Music Reviews



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Artist: Chris Fortier
Title: Balance 007
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Stomp/EQ (@)
Rated: *****
Coming out in a month, on May 10th, Crhis Fortier's new double CD "Balance 007", is among his most daring and least commercial-friendly releases ever. Fortier's pedigree includes extensive touring with Digweed and on his own, residencies at The Cross in London and the long gone Twilo in NYC, releases as Fade under his own Fade records with Neil Kolo, remixes as Fade Sanctuary (among which the chart-topper "Silence" by Delerium, featuring Sarah McLachlan) and a contribution to the Bedrock "Compiled and Mixed series (reviewed on these pages). The Australian has got a lot of steam in himself, but he doesn't compromise and keeps putting out barrier-breaking mix CDs with tracks that he edits for his own needs and re-assembles in a way that might sound hostile at first but that really is nothing but pioneering and tempting. Delays, extreme panning, filter sweeping and many more technological artifacts make this record a groovy blend of house, electro and techno in a practically unprecedented way. Includes tracks and remixes by Carl Craig, Hardfloor, Bent, Slam, Rabbit In The Moon, Anthony Rother, and Agoria, Lucas Rodenbush, Kobbe & Nitro, Alex Smoke, PJ Davy and many others. You'll have to acclimate yourself to this, so make sure you try before you buy, just in case you are after commercial bullshit as opposed to admirable experimentation of sounds.
Apr 14 2005
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Artist: CODE MACHINE (@)
Title: No Time
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Frédéric Hélière is the man behind the Code Machine project and NO TIME is his first album. The thirteen tracks of the CD present a good powerful sound which is a blend of future pop and e.b.m. which mix classic '80s e.b.m. solutions with the melody of modern electro pop. The resulting sound is throbbing, danceable and sometimes it seems a fastened version of the old Die Form (if you know "Autolyse" you know what I mean), where synths are used like razor blades. Sometimes distorted guitars come by just to add some rage. Most of the tracks are good enough to be released by a label (with a little production re-tuning) and it isn't a case if Frédéric is looking for someone insterested enough into his project. He's already preparing new tracks for a new album. Give them a try by visiting his website.
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Artist: All Scars Orchestra
Title: New Scars 2004
Format: CD
Label: Bosco / Ludmila / Into my Bed
Rated: *****
The All Scars Orchestra is a Northern Italy operating small and ever changing all stars orchestra of noisters, including the local hero Daniele Brusaschetto, Mirco Rizzi from Ashtool, Luca Valisi & Paolo Bianci from Ludmila, Paul Beauchamp from Gullinkambi and a bunch of other people involved in this fringe scene. The 12 tracks running at a little over an hour define the experimental noise genre in all of its aspects, from the somewhat electronicly-influenced, to the more industrial-ish, to the most freeform of 'em all. Given the diversity within, some of these pieces are truly outstanding and touching, while others go by less remarkably. Personally my favourites are the opening "La Cosa Piu' Violenta che Fai" (the most violent thing you do) which really sounds like Daniele's early band Mudcake's sound dueting with Diamanda Galas and Trent Reznor and "Distoguitars" which sounds, uhm, I don't like, like Sonic Youth meets Entombed, but with no drums and no vocals... Anyway, rest assured, the whole record is much more industrial than my two favourite songs description's would make you think it isn't... catch my drift?
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Artist: Division Six (@)
Title: The Age of Industry
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: CD Baby
Rated: *****
The Age of Industry is the first release of John Seput (Murder DK and Severed Headthump) and David Kizzia (Murder of Crows) working together as Division Six. With this release Seput and Kizzia manage to take an already accessible genre to the next level, pulling in influences from all over the alternative map and spanning the last two decades of underground guitar-themed sounds and styles. Unsurprisingly, some of these styles work better than others. What works definitely works, and what doesn’t work definitely doesn’t work.

The Age of Industry picks up where coldwave left off, integrating crunching guitars, melodic vocals, catchy beats, and a healthy dose of synthesizer. Seput’s vocals are surprisingly diverse, as he manages to sound not only like himself, but also like Tim Skold, Godsmack, and even Ozzy Osbourne. Some of these variations work to their benefit but confuse the overall direction of this release, which sometimes seems more like a festival compilation than the offering of a single band.

Overall, The Age of Industry is a catchy, upbeat album that I find myself singing along to more often than not. Some songs catch my attention more than others, some I really enjoy, and some I don’t. While most of this album is pretty well done, especially the songs with slower themes, some tracks seem to have trouble holding together. I honestly think that if the recording quality and production standards were higher the album would be much better. As it is, The Age of Industry comes across sounding more like a really appealing demo than an officially produced album. Division Six has a lot of potential, and I believe their sound has the ability to catch on. I expect that after touring and more time together as a band, both in and out of studio, their next release will be an accomplished one.
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Artist: The Klinik
Title: Live at Wave-Gotik-Treffen
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Handsproductions (@)
Rated: *****
"Live at Wave-Gotik-Treffen" like the name implies is a live Klinik performance CD that was recorded at the Agra Halle in Leipzig, 29th May 2004. The surprise here is that this is a reunion CD that includes Dirk Ivens. More often than not most reunions of older bands are sad affairs that not only accentuate how old and tired (burnt out) they are as humans but how out of date they have become. This is not the case with this Klinik reunion. Having been close to the band in those early days this is a perfect way not only to celebrate the great work they set forth back then but moniker of what has become the standard by which most industrial work is measured by today. When Dirk Ivens and Marc Verhaeghen are in sync there is a magic in the chemistry that is unmistakably tangible. This music calls on our primal instincts to meet a primitive modern thrust of electricity in an abusive yet sensual manner. Songs like "Hours and Hours" and "Sick in Your Mind" will always be favorites of mine but all stages of the Klinik legend are represented here. And for the person who is new to the band I would highly recommend this release as a comprehensive introduction to what is about the Klinik that makes them so important. Highly recommended.
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