Music Reviews



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Artist: GLADKAZUKA
Title: Panamena
Format: CD EP
Label: Sonic 360
Rated: *****
Never thought that it was a pity that Cure didn't record other songs like "Let's go to bed" or that New Order didn't record other songs in the like of "Blue monday". Well, this isn't the exact case but into the four GladKazuka's songs you can find all these atmospheres and more. Hailing from Colombia the solo project is part of the download only label, Sonic 360. The four tracks that will be available to download from Napster and Itunes starting from the 25th of April will convince you that this project is innovative even if its roots are deeply grounded in the '80s. "Panamena" has got a driving bass line which sound just like New Order (you know that flangered sound, don't you?) mixed into a bleeping and popping melodic tune that it's capable to catch immediately your attention. This song could work so well on the radio... The second one "Solo me gusta contigo" seems a joke with that treated vocals. It seems a dance tune sung by a cute mouse and it's fun. "Take me" sound like a dance tune coming from the '70s/'80s period but with a launge arrangement. The fourth tune "Doblan" mix '90s ambient dance experimentalism with '80s sounds. This E.P. has been a surprise for me and I assure you that it is really cool and it makes you wonder for more!
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Artist: JANOSCH MOLDAU (@)
Title: Redeemer
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
A couple of months ago I reviewed the debut single of Janosch Moldau and I knew he was about to release his first album. Now the time has come and REDEEMER is on my CD player. First of all I wasn't aware that I was about to review an album focused on spirituality (and mostly on Christianity I think). About this it's a pity that Janosch didn't include the lyrics, which seem to be important as much as music. Anyway, musically the album present twelve songs of polished digital melancholic synthpop which are linked by the album theme. I liked the single "On my own" and "We are laughing" (the ninth song of the lot) is a real good one with good atmosphere and a melody that is really moving your feelings. The only thing that at a first listen could invalidate the value of Janosch's music is the choice of presenting all calm songs with a similar structure. This isn't a negative sentence because I think about REDEEMER as a sort of concept album, but it's difficult for an occasional listener to tune in immediately. I'll try to undestand Janosch's intentions in a future interview. Stay tuned... Meanwhile on Finetunes you can find his releases on sale.
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Artist: AMBASSADOR 21
Title: Akcija V 1.1
Format: CD
Label: Invasion Wreck Chords (@)
Rated: *****
2005 is going to be an important year for Ambassador 21. They are touring all across the Europe, releasing records (for their personal label as CD-r and on vinyl for Restroom Records) and collaborating with a lot of people of the industrial breakcore scene. Their hyperactivity is a sign of vitality and an expression of will for two people that live in a particular country (you can read more on the interview I did few months ago). This new release AKCIJA V1.1 is a remixed version of their album "Akcija" commissioned to different bands. To tell the truth AKCIJA V1.1 isn't an exact version of the original album, because the tracklist is slightly different because some remixers took tracks coming from "Ambassador 21 Vs the world" and from the split CD with Buben. If the original version of the tracks where mostrly focused on the punk/breakcore front, the remixed versions reflect the style of the remixer (smart thought, isn't it? :) ) so we pass from rhythm based industrialism to experimental ambience, noise core and '80s techno. The remixers are: Aphasic, C-Drink, Synascape, End, Cdatakill, P.A.L., Hansel, Not Half, Roger Rotor, Wilt, Axiome, Fragment King, Mothboy, CTRLer, Converter and Projecto Mirage. You know what you can find on this CD: tension, noise, rhythm and riot!
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: INTRICATE MAXIMALS
Format: CD
Label: Audiobulb Records (@)
Distributor: Cargo Records (UK), Nexus (Europe), Coucjhblip (Australia), ITunes (Global), Audiobulb Shop (Global)
Rated: *****
Audiobulb Records is a UK label with a global artist roster specializing in glitch and groove, IDM, environmental ambience and microsound genres. They were kind enough to provide me with their critically acclaimed Switches’ compilation from 2003 and their newest compilation, Intricate Maximals’ which I will review here. As the ability and tools to create music becomes more readily to the average computer user, one has to look further afield to find more interesting artists and projects that transcend the pedestrian. (There are only so many different ways you can "reinvent’ Kraftwerk.) It is small labels like Audiobulb that should be commended for releasing new and different forms of music that think outside the electronic box’. While the overall impression I got from the Switches’ compilation was pleasant, I found Intricate Maximals’ more engaging, sometimes frustrating, but never boring. Some artist’s compositions just didn’t thrill me, while other had me wishing there was more. So let me give you my track-by-track impression:1. AUSTICI :"Nurture Nature" - buzzings& birds twittering over slowly falling skylight ambience, a very nice brief piece2. PRHIZZM:"New Teeth" – almost seems to continue where the first one left off, but here scattered & chaotic beats are introduced amongst the glitchy sound bits. The dominant tone at first is smooth, hollow, sustained synth sound that plays a slow repeating melody (maybe a little too predominant in the mix) but half-way through is replaced by a flange-crazy bass intro, then it all falls into place with a string section wash, subdued repeating staccato bass line