Music Reviews



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Artist: ROEL MEELKOP
Title: (onkyo ok)
Format: CD
Label: CMR (@)
Rated: *****
I have mixed feelings about the solo material of Meelkop's that I've listened to: many excellent moments, but also less memorable ones that made the experience less engaging. On the contrary, this is a beautiful, cohesive, well-crafted work, one of those to which one returns quite frequently, despite its difficult nature. "(onkyo ok)" is based on manipulated field recordings taken by Meelkop, Hitoko Sakai and Frans de Waard (Meelkop's partner in Goem and Kapotte Muziek along with Peter Duimelinks) during Goem's 2001 Japanese tour. As expected, the 2003 re-work of the sources made most of them a sort of primal sound-clay, though now and then you can still recognize bits of pachinko parlours, coversations, crows, insects... A pretty dark and at times disturbing album, "(onkyo ok)" reminded me of a less minimal "Warszawa Restaurant" by Francisco López: put your headphones on, crank up the volume, and you'll find yourself immersed in a droning space, where once familiar sounds appear and disappear like ghosts, or vanishing memories.
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anymore
Artist: ILIOS
Title: Encyclopedia_rw
Format: CD
Label: Antifrost
Distributor: Mdos.at (Austria/worldwide), Metamkine (Fr), Anomalous (USA)
Rated: *****
The label press sheet defines it "some kind of jubilee": Ilios' third album "Encyclopedia", here revisited by a bunch of fellow artists, was released in 1993, and this is Antifrost's 20th cd. The list of contributors is quite impressive, but unfortunately the result is frankly not that great. As I don't know the original material by this Greek experimental soundmaker, I can only judge by the results - "Encyclopedia_rw" mostly deals with harsh digital noise, but not particularly outstanding or appealing. Mattin and Daniel Menche go for the throat and offer some loud & mean frequencies, but the other noisemakers (including experts like Jazzkammer and Karkowski) just don't do very good noise. The hyper-minimalist, "silent" part of the cd is definitely better: Francisco López, Xabier Erkizia, Coti K., Anla Courtis (ex-Reynols) and Joe Colley all revisit Ilios' material in more personal and interesting environmental/droning/lowercase variations; also nice are Jason Kahn's and Marc Behren's digital microscopies. But as a whole, especially considering the status of most names involved, this is a merely decent cd: the bad part is mediocre, and the good one is not particularly thrilling either.
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anymore
Artist: DER FEUERKREINER (@)
Title: La 'Nvidia
Format: 12"
Label: Neuropa (@)
Rated: *****
Good news from Der Feuerkreiner, an Italian duo who had released a surprisingly good debut cd on Runes&Men/Misty Circles some time ago (see archive). This 4-track, 23-minute 12" ep is released by Neuropa, specialized in limited vinyls from the industrial/martial/power electronics area. They have dropped the few hard-EBM influences they had, and maybe added some more openly melodic and wave-ish ones. DF still draw most of their influences from The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath a Cloud/Der Blutarsch, but adding a good dose of personality and, luckily, not indulging in the abused militaria/WWII/European decline iconography. They're also quite successful in using only electronic/programmed sounds, which could be a handicap in this style, without adding any additional sample. Valentina's voice is still one of their strongest points, and the decadent, melancholic melodies she creates also reminded me of Kirlian Camera's "Schmerz". The title track, though, is the exhilarating cover of a popular anti-evil eye song, with upbeat percussions and frantic vocals sung in the local dialect of Piceno. One of the few interesting projects in the martial industrial field.
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anymore
Artist: NEW RISEN THRONE (@)
Title: Flowing Ashes
Format: CD
Label: Alarming Echo Beats
Rated: *****
Though he's only recently surfaced in the dark ambient/industrial underground, Gabriele Panci has probably been busy shaping his project in the last few years, because he's now offering some sturdy, well composed music. "Flowing ashes" is his first release on Alarming Echo Beats, and it's probably my favourite among his cdrs. Three long tracks, all very cohesive and flowing, though exploring different nuances of the dark ambient style. The especially well-done "Vision of scourge" is more drone/electronic oriented, with hypnotic circular loops and huge mind-numbing drones; my fave track for sure. "Ritual over ruin" is more industrial-tinged, ridden by pitch-shifted vocal samples and cavernous throbs, a style which NRT is further exploring in other releases (as the one on God Is Myth). "Ashes", on the other hand, closes the work in a less claustrophobic way, indulging in a depressive Caul-esque melody. What I like most is that, though desolate and nocturnal, this cd has also a kind of emotional grasp on the listener. Ok, New Risen Throne is not creating anything new, this is totally classic and "patented" dark ambient - think of Lustmord's "Heresy"/"The place...", the Troum/Yen Pox collaboration, or some Caul. But it's also very very difficult to put together some dark ambient this well. I'd easily see this little gem in the catalogue of labels like Eibon or Malignant.
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anymore
Artist: REPLICANT
Title: Face Control E.P.
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Beautycase Records (@)
Rated: *****
Absolutely fabulous! Hey, I'm talking about the Replicant single and not about the English sitcom, ok? :) It was an awesome surprise to listen to "Self control", the first single of the Italian singer Raf and later brought to international succes by Laura Branigan, being covered and sung by no one less than Marc Almond! The version is fantastic, it keeps the original melody turning the song into a driving dance tune. Also the original version was dancey and good, but Replicant created some stop and go, he added more melodic tunes really catchy and speeded the rhythm a little bit. "Fur" is a version of a Marc song (originally a B side of the "Glorious" single) revisited by Replicant and with the guitar lines played by the other author of the song: Neal X (member of Sigue Sigue Sputnik). The third and last song, "Too damn beautiful", is written by Replicant and sees Marc Almond on vocals, Neal X on guitar and Linda Duggan on back vocals and it is a really good track which mix rock, dance attitude and the distinctive Marc Almond style in only one song. Don't miss this release even if you aren't a Marc Almond fan and follow the next Replicant releases as well, because Kinky Roland is focusing the project on collaborations with '80s icons and this sounds gorgeous! A real surprise... P.s. The FACE CONTROL E.P. will be released on MCD early October, while the vinyl will be pressed on September.
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