Music Reviews



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Artist: Karjalan Sissit (@)
Title: Karjalasta Kajahtaa
Format: CD
Label: Cyclic Law (@)
Rated: *****
Montreal-based Cyclic Law (label for dark/ritual/industrial music) put out the third full lenght album of Swedish death-industrial artist Markus Pesonen, a.k.a. Karjalan Sissit, presented in a gorgeous A5-sized textured 4 pages book with pictures of families and events from the first half of the last century. "Karjalasta Kajahtaa" brings us a wave of cold, isolationist, melancholic, blackish blend of industrial, ambient, neo classical and dark music. This album (produced by Peter Bjärgö at Erebus Odora) introduces the heavy presence of vocals, in the form of screams, inciting propaganda shouts, voices, chants and choirs (more about that in a minute), and has a quality and a dynamism that is rare to find, and above all lives two parallel lives: at first you'll encounter abhorrent and annihilating soundscapes that would perfecly match many of the old Cold Meat Industry roster's artists, but on the other side you'll be faced with these pompous, frighteningly real-sounding, teutonic-war-anthem-like compositions of choirs, percussions and orchestral arrangements that might remind of a grandiose combination of Laibach and Les Tamoures Du Bronx (and what union that would be!), stomping on industrial cans and generating other sorts of rhythmical fanfare, which scans the pace at which the quire belt out resounding hymns and the exalted brass section harmonizes and calls for action and advancement. To add to the general eastern-european vibe, the CD opens and closes with old traditional folk music in a language that seems croat or polish or something (I'm not sure). Indeed a great record of its kind, authentic, original, rare, powerful, mind-altering and disheartening.
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Artist: Derrick Carter & Mark Farina
Title: Live at OM
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: OM records
Rated: *****
World known, award-winning and top-charting DJs Mark Farina (www.markfarina.net) and Derrick Carter spinning live together in one night, each playing one continuous unedited live mix set. The party went down last Valentine's day in San Francisco, and OM records immortalized it on a double CD for the pleasure of all of ya. Funky house beats, deep bass lines, Farina's signature mushroom jazz, Carter's (I quote) "boompty boomp" and whatever else you need to get your freak on.The DJs' picks for the night are: Jacob London, JT Donaldson, Jordan Fields & Roy Davis Jr, Lawnchari Generals, Cajmere, Phil Weeks w/ H. Moralez and C. Carrier, Jonny Rock, No Assembly Required vs. Johnny Kaboom, Jason Hodges, Vibezelect, Martin Venetjoki, DJ Terry, Land Shark, Lavish Habits, To-Ka Project, Troydon M, Lil Mark, Ken Diesel Desmet, Thomas Sahs & Scott Pace, Freaks, Stark Miller, Moodlex, DJ D. Costa & P. Goya, Somore, Cricco Castelli, Daft Punk, Triple X, Inland Knights, Stacy Kidd, Jetseb & Aox One, KOT, Steve Poindexter, Backroom Production, Dave Clark, Mr. On + Jungle Brothers, Mike Dixon, Rob Mello. The set list totals 40 tracks all together!Who knew that when these two met in a record shop in Chicago they would end up conquering the west coast and the world with their phat beats and their groovy sets.
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Artist: Apell (@)
Title: Beaver Street & Beyond
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****

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Definitely winner of the "most original way to bribe a music reviewer" award because he enclosed a sweet candy bar in his promo package, this mate is definitely not lacking ideas or innovative approach to marketing and music (a peek at the song titles should be enough proof of that). Melbourne, Austialia, based indiependent artist and producer Anthony Pell's second release as Apell, "Beaver Street & Beyond" represents an original and groovy album of seducvtive electronic music, convincingly flirting with jazzy flavors, rock approaches, 70es glamour, disco-funk fun, dub effects, industrial attitude, drum'n'bass aesthetics, retro samples and more. Mostly downtempo electronica, the tunes are easily captured by the free flying spirit of uptempo break beats that make it even more exciting. The everyday sounds (samples and location recordings from Australia) definitely offer a lot in terms of personal touch and originality, but also a heavy use of guitars (even classical ones) help better define its character. The key of interpretation lays in the eclectic and brilliant mind of this dynamic and pro-active fellow who came up with this music. This album is so diverse and multifaceted in style that it could appe(a)l to a number of different music fans, including those who like Massive Attack, Unkle, Groove Armada, Zappa, Radiohead, John Zorn and many others. The only negative thing I would mention, if I had to, is that even though the album goes by without getting boring and maintaining a certain frenzy excitment, it also lacks in outstanding episodes, or potential hit-singles, if you will. Everything is interesting and cool, but nothing is mind-shattering phenomenal, altough I can see Mr. Pell might be on the right track.
There's quite a buzz around Apell's music, at least in Australia, so I suggest you make some time to figure out if it is worth your time, because it was worth mine.
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Artist: AKAMATSU/INAMI/ISHIGAMI
Title: S/T
Format: CD
Label: Electr-Ohm
Distributor: C.U.E. Records
Rated: *****
A nice 3-way split for these Japanese laptoppers, featuring different souls and approaches to MAX/MSP and DSP sound manipulation. Masayuki Akamatsu opens with an exhilarating rhythm ("foxtrot"), like Philip Jeck gone digital, then switches to elegiac drones ("slowtransition"), menacing electroacoustic unrest ("metastable"), sinewaves and scattered voices ("halfhalt"), and more Jeck-ian crunches and iterations ("briskwalk"). Kazuya Ishigami (also in Daruin, Billy?, Clock Rock Localocks, and owner of Neus318/C.U.E. Records) offers a minimal droning piece ("for Sir Dhomont"), one of quiet minimal loops ("spiritual one-eye"), then in the following 5 tracks goes more brutal with dry-as-a-bone electroacoustic manipulations, a kind of lyophilized Japanoise or L-ne sound gone amok. The demented improv samples work really well in "return to scumbag II". Sunao Inami aptly closes the cd with more subdued drones, gentle crackles, 12k-sounding watercolours ("Still more"), minimal clicks ("Sometimes I get nowhere"). A succesfull release, not because everything here is a masterpiece, but rather because the three performers' excursions cover a spectrum of interesting sounds, and manage to keep the listener's attention focused throughout.
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Artist: [GRENDEL] (@)
Title: Prescription: Medicide
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: NoiTekk (@)
Rated: *****
New release by [VLRK] (vocals, synthesis, programming, sampling) and [4N1T4] (live synthesis and engineering), aka [Grendel], following the wake of their past releases of sombre, melodic electro with harsh, almost black-metal yelled vocals and socio-political concerns. I think it's done fairly well and will certainly please the fans of this genre (it already does, indeed) - to my ears it becomes quite monotonous after a couple of tracks, obviously because of the vocals, which are not bad in itself, but just sound all the same throughout the whole cd. A bit of orchestral arrangement is used in tracks like "Pax Psychosis", and acoustic guitars show up in "Dream", but for the most part it's the usual beats + keyboards mix. Again, well done, but a bit abused I think. The first 1,500 copies come with a bonus 31-minute cd, featuring remixes by Infekktion, Ah Cama-Sotz, Tactical Sekt, Urkom and 4/4 whore, plus a live recording of "Zombie Nation" and the anti-war videoclip of "Pax Psychosis".
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