Music Reviews



Artist: VV.AA.
Title: O Superman Remix CD
Format: CD
Label: ERS / Staalplaat (@)
"O Superman Remix CD" is a remix CD (duuh!) featuring nine experimental artists busy re-working the Laurie Anderson sky-rocketing hit and pop anthem "O Superman (For Massenet)" (the original was paraphrasing Jules Massenet's song "O Souverain"). Anderson's version was first released on One Ten records and later re-released and distributed on her debut LP "Big Science" by Warner Bros (we all know how that went, when these fucking majors are after profits and don't respect the artists...). It was an outsider track, something alien to what the rest of the music industry was putting out. Her vocoded voice and all the electronics were painting a picture of an ill society becoming greedy and loosing touch with the importance of human relationships (she sings "this is the hand, the hand that takes", which incidentally is also one of the sentences printed on the beautiful hand crafted cardboard box case that Staalplaat specifically created for this release). Now nine names did go over all of that and came up with their own versions, some where the electronic aspect is emphasized, some where noises are added, some somewhat close to the original, others totally re-worked into newly crafter creations of digital sonics, glitch electronica and drones (Frans De Waard's new project Freiband, Origin of Sound), noise (Dutch Danny De Graan, Italian Massimo), beautiful IDM arrangements that would fit into the Warp catalogue (Com.a, Radbound Mens, Team Doyobi), synthetic Kraftwerkian sounds (Electric Company), experimental concrete weirdnesses (Staalplaat founder's project Staalplaat SoundSystem), vocal samples and so on... Few stones are left unturned when it comes to sonic experimentation. Definitely an interesting re-interpretation of a classic of avantgarde pop-electronica of the early eighties.
Artist: Circle Clan (@)
Title: Follow the White Line
Format: CD
Label: self-released
I've always been fond of bands achieving decent results when mixing metal with electronica, and in this case I even stumbled on something slightly different than what the average electro-metal scene offers. Of course I am not saying that these Adelaide-based guys are better than, say, Die Krupps, but they definitely have a very original approach to what they do, which could characterize them on the long run and make them remarkably unique. "Follow the White Line" takes the raging guitars that you will find in bands like the above-mentioned German masters or the equally interesting and innovative Flugschaedel and mix it in with dancefloor-friendly beats, synthetic sounds, electronic sequences and vocals that are somewhere between those of a rock singer and an ebm one. If you always liked Stabbing Westward, Sloppy Wrenchbody, Headcrasch, Swamp Terrorist, Marylin Manson or even Nine Inch Nails but you always wanted to shake that ass of yours to their beats the way you do during a rave or in a club, maybe you should turn to Circle Clan when looking for those emotions.
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Artist: KUTNA HORA
Title: Will or nothing
Format: CD
Label: Ars Musica Diffundere/Black Rain (@)
This cd by Argentinian quartet Kutna Hora begins with militaristic pecussions, but later they seem to opt for the lighter, wave-ish side of dark folk. The press sheet quotes In My Rosary and Novalis as references, and I'd definitely add some Cure too in the vocal department (see "Hell is a place on earth"). They also take on the Irish traditional "Crazy man Michael", yeah, the one that Sol Invictus covered aeons ago. Competent musicianship, good production, and decent songs, but nothing that even remotely thrills me. I don't know, this style of dark folk just does not for me. It is the classical "acoustic ballads played by goths"-vibe, which often sadly couples the "acoustic ballads played by metalheads with runes"-vibe in the not so exciting noir folk scene of today.
Sep 12 2003
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Artist: ENFUSION
Title: Outermission
Format: CD
Label: Funk Welten (@)
Enfusion (Torben Schmidt and Alfred Gregl) play nice electronica with a spacy touch. Ear-friendly rhythms coupling with ethereal melodies, relaxing and unobtrusive. Kind of Boards of Canada minus all the "difficult" parts and a more retro-ambient slant. This could be a good point if you really like this style, otherwise it could become a defect. The matter is, it's very well done but it's just NICE - it works while you're at it (generally doing something else), but leaves you no scratches at the end. So you forget what it sounds like. There's a kind of extra-polished modern-design-electronica feel (something common to all Funkwelten releases) which leaves me a bit cold. Anaemic chill out.
Artist: Etron Fou Leloublan
Title: Les Poumons Gonfles
Format: CD
Label: Musea (@)
French band from the "Rock in Opposition" movement, they inspired many other musicians who followed, Etron Fou Leloublanc were formed by Chris Cutler (Eulalie Ruynat) and their anarchic mix of no-wave, free-jazz, concrete muzak and experimentation will remind you of Captain Beefhear, Albert Marcoeur, ZNR, the Swiss electronic geniuses Young Gods, Kurt Weil, the god of sax John Zorn, Psychic TV, the Italian freak-experi-jazzers Bz Bz Ueu, Jacopo Andreini, Parts, Daniele Brusaschetto, Jitterbugs, the German kraut-experimentors Mr. Ebu and Krankheit Der Jugend, the American Post Prandials, and others who have either made French the language of their recited, sung and spoken lyrics or who have fooled around with acoustic instruments in a way that goes beyond jazz, scratches the surface of cacophonic dissonance, escapes conventional rock and breaks barriers and boundaries in search of a new equilibrium. "Les Poumons Gongles" is a re-edition of their 1982 fourth album of thier career.
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