Music Reviews



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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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Artist: ZMIYA (@)
Title: Solmamdenlo
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Distributor: AUDIOGLOBE
Rated: *****
A great revelation from the well know french label Prikosnovenie. ZMIYA are six french musicians blending electro ethnic, tribal groove and ritual mystica. Great influence from Dead can dance, Orange Blossom and world music from the middle est mixed with high tecnology. They use a diverse range of worldwide traditional instruments such as Oud, Hurdy-Gurdy with wheel, balaphon,didjeridoo, Egyptian flute,mixed with subtle electro beats and samples. The voice fly over more continents and has a urban groove. Mystical, shamanic or groovy, this uncommon band invites you to a trip into Africa, Australia, Eastern countries... 8 tracks+1 video live. Visit their website and discovery their instruments.
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Artist: Stahlfrequenz (@)
Title: Erstschlag
Format: CD
Label: Dark Wings
Distributor: audioglobe
Rated: *****
Erstschlag is the debut album of this German duo founded in 2002 by Markus Houben and Klaus Richter, the two members are involved also in many other projects where they find new influences.There are some obvious links with bands like Feindflug and Converter, the industrial sounds has it's own personality, but strongly based on Feindflug's sound. Stahlfrequenz converts the atmosphere of ramshackle, cold industry facilities into an acoustic attack of adrenaline. The sound starts from the atospheric collages and end with dancefloor killes.
"Permanent Decay" and "Gegenschlag" are very strong and are perfect to use on a dancefloor. A great debut album for a band that promises a brilliant development.
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