Music Reviews



Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Electro-Age 1 (The Awakening)
Format: CD
Label: Latex Records
Electro-Age 1 (The Awakening) is the first release by Latex Records and is, I quote, "the beginning of a compilation series by RhythmUS Network which features electronic artistts of various genres whose music relates to a spirituality theme ... alternative music of ritual, magic, myth and transformation of consciousness." I must say, some of this industrial is thick and dark and bleongs on the shelf next to, say , Front Line Assembly. However, your ears will also be surprised by, for example, subdued tribal/ambient, thick but trancy EBM/synthpop, chilled beats over ambient melodies, dark and Spartan industrial vaguely reminiscent of NIN meets synthpop, tribal/world music industrial and more. While the collection is somewhat eclectic, it isn't so much so that an even flow is disrupted. Rather, the multi-faceted aspect of this compilation makes it a heady piece of electronic listening that covers a broad range of styles but within a certain sphere of musical intent. Well done selection of moody, shadowy electro-industrial.
Jul 15 2004
Artist: Asmodeus X
Title: Morning Star
Format: CD
Asmodeus X presents an interesting challenge to the reviewer's ears, because, on one hand, the music has a certain minimalist quality to it. It isn't as thick with gobs of layers or anything, but at the same time, there is an undeniable pull to the semi-spartan beats and electronic melodies of this EBM release. The vocals are somewhat flat, but in a good way, in that vocal approach very common to EBM and synthpop. It gives sort of a darker edge, sort of an implication of apathy, befitting the darkness of the proceedings. Because, you see, as pretty and absorbing as this music is in its own way, it's also got plenty of gothic sensibilities, not so much in an oh-wow-this-is-goth-music but just in the general shadowy quality of the music. This would be great music for nighttime driving through the streets of Europe. If that imagery makes any sense to you then maybe you should check this out.
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Artist: SKEAK-THIEF / POLYGAMY BOYS (@)
Title: Skeak-Thief Vs Polygamy Boys
Format: CD
Label: Gingerbread House Records (@)
Rated: *****
Sneak-Thief and Polygamy Boys are two projects which involve Michel Morin (on the first one there's Lindsay - J helping him on vocals and flute while on the second one there's involved Stephan Busche who also released stuff as Dj Gitano and Fancyman) and for this reason this live album SNEAK-THIEF vs POLYGAMY BOYS is something different from the usual dj set or live show. First of all Michael doesn't use vinyl or laptops as his show is totally based on synths and samples. Second: the album presents to the audience sixteen tracks of both the projects as they would be a long mix. This is a strong point because the tracks sound all pumping and interesting but at the same time it's also a weak point as Michel had to use the same bpm on each passage between the tracks and having twelve instrumental tracks out of sixteen make the album sound too homogenous. Most of the tracks are dancey instrumental tunes inspired by '70 funk and '80s Italian disco music (few names I remember are: Hi-Fi Bros, Cube, Den Arrow, Gazebo and Gary Low) and this thing keep the project fresh and energic anyway. This is a good record / performance but I preferred the Polygamy Boys' 12" I received along with this live CD, for instance (soon I'll review it). Check the band's website to get more infos and to download each track of the previous releases.
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anymore
Artist: THE PAPER CHASE/RED WORM'S FARM
Title: Split
Format: CD EP
Label: Robotradio Records (@)
Rated: *****
A nice split cdep marking the debut for Robotradio Records, run by Stefano Paternoster, who used to publish one of the best indie 'zines in Italy, Equilibrio Precario. The ambitious goal of the newborn label is associating music (with an Italian band and a foreign one), comic books/graphics and videos in the same release. This promising first release comes in a top-notch six-panel digipack, lavishly illustrated by the tender surrealistic drawings of Alessandro Baronciani, an excellent comic books author and illustrator (besides singing and playing guitar in the awesome post-punk band Altro). His art alone makes the cd worth buying. As for the music... Red Worm's Farm are a trio playing an exciting mix of guitar-driven indie-noise (Unwound, Sonic Youth, Fugazi) and hints of oblique post-punk/wave (The Wire, Fall). "Jelly Bean" could be an instant classic, with its singalong refrain, and the electronic/techno remix by Giulio Favero (former guitarist of One Dimensional Man, and sound technician for Zu) underlines its extreme danceability. "Pop song" is equally good, while "Fav" is a decent instrumental with demented trumpet galore. Thrilling stuff indeed. The Paper Chase, well known for their discography and links with 90 Day Men, are a more tormented beast. "I'm your doctor now" and "Isn't she something?" properly represent their blend of new/no wave, heavy math-noise, free-form electronics and crazed rock'n'roll vigour. Twisted and disturbing. The cheesy re-edition of "Out come the knives", with acoustic guitars, kitsch synths and campfire singalongs, only adds to the general weirdness. Good, but I prefer Red Worm's Farm. The video part, curated by Nicola Fontana (Founthead) is decent, but nothing spectacular: "Pop song" (RWF) is pretty standard, based on live shots and stills of the band, while "I'm your doctor now" (PC) features a more interesting mix-up of buildings, trees and a strange comic-book looking villain.
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Artist: ESCAPE POD
Title: Winter
Format: 7"
Label: Dead Digital (@)
Rated: *****
It's impossible not to be seduced by the mix of twisted atmospheres, pop melodies and electronic semplicity the band is able to produce. The new Escape Pod single contains three gems. Three songs that would made Blur die of jealousy because the Manchester trio succeeded into creating weird atmospheres but keeping the semplicity and the tension always at the top. "Winter", "Living in books" and "Seeing" last only nine minutes and are like a lightning in the pop world. It's really hard to explain but even if at a first listening the band's sound could seem really minimal and low fi, the songs are rich thanks to the atmosphere created. Slowly but resolute the songs will convince you immediately. I'm listeining to it the fourth time in a row, now... help me! Stop the CD player!
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