Music Reviews



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Artist: Displacer (@)
Title: Arroyo
Format: CD
Label: M-Tronic (@)
Rated: *****
Follow up to his debut "Moon_Phase", "Arroyo" by the Canadian Displacer maintains the direction of the previous album evolving around it and developing more sophisticated atmospheres of sci-fi dark-electro music. Characterized by long chords of sythetic Vangelis/Parson/Jarre-ish string pads and underlaying Beefcake/Gridlock-ish minimal electronic constructions and beats, occasionally flirting with saturation and creativie muting/cut&pasting, "Arroyo" will transport you into a parallel dimension where ambient bends toward noise and electronic music reaches over into darkness. As an added bonus there are three remixes by Flint Glass, Dither and Gridlock side project O2. The CD also features vocals by Victoria Lloyd of Clare Voyant and HMB and mastering by Mike Wells of Gridlock.
Mar 17 2005
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Artist: Duuster (@)
Title: Habitat
Format: CD
Label: M-Tronic (@)
Rated: *****
France-based Dutch musician Duuster (formerly known as Element 11 on Unit/Possessive Blindfold records) mastered to put out his debut full lenght album at a time when people in the electronic scene were already aware of who he is and what music he makes, and that's mainly because he had left a mark in the scene with his previous split CD with CH.District, also released by the very attentive M-Tronic (most definitely one of the two best electronic labels in France, together with Parametric). "Habitat" gives further proof of Duuster's artistic maturity with a bunch of tracks that will make every heart that beats fast for the top-selling Warp artists beat even faster (and speaking of Warp, Funckarma also remixes one of Duuster's 11 tracks, and so do the americans Emotional Joystick, on Zod records). The sound is that signature IDM/ambient Autechre, Boards of Canada etc, the music is that of Duuster. Choose your chemical element!
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Artist: Leaftree & Downey (@)
Title: Wet Kisses
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: self-released
Rated: *****
Leaftree & Downey is the brainchild of artist/painter Downey Burns. I’ve never heard his music before so I’ll admit, he caught me off guard. I’d heard negative opinions about Leaftree & Downey’s sound, so I wasn’t expecting much when I got his fourth release, Wet Kisses, in the mail. When I pressed play on the CD player, though, one word alone came to mind: Charming. There is a quality about this band that is purely and simply charming.

Everything about Wet Kisses is light-hearted and fun. The vocals have a gentle, friendly feeling complimented by a light effects filter. The vocal melody is always slightly off, but adds to the music in a way that seems calculated and purposeful. The music is mostly piano/keyboard, light drums, and gentle, casual electronics flowing throughout, with a little harmonica and electric guitar for good measure. Wet Kisses leaves the impression that Burns lives in a relaxed world, and this is his attempt to bring a little of that relaxed world to his audience.

When I play Leaftree and Downey’s Wet Kisses my spirit seems to lift. It’s hard to be in a bad mood when I listen to this release. I do have a problem with Wet Kisses, though. The sound never really shifts. While I start with a lifted spirit, five minutes into the first track I’m ready for a new song. While not all the songs are so long, multiple tracks back to back share a similar effect. I honestly believe each track has the ability to stand on it’s own in a randomized playlist. The album as a whole, though, has a ten to fifteen minute life span before my light heart and mind become restless and ready to soar on to new sounds. The entire Wet Kisses release is currently available free to download and order (for a suggested donation) from http://www.leaftreeanddowney.com. This release does deserve to be heard and appreciated by the right ears and, especially at the asking price, I’d say it is worth the listen.
Artist: Loss (@)
Title: A Letter that will Never be Sent
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons (@)
Rated: *****
By now, I’m sure that those of you who have heard about this disc have heard the inevitable comparisons to Navicon Torture Technologies, but honestly, I think that this is a mistake. Although they are very similar in style, this disc is much more engaging than much of the NTT stuff I have. Perhaps part of it is that the overall feel of the disc is dark, yet the darkness does not completely overpower it. Simply the fact that Loss pulled this off when the disc was mastered by Thomas Garrison of Control (who seems to specialize in oppressive darkness) is a feat in itself! I never thought I would use the word "beauty" in a review of a power electronics disc, but here it is. This is beautiful. It has been a long time since something blew me away like this. The only problem that I can see with this disc is that it’s only 16:47 long. The disc comes packaged in a nifty red velveteen bag with a Loss pin attached. I’m looking forward to more from Loss.Let’s look at the individual tracks. 1. All the World’s a Stage (But I Just Work the Lights): Starts off a bit noisy with incomprehensible lyrics. Halfway through the track, the synth kicks in, providing a melodic counterpoint to the noise and percussion that had materialized without me even recognizing it. To me, this is the standout track on the disc. 2. A Letter that will Never Be Sent: This track continues much where track one left off. More of the same synth atmosphere and distorted vocals. Another good track.3. Repose: This track begins a bit quieter, a bit more atmospheric and almost peaceful. Halfway through, the distorted vocals and rhythm kicks in again. It is almost like it is two tracks.
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Artist: My Sixth Shadow (@)
Title: Lovefading Innocence
Format: CD
Label: Masterpiece (@)
Distributor: masterpiece
Rated: *****
Italian gothrock-band My Sixth Shadow are at their second full-lenght album. The sound of this new album is solid goth rock with passionate and romantic mix of dark atmospheres. Recorded, mixed and engineered by Victor at Subsound studios and mastered in Finland by Mikka Jussila, the album includes 12 original songs and one cover (U2´s "With Or Without You") that should have been dropped off from the album. Unfortunately the sound hasn't big personalty, you can find some taste of plagiarism, from bands like Paradise Lost , Depeche Mode, My Dying Bride or HIM . Only for metal's elite that want visit the goth scene.

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