Music Reviews



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Artist: Hollowing - Aere Aeternus - Metanemfrost
Title: The Obsolete View
Format: CD
Label: The Rectrix (@)
I must say I had high expectations after reading the description on Rectrix's website. I wouldn't say it is as unique as described but that doesn't mean it's bad or not worth your time, on the contrary. This three way dark ambient split CD makes come together Hollowing, Aere Aeternus (members of the Dark Sanctuary cult) and Metanemfrost.The former's offering consists of three basically different tracks. Starting out with a sample-based psychotic and paranoid repetitive experimental hymn and then turning to the more droning aspect of ambient, eventually swiftly abandoning ambient all together to attack you with thundering industrial rhythms, distorted material, pounding metallic beats and Teutonic percussive orgies.Aere Aeternus bring you four songs of claustrophobic noise conspiracy with occasional elements of neoclassicism (acoustic guitar), very mysterious and hollow at times.The latter are probably the ones I prefer in the batch. The variety of sonorities they play with in their five takes complements the dynamic moods that they evoke. Grand industrial orchestrations, rumbling subterranean noise pieces, underworld ambience, hints of very basic rhythmical structures, minimalist choking power electronics (is there such a thing anyway?).There's something for everyone here (that is everyone who listens to different shades of dark-ambient-industrial music of course) so give this a listen. There are some mp3's for download on the website and besides, the prices of Rectrix's CD releaeses are really fair and shouldn't make you wanna stall after just a couple of mp3's.
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Artist: Show of Exaggeration (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: The Rectrix (@)
Distributor: Force of Nature
Unfortunately there are still labels out there shipping promos with no additional information about the bands, their music and their releases and when that happens with a CD like this one, where the front cover does not make clear what the name of the band and what the name of the record is, it can get real tricky to get the facts straight. So after some research I now know that "Show of Exaggeration" involves Philipp Muench from the project Synapscape and painter/designer/musician Bernhard Woestheinrich, one third of the very interesting German ambient-fusion project Centrozoon (I'd love to hear more of this trio, as allegedly they mix ambient electronica with free guitar improvisation and vocals). The two sound manipulators embrace a quite claustrophobic dark-ambient style and go down that route with all the confidence of who knows how to balance minimalist isolationism and noise materialism. If you like the Staalplaat sound give this a listen!
Besides being a collaboration of two musicians, this CD is also a collaboration of two US labels: New York Lower East Side's The Rectrix and West Kingston, Rhode Island's Force of Nature, so check out their two websites for more info (you can bring this CD home for just $10 in the US and $12 elsewhere).
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Artist: Flint Glass
Title: Hierakonpolis
Format: CD
Label: Brume (@)
Flint Glass' debut "Hierakonpolis" is an 18 tracks long dark electro CD that explores a number of different but connected musical areas, entertaining you with an exosphere of sonics that convey the darkes places of our soul and the loneliest and scariest places of our lives. The key here is "dark": so is the sound, so are the atmospheres. Murky, gloomy, sombre and melancholic like in some Cold Meat Industry releases but outreaching and willing to compromise and mark new territory, like in some Extreme releases. Balancing between the ambient music that you would hear in desolated scenes of sorrow and despair and a softer version of certain well constructed industrial rhythmicism/mysticism that reminds of Mlada Fronta or Mimetic, some even compared them to Autechre, but I believe that the Warp duo's music is misleadingly brighter than Flint Glass'. Coldness and warmth are constantly fighting for predominance here and the quasi total absence of vocals makes it an extremely visionary record which would be a perfect match for a number of movie soundtracks portraying scenarios varying from post apocalyptic to foggy northern woods, from lunar landscapes to horror aberrations. Among the 18 tracks you'll find 5 remixes by Oil 10, Dither, Cdrk of Xingu Hill and Axiome, Hiv+ and Komintern.Deeply disturbing and yet unequivocally enjoyable and morbidly relaxing.
