Music Reviews



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Artist: The Soil Bleeds Black (@)
Title: Mirror of the Middle Ages
Format: CD
Label: The Fossil Dungeon (@)
Rated: *****
Possibly the most important medieval music outlet in the United States, and if not that, definitely one of the most representative of the genre, The Soil Bleeds Black (composed by the Riddick brothers, Mark and Michael, musicians/graphic designers/label managers, and by singer Eugenia Wallace) are back out on the road to middle age folk perdition and the paganism of the six senses with their sixth official release. Originally released as a limited edition vinyl with slightly different tracklist and graphics, this "Mirror of the Middle Ages" comes out as an eco-packaged CD, an entire year after the 12", which isn't the most fair course of action in my opinion... Musically it shows a band striving to achieve a greater authenticism. This choice is quite obviously revealed in the selection of more traditional tunes and the type of instruments (a departure from electronic gear and an embracing of acoustic percussions, flutes and other breath instruments, stringed instruments etc). In the past years I can only remember one band that was equally intense and realistic (the italian medieval art collective La Camerata Mediolanense) so if you are a lover of this genre you shouldn't miss out, unless of course you already have the 12".
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Artist: Dawn Desiree
Title: Dancing, Dreaming, Longing...
Format: CD
Label: The Fossile Dungeon (@)
Rated: *****
Ex-Rain Fell Within singer, Dawn Desiree is now pursuing her solo career as a pianist and soprano. She dives into ethereal compositions surrounded by arrangements of strings, breath instruments, percussions and synthetic electronics, and sustains the atmospheres with textures of piano and multiple layers of vocal overdubs. After her well received 2001 CDR demo and her track on the Zillo compilation (the legendary dark/wave/goth/electro publication from Germany) as well as several past and ongoing collaborations, Miss Dawn is looking to carve out her own dimension in the not so little niche of this genre. Surely fans of dark-wave and ethereal music will have plenty of appreciation for this work of hers, which was released in a nicely packaged digipack by The Soil Bleeds Black's label The Fossil Dungeon. Top notch production, design and presentation.
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Artist: Laibach
Title: WAT
Format: CD
Label: Mute (@)
Distributor: Mute Bank
Rated: *****

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That's right, you heard the news! Laibach is finally back! 7 years after their release of "Jesus Christ Superstars", one of the most original, unique, ground-breaking, controversial and thought-provoking collectives that walked planet earth, set another milestone in the history of fine politico-cultural industrial warfare. Like most geniuses in human history they have first been crucified, prosecuted, banned, censored and boycotted by their government, only to later be honored and acclaimed by the same suit-dressed pigs. For the younger of you who might not remember or know them, Laibach (which is german for Ljubljana, their home-town) formed in Slovenia in 1980 and, besides released amazing and extraordinary records and touring the world many times over, they co-founded NSK (Neue Slovenische Kunst) a guerrilla art collective which now exists as its own virtual (or electronic) state, with embassies and consulates all around the world and a number of passport-holding NSK citizens exceeding that of Monaco or the Vatican. Art for politics and politics for art has always been the approach of Laibach, who have always provoked their audiences with visual, verbal and sonic statements against capitalism and religion. They dress up in combat boots and military uniforms, stripped of their original pins and stars, decorated with symbols of nazism, fascism and stalinism (which is what got them banned in their country). Their musical style has always been characterized by grand, massive, majestic, pompous and martial sound that is powerful and dramatic, as well as deeply emotional and violent. Big fat choruses contrast with marching military peace and humongeous industrial rhythmical patterns grind, crush, hammer and pound their way through textures of electronics, symphonic orchestras of brasses and strings, male and female choirs and so much more that you have to buy this record to really get the entire picture! Their singer Milan Fras' brutally gore ogre voice and its characteristic Eastern European accent, recites anthems against war, capitalism and the instable balance of powers in the world. From "Tanz mit Laibach" (Dance with Laibach), a smart and ironic celebration of the friendship between Americans and Germans (also featured as a video clip on the ROM of this hybrid CD), to the tales of Barbarian (or Bush-arian?) invasions of "Now You Will Pay", to the powerful german and english words of "Ende" and other great songs with astonishing lyrics ("Anti-Semitism", "Satanic Versus", "Du Bist Unser"). Libach pretty much cover all grounds and offer you a perfect description of what is happening and where we are going in our world, whose recent events have certainly influenced the entire production of this album, if not the actual decision to come out with a new work. "WAT" comes in a regular jewel case CD packed inside a cardboard sleeve. It has no lyrics (which is too bad, considering that the lyrics are absolutely terrific and amazing!). Given the times and the time that elapsed, I think it is normal to expect a heavier use of electronics, and Laibach certainly know how to incorporate electronics with industrial music, we know that for sure. Their signature sound is still alive and kicking and this is not your average band's weak come back to the scene, but rather a long-awaited powerful return of the anti-gods and pioneers of revolutionary industrial art, the way industrial was originally conceived, as a political statement and a merciless musical genre. That's what I am talking about. Express the inexpressible.
Artist: Orbital Grooves (@)
Title: DJ MIX
Format: CD
Label: Orbital Grooves (@)
Rated: *****
Orbital Grooves is a internet radio station formerly known as Dance BBS radio that have over 500 djs spinning breaks, trance, drum 'n' bass, house and jungle from all around the world. Dj Illuminus, who lives in Fort Myers, Florida, sent me a promo sample disc copy of house music with tribal and tech. Two long mix tracks on the cd is by two different djs doing their music mixing thing. First is Diablo, who is held out of Las Vegas, and then the next one is by Chad Will. 70 minutes of dance floor electronica grooves that will move your body. Tune in to the internet radio and get the joy and high energy positive mind blowing club dance music by different talented djs.
Mar 12 2004
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Artist: Rector Scanner (@)
Title: Vocoder
Format: CD
Label: Pandailectric (@)
Distributor: EFA Medien
Rated: *****
Rector Scanner is a relatively new EBM/electro one-man band from the Berlin area that draws inspiration from Kraftwerk, Ligths of Euphoria, Depoche Mode, Klirrfaktor, Armageddon Dildos etc. Altough Agro hasn't been making music foor very long, he quickly scored a deal and got involved in loads of remix works for a number of different bands including Armageddon Dildos, Mastertune, Final Selection, Massiv in Mensch, Legacy of Music, R-O-B-A-T-O and others (quite an inspirational role model to new comers, I would hope). "Vocoder" is not a collection of all these remixes (like you might expect), but rather Agro's very own interpretation of all the influences that have made up his listening experiences and his friendships. Germaniac EBM textures are mixed in with dance-friendly anthems, funky atmospheric productions ("Spielzeug" for example is retro-fashioned but not too derivative, which makes it interesting) and sparkling and popping electro-werkian connotations sprinkled all around the record. You may think of it as sci-fi retro-pop electro body music, or something along those lines... The title "Vocoder" seems to have been chosen wisely, if you know what I am saying... Lyrics are in german and the booklet has a very nice art work.
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