Music Reviews



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Artist: UMEK
Title: Neuro
Format: CD
Label: Tehnika (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
In this last period my needs of listening to something new (or at least new for me) is increased and is strange that my "curiosity ship" has laded on the wide lands of experimental techno. I wasn't aware of Tehnika releases and luckily our friends at Audioglobe sent me Oktex and Umek's cds. I'm absolutely ignorant about techno music and related scenes (even if a friend of mine told me that my last tracks I'm composing under the Noisebrigade moniker remember him some Jeff Mills stuff) and I didn't know Uros Umek. Reading his bio in the label's site you can know that Uros UMEK is renowned for his co-operation with Recycled Loops, Consumer Recreation, Absence, Monoid, Planet Rhythm, Nova Mute, Zet, Primate, Projex and others is a DJ star of the Slovene techno scene about to join the "Top 10" of the European techno DJs/artists. He has been a DJ since 1993, DJ-ing first in Slovene clubs only, while in the last three years he has mainly been DJ-ing abroad, in the UK, Germany, Spain, USA, the Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Portugal, Switzerland, Australia, Brazil, Japan and elsewhere. Umek has released around 60 records on many labels(Tortured, Primate, Audio, Prime-evil, Consumer Recreation, CLR, Monoid, Absence, Recycled Loops... ). Wow,that's quite an impressive activity for a solo project. Mind that this is my first Umek record but if this is similar to his old releases I have to tell that this man is a genius. His tracks are immediate, multi layered and respect the techno music I've been listening searching online his music is fresh, powerful and even if based on rhythms and sounds he doesn't forget melody at all. Gee, NEURO is really a beautiful CD and its fourteen tracks will convince electronic music lovers like me that aren't aware of the techno scene. Dobro!
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Strch Prst Skrz Krk
Format: CD
Label: kRkRkRk recordings (@)
Distributor: Apoplexy
New Zeland based kRkRkRk recordings has just put out this "compilation of christchurch underground music" by the unpronounceable title of "Strch Prst Skrz Krk" (a Czech tongue-twister that means "Stick your finger in your throat"!) featuring 18 contributions. Fortunately for us Christchurch is the name of a town and not the name of some holy premises that wanna make sure people know what religion they are there for. This small indie label has been around for ten years in 2002 and has probably decided to celebrate with a label-sampler that gives you a taste of the over 30 CD-R's available from them on what is also their first "real" CD.
Here's a quick run through:
Label founders Peter Wright and J-mz Robinson open the sampler with their project Brainlego, presenting a nice art-noise piece that sounds like one of those wicked NIN slow motion dirty ballads;
MiG-21 are more into the post-punk art-rock thing with slow beats and much of the attention around the vocal parts;
Mikel Goodwin's concrete-pop project Wormwood focuses around his eccentric and theatrical post-goth vocals a la Das Ich but plays fonky old kinky background music alla Kapotte Muziek;
Antibody are more into the Staalplaat sphere of experimental electro-noise (Ed Wilson, J-mz Robinson of Brainlego and Charles Horn);
Nick Hodgson also could be a Staalplaat/Soleilmoon artist, but what differentiates him is the use of occasional Zornian improvisational no-wave free-jazz extravaganzas;
Lahar (featuring Antibody's Ed Wilson and Scott McCaslan on guitars and drums) play slow experimental art-rock with Velvets or Sonic Youth, among others, in mind;
Strap Ons (Don Gone & Nova Technova) continue where Lahar left off adding some fuzzy distortion and a female vocal that makes it even more "english", more "revolutionary" or "riot-ish" and more "artsy-fartsy", all in a good way, even though they are a little on the low-down side, kinda un-energetic;
NoTV is J-mz Robinson's solo thing where he plays passionate musique concrete muzak with an incessant piano and toy instruments;
KYN (Charles Horn) is throbbing and intermittent experimental-noise with use of vocals;
Megan Gallacher (ex-Bocctahne) plays an interesting airy mixture of clean but heavily delayed electric guitar parts floating over ethereal mid-low-frequency floor sounds that reminds me of the band Bethany Curve;
David Khan's solo project Drawing Room is where he expresses himself with dark ballads of piano and vocals with organic (as opposed to synthetic, since they are derived and processed from natural sources) pads in the background;
Placenta Cookbook (Goodwin & Robinson) play instrumental future-pop with a bumpy bass line and hopping happy guitar parts;
Full Force Loving Machine (if it wasn't for Nick Hodgson we'd have a new line up here: Richard Neave, Lynton Denovan are the other two thirds) play post-punk garbage-noise with loads of distortion and a drummer that just carelessly bangs his way through the thick cloud of unnecessary guitar noise (the info sheet brings you this funny description: they «immediately displayed a remarkable facility for emptying venues»);
