Music Reviews

Artist: LABORINTUS (@)
Title: Stratilico/12riveroll9
Format: CD EP
Claudio Sichel is a young visual and digital sound artist who has frequently worked, over the last few years, on multimedia projects, and is a member of the Italian experimental music collective Ixem ( This two-track mini cdr is a nice exhibition of Sichel's personal sound lingo. It could definitely appeal to those interested in microsounds, glitches and experimental laptop stuff, but has a kind of warm and bizarre impro slant which gives it a peculiar taste. The two long tracks are improvised sessions assembled using a self built instrument (made with rubber bands, springs, a Jew's harp and an electric motor) filtered through a Reaktor patch with a laptop. The result is a kind of free jazz concert played by moody objects and toys - warm, unpredictable and still very physical and "granulous", thanks to the interaction between the concrete source and the digital filter. Very well done, and definitely keeping faith to the "trade name" Sichel has chosen.
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Artist: NEON DREAM (@)
Title: Anodyne
Format: CD
Label: Equinoxe Records (@)
I'm impressed about how much this band (apart from the female vocals) sounds like the last Iggy Pop mixed up with some goth tunes. The singer's voice is real deep and catchy and the tracks have a solid sound which help a lot by keeping up the energy. As usual I don't like the female vocal (too ethereal and boring for my taste) but the granitic sound which mix Iggy Pop, Sister Of Mercy and Type O' Negative is sounding someway fresh and new to my ears. Of the nine tracks I prefer the most direct and distorted moments but also some ballads reveals good moments full of energy and pathos. Talking about tracks: "Red Light Anodyne" has got a certain crawling touch which remember me the Iggy Pop's ballads. The following track "Entrain" is a little too metal and based on solos to fit my needs of energy, even if it has got a catchy refrain. Let's skip track six (too mellow) and pass to "Overscreening", "Viable" and "Lilith". The first one is a good one while the eight minutes long "Viable" is the weakest of the lot: it sounds like a slow Christian Death ballad including Valor's moanings. With "Lilith" we have got again a good goth rock tune which ends the album. All in all a good album if you think that this is their debut!
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Title: Space And Time
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Cohaagen (@)
SPACE AND TIME is the new release by Ganymede and it's their third album. This time the duo wanted to do things right by packing the CD with a bonus remix CD, wich include also two new tunes (the instrumental "Departure" and a real cool song titled "Messages"), the "Daylight" video and an 80's replica of a car racing game which has got their music as soundtrack. The new ten tracks have always got that certain Pet Shop Boys touch to my ears (because of the vocals) but Ganymede have always been a band of their own. The sound is always based on 80's synthesizers sound with bleeping effects and pop tunes. Songs seems to be more refined and even if SPACE AND TIME is a pop album it isn't as immediate as it could seems. Each time you listen to it, the songs grow inside your ear and little by little they become familiar until you'll find yourself singing them. Talking about the remixed songs, Fr/Action, Blow-Up (cool revisitation of "Hong Kong" with a driving distorted guitar which duel with synth sounds), Nukleon, Drug Of Choice, Raindancer, The Lost Gospels and Axoe did a good work by giving to the songs a dancey or a dark touch (like on the catchy version of "Maybe Forever" remixed by Drug Of Choice). Definitively this is a good album packed with cool stuff... something you can't miss.
