Music Reviews



Nov 20 2003
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Artist: Monolake (@)
Title: Momentum
Format: CD
Label: ml/i (Monolake / Imbalance Computer Music)
Distributor: Caroline
Robert Henke's parents must be proud. Their son is a genius who either gets people excited about his music or gets other people to make exciting music to get more people excited about their music, made with the ground-breaking software called Abelton Live, programmed by Robert Henke himself. I was in New York City at AES (Audio Engineering Society) when Live 2 was announced (now also supported as a rewire application for those of you who like me are sold to Pro Tools) and at about the same time Monolake's new album "Momentum" was released, with a front cover art work by Alexey Paryla. Musically challenging and sophisticated, "Momentum" takes electronic music to new heights with exquisite and elegant arrangements and sounds built around an otherwise minimal floor of refined glitch-tronica. This albums displays such a wide array of colorations that you'll never get bored listening to it. Compared to other albums he put out, this one is maybe a touch darker and colder (in a good way) and the minimal techno beats drive through the entire magma of cybernetic sonic artifacts like a modern hi speed steel train running through Berlin's drop-dead cold and flat fields covered in ice. Very exciting...
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Artist: The Abstractions (@)
Title: Ars Vivende
Format: CD
Label: Edgetone records (@)
Distributor: U.I.R.C., Drimala, Verge Music


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"Ars Vivende" (the art of living) is the second release by west coast experimental music collective The Abstractions, featuring Ernesto Diaz-Infante, Dina Emerson, Phillip Everett, Sandor Finta, Lance Grabmiller, Bob Marsh, Jesse Quattro, Alwyn Quebido, Rent Romus and Stephen Ruiz. This record is all over the map and is a must for those who want to be challenged in reaching new musical horizons, leaving old concepts and preconceptions behind. There are no rules and no barriers here, it's the wildest experimentation you'll get and some of the most abstract and absurd avantgarde experimental music you'll find around. Everything is on the fringe of something else and they all live together in one record: free jazz, metal, avant-garde, electro-acoustic music, poetry, vocal noises etc. Its where creativity and improvisation meet. Give it a try if you dare!
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Artist: Al Haca Soundsystem (@)
Title: Inevitable
Format: CD
Label: Different Drummer (@)
Distributor: Caroline
My hat goes off to this release for originality and quality. And if I say that (considering I am not a huge fan of MCs/dancehall/reggae) you gotta trust me on this one! Following their 2001 Different Drum debut EP "Killa", german DJ collective Al Haca Soundsystem pulled off a beautiful release that elegantly and exquisitely blends the rough and edgy roots of dancehall/reggae/hip hop/dub with the smooth and sophisticated sonics of electronica, ambient, trip hop and even occasional glitchy/experimental/noise music. The guest MCs come from all over the world and include Sizzla, Mr. Dead, Ras MC T-Weed, Farda P, Mr. V, RQM, He-Man, so expect them to be all over the map, ranging from the original jamaican style (like Sizzla or He-Man) to the style you'd hear during a new york city underground drum'n'bass nights with Jojo Mayer/Nerve (like RQM) or the machine-gun-word-spitting style, or from the Brooklyn hip hop style (like Mr. Dead) to the hip classy Darryl Jennifer-sounding minimal and narrative MCing (like the ecelctic and outstanding Ras Mc T-Weed) or the Tricky-type spoken word style. The album feels a little long to me but it's worth listening to.
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Artist: the Azoic
Title: Conflict
Format: CD
Label: Nilaihah records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis, Amazon, A Different Drum, Isolation Tank, DSBP, Middle Pillar, Harvest Media, Projekt, CD Baby, Darkland Music, Unspun, Musicwerks


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After their "Forward..." release, the female fronted the Azoic duo is back with more danceable techno electronica. This eight track CD features eight different remix versions of the title track by Iris, Negative Format, Imperative Reaction, Massiv in Mensch, System, Syn, CombiChrist (Icon Coil side project). Altough you can definitely hear the EBM influence and there is a lot of synth-pop activity going on, this album is really more on the dancefloor side of things so if you are looking for a mixture of dance-techno and electro-pop to revive your alternative bootie-shakin' weekends you should try this out. I personally am not too big of a fan of the more commercial-friendly dance-club sounds (and this album is filled with those) but other people like them and might find the right balance with this album. By the way, the album also features a video clip in Quick Time and Windows Media formats of the same track with some live footage.
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Artist: Distorted Reality (@)
Title: The Fine Line Between Love and Hate
Format: CD
Label: Nilaihah records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis, Amazon, A Different Drum, Isolation Tank, DSBP, Middle Pillar, Harvest Media, Projekt, CD Baby, Darkland Music, Unspun, Musicwerks


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Distorted Reality are American Deep Red-vocalist Martha M. Arce and German keyboard player programmer Christian Kobusch. Together they produce and explore "The Fine line between Love and Hate" with a musical journey that embraces EBM, synth-pop and techno in various aspects and combinations. The hard hitting hammering beats drive the duo through electronic soundscapes of synth textures and carefully molded sounds, enriched by distorted and processed voices and melodic vocal lines occasionally stepping into territories of electro-pop. The end result is pleasing and stands out in the crowd. The CD was produced by Bruno Kramm of the legendary german duo Das Ich and includes remixes by Assemblage 23, Forma Tadre, Null Device, cut.rate.box, Propaganda, Noyce (TM) and Sabotage.
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