Music Reviews



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Artist: Phenotract (@)
Title: Within A Second
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Tinman Records (@)
Rated: *****

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Within A Second is Phenotract's debut release on the Tinman Records label which also sports such talents as Dubok, Crocodile Shop, Cydonia, and I Parasite. That said, Phenotract's sound is accessible to lovers of EBM, Synthpop and Trance. Utilizing a combination of these styles as well as house, other dance beats, and ethereal elements Eric Shans combines whispery vocals to create a sound that vears from the paths forged by Dependent, A Different Drum, and DSBP Records for example, yet utilizes elements influenced from all of these musical aspects. The only quality which shows any weakness at all are the vocals, slight though it is, but the overall tightness of his music shows real talent that will likely make some serious advancements in future releases worthy of attention. Interestingly Phenotract has an otherworldly and dreamy quality to it's sound while maintaining the energy required for good dance music. The first noticeable standout on the disc is "Motionstate", a great EBM trancefloor romp with "Lunartrip" to follow in it's wake later on the disc. Then there’s the funky sounds of "Drifts" and "Distant Voices" plus the retro industrial (nearly Die Warzaw-ish) "Red Glow". However the most likely to pump the EBM floors might be "Neosymmetry" though a bit more variance would do it some justice. There are many great tracks on this release which take a slight detour from what has started become 'standard' styles in the EBM and Synthpop genres while still including elements of Trance yet consciously not following the patterns laid down by others and instead forging his own way. This is very obvious in Eric's work as Phenotract and that combined with the strength of this debut leaves plenty of room for building excellence. He's well worth checking out, you decide, and hopefully future projects will bring Phenotract higher on the rungs of industry success! It's easy enough to get lost in these rhythms and that's a good thing. The instrumental tracts combining EBM and Trance are the strongest points on this disc and well worth the time. Others have said better than I can: "Drawing inspiration from classic EBM, House, and Hard Trance, Phenotract strives to meld these potentially disparate styles into a seamless whole. Phenotract has a distinct feel, a thick, adventurous Electro sensibility with otherworldly, vaguely House-like beats and breathy, understated vocals. The album also features extensive production work from Isaac Glendening of Cesium 137 (for whom Phenotract mastermind Eric Shans plays live keys). On Tinman."
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Artist: FORGOTTEN SUNRISE (@)
Title: Ru:mipu:dus
Format: CD
Label: My Kingdom Music (@)
Distributor: Masterpiece Distribution
Rated: *****
Forgotten Sunrise's first album RU:MIPU:DUS convinced me since the first listening and somehow it is a sort of underneath revolution, because it includes a lot of different musical influences that go from synthpop to metal. Why is it so amazing? Because they are doing it withtout making it sounds pretentious or else. It sounds so normal that you won't notice that much Anders'voice that sometimes cry out loud his hidden passions while Tiiu's angelic vocals do the choruses. The eleven tracks of the album (the last one is a remix did by G.G.F.H. member, Ghost) are catchy and energetic and well produced and for sure you'll be immediately convinced about the band's value when you'll listen to "Never (K)now" (a perfect single that's good to dance to and that has catchy melodies too), "Surroundcosmos" or "Thou-Sand Men". If you aren't synthpop or e.b.m. purists try this one and you'll be convinced as well. An advice: if you liked this album don't go getting the very first releases of the band as they were pure metal.
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Artist: DANIEL MENCHE
Title: Skadha
Format: CD
Label: Antifrost (@)
Active since 1993 Daniel Menche releases on Antifrost his new album titled SKADHA. The album title means "scathe" in old Norse and it contains five new tracks. Daniel has a very raw approach to sounds and the tracks you can find on this CD are the evidence of his physical approach to music. The tracks are pure noise compacted into primitive pulses which could provoke a sort of love/hate effect on most of the audiences. His performance as well as his recordings seems to be based most on the effect that on the meaning. Before his performances he checks the distance between the audience and the speakers just to be aware of the effect he can obtain on the listeners. Listening to this CD trying to find an explanation or trying to enjoy these sounds could be the wrong approach. It seems that these tracks are there only because they had to be there and Daniel didn't made them with the intent of provoking. These are rough sounds of various nature and they are made because: "Music is like ones own blood - so amplify it! As loud as possible - make the speakers bleed!"
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Artist: Ziino, Robert (@)
Title: Twilight Clones
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****

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Twilight Clones is the latest release by Robert Ziino, experimental electronic artist who has been composing music since the 1980's. His latest work utilizes modular synthesizers to create his artistic landscapes. According to Robert the fact that his music is entirely instrumental is that his music is his words. The goal of this release was to create a sonic landscape of sound and emotion which is accomplished. Most tracks are composed of a basic rhythm and percussion sequence with the modular synths taking the lead as voice in a way that is most alien to the casual listener. In some ways it could be soundtrack music for sci-fi cartoon shorts. In other ways it may remind some of the earlier electronic artists who hit the experimental music scene in the late 70's through 80's. As for the quality of the work one cannot judge based solely on musicianship or the standard concepts of 'music' as this work is more of an artistic expression and an abstract one at that.
May 02 2004
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Artist: Monofader (@)
Title: Frost
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records (@)
Rated: *****

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An interesting new project from the Metropolis team combining various elements of original and modern Synthpop with that of the EBM sound is Monofader. Monofader is Sebastian Komor (Icon of Coil) and Richard Bjorklund (Spektralized). Promotions calls them a combination of Depeche Mode and Erasure gone EBM but in actuality it's much more than that however the main elements of those rather basic stereotypes do exist but are compiled in a manner which give Monofader it's on personalized 'sound'. Modern dance beats and melancholic melodies combine smoothly over a synthetic landscape from this great new project from Norway. Some of my favorites however are tracks that vear from the beaten path a bit more like "Stand Alone" (titled aptly) which reminds me just a touch of Chris & Cosey and "Solid Ground", the first track the duo recorded, which is closer to the EBM dancefloor sound but with the smoothed over vocals this project is known for. The overall sound is one that anyone who is a fan of the label A Different Drum would be proud of and I bet Todd wishes he had his hands on this one!
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