Music Reviews



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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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anymore
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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anymore
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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anymore
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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Artist: DAVID BEHRMAN
Title: My Dear Siegfried
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: XI Records
Rated: *****
A double cd release from this US composer, who has been active in minimalist and computer music since the 1960s, as a member, among other things, of the Sonic Arts Union with artists like Alvin Lucier, Gordon Mumma and Robert Ashley. The first disc, "My Dear Sigfried", is based on the long-running friendship and correspondence between the renown English "soldier-poet" Siegfried Sassoon, and The New York Times journalist and writer Sam Behrman (possibly David's father, but I could easily be wrong). It opens with Sassoon's 1917 "Statement against the war" to go on with letters, memories and poems, and it is obviously a (filtered) spoken-words based work, with vocalists Thomas Buckner, Eric Barsness and Maria Ludovici accompanied, but also electronically arranged, by Behrman himself at keyboards and electronics, Ralph Samuelson at shakuhachi, Peter Zummo at trombone and Tom Hamilton at engineering and effects. The exception is the last track, "Everyone sang", where Sassoon's poem is turned in an almost lithurgical chant. I admit I'm generally not a fan of vocal-based works, but, that said, this is an important release in times of war - and, unsurprisingly, it was recorded "in the dark days of 2003". Disc 2, titled "QSRL: 5 pieces", collects five tracks, composed between 1969 and 2002, of minimal drone music mostly based on hand-made synthesizers and pioneer computer-performer interaction. A very worthwhile document of early computer music, with fresh and remarkable pieces like 1969 "A New Team Takes Over" (with press conferences by the 1968 Nixon administration drowned in amazingly pre-glitch electronics, sounding like Mika Vainio at his harshest!) and the static drone of "Pools of Phase Locked Loops".
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