Music Reviews



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Artist: Satanicpornocultshop
Title: Zap Members
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Sonore
I had no idea what to expect. With a name like satanicpornocultshop, you would think that they were going for shock value, sort of like Smell and Quim. When I put it in, I was pleasantly surprised. But most people who put this into the CD player will probably respond with "what the hell is this?!" Here’s the short answer. It’s a lot like Nurse With Wound and Negativland. If that sounds good, read on. One problem that I see with this album is that it’s almost too disjointed. In a review of a previous album, Anorexia Gas Baloon" David Cotner described them as follows: "While the pubicity touts Satanicpornocultshop as "surrealist hip-hop", it would be more correct to advertise the group as 500 channels with a beat." This album follows a similar recipe, which makes sense considering that this is a compilation of remixes. What is not cut up is reversed or stretched. There are 19 tracks on the album that wade through a variety of styles all mashed together. "Punusunic > Remix" is a track I could see becoming a hit at "Club Acid Junkies." "To Be > Feat. Electronic Café" moves us into weird lounge. Other tracks sound like circuit bent video games. And then there are the covers. The covers are a lot of fun. "Kylie Minogue > Arabic Belly Dance Music" is like a disco from hell cover. A cople of tracks rip off lyrics from Duran Duran’s "Save a Prayer" in interesting ways. The last track, "59054087 (reprise)" weighs in at 13:55, making it the longest track on the disc. However, it behaves more like several tracks put into one. It’s more mellow than the others and has a synth line playing the music from "Imagine" by John Lennon slamming into War Pigs by Sabbath and voice speaking about killing the President of the United States. There are a lot of other songs mixed in as well. This sounds a lot like smething Negativland would do. Political commentary mixed with pop culture references.The cover art is an interesting artistic collage (what else would you expect from a band like this?) Overall, this is interesting, but definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. If you like spastic cut up music that never quite descends completely into noise, this is a good place to look.
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Artist: Ikon
Title: Destroying the World to Save It
Format: CD
Label: Static Sky Records
I first heard Ikon on the compilation "Ceremonial" in which they provided an amazing cover of Joy Division’s "Shadowplay." I liked it, so I picked up Flowers of the Gathering, which reminded me of old Clan of Xymox - still kind of a rock feel, but with a lot of synth and atmosphere. I had not really thought of them for a few years until this album arrived in my mailbox. This album downplays the atmosphere in favor of a more gothic rock feel; this is a lot more guitar oriented than the earlier releases that I have heard. For the most part, this album is your standard gothic rock, sort of reminding one of old Rosetta Stone. "Psychic Vampire," the single off this disc, is pretty good for the dance floor, but I’ll be honest - I miss the old atmospheric sound.

But that’s just part of the story here. It’s not all just gothic rock and there are some standout tracks here. For example, "God Has Fallen From the Sky" is a nice track that sounds a lot like Death in June circa "But What Ends When the Symbols Shatter?" Considering the fact that Ikon has covered a few DIJ tracks, it’s pretty obvious that they have been influenced by DIJ and this track shows it. "My Crucible" and "Path of the Unknown" are also quite good, having a nice mix of synth and guitar.

But there are some tracks here that seem a bit out of place with the rest of the album. For example, "Ashes of Blue" is a softer track with female vocals that just doesn’t seem to fit here. "Slaughter" is a bit weird with some tribal chanting and whispers. Doesn’t seem to fit with the goth rock thing. But kicks into synth and keeps chanting and whispering going. I like the track - sort of like Dead Can Dance meets old Ikon – but it seems out of place here.

Over all, if you thought older Ikon was too mellow and wanted them to rock, you’ll be happy with this disc. On the other hand, if you want the atmospheric, dreamy Ikon, you won’t find a lot of that here.
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Artist: FRAME (@)
Title: Afo 4
Format: CD + DVD
Label: Mousike Lab (@)
Based on ambient sounds and glitch moments the new Frame's CD is a multifaceted sound and visual project. While their sounds are calm and still (rarely you can find frenetic moments and when they embrace them you can find also jazzy moments) the images created by Nina di Majo are a constant movement and they are based on red and blue colors. Musically Frame recall the ambient recordings of David Sylvian mixed with i.d.m. The nine tracks of the CD are the right soundtrack for experimental movies and I'm asking if they could work without a visual counterpart. It's also hard to give an answer to this question, because sometimes they are able to create a good atmosphere on their own and on other moments they tend to be too still. The particularity of the project is that the DVD you can find along with the CD hasn't been created before the music. AFO4 isn't the soundtrack of Di Majo's movie but her images are the visual transposition of Frame music. I can't tell I loved the "movie" because it is based on modern theatre (body movements and similar things) and it isn't my cup of tea.
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Artist: TECHNO SQUIRRELS
Title: Mute
Format: CD EP
Label: Rave Police (@)
Rated: *****

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Techno Squirrels is a new band coming from California but Lisa and Ryan met in Liverpool back in 1999. Lisa grew up in Sweden and after England she moved to L.A. They had both a musical past (Ryan played in different rock bands) but they find themselves stuck into techno rhythms. This forced them to find a way to collaborate just to make their own music. Rebirth and Reason software helped them sharing files and thanks to this they released through Rave Police their first single MUTE. MUTE contains two original tracks ("Mute" and "405") plus two remixes of the main track. The first time I listened to their music I immediately thought about Madonna's "Ray of light" because Techno Squillers' music is poppy and dancey at the same time. I must admit that the two tracks are nice but I'm not screaming because of them. They sound too polished for my tastes but they for sure could work well for the wider audience. The remixers took the original track and tried to experiment a little bit with it giving to it a nineties techno sound ("Jonah Afterglow coming to LA Mix") or a eighties analog version ("The Puff remix Feat. Crisp").
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Artist: AMBASSADOR21 & CONVERTER (@)
Title: New Doctrine About Trinity
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Invasion Wreck Chords (@)
Rated: *****
Available for free at www.ambassador21.com the two tracks CD NEW DOCTRINE ABOUT TRINITY sees Ambassador 21 collaborating with Converter just to make a pulsing track based on a rhythmical drone mixed with feedback with Natasha's and Alexey's rage that raise at two minutes from the end of the track. The second track is the original version of the track recorded in 2002. The original version is less distorted respect the nowadays sound of Ambassador 21 and it remember me the dancey experimentations of SPK but without the fashion side of it. The original track is more based on vocals and rhythms than on a melodic line and this make you appreciate also the work of the new version, because it is really different. The video is based on the original track and it is the most professional video made by the band ever. Like their music it is based on fragmented parts (coming from live performances, factories shots, etc) which tend to create a chaotic but organized flux of images.
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