Music Reviews



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Artist: DAEMONIA NYMPHE (@)
Title: Remix
Format: CD
Label: Palace of Worms (@)
Rated: *****
I don't know if you're familiar with Daemonia Nymphe, this band coming from Greece plays traditional instruments from its homeland and has become quite popular after several records. Following the few lines written by Spyros Giasafakis you'll understand the basic concept and the most interesting aspect of this release: "...The sound of the reproductions of ancient Greek instruments we use is extraordinary and could easily be used for contemporary music. This gave me the idea to approach musicians mostly from the electronic genre, so that our songs take a different form and re-birth, having a new result combining the ancient sounds with modern ones" and god knows how delicious is the melting pot borne out of this marriage. If you're looking for glitches or drones you won't find none of them in the new "tissue" dressed by these songs, but could you imagine some "ancient song" with a fresh 4/4 beat (and at the same time far from being kitsch)?! If you think it all is impossible you'd better give a listen, I've been quite surprised by the result. Angelic voices, ancient tunes...and the fact the songs are already nice in their original shape helped a lot the seven musicians molding Daemonia Nymphe. The original idea of the "song" is not betrayed, you'll recognize the melodies and yes, there's a structure since the most of the tunes haven't even lost the "lullaby" spirit they had. At the same time there's a sort of reinterpretation (some would say these could be the basic rules of remixing). Some "episodes" are nothing but elegant: Nikodemos (Summoning Divine "Selene" remix), Basilis (Nymphs of the), Peekay Tayloh (Ida's Dectyls "Deads are Dead" mix) and Dani Joss (Seagod Nereus) to name a few. I can't say if the fans of Daemonia Nymphe will dig this, by the way I'm sure a lot of people into "remix-culture" will like it.
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Artist: MIND.IN.A.BOX.
Title: Dreamweb
Format: CD
Label: Dependent / Metropolis-Records (@)
Distributor: Alive!, Metropolis Records
Rated: *****
I must admit that I am one of maybe three persons on this world who hasn’t heard their highly recognized debut album "Lost Alone". Shame on me, I have simply missed the album of the year 2004 from the newcomer of the year. On the other side I come here into the real treat of a new full length by this duo from Austria. It is a bit early to start a discussion which release could be the "Album of the Year" contender but I am sure that this new "Dreamweb" would be on the list by a lot of people. MIND.IN.A.BOX. simply offer here "the second reflection in a mirror of our reality". Behind this cool and in the art aptly designed release this duo hides their internal feelings no matter if positive or negative. The music they produce is a kind of valve and MIND.IN.A.BOX show us their philosophy of life with every sound and every note they play. What makes them so outstanding is the fact that they are able to deal with a lot diverse music styles in their tracks. Electro, Ambient, Synth Pop or Techno are used here and they do not have any problems to mix all styles to their very own kind. Take the track "Machine Run" which starts with some near Metal-like guitar riffs and some rough vocals. 5 seconds later the whole track breaks down to restart with a typical Synth Pop theme and the vocals are now clear and melodic. The conceptual work on the vocals is another remarkable point in the music of M.I.A.B. They are pitching their vocals sometimes high and sometimes to express different feelings ("Lament for Lost Dreams" or "Out of Time"), but it is finally the same vocalist. Personally I like the more calm and melodic pieces like "Loyalty", "Sun and Storm" or "Escape" to most and these tracks could be the outstanding examples for every listener to grow into the fantastic world of MIND.IN.A.BOX. The already released dancefloor killer "Certainty" is also included and the whole album is flawless produced. Take this fragile-like "Dreamweb", open your ears and you get an experience in simply good music!
Jul 04 2005
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Artist: OPERANT (@)
Title: Encoded
Format: CD
Label: Conditioned Response
Rated: *****

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ENCODED is the debut album of Operant, a project headed by Greg Bolyard and Tim Gale. The duo already collaborated in the past and this is quite evident when you listen to the album: the tracks are well balanced and the songwriting denotes professionality. The fourteen tracks sound quite gloomy and this is the general ambience of the whole album. Operant can't be filed under one only genre because their music contains bites of synthpop, ambient and e.b.m. Generally we could talk about modern electro pop. If you want a direct paragon, I could name the Depeche Mode of Exciter but on ENCODED the synthpop side is more evident. After a pop start with the opening "Future Life", "Watching the universe spin", "New" and "Contact comfort" the album continue with the dreamy arrangements of "Perimeter", "Understanding heaven" and "More than sexual" just to turn back to pop arrangements with "Someday never comes", "Post 3 AM" and "Chance of a lifetime". ENCODED isn't immediately catchy because sometimes the dreamy side of Operant's music seems to take a hold, at a first listening, but starting with the second listening other things come to light and little by little the band's sound shows all its personaltiy.
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Artist: MICHAEL RENKEL/LUCA VENITUCCI
Title: Still
Format: CD
Label: L'Innomable
Rated: *****
Recorded in Berlin in late 2002, "Still" features Renkel at acoustic guitar, zither and "preparations" (whatever they are) and Luca Venitucci (also in Ossatura, here at accordion, flight-case and objects). Starting with a rather sparse playing, the interaction between the two musicians soon gets more, ahem, cohesive, though it could apparently sound like a paradox with this kind of radical improvisation. But Renkel and Venitucci are skillfully able to make their instruments/objects talk to the listener; proving faithful to the title, silence and rather quiet pauses give much needed breath to their dialogues.
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Artist: SCRELOMA
Title: Dirt
Format: CD
Label: Three Plugs
Rated: *****
Now, how can you go wrong with a layout like this? Stark black and white, pictures of skulls, piles of metal junk, bugs and chemical plants. Screloma is Japanese and plays noise, but not exactly Japanese harsh noise. Distorted beats play a big part here, and most tracks have this nasty techno backbone, à la Hypnoskull let's say. I'm really not a fan of this kind of noise-cum-dance rhythms, but Screloma does a decent job at it, I guess. The title track is the most interesting one, a bit less beat-oriented, with distorted vocals buried deep within the distorted electronics.
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