Music Reviews



Feb 06 2005
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: FUCK
Format: CD
Label: Hive records (@)
Distributor: Metropolis
Rated: *****
In some instances this record represents a quite radical departure of Hive's normally inhabited territories. Known (at least to me) for producing refined quality breakbeat/noise-electronica oriented discs, Hive puts a new spin on what best represents them (funny, because based on the releases I have reviewed from Hive, I'd think this is almost the least representative, but I guess it's a matter of opinions and of how you wanna look at it). Extensive track selection and planning brought to "FUCK" (at least the title does represent Hive and their motto, because "Hive Records wants you to fuck. Fuck mediocre electronica. Fuck imature scenesters. Fuck censorship. Fuck sitting still, get up and break something" - and for that alone they'd deserve 5 stars, 'cause I fully agree... as long as you leave my Mac alone when you're looking for objects to smash! ;-)). But let's get down and dirty, 'cause everybody gets something out of this! Looking for distorted noise-core? Try the opening track by Pneumatic Detach. Looking for noisy nostromo-ish gabber-core? Look no further than Converter, but Censor or Unter Null will do just as well. Looking for beautiful, dark and at times glitchy electronica? Larvae, Hiv+ and Lapsed will provide you with an awesome example of how well those adjectives mix. Looking for Daft-type rhythm-noise/power-electronics? Railgun, Muted Logic, Exclipsect and Iszoloscope will work out just fine! Looking for spastic, glitchy and frenzy break-electronica/break-core/break-beat or whatever you like calling it? End is your fix. Looking for lush and reverberated trip hop? 32nd Kalpa + Leaf or the heavily jazzy-inspired Mago are just what you need. Looking for an unlikely mixture of Hearts of Darknessess, Beastie Boys, Aphex Twin and Darkraver? You'll be amazed and excited by Concrete Cookie vs Incredibad. Looking for beat-less dark-ambient? Vectorscope will give you a break.
As Hive owner smartly puts it: "DJs and club kids will find as much merit here as headphone recluses". Enjoy (and if you can try to get one of the first 200 copies of the run, which come in a special edition consisting of an extra CD in a slim-dvd box with inserts annd stickers, all in an electrostatic shielding bag like the ones you get your computer cards in).
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Artist: Drop the Fear (@)
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: Massive Music
Rated: *****

BUY from  BUY NOW from CD BABY (CDBaby.com)
Drop the Fear's self-titled debut is a both sophisticated and refined album. Somewhere at the cross-roads of electronic music, pop music, indie rock, ambient and trip hop, Drop the Fear have learned the lessons of Cocteau Twins, Conjure One, Massive Attack, Portishead and others, but have assimilated it and made it their very own. Personality is key here, and Drop the Fear's approach is intensely intimate and emotionally original. Drop the Fear have character and music to prove it. In the trio everybody is a programmer, so you can very well imagine that the throbbing heart of their compositions is driven by zeros and ones, but the acoustic side to balance things out is never felt missing, thanks to Lycia-style lush and melancholic electric guitars and Alice In Chains-like deep and full acoustic guitars. In addition to that other live instruments are featured too, but what does really take it to the next level is the vocal contribution of their female singer (some songs also feature a male voice) that will remind you of the first three bands I mentioned in the review, with a little bit of Bjork, Elisa, Taxi, Pain of Thought, Bethany Curve in it. Also available as a limited edition CD+DVD with footage of the band. Enjoyable recommended listening experience!
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Artist: hEADaCHE / Various Artists
Title: fULLY aUTOMATED: The hEADaCHE re:mixes
Format: CD
Label: Uncoiled Loops
Distributor: Metropolis
Rated: *****
Compilations are always a risky fair, loaded with bands both familiar and completely unknown, the listener can be either blown away by fantastic material or have their eardrums tortured for the length of the CD. The material can often be inconsistent thematically or have varying degrees of production quality. Fortunately, none of the these potential problems plague "fULLY aUTOMATED: The hEADaCHE re:mixes". The compilation consists of 14 remixes from a relatively diverse collection of bands all remixed by CEOXiME founder, hEADaCHE (who also provides us with a 15th track, a previously unreleased CEOXiME cover of Radio Head's "Exit Music {for a film}") . hEADaCHE levels the playing ground here. While the songs still maintain their original characteristics, going through hEADaCHE's blender-like maelstrom of beats and song reconstructions has unified them into a fantastically consistent CD that delivers the goods. Dance-floor remixes are more or less cast aside leaving room for more creative arrangements that are engaging, unpredictable and great for multiple listens. Bands featured on the compilation are Collide, Hypoid, Diverje, Soul Circuit, Croc Shop, Silvercord, LiveSexAct, Noxious Emotion, function13, things outside the skin, Bottomfeeder, Endif, Flood Damage, Five Star Reject and CEOXiME. Stand-out tracks: Endif "Ashes", Hypoid "Deprogramming Deposits of Fat" and Bottomfeeder "Maybe Someday".
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Artist: Stormdrain
Title: The Immovable Objection
Format: CD
Label: Subterreign Media
Rated: *****
San Francisco Bay Area based duo Stormdrain has been around for a few years now, and they've been able to gain some exposure in the past years with the inclusion of one of their songs in TV shows such as The Sopranos and Making The Band. "The Immovable Objection" is their third album and is presented as the album of their artistic maturity. Ex-Invisible records promo rep and Pigface roadie Scott Reyns and his trusty studio-mate Ninos Oshaana, have produced an album packed with exciting electro-rock tunes (some may call it industrial trip-hop, but that might be a little misleading in my opinion). Trip-pop would actually be a fair use of words to describe their sound, which definitely preserves the pop attitude in the catchy and meloic un-distorted (finally, how refreshing!) vocals, but the deeply-rooted electronic production and the heavy use of distorted rock (not metal) guitars, make it even more exciting, more powerful and, why not, more radio-friendly. In other words, by learning the lesson of those who have done it before and by keeping a viivid memory of those who didn't by choice, Stormdrain have been able to find a viable way to make commercially-valid indiependent electronic music with a pop feel to it. Well done! Buy it at a very fair price of $7.99 from their website!
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Artist: Bill Laswell
Title: Version 2 Version - A Dub Transmission
Format: CD
Label: Roir (ReachOut International Records) (@)
Rated: *****
I am assuming and hoping that Bill Laswell does need no introduction, since you might have spotted his name on half a thousand records, but I will spend a few lines to tell you about the exceptional musicians he has called up for his fifth release on New York's ReachOut International Records (or ROIR): Jah Wobble (popular session musician with collaborations including Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Radio Morocco, Higher Than The Sun, Evil is Even and many other - and of course ex-Sex Pistols' Johnny Rotten's Public Image Limited, where Wobble played bass); Karsh Kale (awesome NY-based tablas player I had the pleasure to work with - also in Talvin Singh and Tabla Beat Science); Bernie Worrell (Julliard-trained musician - played with Clinton's Parliament & Funkadelic and with Talking Heads, The Pretenders, Yoko Ono, Gov't Mule and others); Abdou Mboup (Carla Cook and others). At this point you should have already realized what is going on here. ROIR very correctly states that this record is played by "a world-class group of musicians who know how to breath life into a musical whole greater than the sum of its parts". Long reverbs, groovy beats, deep bass lines, worldy percussions, awesome sounds. Quite simply: dub at its best!
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