in background and a wild glitch-rhythm section, By the time it really gets cooking... it over. 3. CALIKA: "Latticel Work" – The most cohesive piece so far, incidental acoustic guitar notes play against a repeating synth progression while a glitch-buzz & scratch rhythm section moves it along. Other sounds are introduced into the mix, all of them novel enough to sustain interest in this simple little piece. There are plenty of counter-rhythmic elements to enjoy that might be overlooked on a first listen.4. DIAGRAM OF SUBURBAN CHAOS: "So Gone" (Ventrimix) - "So Gone" started out with a lot of promise, nice ambient buildup with an engaging rhythmic aspect, and then a brief sampled voice byte is interjected as a rhythmic element that becomes dominant, and ruins the whole thing in my estimation. (I don’t care for that "Di –Di"__ "Di-DiDi- Di Di" stuttering kind of thing)5. TAAVI TULEV: "Tuhikl’I" – I really like this piece, reminds me of Future Sound Of London & Boards Of Canada. Engaging atmosphere over elaborate percussive patterns.6. CEDAR A.V.: "Song For A Republic" – Begins with a slow acoustic guitar melody pattern with an undercurrent of rapidly fingerpicked guitar notes with increases in rhythmic intensity adding various elements to the mix. A provocative piece.7. MARION: "Un Peopled" – A blipping and bleeping rhythm over echoey freestyle synth notes. The juxtaposition of the careening rhythm with the placidity of the electric piano-like free synth melody makes this structurally simplistic track highly appealing.8. CLAUDIA: "Pausing" (As If Unsure/Edit) – At 1:16, the briefest track on this compilation. Stray melodic sounds and hints of themes begin, get interrupted and begin anew. An aptly named transitional track.9. UNSCAN: "Ter Iara" – Begins with a burbling synth wash that works it’s way into a glitchy rhythm pattern overlaid with a sparse plucked synth melody. Somehow it’s just intriguing enough to make you want more.10. DISASTRATO: "Requiem Pour Une Feuille Morte" – The title means requiem for a dead sheet’ and in a small way, it heads toward Mynox Layh territory here, though perhaps less grandiose with a more comical bent. Starting with a low vocal wail, slightly off-kilter sampled stabs and jiggy rhythm, it mutates a number of times giving the overall impression of a broken, out of control cuckoo clock with sampled cartoonish vocal & noise sound bytes that skitter and careen humorously through most of the mix. Has a slightly disappointing finish that contrasts with the hyperactivity as short sheets of white noise pass like the turning of pages.11. EFFACER: "PONL MISC MOL MSC NYK OOCL UASC VROON YANG MING" - At 6:35, this is the longest track on the compilation and perhaps the most ambient selection with the sparsest percussion. The minimalist approach used here gives the impression of extra dimensional spaciousness, and an environment stretched to capacity. Towards the end, an early Kraftwekian synth rhythm emerges and guides the piece towards its inevitable conclusion.12. OCHRE: "Shiverbox" – A jumble of disparate glitchy sound bytes bounce chaotically off a repetitive sequenced synth melody that struggles valiantly against the multitude of elements hurled against it and sort of emerges victoriously. As a modern parallel, within the audial context of our daily lives, we are constantly bombarded by sounds from electronic devices and external sources, without even conscious realization of the intrusion. Yet somehow, we manage to maintain our own sense of rhythm and emotional patterns of existence.13. ROOM: "Percule Extract" – Another brief track, this one beginning by spewing small gouts of steam over a surreal and somewhat ethereal ambience. An enjoyable diversion.14. ANOTHER ELECTRONIC MUSICIAN: "Qualm" – So far, the most cohesive and accomplished track on the compilation. A simple rhythm pattern forms the basis that moves the piece along through LFO and ring- modulated FM tones and synth ambiences. Sometimes there’s a bass pattern, sometimes not. Sometimes a lot going on, sometimes very minimal. Everything halts midway, then continues. I get the feeling this one isn’t just "Another Electronic Musician".15. BUILD: "You Can Get There From Here If You Don’t Mind The T Left Over" – A slow lullaby-like dreamy atmosphere with what sounds like a carelessly played harmonica in the background. A frenzied rhythmic sequence imitating that harmonica sound, like some electronic toy for children takes over and more gitchy, buzzy sequenced elements emerge in contrast to the placid ambience. It disappears for awhile, but the ambience and harmonica remain. A more organized glitch rhythm sequence emerges, but this too ends before the conclusion of the track. I m not sure why, but the overwhelming image I got from the music here was that of a playpen.16. RODOLPHE KUFFER: "Question" – There is a lot happening here, many competing elements; blips, buzzes, bloops, plinks, notes, zizzes, whorls, zips, you name it. It’s almost like an aural trip through a primitive video game arcade. A off-kilter rhythmic background ties it all together nicely. Possibly the most inventive piece on the compilation.17. ROBIN JUDGE: "Fall" – Might be the closest thing to a dark ambient’ piece on the compilation. With a queasy ambient background, it sounds like insects may be chewing their way through your computer. I imagine this to be what the virus MyDoom might sound like. 18. OTI: "Little Tummies" (For Sinead) – A rezzy wash of synthetic strings dominates this track whose only other sonic diversions are a whispered female vocal sample and some electronic chomping sounds.All in all, a wide variety of compositional techniques and results within the framework of glitch dub n groove indietronica. . Some you will definitely want to explore further and Audiobulb is an excellent place to begin.
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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.
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