you’ll get here five remix works by this band produced for the like SERO OVERDOSE or PANDIQUE to name the best known acts. Nothing outstanding here – the better tracks of EXILANATION are their own compositions. This CD is an up-to-date produced release which finally cannot make clear the question if EBM is dead or not. Nevertheless it is strong and diverse enough to grab some attention. Check also back the website of the label if you are interested in a different kind of copy protection – a project they seem to work hard on...
Dec 20 2005
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Artist: Atomica
Title: Metropolitan
Format: CD
Label: Positron Records (@)
Rated: *****
Chicago-based New York City-originating eccentric project Atomica will trigger memories of the best record of urban downtempo, orchestral trip hop and female-fronted pop-electronica that the nineties have given us. The trio's bold and nonchalant approach to the matter evokes rapturing scenarios of fresh yet nostalgic tunes enriched by intense and passionate vocals and visionary lyricism. Portishead, Conjure One (these two above everyone else), Lamb, Bethany Curve, Taxi, Drop the Fear, Rebro and other bands of that type jump to mind immediately, but their music is so un-derivative and eclectic that I am sure you'll be thinking of loads more names that would complement that sentence quite nicely. Atomica have a lot of potential. Emotional and truth-transpiring lyrics, skilled and well-rounded song-writing, powerul and full sound... maybe the only thing they miss to make it big time is a couple of catchy hooks that I'll remember and be singing after listening to "Metropolitan" a couple of times. Atomica is definitely a band that I'd say is worth checking out.
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