Music Reviews



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Artist: VIOLENT ENTITY (@)
Title: Mechanized Division
Format: CD
Label: Black Rain (@)
Rated: *****
Sometimes by listening to the new releases you feel that e.b.m. has already told everything and even if each band claim itself as the new sensation, by doing so, they throw another handful of ground on the e.b.m. grave. Fortunately sometimes, thanks to some new bands, you start to think that electonic body music could give some new thrill, again. Violent Entity doesn't represent an electronic miracle but MECHANIZED DIVISION is a good album, if you think that it is his first one. The tracks have got a good balance of dance/beat attitude, simple melodies and powerful mix without sounding too fake angry. Also the structure of the tracks differs one from the other (only a couple of them are similar) and they don't create that lousy effect of xeroxed songs. Also the two remixes (thanks to Batterycage and to Supreme Cout) offers to the listener good electro entertainment moments and if you love granitic albums, MECHANIZED DIVISION could be a good choice.
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Artist: JACK OR JIVE (@)
Title: Absurdity
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Rated: *****
ABSURDITY is the latest Jack Or Jive release and it is, at the same time, the band's personal tribute/comment to these troubled times. Sounding emotional and touching the album lacks of verbal communication because on the booklet you can't find the lyrics of the songs and since they are all in Japanese (as far as I can understand), I think an important part of the tracks is missing. Anyway, talking about the musical aspect, most of the ten tracks are ballads based on voice and piano with synth pads here and there and sometimes a rhythmical section ("Telepathy"). Even if Chako's voice sometimes is out of tune the fact isn't that important as I think that the duo wanted to focus their effort on the atmosphere and you can bet that ABSURDITY is full of it. Melancholy and bitterness are well expressed and listened with the right mood, ABSURDITY could be the sad soundtrack of these days.
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Artist: DUST FEAR OF LOVER (@)
Title: Drop-Out
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
DROP-OUT is the second release of the solo project of Psycho D-Vein's Death Boy. On this second releases Death Boy continue his personal tribute to mid eighties and new wave in particular, covering Fad Gadget (with "Ricky's Hand"), Jesus & Mary Chain (with a good and similar version of "Head") and recording his own tunes full of flanged bass guitar, delayed drums and with tons of melancholic melodies. As for the first demo, production is a delicate issue and tracks that now sound nice with a little bit more of sound production would sound really cool for new wave lovers. Like on the first self titled demo you can find echoes of My Bloody Valentine (see "Fashion Fair" where Death Boy duets with the female voice of Lupa creating a song that could fit the late period of the Valentines), Jesus & Mary Chain and a little bit of early New Order ("Sick Brain"). DROP OUT is a good demo but with a little more effort it could be a good album of new wave which refers to the '80s without sounding too vintage.
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Artist: COLLECTION D'ARNELLE ANDREA
Title: The Bower Of Despair
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Rated: *****
After releasing two years ago a completely acoustic album titled "Tristesse des M'nes", Collection D'Arnell Andrea come back on the crime scene with a totally different album. THE BOWER OF DESPAIR see the band performing all electric song delighting the goth rock lovers with eleven good songs which move their atmospheres from malincholic ballads (the first half of the album) to good energetic songs (the ones I prefer) full of good riffs and melodies. "Time is falling" recalls a little the Bowie of "Scary monsters" (see "It's No Game Pt.1") creating a good creepy atmosphere in balance from electronic ambience and new wave melodies. The strings present on all the track are always funcional (on ballads and on rock songs) thanks to their good arrangements and help a lot creating a catchy melodical structure that works underneath the vocal layers. I can't say I loved their previous album but this one is really good!
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Broken Channel
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Cocosolidciti
Rated: *****
A dense double cd set (an audio disc and a dvd) featuring all exclusively commissioned works focused on the themes of contemporary surveillance methods, from exterior (police monitoring of demonstrations and public protest) to domestic (CCTV, control cameras, etc.). The audio part generally reflects Cocosolidciti's slant towards beats/glitch/minimal techno (except Kaffe Matthews' skeletal work on frequencies), and one more time I wondered about the socio-political potential of modern electronica (or "avantgarde" as well) - I mean that all the artists involved have obviously something to say about the subjects, but if you just listen to the tracks, it's mostly nice, well-executed rhythmic electronica. I think it'd be quite hard to distinguish Battery Operated + Made, for example, from other similar projects/records, if you hadn't read before that they "look at how the control spaces of surveillance can be subverted to create radical new architectures and environments". Unsurprisingly, Ultra Red are more immediately recognizable and thanks to their use of field recordings from various specific demonstrations. So let's say the audio part is ok per se, but a bit disappointing if we look at the purposes. Now, the dvd helps a lot to potentiate some contributions - Matthews' and Maslen's, for example, turns into a sort of Kafkian nightmare with its stark, obsessive use of CCTV footages; and Ultra Red's documentary-like images add much strength to their protest techno. While not entirely convincing (Coldcut's and Outerbongolia's video is actually pretty bad), the dvd definitely makes this sampler much more thought provoking and effective.
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