Sirlordme (Lynton Denovan) is not quite as loud as he is with the above mentioned trio but continues the tradition of post-punk nowave-ish garage psychedelia;
Early Bioneers, a five-piece formed by Jason Tamihana-Bryce and Matt Davis and now also including Hodgson, Scott McCaslan, Diana Mckay, play experimental psychedelic-rock with a prominent crunch bass and a distant reverberated free-jazz saxophone;
Peter Wright celebrates his own personal 11 years of music-making with more electro-acoustic experimental music that might fit well into the Russian Electroshock label's catalogue but that seems to have found a home on the Apoplexy label (which I believe is his own too);
Ed Wilson explores the «link between human creativity and cognition» with a collage of found sounds, radical experimentation and noise diving;
Laudanum (Nick Hodgson again, along with Rustle Covini, Danny Bame, Karl Jenkins) see fit to close this exotic sampler with some pretty cosmic dream-pop music with lush guitars and reverberated open-snare eighties drumming that could be described as a mixture of Lycia and Krankheit Der Jugend;
I better stop here and now before this review becomes a book. This is like a family record. It certainly shows lots of creativity and is witness to an emerging New Zeland scene made of eclectic experimental musicians and their incestuous audiophile cross-breeding. Most of the bands are relatively new (1999-2001), so I just hope that all this young blood will prove to be consistent and will live up to the expectations in the uncertain future.
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Artist: LILAC AMBUSH (@)
Title: Four Stories
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Twisted Spinach
Fourth E.P. for the Boston's finest darkwave band. Lilac Ambush each release bring us fine original tunes which are never disappointing. This time the songs are "Unreal", "Need Versus Want" (my favourite), "Endless Dawn" (which recall a lot some Joy Division moments because of the vocals and the Depeche Mode on the refrain because of the synth lines...particular) and the last songs which is "Summer's Problem". To be honest this song is less immediate because of its lenght (seven minutes) and sounds pretty flat. Probably the most important thing about the track are the lyrics but unfortunately they aren't included on the CD. Anyway, this is another convincing recording of the band and let's hope someone will sign them.
Feb 05 2003
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Artist: Z PROCHEK
Title: Intravenous
Format: CD
Label: Prototyp (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe


BUY from  BUY NOW from MUSIC NON STOP (MusicNonStop.co.uk)
Not only ebm, nor techno or synthpop but all of them at the same time. The Swedish duo formed in the year 2000 by Johan Otterheim and Martin Skanberg after releasing a MCD titled "In My Mind" wrote thirteen songs that are able to catch various kind of audience since they have got good melodies, bleeping sounds and punching beats. See for example the album version of "In My Mind" the following "Inflamed" or "Heal": they mix together distorted and melodic vocals along with dance attitude and dark moments. On some tracks they are helped out by Carolina Nilsson on vocals, thing that gives to some melodic parts a little of drama. Even if the first three tracks didn't impressed me, it's nice to notice how the album grow track to track being always interesting and giving in this way to the listener fifty seven minutes of enjoyable listening.
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Artist: Saafi Brothers
Title: Liquid Beach
Format: CD
Label: Secret Life Recordings
Distributor: EFA
Truly astonishing third record by the German duo Saafi Brothers, aka Michael Kohlbecker (www.michael-kohlbecker.de) and Gabriel Le Mar (www.le-mar.de), this "Liquid Beach" (also made available as double LP by their label E:Motion) is a kick ass mixture of techno, dub, electronica, lounge, chill-out, ambient and more. I love this record because it is so dense and deep. It spits out grooves for your every mood. Whatever it is that you feel like doing, dancing, meditating, relaxing, slamming and banging, you can do it all because it's got it all! A unique 10 track musical creation with great sonorities crafted and assembled with obvious sonic ability and great taste. Synthetic music that is so warm and organic that you'll be entirely warped by it within minutes. A pulsing and diverse rhythmical soul, a throbbing and dynamic sound palette, a smooth and liquid gifted audiophilia. You might have heard Saafi Bros' music on Porche and Siemens commercials, but aside of the questionable decision to let music be used for commercials, you've got a multifaceted album here, packed with emotions and forged by skillful musicians. Guest vocals include Dea Li, George Din and Jasmin Pour.
Great design by Everfresh Design too, the front cover of the beautiful digi-pack illustrates a feathered head with a human eye whose pupil reflects trees seen from below and a white sand beach in a sunny day. Highly recommended!
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