Music Reviews



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Artist: James Lavelle
Title: GU#026: Romania
Format: CD
Label: Global Underground (@)
Rated: *****
World famous Dj James Lavelle (also know for his latest Mo'Wax album "Never, Never Land" as U.N.K.L.E. and his remixes of Queens of Stonage, Dj Shadow, Metallica) takes the 26th spot in the list of places covered by Global Underground's world-trotting dj-spinning series and bangs out the coolest beats of his December 13, 2003 Romania set at Studio Martin. After his 100'000 copies selling GU debut with the Barcelona title, uncle James is sure to hit the jackpot again with a slightly different style and combination of elements, including lots of U.N.K.L.E. material and some of the remixes he's worked on (like the amazing opening track by Queens of the Stone Age, as well as Dj Shadow, a Sasha remix of U.N.K.L.E. and other cool tracks by Chemical Brothers, Richie Hawtin, Photek). This album is so powerful and eclectic that chances are most of you will find something in it to like about it... I certainly did, and, again, I am so psyched about that Queens of the Ston Age track! It is just pumping like crazy!
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Artist: In Strict Confidence
Title: Holy
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records
Rated: *****

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The new In Strict Confidence CD from Metropolis Records is a most unique and intriguing addition to the ISC catalogue. First the music, Great dark EBM with industrial and esoteric flavorings. "Eye of Heaven" begins the disc with harsh dark elements. The second track "Seven Lies" has a bit of an alternative rock feel to it. "Babylon" has a bit more of a FLA industrial feel to it with some standard German EBM overtones while "Closing Eyes" adds some excellent female vocals (Nadine Stelzer) and further impacts the 'cyber' feel of the musical compositions. One of the things I find interesting about the structure of the lyrics here is that each line (thought) is split between male and female vocals with one finishing the other's sentence. This is my favorite track for a possible dancefloor track on the release. "Heal" drops down to a more industrial atmospheric tone, harsh and heavy downtempo. The female vocals on "Emergency" (Antje Schultz) and "Sleepless" remind me a bit of Collide's kaRIN. "Another Night" has a bit of guitar a la KMFDM style while "No Love Will Heal" is a bit of a dancefloor twitch with ISC's signature sound. The most mediocre yet still very good track on the disc is probably "The Darkest Corridor" which also features Nadine on vocals. The only reason I say this is because this is the sound everyone is trying to copy these days it seems but ISC is one of the pioneers of it however they do much quite a bit different on the rest of the release. Lastly, Alpha Centauri is an instrumental piece which is over thirteen minutes long and begins rather ambiently and slowly builds with some aspects that remind me much of FLA at their best while still infusing new and interesting aspects of their own making including some synthetic 'hand drumming'. There is this one fuzzy bass synth sound that sounds much like a breath snort of some large beast. Now, what really struck me about this album aside from the excellent EBM stylings of ISC is the artwork and the overall compositions contained within this release. Oddly enough I received this CD only a couple weeks after beginning a CD project on my own label (Latex Records) using an Ancient Near East theme and hoping to prominently feature EBM and other electronic dancefloor music. The graphic layout on this disc features ancient Coptic script and a topless nun in a corset. The first track is "Eye of Heaven", relating to the Sun/God myths and the last is "Alpha Centauri", one of the most likely regions in our sky, according to astronomers, to sustain life in outer space. There is also a photo in the inlay which shows the 'nun' holding the head of a man wearing a crown of thorns, a crucified man, and other esoteric "clues". The entire lyrics are esoteric in origin as well. I found this all striking because I had thought my idea a bit original combining EBM w/ the esoteric doctrines of ancient origins yet here it was lain out in plain site by In Strict Confidence. An excellent album on all accounts; musically, vocally, lyrically, CD layout, and of course overall theme (which is many layered I might add)!
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Artist: KOJI ASANO (@)
Title: ZOO TELEPATHY + WIND GAUGE + GIANT SQUID
Format: CD
Label: Solstice
Rated: *****
Released on December 2003, ZOO TELEPATHY, WIND GAUGE and THE GIANT SQUID (A collection of short pieces Vol.1 - Works from 1997-1998) are the new releases by one of the masters of concrete music: Koji Asano. Just like the last three CDs release, also this time we've got three very different CDs. ZOO TELEPATHY is the one I like less as the three suites are based on violin buzzes and computer treatement. WIND GAUGE, instead, contains six tracks of improvised piano suites and summer field recordings. The effect is really relaxing and gives to the audience a sense of peace which gives the impression of being really into a desolate field and to be reached by the sound of a distant piano. We can't understand clearly if there's a melody or not but it's a good effect. The third release is the first Asano's collection of unreleased tracks and collects fourteen of them for a total lenght of seventy three minutes. The tracks haven't been released before because Koji has always been more interested into publishing long suites but these sound experimentations are really intriguing and could represent a good starting point for the ones who are afraid of Asano's gigantic discography or by his severe way of build a musical work, based mainly on one concept. This time we've got the opportunity of listening to the many moods and experiments of Koji and this enrich the listening of an occasional listener or of a person like me who like personal and varied works. THE GIANT SQUID contains piano improvisations, electronic treatments, field recordings, mad violins and distorted extravaganza. You can easily understand that this is my favourite one of the lot and for this reason I'll give to this review an high rate...
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Artist: INTO THE HOLE (@)
Title: Do You Want To Play With Me?
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Circle Rec
Rated: *****
I reviewed a pre-release version of this one several months ago and finally Alessandro sent me the definitive version. Respect the old one we find different tracks and enhanced versions of the old ones. This definitive edition presents six tracks for a total lenght of twentyfive minutes. The tracks here and there suffer of a nearly home made production but since Alessandro is a lover of '80s sounds (and you can see it from the sound he chose for the bassline, which recalls the one of early e.b.m. bands such as Front 242) it's highly possible that this has been what he wanted it to sound. From what I remember of the old version this new one sounds more furious and with some hard core punk influences here and there. From the use of the vocals on "Useless", for example, you can find an "in your face" attitude, where melody isn't the thing to care about but it's more like pure rage. Electronic, punk, rage and sickness are the main elements of this release and if you are into them this is worth a listening.
Artist: Trio Eletrico
Title: Echo Porcours
Format: CD
Label: Stereo Deluxe (@)
Distributor: Caroline
Rated: *****
Nuernberg, Germany based Trio Eletrico defies expectations with their new breed of dance-electronica, a luscious and tasty blend of cocktail lounge music, downtempo electronica, breakbeat science, raggae hints, dancefloor grooves, house vibes and latino flavors... The whole plot develops nicely and on the quite site, so it's a great and groovy chill out number, rather than a dance hit. The quality of the production and the tune writing is undisputable. It's no wonder on the other hand, considering that the trio's members include Boozoo Bajou's Peter Heider, Wildstyle's Ekki Eletrico, and Studio Wizard Peter Hoppe. "Echo Porcours" is the ideal soundtrack for your sunshine days on the beach, sipping cold cocktails while watching the surf and the bikinis... Only one question remains un-answered: why was the release date for such a summer-sounding anthem set to January 27th?
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