Music Reviews



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Artist: AL MARGOLIS/IF, BWANA
Title: Rex Xhu Ping
Format: CD
Label: Pogus
Rated: *****
Al Margolis is internationally known for his indefatigable activity as a label owner (the historical tape-label Sound of Pig and, of course, Pogus itself) and manager (Deep Listening, XI Records and Mutable Music), but his 20-year old musical alias If, Bwana has gained a cult status as well. "Rex Xhu Ping" presents six compositions featuring Margolis at tapes, electronics and clarinet, with guest musicians Laura Biagi (vocals), Dan (speaker, tapes) and Detta Andreana (tapes, bowed cymbals) and the Orchestre de Fou, an ensemble playing everything from organ to a mysteryous "bikelophone". The six tracks are even radically different from each other, but this doesn't mean the cd sounds incoherent or randomly assorted, which is, I guess, a very positive quality for a composer/performer. The doom-laden "Natraj" opens the album with a looped bass note and screeching electronics, but the sullen atmosphere is soon washed away by "Frog Field", a mix of ecstatic xylophone loops and field recordings, easily the best piece of the disc. "Tattoed Love Muffins" features male/female rants (in English and Italian) over disjointed electroacoustic improvisation, while "Oy vey, Angie", performed by the above mentioned Orchestre, is a dark and beautiful droning piece, another highlight of the work. The last two tracks, "Cicada # 5: Version Bohman" and "Quaderni", experiment on manipulated vocals disintegrating "normal" speech, and would be a suitable soundtrack for some play of Beckett's. As a whole, "Rex Xhu Ping" is a fascinating and almost constantly sombre work, and a successful bridge between historical minimalism and concrete music, and 80's/90's industrial experimentation.
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Artist: INCITE/ /STAPLERFAHRER
Title: Split
Format: CD
Label: Authorised Version
Rated: *****
Germany's Incite/ present(s?) four tracks (+ intro and outro) of geometric microwave techno: frequencies, hisses and pin-like beats structured in algid rhythmic frames. Though it's obviously hard, if not impossible, to add anything to the style canonized by Noto, Ikeda, Pan Sonic and the likes, Incite/ is truly good at what he's (?) doing. Staplerfahrer comes from the Netherlands and explores the more radical and free-form side of the glitch aesthetic, with exercises on pure sine waves forms. His 6-track part of the split begins with pulses sounding like Morse code signals, and ends with noisier and harsher tracks. All very minimal, meaning that the initial sound pattern is maintained to the whole piece, without much variation or composition; so it's interesting but sometimes lacking depth.
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Artist: TERRORFAKT (@)
Title: Cold World Remixes
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis-Records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Records
Rated: *****
A Powernoise/Harsh Industrial act signed to the big Metropolis Records label is a rarity, but it shows that the huge stable of them is growing into all genres and styles. TERRORFAKT are releasing herewith their remix companion to their last year debut, so you get here 10 remix works done by more less known artists like ANGEL THEORY (created lyrics and added their vocals on their more Dark Electro inspired remix for "No Frequency" – a rarity for the Powernoise genre and I can’t find enough praising words for this almost new track...), PNEUMATIC DETACH (offer as usual an excellent remix for "Arsenal" – of course the most harshest piece here...), TOTAKEKE (a heavily Dark Ambient inspired remix for "Zero" with uncountable layers – excellent!) or the always fine RE_AGENT (defines the standard to a high quality level between Dark Electro and Powernoise on their "Arsenal" remix...). Further remix works are done by CERVELLO ELETTRONICO, DISPLACER, SYNTH-ETIK, E-CRAFT, LIFE CRIED and IMPERATIVE REACTION. There is no really bad or boring remix here – I only picked out the four mentioned outstanding works. There are also 5 new harsh tracks at the end of the CD and also here are some nice surprises worth to check out. While "An Age Of Terror", "Corrupt" and "God Of Killers" offer new food to storm the dancefloor, the slow and dark "Elimination Chamber" offers some great delay and reverb effects. But the best piece is the duel with PNEUMATIC DETACH on "Black Hoods In Brooklyn", which features the best elements of both acts. I would like to hear about a further cooperation between this both excellent acts! You’ll get with this remix companion disc a marvelous release which can impress by the good choice of different remixing acts out of different genres. You’ll get too 5 new and worth to get heard tracks by TERRORFAKT, so – what are you waiting for? Get it!
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Artist: LUJHBOIA (@)
Title: Spiral Nerve
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
This is a new and until now almost undiscovered talent out of Argentina, from where we already received some nice tunes done by PUNTO OMEGA, LAMIA or ALIEN PRODUKT. While somebody should teach me a lesson how to speak out correctly their band name, I am sure that this act will also soon get that international response it deserves. Musically I would like to compare them with the old HOCICO, the mentioned PUNTO OMEGA, TAMTRUM or AMDUSCIA on the harsh and danceable tracks – so you’ll get a straight, hard-in-your-face full scale dose of harsh Electro/EBM. Tracks like "Ominous", "Looser’s Letter" or the well hidden 10th track "Punisher Kids" can easily fill the dancefloors of the dark clubs. They offer also some nice instrumental takes like "The Insanity about Flowers" or the title track on which they show a wide musically background with some piano sounds and some decent melodies. While the title names are all in English language, the lyrics and so the rough vocals are without any exception in Spanish. So I don’t know on what they refer in their lyrics here, but they included precautionary the often used "Parental Advisory – Explicit Lyrics" warning sticker on their cover art. The tracks are well done and tasty arranged – a real "rocking" alternative to the lately toothless looking HOCICO. This full length CD is completely self-released and produced – it may could need some more polishing production, but it nevertheless features a remarkable talent. I am sure that we will hear soon more from this band. Check out their website mentioned above, make your contacts and order their stuff - especially if you are familiar with the named acts here.
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Artist: ROSOLINA MAR (@)
Title: Before and after dinner
Format: CD
Label: Wallace (@)
Rated: *****
The new full-length realized by Rosolina Mar celebrates another joint venture between Wallace records and Robotradio after Hell Demonio's debut cd. While paying tribute to the roots of rock, Rosolina Mar differently from many post-rockers are much more into the sound of the 70ies but differently from bands such as Dead Meadows this' just a light influence. If you ever happened to see them live you know how together with Red Warms Farm they're one of best and most active live act around. For what concerns "Before and after dinner" the formula they used for their self tilted second record has remained almost untouched. What we have here is post-rock music well mixed with a seventies' flavor that sounds a lot like Phil Manley's band Golden (less mathematical and much more listenable...oh yes, Manley is the genius of Trans Am). Rosolina's sound is still the same even if this cd is less uniformed than before and apart from the first odd intro it's possible the trio decided to experiment a bit more with song structures and guitar effects. This time the Fabio Magistrali's recording helps to recreate the solid live skill of the group, therefore if you love rock music that moves listeners' feet: this' probably addressed to you. "Before and after dinner" (that looks like a inside joke referred to "Before and after science") has its own alternate moments since not all of the tracks are groundbreaking, but you can bet all of the tracks have been played with an hell of a groove. The cover song of "Flesh dance" deserves a special mention not just for the funny idea to cover the theme of Irene Cara's masterpiece, infact that's also the highest peak touched by Rosolina Mar: trash turned into gold.
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