Music Reviews



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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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anymore
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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anymore
Artist: Marc Van Eyck (@)
Title: Technically Normal
Format: CD EP
Label: Team For Action (@)
Distributor: Hysterias
Rated: *****
Studio Pagol leading team member Marc Van Eyck's solo venture translates his main band's verb into a more agnostic and disillusioned version of minimal electronic music. Stripped of vocal performances (per say) and of the most obvious world music influences, Marc's own offering is a lot darker and mysterious. Squared minimal-techno beats, noise-polluted layering, scary sound reiterations, alien rhythmical figures, screaming tucked away distorted guitars and at times even plain old simplistic arcadic computer music. Personally I prefer the first half of the record over the second: the first three tracks seem stronger, more thought out, better arranged and more just sound like they have more to communicate. This is more like what you'd expect from some Warp, some M-Tronic or some Hive records releases.
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anymore
Artist: Studio Pagol (@)
Title: The Rest of the World
Format: CD
Label: Maboul Prod / Team for Action (@)
Distributor: Benelux : Hysterias
Rated: *****
After "Serendipity", the Belgian collective Studio Pagol is back with a new full length album that carries on the tradition of giving birth to a heavily europeanized but clearly indian- and eastern-inspired magmatic and magnetic mixture of pop and electronica, fueled by great musicianship and live instrumentation. The thirteen tracks once again prove that they know exactly what buttons to press in the Pagol Studio. Female vocals. If you like Von Magnet, Radio Derwish, Mimetic, Mlada Fronta, Young Gods, Asian Dub Foundation, Muslimgauze, Chemical Brothers but also more extreme stuff you'll feel right at home with this action team!
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Epitaph for John
Format: CD
Label: Korm Plastics
Rated: *****
John Watermann (1935-2002) was an influential, if underestimated (mainly due to limited distribution of his discography, except a couple of more famous discs), experimental composer, and also a writer, painter and sculptor. Diagnosed with incurable myeloma in 2000, he got in touch with Frans de Waard (Freiband, Beequeen, Korm Plastics, etc.) and they started working on a field recording based piece, which was never finished. When Watermann passed away in 2002, de Waard thought of this special tribute, featuring artists Watermann had collaborated with (Ralf Wehowsky, Asmus Tietchens and Merzbow) re-reading his final piece "Toowong Cemetary", here aptly left as the last track. De Waard, present as Freiband, uses as a source for his piece both Watermann's recording and all the other contributions. The result is a heartfelt and artistically successful farewell (no track is less than good), and also a quite varied one, though the original field recordings act as a sort of fil rouge throughout, from Tietchens' electroacoustic experiments to Merzbow's noise bath to Freiband's microsounds. Wehowsky, incorporating sounds from "Toowong Cemetary" in a composition with sitar and "handorgel-manipulation", is probably offering the most challenging and layered piece, but the quality is consistent throughout. Besides its commemorative intent, "Epitaph for John" is an excellent and much recommended cd. More tribute pieces, based on the same sources, are available here: www.microsound.org/watermann; and don't forget that Cold Spring is about to reprint Watermann's masterpiece "Calcutta Gas Chamber".
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