Music Reviews



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Artist: DEEP END
Title: Kiss the Light Goodbye
Format: CD
Label: Fratto 9 Under the Sky/Zahr
Rated: *****
This is the first and much improved full length from Italy's finest post rockers, after the mcd "Tsunami" and a 10" split with Giardini di Mirò. A fourth member, Enrico Brunoldi (keyboard, synth, samples, laptop), has joined the original line up, formed by Andrea Ferraris (vocals, guitars, bass, samples, glockenspiel and accordeon), Umberto Fabbri (drums, cymbals, samples) and Lolli Sacco (guitar, e-bow and effects), and this obviously makes a difference; but it's also clear that the band itself has become more mature and experimental over the years. Deep End maintain their evolved indie/post-rock background (with some similarities with Shipping News, later Calla and A Minor Forest), which shows through heartfelt and epic songs like "Home is" and "...the fires"; but everything is blurred, scattered and rearranged through a wise use of effects, electronics and post-production. Many instrumental tracks definitely show the interest of band members for Kranky-oriented ambient, quite obvious since Brunoldi and Ferraris are also involved in the promising project One By One We Are All Becoming Shades. A positive aspect is that this more experimental approach, and an extreme attention to production and mixing, don't reduce the emotional impact of the work, which is a sort of sombre and troubled sketchbook. However, and I'm writing this as a fan of the band, I feel Deep End still have to find a balance between their different artistic inputs, and maybe develop a more powerful and darker sound, similar to the one of their intense live sets. Thus said, this is an important album.
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Artist: LAWRENCE ENGLISH
Title: Happiness Will Befall
Format: CD
Label: Crónica
Rated: *****
I regret I don't know English's back catalogue, which ranges from concrete music to electronica to guitar-based compositions, as this album on Crónica is a real treat. Recorded in his native Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and South India, and lavishly accompanied by Aki Onda's photographs, "Happiness Will Befall" is a collection of intimistic minimal music unfolding at a very slow pace. Its immediate reference is Oren Ambarchi's masterpiece "Suspension", especially in tracks like "Adrift", "I've been happy like this" or "Relocated (UTC)", with their understated but emotionally explosive guitar playing; but also more droning and ecstatic pieces like "Two weeks I'll never have again" and "Within confines of glass", closer to Stars of the Lid's melodic approach to ambient, are successful compositions. Out of the more humane forms of minimalism I've listened to lately, this is undoubtedly one of the best.
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Artist: EX-P
Title: Ancora Saigon
Format: CD
Label: Fratto 9 Under the Sky
Rated: *****
Ex-P are an Italian trio formed by Andrea Chiuni (bass, effects, clarino), Alessandro Allera (bass) and Diego Rosso (drums and percussions), and this is their debut album, clothed in an eye-catching red cover (by the way, the food is dried tomatoes, not meat as I initially thought). It's not really easy to define their style, as using words like "prog", "electric jazz" or "post-rock" would be equally partial. Ex-P's instrumental pieces frequently reminded me of the bottomless cauldron of Italian '70's movie soundtracks, where you could find often daring mixes of pop/folk melody and contemporary experimentation. Here, influences range from country to '70's rock, from psychedelia to klezmer, and the sound manages to be both naive and extremely modern and focused. The only comparison I can come up with is with other similar (and underrated) Italian projects like Anatrofobia, Caboto and Comfort, which are talented "beautiful losers" for the arid music market.
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Artist: OBSZÖN GESCHÖPF (@)
Title: Tomb of the Dead
Format: CD
Label: Mortuary Records
Distributor: SX Distribution
Rated: *****
After only one release on the US-Label BLC Productions, French madman Remzi Kellici has left this label to build up his very own Mortuary Records. So this already third full length release by OBSZÖN GESCHÖPF is from the first compositions up to the final pressed silver product done by Remzi himself. What has changed in comparison to his past works? Well, a bit, but not too much. It is still his old-school infiltrated Electro/EBM, arranged away from current overrated hypes. Globally said, we can notice a slight develop in the bass line sequences as well as on the song structures generally. Everything seems to be better produced, although you shouldn’t expect a high technical production standard by a self-released CD. Also nice to hear are some different vocal treatments which give some tracks a different mood. Remzi pushed back his known monotone and hypnotic elements to a harder analog EBM feeling generally. What hasn’t changed is the fact, that he uses uncountable trivial voice samples taken out of different action, porn or splatter movies. So everything remains dark and cold here, religion, death and demonic ingredients is the lyrical content here. This is maybe not in everyone’s taste, but his sick samples seem to be a very important stylistic art for Remzi to submit his inner feelings. I said it already on his earlier works, that he doesn’t use the freshest water – but this is his most remarkable thing in Remzi’s music. "God Dawn" or "Rapist of Remain" awake strong memories on the known LESCURE 13, a side-project of SUICIDE COOMANDO. The title track and "Hellbound" can be seen as the most outstanding pieces, also "Coffin Shop" is well done with clear but steady ripping sequences. This is a nice sole effort by this project from France from I wish that can be get some distribution help especially for North America. Stuff for the EBM/Dark Electro purists, decent enough to grab attention.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Global Surveyor: Phase 2
Format: CD
Label: Dominance Electricity (@)
Rated: *****
Global Surveyor: Phase Two is a compilation of electro funk artists featured on the German label, Dominance Records. Though I don’t speak the language to read the liner notes, this release appears to be futuristic in theme, based in the electro-funk-punk wastelands of 3004. An odd concept, but a concept that works out to be a lot of fun, for sure.

The basic sound of Global Surveyor: Phase Two falls somewhere between upbeat Kraftwerk mixed with 80’s beat-box, meshed together by trance and IDM. Of all the bands on this release my definite favorites are Dagobert, E-Control, and Mandroid. These three bands seemed to be especially versed in what this genre is trying to accomplish, while also going that extra mile and creating dynamic, envelope pushing sounds. The rest of Global Surveyor: Phase Two is good, as well, as there is rarely a lull in quality or sound, but those three are the ones that cried out for repeated listens.

I’m not a fan of compilations at all, but since I’d never heard anything from this corner of electro this actually wound up being an interesting and enlightening journey. While the end times probably will not include an electro-funk-punk movement, Dominance Electricity’s Global Surveyor is a promising thought, and an enjoyable listen.
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