Artist: Echoes In The Dark
Title: Finally
Format: Tape
Label: Electronique Music Factory REcords
Distributor: Electronique Music Factory REcords
This is a project from ChainDLK member Donovan Tate, who was nice enough to send me a copy of his two tapes. The toting of combining Depeche Mode and Anything Box makes sense but to me the first track "Drive" reminds me of some of Clan Of Xymox’s older stuff, with the bassy reverb and slow drumline and synth following behind. As in other words, kinda dark but not overpowering the dreamy side of it. The second track, "Everything’s Blue" has a kind of trip hop side to the drums and a dreamy as hell vocalist (Demetra Tate), sounding half like Sade and half like the girl from Portishead a bit. I also like the woodwind effects put in the middle of the track as well (I may be wrong but I think it’s a synthesized recorder flute). Track 3," Echoes In The Dark Theme" (oh how I fucking hate band themes! KMFDM drove me nuts with that shit of yelling out their name again and again) is actually pretty good, kind of along the lines of older Xymox again, and that dreamy vocalist again at work. "Technology" brings up the Kraftwerkian vibe up with a touch of abstract elecro-trance, and the simple verse of "technology" looping. Then near the end breaks into a darker ambient piece, with the added atmosphere of echoed vocals looming overhead. "Feel" does bring that Anything Box feel that Donovan was telling me about too! Minus the sugary part of AB, though. That was AB’s charm but also it’s curse, it made me wonder if they had testicles or not! I love that group though and this comes very close to them. Only thing harming this tape is underproduction , but since they are an up and coming band, this is understandable. Given time and a better production slate their sound can reach a whole new potential. And their diversity is quite healthy too. And Demetra’s vocals are great too, just needs more songs that show off more vocal range, which will come. Rating:10
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Artist: Sky City (Jamie Myerson) (@)
Title: Going... Gone
Format: CD
Label: Sound Gizmo Audio (@)
Distributor: Rykodisc
God, I have listened to this CD at least 5 times already and I still haven't crunched out a review... I like this CD so much that I keep listening to it with pleasure forgetting about what I should be doing, so here I am, playing it for the sixth time trying to get my thoughts together to make sure you understand the reason why you should let yourself be transported by this CD too. Originally from New Jersey, Jamie Myerson was a drummer and exported his knowledge to (or should I say imported into?) the computer to apply it to the practice of slicing and dicing and re-arranging his killer beats. After several 12"es on UK d'n'b 4 Hero member Dego's label Reinforced Records (whom he met ten years earlier in Philadelphia at 611 Records) and several records on Belgian Crammed Discs and New York City's Sm:)e, Jamie Myerson went back to Philadelphia, where it all started, to sign a deal with Ovum and record his ambitious and multi-style "The Listen Project". Eventually he went back to the big capital of groovy electronic lounge music, New York City (Brooklyn/Queens to be precise), where Sound Gizmo Audio picked him up to release their last but one "Lift Me Up" and of course "Going... Gone", which is an inspired and, according to Sound Gizmo, «moodier, more sweeping and deeper in sound» record. Personally I am quite in love with "Going... Gone" precisely because it keeps some of the multi-faceted and cross-style dynamism of "The Listen Project" as well as some of the more uncompromising rhythmical drives of "Lift Me Up". You'll get to hear the "classical" drum'n'bass sound of NYC's club sound (think Prohibited Beatz at Shine) on songs like "Nowhere to be Found" or more Portishead trip-hop ballads on songs like "That's How Much I Love You" and "Walk Alone" (including the characteristic chill out lounge female vocals by Ebba Forsberg) or "Love Can't Fail" and "Falling Down Again" (whose male vocals are by David Poe) or even a more ambient-trance electronica sound on songs like the title track, "Crater" or "See the Lights". Among other cool things about this record, Jamie also took the photo which makes the front cover, a beautiful night picture of a sun dawn and a gorgeous sky going from dark/bright blue to yellow/orange.Album will be in stores March 1st so you have to time make sure nobody gets there before you do!
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