Music Reviews



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Artist: PAUL BRADLEY
Title: Sepulchral
Format: CD
Label: Twenty Hertz (@)
Distributor: Die Stadt, Drone, Forced Exposure
Rated: *****
Paul Bradley has released a quite impressive series of albums and eps over the last few months, mainly on his own Twenty Hertz and on his usual collaborator Colin Potter's ICR. "Sepulchral" is a limited cdr release (1 track, 38 minutes), and the title may suggest some continuity with the "Immure" 3" on the Locus of Assemblage. In reviewing that nice ep I mentioned Koener and Lull, but this time Bradley's excursions in extreme ambient go even deeper - "Sepulchral" is quintessential solipsism. The sources are "guitars and processing", but as expected from such a title, this is more of a free fall into a bottomless pit. Guitar inputs (feedback?) are expanded into a mist of slowly changing electric drones, assembled in a careful mix: minimal to the max, the work voluntarily avoids peaks or dramatic changes which would ruin the drifting state it creates. It's like watching through a very thick and milky fog - you'll notice lights and shades, but won't recognize any real figure. Terminal ambient from one of the most talented new artists in the genre.
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Artist: KAGO (@)
Title: Piimas
Format: CD
Label: Ounaviks (@)
Rated: *****
Released for Ounaviks, a Kohvi Records sub label, Kago's PIIMAS is something you couldn't expect to listen to. I mean, it's the first time I listen to a folkish record with electronic and punk moments. Lauri Sommer created a strange and personal project by melting together really different styles of music. The 26 tracks of the album are a surprise, because you can't imagine what's next. You can find acoustic guitar based songs (which sometimes are treated electronically), choirs sung in Estonian (I suppose), deranged acoustic punk songs and tracks based on Vonnegut´s novels and Brautigan´s poetry where the piano or the guitar create the background. Being particular and really various the album is safe from dullness and if you are into lo-fi music and you appreciate creativity without being afraid of home recording experiments, try this one.
Artist: mindFIELD (@)
Title: Singularity
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
This Boston based electronic project is run by Gabriel Shaw. Shaw, who is known as a prolific keyboardist, has collaborated with such well known projects as Fear Factory and Killing Joke. He has toured live with Chemlab on their 2005 tour and has been hired by Apple Macintosh to perform at thier computer shows as well as touring as the drummer for MonoChrome. When he tours live he takes fellow keyboardists Regan Miller and Stacia Tucker. Heavily influenced by early 80's bands as well as projects like Orbital Gabriel combines the emotionally driven sounds of the early Wave bands with well structured loops and bass lines to create a sound all his own. Singularity was recorded entirely at home on his PC, a mode many modern electronic independent musicians are taking these days as the album ends up in MP3 format eventually anyway. Singularity tends to be dark and melodic, music that is good for lounging or the dancefloor. Evidently mindFIELD has seen some earlier success when MP3.com was alive and hopefully this release will help to revive Shaw's recognition to the public audiences. There are many nearly ambient backing elements to support the dance rhythms and smooth vocals which comprise this release which I find a welcome compliment as I prefer music that is versatile to different moods and environments, something this definitely fulfills in a skillful and artful manner at that. Gabriel's eclectic tastes and love of music definitely show through fluently within this release. The album follows a rather consistent trend until you come to track six titled "1:1.618" which was initially released as free download from the band's website which features a bit more of a drum-n-bass beel to it with heavily vocoded vocals. This and track nine "An Antiphon Cure" are the most obvious standouts on the disc but not because they are better, just much faster. It's rather difficult to choose any tracks on this release as 'better' than others as they are all unique in their own ways and all beautiful in others.
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Artist: Ego Likeness (@)
Title: Water to the Dead
Format: CD
Label: Noir
Rated: *****
After a remix for the new Cruxshadows remix album "Fortress in Flame" as well as upcoming remix work for Black Tape for a Blue Girl and Voltaire, the six-piece band Ego Likeness present some of their own material with "Water to the Dead". The album is divided into two parts: the "In the Water" part, including the first eight tracks, and the "In the Ground" part, featuring the last three songs of the album (the third of which is a traditional southern folk hymn called just like the southern folk band "Wayfaring Stranger". The elegant mixture of gothic, ebm and dark is focused around the vocals of Donna Lynch and Steven Archer, who are the main songwriters. Slow rhythms, nice beats, piano parts and long guitar chords, synth pads represent the playing ground for these poets of the noir sonic affair (speaking of noir, this album comes out on Dancing Ferret Discs' division called Noir records). All photography in the beautiful album's art work is by Lauren Simonutti.
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Artist: the Cruxshadows
Title: Fortress in Flames
Format: CD
Label: Dancing Ferret Discs
Rated: *****
After the success of "Ethernaut", the Cruxshadows have decided to ride the wave of that success with a remix album featuring exclusive remix versions of "Ethernaut"'s songs by Clan Of Xymox, Subway to Sally, Razed in Black, Neuroactive, Iris, Trevor Brown, Eyes to Heaven, Absurd Minds, Alice2, Ego Likeness, In Strict Confidence, plus a couple of redux/revox versions and the tracks "Dragonfly" and "Edge of the World". 60 minutes, 14 songs and an array of names like this surely will keep fans of one of the most popular electro-goth acts from the US warm and fired up for their next release.
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