Music Reviews



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Artist: DEADWOOD
Title: 8 19
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring
Rated: *****
Almost out of the blue comes this shockingly good Swedish one-man project - so good that an authoritative label like Cold Spring is here re-releasing his DIY promo cdr. Deadwood perfectly alternates, or mixes, the sheer, relentless aggression of power electronics and the morbid catatony of death industrial. He obviously doesn't invent anything new within those established genres, but his use of the tools of the trade and, especially, his care for arrangements and details are remarkable. Beginning with the subhuman yells of "Antabus", which in the vocal department clearly betrays Deadwood's involvement in black metal as well, the disc soon swamps in the muddy ambiences of "Crushing on", more subdued but not less menacing. The vehemence of the title track, where he screams his lungs off against a heavy rhythmic hammering, gives way to "Bitch on the...", which could be the companion to "Crushing on" - monotonous synth sweeps, controlled distortion and disturbing whispered/pitch shifted rants. But the most surprising track is probably "Wither Sith", with strange looped cracklings, funeral bells and more synth waves hosting the usual brutal vocal work. As I mentioned above, Deadwood is especially great at layering and structuring, so that even a minimal set of sounds never becomes stale (take synth sounds, for example - I'm definitely NOT a fan of synths, but I really have no complaints here). This care doesn't make the result less aggressive, but rather potentiates that. Truly brilliant stuff, which will surely please even jaded industrial listeners.
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Artist: ANTHONY GUERRA & MATT EARLE
Title: In
Format: CD
Label: L'Innomable
Rated: *****
Recorded in Newtown, Sydney, between 2003 and 2004, "In" is quite a departure from the previous L'Innomable releases I've reviewed, being, my guess, a work of digital improvisation (or composition?), and quite a harsh one at that. I'm really not sure if Guerra and Earle have used softwares or other devices, but anyway, "In" is based on (sometimes painfully) high-end frequencies, soft cracklings and other glassy microsounds. Sometimes the sound is as soft as a tinnitus, sometimes it's a piercing feedback - halfway between, say, the icy self-possession of Richard Chartier and the L-ne roster, and a laptop vandal like Mattin. Uncompromising and hard to listen to in a row, "In" displays a set of amazingly pure sounds, fascinating like a microscopic vision, but in the long run fails to impress, mainly due to its very lack of structure.
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Artist: RIVIERA F (@)
Title: Now We've Got Europe
Format: CD EP
Label: Kinetic Media (@)
Rated: *****
Formed by Russian singer Alexa Marlen and Dutch guitarist Kairo Sin (they met at a London art college) Riviera F were soon after joined by German synth player Severin. The band shared the love for bubblegum pop, trashy glamour and electro sounds. John Peel wanted them for a session the day after he listened to their tracks and after that moment Riviera F didn't stop collecting successes. They played gigs in UK and Europe and when Alexa met Duran Duran's Nick Rhodes he decided immediately to release their first E.P. "International lover" for his Tape Modern label. Outside U.K. Riviera F didn't stop and Kinetic Media recognised them their potential. The result is the three track single titled "Now We've got Europe". The main track and "Information" are two granitic electro pop anthems where retro sounds duet with the misterious voice of Alexa. If you had the chance to check the latest Tiga single you know what a catchy hit single is, well, just try to think about something catchier and you'll have this CDs. The closing track is "Now We've got Europe - Blu mix", a little dilated version of the main track with some stops and go. A perfect single!
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Artist: ACUMEN NATION (@)
Title: What The Fuck?
Format: CD
Label: WTII Records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis Records
Rated: *****
Well, a big and known name already active since more than 10 years returns with a new deal arranged with the US-based label WTII Records. The ACUMEN NATION have in their long career seen all highs and depths a band can experience, starting back in 1995 on the legendary but today inactive Fifth Column Records (CHEM LAB). They were for sure one of the leaders of the US Cold Wave scene back from those days and mostly leaded by labels like Re-Constriction done by Chase or the mentioned Fifth Column Records and with today still famous acts like 16 VOLT, KILLING FLOOR, TINFED, STG, DIATRIBE and, and, and. It was musically said the combination between hard Electro sequences combined with Metal guitars and attitudes, maybe mixed here and there with some Punk elements. For me it is a bit a matter of taste, how much of the Metal guitar riffs I can bear or how much the vocals try to follow any mainstream tendencies... or – how much or better said less the electronic part of the music get reduced to the background. The ACUMEN NATION are giving us here a kind of collection from almost all years of their existence with unreleased goodies, remixes as well as some new songs. All that older stuff is almost reworked and new mastered. It is that typical US-like Metal-inspired music with some hard driving guitar assaults, very reduced "real" Electronic elements and a wild screaming singer. Some good and well knownh guest appearances are here included with Eric Powell of 16 VOLT to take the vocal part on the good starter "The Wreck Of Us". Also Lucia Cifarelli of KMFDM contributes her voice to take part on the track "Life Last Breath". The Punk attitude is rich present here – a fact I hear and enjoy – and tracks like "Revelations Per Minute", which are more linear and with a good amount of electronics are more in my style. For fans of this style of music this release is for sure a must-have, also because that this CD contents several lost remix works and hard to get recordings. A satisfying release for the Electro-Metal genre.
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Artist: PULSE (@)
Title: Pulse
Format: CD
Label: Pippola Music
Rated: *****
It is difficult to explain how many moods PULSE contains and how many influences it shows. Everything starts from the past of the man behind Pulse: Marco Galardi. Marco played world music all around the world with a band called Indo European Music Ensemble but he started playing with rock bands on early '90s. PULSE is his first record as Pulse and the album shows really well all his past experience containing rock elements, rock improvisations and electronic arrangements. Drums are Marco's main instrument and along with several friends (Pankow's Paolo Favati is one of them) he created nine tracks that seems a sort of schizophrenic voyage that touches different music styles using improvisation as main tool. The guitar solos on "Chafanga's time" remember me Fripp. The pads of "Il genio della lampada" along with the treated violin and the noises, create an experimental mid oriental tune. Electronic music is mostly used on the first part of "Arachnos" (the rest is a rock jazz improvisation), on "Kind of man" and on the first half of "The uncles". "Dangeridoo" is the most experimental tune because it is built around percussions, loops and treated guitars. I appreciated the spirit of the album but to tell the truth this isn't my cup of tea, because the whole project is based mainly on rock and jazz. Anyway, if you feel that it could be of your interest, give it a try because it is truly inspired.
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