Music Reviews



Artist: The Best Of Modern English
Title: Life In The Gladhouse (1980-1984)
Format: CD
Label: 4 AD
Colchester, England's five lads MODERN ENGLISH made an impact by becoming one of the British acts to enjoy heavy video rotation on MTV back in the 80's with their successful number one hit "Melt With You." It's been 16 years since they recorded for the label 4 AD, but at last the best of their 4 AD legacy is captured on one album and it reveals their unwillingness to settle for tried and tested methods; their flair for oblige strangely uplifting atmospheres; a sense of adventure in the filmic sounds of their records and a dry black sense of humour. Before Cocteau Twins, Clan Of Xymox, Dead Can Dance, Bauhaus and many others who were doing 'dark music' and were signed on the label, Modern English became the very first band to be signed on the label. They were placed in the late 70's and early 80's as a band who forged a relationship with all the emerging British styles-post punk, New Wave, synthesizer pop, New Romantic, Goth, neo-psychedelic and the so called Second Wave of UK Pop which invaded America in 1982 and '83. In 1977, the band's former name was called The Lepers, which consists of Robbie Grey (vocals), Gary McDowel (guitar), and Richard Brown (drums). A year later (1978), The Lepers evolved into Modern English, after when keyboard player Steve Walker and bassist Mick Conroy, joined the band. They released three albums and a couple of singles in four years period. From 1980-1984. This compilation features their very best songs from "Mesh and Lace," "After The Snow," and "Ricochet Days." "16 Days", "Gathering Dust", and "Swans On Glass" have a punk and gothic feel with anguish and emotions spilling out of Robbie's gut. "Black Houses" have a Bauhaus dark music similarity. The way Robbie sings reminds me of Peter Murphy. "Dawn Chorus" shows a warmer more romantic approach, which talks about where they recorded their second album "After The Snow." Their smash hit "Melt With You" peaked outside the American Top 40. They made a video which was shot in a London basement. In October 2001, the band received a BMI award for over one million radio plays, their finest pop song. The next single became "Life In The Gladhouse." "After The Snow" album went pure gold. Tracks "Heart" and "Blue Waves" have a psychedelic style with string sections, oboe, and textured keyboards. "Hands Across The Sea" became their first single off "Ricochet Days" album, which stalled outside the charts. It didn't do well like their second release.

ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN producer, Hugh Jones gets credit from Modern English who showed them his emphasis on songwriting structures as opposed to weird, improvised textures, for the change in style-that's showcase in "After The Snow." The band have released a couple more albums in the 1990's on two independent labels, but neither wasn't successful like their previous releases in the 80's. If you don't have any Modern English albums, this compilation of their songs mark their best finest work they ever done in history. Whether you're into punk, goth, new wave, new romantic, or synth-pop, I suggest you pick this up at your nearby record store. Modern English music comes across inbetween ALL genders.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: OM Lounge vol. 8
Format: CD
Label: OM records (@)
OM records longest running cocktail-sipping sexy soulful luscious lounge music sampler series reaches volume 8 this year. Dim-lights Lower East Side lounge/bar atmosphere type with relaxing beats, groovy vibes and beatuiful vocals. The original chill-out provided by Zeb (who actually lives down there too!), P'tahh, Kaskade, Rithma, J Boogie's Dubtronic Science, Colossus, King Kooba, 2 Block Radius, Afro-Mystik, Bitstream Dream, Mark Farina feat. Sean Hayes, Swamburger, Emo. Also available as double vinyl.
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Artist: 1L
Title: Das Nonstop-Programm
Format: CD
Label: RES FREq (@)
Missing the eighties? Try to take for a spin OneL's debut "Das Nonstop-Programm" an album that in todays' revival of that era sounds so stylish that even non-musical magazines such as Wallpaper* (interiors architecture art fashion entertaining travel) reviewed it, and positively too! 1L says it's inspired but not nostalgic of the '80es, so basically you'll get all the analogue sounds, the vintage instruments, the cranky sounding drum machines, the arcade Atari video game sounds. Synthesized computer funk with synth line hooks that will make you rock your bootie on and off the dancefloor. Also included is a cover version of Jacko's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'", performed entirely backwards (including vocals) - we'll see if that gets him out of trouble...
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Artist: Bacground Music for Foreground People
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: RES FREq (@)
Presented at NYC's Metropolitan Museum Of Art, "Bacground Music for Foreground People" came into being as an experiment to let blind people "see" by converting images into sound. Not the first experiment in its kind, "Bacground Music for Foreground People" is a 74 minute long track created feeding digitized images to a computer that generates sounds based on RGB color values and X/Y positioning of the pixels. To that sub-bass information has been added subsequentially. Besides the concept, it is interesting to listen to this track as hints of melodic lines and portions of what seem logical beats are randomly generated and continuously warped. If you like Staalplaat releases this one is definitely for you.
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Artist: Clip
Title: s/t
Format: CD
Label: RES FREq (@)
One of the best glitch electronics album this year comes from the newest electro-industrial label in town and it's by Clip. Not much knowledge of Clip's whereabouts is granted to us, but they/he/she quite obviously master(s) the art of generating polished but at the same time scratchy cosmos of micro-rhythmical structures allegedly created by means of fucked up and faulty electronic machinery. Fuzzy and sharp, occasionally gently oiled down with smooth ambient sounds. What I do like so much about this particular release, compared with dozens of other glitch-electro album we get here, is that this one focuses on glitch-based beats, which makes it all much more interesting, intriguing, sophisticated and exciting. As for all RES FREq releases you get Lazar's mastering and a super fair price of $6 dollars. Don't miss out.
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