Music Reviews



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Artist: TH 26 (@)
Title: La Haine
Format: CD
Label: Small Voices (@)
After not having heard from him in years, our old buddy and noise contributor Arnaldo Pontis has come back with his project TH26 (together with Corrado Altieri) and appearances by Simon Balestrazzi, who also produced the record (it is not a coincidence that the booklet also thanks Angelo Bergamini, Gianluca Beccuzzi, T.A.C., Elena Fossi and other folks from that circle of artists). These fine noisy Italian islanders have chosen a small new indie label called Small Voices based in Andria (Southern Italy) to release their comeback entitled "La Haine", an eleven track cybernetic industrial-electro record that sounds sort of old-time Germaniac, in a good and quasi Cat Rapes Dog or Klinik kind of way and at the same time injects a bid dose of industrial music the way :W: or Mimetic fans would like it... The eclectic and multi-lingual singing goes from deep spoken dark passages that combined with a piano sounds like, say, My Dying Bride (in the long obscure intimate title track, sometimes orchestral always on the edge of electrolysis, or in the less melancholic but equally noir "Impossible Mantra"), to heavily treated and distorted short-sentenced evilish lyrics ("Protection" and basically most of the more Deutsch-style ebm pieces).In the same way the vocals touch a number of shores, the highly inductive and electrified sample-based music also follows its own visionary path of lines connecting dots of pounding industrial ("Hypnotized Dog"), electro-dark ("Subzone"), industrial-ebm ("The Enemy Inside", "Third Destination") and great sounding noisy artifacts the way only these guys know how to. A handful of good instrumental sombre industrial pieces suitable for audio-to-video applications is available as well. it's more than just another ebm clone. It's basically a complete album that puts a lot on the table and has a lot to offer to a number of different audiences gravitating around whatever noise, electro, power electronics, experimental, industrial, dark, ebm etc have in common. I liked this album very much and I recommend it, especially if you are based in Italy, not so much because of the lyrics (Italian words are the minority anyway) but because you wouln't wanna miss the chance to support a group of team-players like these, all based in the most remote and Southern areas of a nation that knows very few exceptions in a poor market for poor electronic music. They certainly are one of those exceptions.
Artist: VV.AA
Title: Acid Fake_02
Format: CD
Label: Acid Fake
Distributor: Acid Fake
Reading like one slab slab of rhythmic noise, yet not danceable of course, this CD is one of the better noise comps I have heard in a while. Where most noise CDs I hear are of course just exercises in absurdity over doing anything truly creative, this has a sense of rhythm and time on it, as well as the use of my fun musical hobby: sample and sound linking. Track 3,by Destructive Genius, is a great example, with its’ minimal, pattering drum line over a monster roar and a distorted cat moan (which sounds more hellish than aforementioned) all in a kind of trance repetition, all of a sudden with a gun shot to destroy that mood when you least expect it. Rating: 8. Fans of drone and sound linking take note.
Jan 09 2003
Artist: DISHARMONY (@)
Title: Moonflower
Format: CD
Label: Broken Seal (@)


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Coming from Slovakia, Disharmony is duo a which produced a good album of ebm electronica being capable to diversify the atmospheres of the whole work without proposing the usual "in your face" distorted sound. A good example is the opening "Yourself" which is a long minimal electronic suite as well as half of the tracks you can find on the CD. The other tracks are more pumping but always based on semi ambient sounds. The band's characteristic is to combine soundtrack atmpospheres with treated vocals, mid tempo rhythms, ebm arrangements and early industrial influences (like on "Brain"). MOONFLOWER is a particular album and represent the will of experimentation of the band which wants to create something different from the usual sounds. The result sometimes lacks of energy but generally it is appreciable.
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Artist: MANA ERG (@)
Title: Borderliners
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Bda / Glyptique
I received this CD few months ago and I've got to apologize with Bruno for my delay in reviewing it. The reason it isn't because I'm not digging it, actually I like it a lot! Anyway... Bruno De Angelis for composing the six tracks of BORDERLINERS has been influenced by all the good music producend in the '80s, starting from 4AD's bands arriving to Gary Numan, experimental music (Coil, etc) and Depeche Mode. This could sound strange but listening to "Rain Forever" and "Alicante" I was hearing echoes of Killing Joke and Tones On Tail mixed with Bruno's distinctive way of composing which is always intriguing and dark. During the twenty six minutes of the CD you'll be projected into a different place where dead bodies talk to you ("My Only Witness"), familiar tragedies take place ("Where's Tomorrow") or mental indecision is the only way to survive ("Remember"). This has been quite a surprise and if you love new wave, early electronica and interesting twisted songs this is what you're looking for!
Artist: Angels Of Light
Title: Everything Is Good Here/Please Come Home
Format: CD
Label: Young God Records
Distributor: Young God Records
To pigeonhole any of Michael Gira’s projects is to soon look like a fool, given the array of musical prowess and interest he has. Just as people became comfortable with pigeonholing The Swans as industrial noise, they made several 360 degree turns at once, opting more for the dark, often ethereal death folk sound they perfected. After that perfection, they arrived back again with "The Great Annihilator" a mix of sharp industrial, goth rock and dark folk hymns, all with the gorgeous torch song of Jarboe’s stunning vocals. Same goes for Angels of Light. Their first CD, "New Mother" I fell in love with back in my, oddly enough, hardcore industrial days (where I was even more hardcore about it than now! Imagine that!), with it’s perfectly somber and dreamy acoustic melodies, like an ember that rose from "Soundtracks For The Blind" (the final Swans CD). It was proof that yet another maturation had begun. Same went for their "Oh How I Loved You", which to me was easily on "New Mother" status. I still miss Jarboe on the Angels Of Light releases, but eh Michael more than carries his own. Now on their third opus, it has made another change, feeling more like a loose jam session, all with that trademark DIY ethic that Gira is known for. Gira’s lyrics are as sharp and deadly as ever, yet with Angels of Light they are more tender, versus The Swans’ blunt poetic attack. He is still what we could call a modern day Leonard Cohen, a man seemingly drifting forever searching for himself and that perfect poem. But also mixed in are their folk ballads, touching and retrospective as ever, overflowing with emotion (yet another Gira trademark) and an Anne Sexton sense of confessionalism. There are no real strong points to the CD, as all the songs to me are meant to be listened to together, to let the complex world of theirs’ to flow together with every song. Rating: 10. For fans of The Swans’ latter day work (such as "World Of Skin" and "White Light From... ... ... "), Death In June, Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave.
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