Music Reviews



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Artist: Apell (@)
Title: Beaver Street & Beyond
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****

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Definitely winner of the "most original way to bribe a music reviewer" award because he enclosed a sweet candy bar in his promo package, this mate is definitely not lacking ideas or innovative approach to marketing and music (a peek at the song titles should be enough proof of that). Melbourne, Austialia, based indiependent artist and producer Anthony Pell's second release as Apell, "Beaver Street & Beyond" represents an original and groovy album of seducvtive electronic music, convincingly flirting with jazzy flavors, rock approaches, 70es glamour, disco-funk fun, dub effects, industrial attitude, drum'n'bass aesthetics, retro samples and more. Mostly downtempo electronica, the tunes are easily captured by the free flying spirit of uptempo break beats that make it even more exciting. The everyday sounds (samples and location recordings from Australia) definitely offer a lot in terms of personal touch and originality, but also a heavy use of guitars (even classical ones) help better define its character. The key of interpretation lays in the eclectic and brilliant mind of this dynamic and pro-active fellow who came up with this music. This album is so diverse and multifaceted in style that it could appe(a)l to a number of different music fans, including those who like Massive Attack, Unkle, Groove Armada, Zappa, Radiohead, John Zorn and many others. The only negative thing I would mention, if I had to, is that even though the album goes by without getting boring and maintaining a certain frenzy excitment, it also lacks in outstanding episodes, or potential hit-singles, if you will. Everything is interesting and cool, but nothing is mind-shattering phenomenal, altough I can see Mr. Pell might be on the right track.
There's quite a buzz around Apell's music, at least in Australia, so I suggest you make some time to figure out if it is worth your time, because it was worth mine.
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Artist: AKAMATSU/INAMI/ISHIGAMI
Title: S/T
Format: CD
Label: Electr-Ohm
Distributor: C.U.E. Records
Rated: *****
A nice 3-way split for these Japanese laptoppers, featuring different souls and approaches to MAX/MSP and DSP sound manipulation. Masayuki Akamatsu opens with an exhilarating rhythm ("foxtrot"), like Philip Jeck gone digital, then switches to elegiac drones ("slowtransition"), menacing electroacoustic unrest ("metastable"), sinewaves and scattered voices ("halfhalt"), and more Jeck-ian crunches and iterations ("briskwalk"). Kazuya Ishigami (also in Daruin, Billy?, Clock Rock Localocks, and owner of Neus318/C.U.E. Records) offers a minimal droning piece ("for Sir Dhomont"), one of quiet minimal loops ("spiritual one-eye"), then in the following 5 tracks goes more brutal with dry-as-a-bone electroacoustic manipulations, a kind of lyophilized Japanoise or L-ne sound gone amok. The demented improv samples work really well in "return to scumbag II". Sunao Inami aptly closes the cd with more subdued drones, gentle crackles, 12k-sounding watercolours ("Still more"), minimal clicks ("Sometimes I get nowhere"). A succesfull release, not because everything here is a masterpiece, but rather because the three performers' excursions cover a spectrum of interesting sounds, and manage to keep the listener's attention focused throughout.
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Artist: [GRENDEL] (@)
Title: Prescription: Medicide
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: NoiTekk (@)
Rated: *****
New release by [VLRK] (vocals, synthesis, programming, sampling) and [4N1T4] (live synthesis and engineering), aka [Grendel], following the wake of their past releases of sombre, melodic electro with harsh, almost black-metal yelled vocals and socio-political concerns. I think it's done fairly well and will certainly please the fans of this genre (it already does, indeed) - to my ears it becomes quite monotonous after a couple of tracks, obviously because of the vocals, which are not bad in itself, but just sound all the same throughout the whole cd. A bit of orchestral arrangement is used in tracks like "Pax Psychosis", and acoustic guitars show up in "Dream", but for the most part it's the usual beats + keyboards mix. Again, well done, but a bit abused I think. The first 1,500 copies come with a bonus 31-minute cd, featuring remixes by Infekktion, Ah Cama-Sotz, Tactical Sekt, Urkom and 4/4 whore, plus a live recording of "Zombie Nation" and the anti-war videoclip of "Pax Psychosis".
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Artist: Exclipsect + Kaebin Yield
Title: Symbiosis
Format: CD
Label: Hive records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis
Rated: *****
This split CD portrays the musical skills of Exclipsect (Mason Yarnell - www.exclipsect.com) and Kaebin Yield (Nico De Gols, of Duncan Avoid fame - www.entity.be) and offers us a preview of what these individual artists' upcoming full lenght releases on Hive will sound like ("Phantom Optics" and Duncan Avoid's "Metaphysics", respectively). The two noise-breakcore shapers take their best shot at mixing raw rhythm noise with IDM, industrial and electronics. If the former is slightly more on the IDM/breakcore side, the latter definitely reaches for those spastic and broken beats that you wouldn't be surprised to hear from some Schematic records' digital hardcore artists such as 09, the Hearts of Darknesses, Shapeshifter. Qualitatively impressive and sonically impactful, "Symbiosis" is a nice eardrum attack that comes in a 200 copies limited edition metal case with inserts (don't know much more about how that looks or presents itself, as we didn't get one unfortunately).
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Artist: IRFAN (@)
Title: Irfan
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Rated: *****

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Deeply influenced by their Bulgarian culture, Irfan insert into their music elements deriving from Le mystères des voix bulgares along with classic phrasings a la Dead Can Dance. I know that at this point it could be difficult for a band to stand such comparison but Denitza's voice is so strong and particular that there's no reason to name any reference. Irfan music has enough elements to be judged as a personal emanation of their personality. Their concept of music is referring to the original concept of it, when music was the emanation of higher elements and when music was created by humans that were in a state of grace. Normally I'm not fond of these sounds but Irfan's album captivated me. Its rhythms and atmospheres will excite your senses while the choruses sing about mystic tales. Are you ready for fifty minutes of acoustic music coming from a land of no time?
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