Music Reviews



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Artist: PLASTIC VIOLENCE (@)
Title: Immaterial 2
Format: CD
Label: Death Paradise
Rated: *****
Brand new release from this Italian musical/political collective. Music: this is by far one of the best rhythmic glitch electronic releases I've EVER heard. Totally influenced by Noto/Raster Noton, Ikeda and Pan Sonic, but at times, I swear, better than them. Microscopic pin-like beats, fat basses, subterrean drones, structured digital debris - all with that scary, detached geometrical precision which, however, can eventually make you DANCE. Fantastic, breath-taking stuff. Politics: Death Paradise is a collective supporting DIY ethics, radical politics and veganism, read more about it in their website. Thumbs up for their stance, ok. What I find pretty funny (and this is mainly referred to reviewers) is establishing a strong link between their sound (which is absolutely NOT politically-oriented "per se") and their, say, manifestos (which are common ground in large part of the HC-punk community, for example) - but this is probably a logic reaction within the "educated electronic" circuit, where showing a political content is oh so radical and new.
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Artist: TIZIANO MILANI (@)
Title: La macchina e la percezione della realtą
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
After a promising cdr with the monicker TnoiseM (see archive), Italian experimental soundmaker Tiziano Milani is back with a concept release, "a series of sound observations on the function of man in relation to the development of machines, made through the continuous time leap between the Sixties (beginning of computer researches) and the next future". Almost mimetically, these 6 tracks seem to incorporate and, to a certain extent, digest all kinds of experimental electronics from old academic reasearch to nowadays laptop spree: concrete music, cosmic ambient, sinewaves, glitches, digital noise... Despite this variety, the different compositions are skillfully textured and mixed, so it's an organic whole and not a clumsy patchwork. The result made me feel dizzy, at times it's as if it was too cold and detached, but the concept itself obviously influences the "inorganic" nature of the work.
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Artist: AMON (@)
Title: Nona
Format: CD EP
Label: Amplexus
Rated: *****
Amon is back after a long period of discographic silence, though Andrea Marutti's own AFE Records has surely become one of the best cdr labels around. "Nona" is an ep (released by Amplexus on two different formats, a mcd and a 10" vinyl, with different lengths and mixes) which puts Amon back on the map of the best dark ambient around. First it's just menacing low-end rumbles, slowly crawling and overlapping, then you recognize higher frequencies and metallic drones - all very scary and pitch-black, just like in the previous masterpiece "The Legacy", but with a second half which is more "cosmic" and less opressive, much as in Never Known's releases. Listen to this in the dark.
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Artist: DES ESSEINTES/DISKREPANT
Title: Folie ą deux
Format: CD EP
Label: Fin de Sičcle/(inhospitable) (@)
Rated: *****
Two Swedish noisemakers for this split ep release. Des Esseintes (Magnus Sundstroem aka The Protagonist) offers a long and very well constructed track beginning with heavy throbbing synths à la Dagda Mor/Anenzephalia, then adding gregorian chants, then a crescendo of mechanical rhythms and epic keyboard patterns. A fine crossover between power electronics/industrial and bombastic militar music. The three tracks by Diskrepant/Per Ahlund, on the contrary, are a bit disappointing. Some screechy, mangled vocals, lots of feedbacks and some minimal ambient at the end of the third track, and not much more. It has an old school harsh noise feel which I can appreciate, but it's like feedback burst/short pause/feedback burst and that's gone. Track one is titled "Variety Unknown", which ironically pretty much sums it up. If this is "a perfect description of contemporary electronic music", as boasted in the press sheet (or is it ironic too?), I really do not know.
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Artist: Phenotract (@)
Title: Within A Second
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Tinman Records (@)
Rated: *****

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Within A Second is Phenotract's debut release on the Tinman Records label which also sports such talents as Dubok, Crocodile Shop, Cydonia, and I Parasite. That said, Phenotract's sound is accessible to lovers of EBM, Synthpop and Trance. Utilizing a combination of these styles as well as house, other dance beats, and ethereal elements Eric Shans combines whispery vocals to create a sound that vears from the paths forged by Dependent, A Different Drum, and DSBP Records for example, yet utilizes elements influenced from all of these musical aspects. The only quality which shows any weakness at all are the vocals, slight though it is, but the overall tightness of his music shows real talent that will likely make some serious advancements in future releases worthy of attention. Interestingly Phenotract has an otherworldly and dreamy quality to it's sound while maintaining the energy required for good dance music. The first noticeable standout on the disc is "Motionstate", a great EBM trancefloor romp with "Lunartrip" to follow in it's wake later on the disc. Then there’s the funky sounds of "Drifts" and "Distant Voices" plus the retro industrial (nearly Die Warzaw-ish) "Red Glow". However the most likely to pump the EBM floors might be "Neosymmetry" though a bit more variance would do it some justice. There are many great tracks on this release which take a slight detour from what has started become 'standard' styles in the EBM and Synthpop genres while still including elements of Trance yet consciously not following the patterns laid down by others and instead forging his own way. This is very obvious in Eric's work as Phenotract and that combined with the strength of this debut leaves plenty of room for building excellence. He's well worth checking out, you decide, and hopefully future projects will bring Phenotract higher on the rungs of industry success! It's easy enough to get lost in these rhythms and that's a good thing. The instrumental tracts combining EBM and Trance are the strongest points on this disc and well worth the time. Others have said better than I can: "Drawing inspiration from classic EBM, House, and Hard Trance, Phenotract strives to meld these potentially disparate styles into a seamless whole. Phenotract has a distinct feel, a thick, adventurous Electro sensibility with otherworldly, vaguely House-like beats and breathy, understated vocals. The album also features extensive production work from Isaac Glendening of Cesium 137 (for whom Phenotract mastermind Eric Shans plays live keys). On Tinman."
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