Music Reviews



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Artist: Paolo Di Cioccio
Title: Logos
Format: CD
Label: Musica Maxima Magnetica (@)
I haven't heard from Paolo Di Cioccio since his great album "Images" (at least a couple of years ago, I'd say) but now theis contemporary Italian composer and master of Theremin ceremonies (you might know him from his work with Theatrum Chemicum) is back with a new work of love (which by the way comes as a really beautiful white digipack with blurred images in primary colors that perfectly match the disc's contents)."Logos" (the highest form of knowledge in Greek philosophy) is an awesome concentration of cosmic electronics, classical elegance, esoteric atmospheres. The interaction of Theremin with his other primary instrument of choice, the oboe, present us with estranged sonic images of timeless beauty. Graced by soft rhythm textures of 309 and warped by synthetic patterns of moog, mellotronium and other vintage and non-vintage gear, Paolo Di Cioccio's music is a gateway to eternity and a voyage through time and space, closing the gap between ancient and modern and bridging Vangelis, Vidna Obmana, Artemiy Artemiev, Stockhausen and others in a unique time-bending and intimate research along a starry milky way leading to unknown places. You can hear his experience in scoring visual material reflect on his songwriting and the extreme visionary appeal that a record like this has only further enhances the evoking of images. In one song Di Ciccio even pushes the boundaries of his unique ambient/classical/cosmic electronic music stepping into a new dimension of Mego-ish minimalistic experimental techno made of up-tempo pounding beats, vanishing samples sparkling the tense atmosphere and traces of oboe floating around in the air with a nonchalance that stands opposite to the post-modern picture that the rhythmical repetition is drawing out. But that's just a brief parenthesis... By the time you get to the closing track, it'll be set back to tranquillity.
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Artist: S. Gears (@)
Title: Dip
Format: CD
Label: Musica Maxima Magnetica (@)
The elusive Manchester-based Steve Gears has been around for a while as B-Dum B-Dum Sound and 7% Solution (perhaps you may have heard about him from collaborations with the In The Nursery brothers' Les Jumeaux side-project and Wire's Colin Newman) and "Dip" is probably the sum of all these experiences and the exteriorising of all the sensations he gathered. A deeply emotional album that has the loaded tenseness of 80's post, the otherworldly floatation of dub, the artsy atmospherics of some mainstream-outsiders, the architecture of a electronics, the liberty of experimentalism and the mysteriousness of dark. The beautiful and entrancing peace of "Dip" is shared and contended by a lush feeling of loneliness and a tasty aesthetic of romanticism. In no specific order a list of influences may include David Byrne, Daniel Lanois, David Bowie, Gary Neuman, Brian Eno, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Mick Harris, Deadbeat, Minimal Compact, Wire and many (and I mean MANY) others but, then again, it is all vague and mystified, restrained and evened out. Smoothing the edges and straightening the surface to allow for the softest ride along the waves of stringed arpeggios, the intimacy of a small orchestration, the coagulation of ethereal loops, the laid back and shy beats and the visionary vocals (his very own warm and lyrical interpretations occasionally caressed by female background), who are really the focus of this modernized-retro'-beauty compositional effort.
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Artist: Human Drama
Title: Cause And Effect
Format: CD
Label: projekt records
Distributor: projekt records
This one is kind of odd to me, having a lot of swagger for a Projekt band, who usually carry more an air of laid-back melancholy. At points it reminds me of old school Mission UK with it’s goth-ballad swagger, sometimes like a poppier Love Like Blood. Grrrr, and I hate the fact they covered Leonard Cohen’s "Dance Me To The End Of Love", I wanted to cover that song for a while now! Oh well, plenty of other songs to cover. I could easily see this played on the radio or on VH1, in a good way. Projekt, with it’s newfound dabblings in dark pop like LowSunday (think Travis with powerchords), has paid off. But at times the swagger of Human Drama catches me, yet on other times that same song makes me wonder how much pop-rock I can stomach. But eh, on the same hand I have an uneasy relationship with pop in general. Choice cuts are "I am Not Here", "Lonely", and " Imitation of... .". "Lonely" esp., with it’s Schubert-style piano musings, catches my ear. Rating: 9.
Artist: Girls Under Glass
Title: Frozen
Format: CD
Label: Van Richter
Distributor: van richter
This is the latest CD from Girls Under Glass, with, you guessed it, a cover of the Madonna song "Frozen" and some other goodies, working out more as an EP than a single. I hate the original Madonna song, as it marks a period where she gave up daring music and style and gave in to corporate radio-friendly music safe for her aging yuppy fanbase of the 80’s. But this seems to breathe life into a otherwise pointless song. My favorite on this would be "Wings" with it’s ethereal vocals and gliding whistles and dance tracks. Also the Das Ich remix of "The Bitter End" and Peter Heppner on "Grey On Grey" (he’s everywhere nowadays!) definitely don’t hurt either. This one got a few rotations in my CD player. Rating: 10.
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Artist: VENUS FLY TRAP (@)
Title: Mars, Totem, Pandoras Box, Luna Tide, Dark Amour
Format: CD
Label: SPV Poland


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I know the Venus Fly Trap since the early days as Alex Novak has been a member of Attrition and my older brother was into them. I listened only to their live album and few other things but this time I had the possibility to span through their whole discography as this five CDs gather almost all the songs the band produced during the 1987/1997 period.
Let's get into the details:

- MARS contains "Morphine", "Desolation Railway" and the MLP "Mars". Listening to these releases I heard echoes of Teardrop Explodes, Three Jones and various influences that go from post punk to psychobilly. This CD contains also the original versions of "Morphine", "Catalyst", "Desolation Railway" and a live version of "Step Inside"

- TOTEM (like the following PANDORAS BOX) has got the tracks coming from the Danceteria label period and includes "Rocket USA" 12" (1989), "Totem" (1990) and "Europa" 12" (1990) along with the "Europa" remix and the live versions of "Shadowplay" and "Rocket USA" plus the "Rocket USA" video clip. With this the atmosphere goes darker with echoes of Bauhaus and Red Lorry Yellow Lorry. If you thought that "Rocket USA" is a cover of the Suicide song, you got it... Last note: on production we have got Kevin Haskins

- PANDORAS BOX contains "Pandoras Box" LP and selections from "Achilles Heel" 12" and the live album "Jewel". Always with Haskins on production the single and the album sligtly move away from the previous one leaving goth influences and starting exploring psychedelic rock with punk/funk tiny influences (as Gang Of Four did) but without missing their dark vein. Here you can also find the video of "Europa"

- LUNA TIDE includes "Shedding Another Skin" (1992) and the "Luna Tide" album (1994). To be precise I don't see any tracks from the first one as being a compilation of singles all the tracks are already on the other releases. Anyway, with this the new Venus Fly Trap's sound comes out and we can say that the dark period is definitively over. The tracks have got mainly rock and punk influences and the songs are guitar oriented. Sometimes (like on "Urban Sprawl Pt.1) the old influences come out. To be honest this is the album I enjoyed less

- DARK AMOUR is the last one and contains the album with the same title along with a song titled "13 o'clock". Luckily dark atmospheres are back along with some electronic arrangements and a sort of dark tension is noticeable. Songs like "Passport To Dark Amour" and "Pulp Sister" are direct and catchy and I prefer the band to sound this way: less rock or psychedelic and more direct and twisted

Wow... it has been difficult but I hope you got the picture. If you want my advice, I'd pick up TOTEM and DARK AMOUR... Enough said. ;-)
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