Artist: The Rev. Birminghell's Birmingham Most Hated
Title: Who In The Hell You Thank You Talkin' To???-Heiron Music Vol. 1
Format: CD
Label: Heiron Muisc
Imagine Recoil (Alan Wilder) collaborate with the late great rapper/poet/actor Tupac Shukar or number one hip-hop producer Dr. Dre (N.W.A., D.O.C, Snoop Dog, Michele, The Wreckin' Crew, Eminem) hooking up with goth rock Marilyn Manson. What do you think it might sound like? It'll be very interesting, I'll say. Birmingham native, Rev. Birminghell (aka Travis) have did something quite interesting and wild that gotten the white punks, goths, rock and alternative crowd attention at the clubs on the southside. He combined hip-hop with gothic elements. Serious hellish lyrics coming out of this black dark rapper who is influence by Marilyn Manson, Slip Knot and Nine Inch Nails. His debut release "Who In The Hell You Thank You Talkin' To???-Heiron Music Vol. 1 has raised some local underground hip-hop acts and fans eyebrows who just didn't get it when performed some tracks off the cd live at an all black club and audience. I like this guy because his style is absolutely different and the messages he's throwing out is a significant killing. Some of the tracks contains dialogues from movies and sampling of other artists music; from new wave, r&b, rock and alternative. The cd is more hip-hop than goth, but there are some tracks that have a dark doomy soundtrack feel. Rev. Birminghell raps on different subjects that'll make you say hmmmmmm. I have some favorites that I like. "A Prayer For A Black Rose", which contains a sample from Britain's one hit wonder The Verve "something Symphony" (forgot the name of the song's title because the band haven't put out an album since 1994), the song is based on a man who had experienced bad situations in life and trying to have faith by maintaining to believe that love still exist; "Xxplorr" is about sex, love, lust and sin. A romantic love song that have a twist at the end. It contains a sample from Prince "Adore". Track 6 "Love Sweet Love" have a dark feel. It's about so-called christians, from preachers to congregation, who called themselves children of God and be quoting Bible verses and be sinning like hell. The last verse is catchy which I do agree what he said: "America is the fungus corrupting your soul/got deacons raping children 12 years old/I know if I were on the cross all blooded with nails/I would have sent all you hoes to hell!" It also contains a dialogue from Todd McFarland animated "Spawn." "Academic Pimpin'" is a good song for urban radio and clubs. This tripped out track talks about players who be perpetrating and be impressing a fine female everytime one walks by showing what they have and taking out their wallets flashing their stash of cash. The track have a dialogue from Prince movie "Purple Rain." This second favorite of mine "The D.A.I.D (Drownin' Alive In Dirt)" have a melancholic feel that contains a sample of one of Duran Duran 80's hits "Save A Prayer". The song is about a man who lives in a shadowy cold and lonely world with hatred and bitterness in his heart and dream of a perfect family with wife and kids, despite what he sees and go through in life that fills with trials and tribulations in this messed up world. This track have a dialogue from the movie "Scarface." "Rosemary's Baby (Baptism In Hate) is my number one fave. This track caught me off guard when I heard U2 "New Year's Day" being used through out the whole segment of the song, which also contains dialogue with Kingpin talking from the gothic hellish movie "Hellraiser." Even the lyrics is tight with a deep emotional feeling that blew me away, especially in the second verse:They came and witness the death of my innocenceThe birth of the anti-christReflected all the painThat's upon me through my lifeFifty percent of me prays to God at nightWhile the other half wakes up to live in a satanic lifeAnd I blame society for the so-called leadersPerverts and hypocrites, backstabbersAnd phony ass preachersNever knew hate until a racist called me a niggerNever knew greed until a brother killed another over figuresBut I won't discriminate when I say fuck you allIf I were Jesus on the cross the whole world would fallCause I can never forgive the worldFor what it did to meCorrupted me with hate and greedFrom my head to my feetThe cd and cover contains explicit lyrics and graphics. The Rev. is on the back cover dressed in a black robe with make-up, a drawing of a rose on his forehead and fingers polished black looking like a satanic priest. He's holding a rose and a cross is in the background glowing. Rev. is a genius for coming up with a unique original idea. It may sound crazy, but he pulled it off extremely well. This is a must listen!
Artist: The Mystic Underground (@)
Title: Mary's Dead
Format: CD EP
Label: Self Release (@)
This is a 4 song ep by New York synth-pop based The Mystic Underground, who I find one of a kind. As me being a electronic/gothic/darkwave artist, producer, music journalist, and dj, I find not too many good synth-pop bands I can indulge myself to listen to. The only bands I like are: Velvet Vimoz (also techno and trance), Neuroactive, Provision, Endora, The Echoing Green, Mesh, Spray, Xero-G, Joy Electric, Psyche, Little Tin Box and Thou Shalt Not. The Mystic Underground is added to my liking list because I admire them for not trying to be the next DEPECHE MODE or copy their sound like majority electro acts do or should I say trying so. This band has gotten my attention ever since their 2001 single ep release "The Wanderers". "Mary's Dead" is their new 2003 drop to the public. It's danceable and definitely for the clubs and college radio. A remix "Mary's Dead (Dj mix us in the mix)" that's 7 minutes long is also included. It have a dark twisted feel. My favorite line in the song is "And as the casket door shuts tight/a dark cloud rains over this town." The song is about a woman whose love been taken for granted and ended up being murdered by her estrange boyfriend. Sounds like something I hear on the news just about every week. Two other tracks on disc, "Town" and "I Remember Everything" have a nice beautiful piano melody are good to get into. The lyrics are strong and emotional. The singer, Vlad, sounds like Andy Bell from Erasure. The Mystic Underground sound is purely 100% ORIGINAL.
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