Music Reviews



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Artist: BRIAN_AND_CHRIS
Title: Palimpsest
Format: 12"
Label: Dielectric Records
Rated: *****
Bay Area duo Brian(Fraser)_and_Chris(Palmatier) was formed in 1996, and released the eponymous cd in 2002 (This Record Label) and "Vectors" (Megalon) in 2003. They're responsible for The Recording Studio (Oakland, CA), started in 2002, as well as for intensive djing for WXYC college radio. I haven't listened to the previous releases, only to the recent (and impressive) contribution by Palmatier to the Dielectric Minimalist All Stars double disc. But "Palimpsest" is totally different, of course. brian_and_chris mix rhythmic electronica, breakbeat and (post-?) rock with a taste for easy-listening, but thoughtfully composite tunes. I could compare them to Tortoise circa-"TNT", but much more "rock", in a wide sense. A positive thing is that you can't easy recognize what is played, programmed or sampled, and the four tracks work really well in this sense. Melodies are memorable but not banal, and while I usually can't stomach breakbeat, the rhythmic thing is well managed and varied. "I can hear it in my truck" has some funky guitar giving way to almost epic riffing, mating with nostalgic piano passages; "Crossing (LP mix)" is more jazzy and obscure, with glitches, fractured beats, live drumming and a noir piano - but then again, the guitar adds a catchy riff, and the last part is a sort of upbeat, rocking instrumental. Definitely my fave. A successful release, which should appeal both to the IDM-electronic and the indie rock crowd.
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Artist: THE DAWN VISITORS (@)
Title: Hybridize
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Coming from Belgium The Dawn Visitors arrived with HYBRIDIZE to their fifth release. The four tracks of this MCD are incredibly convincing and listening to The Dawn Visitors is like having a link between the past (Roxane's voice sometimes remembered me Siouxsie Sioux) and the future (the band's music contains elements of '80s goth rock but being well integrated in nowadays electronic sound). "Don't say we don't mind", "Space Shift", "U-415" and "Be Perfect" (which is a sort of hit single for my tastes) are catchy without being too danceable or fashion. Even if they use electronic gear their music has nothing to do with modern electronic bands you can find into the alternative charts and this is a good thing because they aren't chained to a genre which could affect their creativity.
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Artist: PANDIQUE
Title: Weltenklang
Format: CD
Label: Pandailectric (@)
Rated: *****

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Newcomers of the German electro pop scene, Pandique are active since 2001 when they won a battle of the bands with their song "Light of justice" (third track of their debut album). WELTENKLANG is their first album which is ideally linked to bands like And One, Covenant, etc. Even if those are their references, Pandique developed a certain capacity into mixing different influences which go from distorted techno (like on "Corrosion" and on "Vom Leben") to synthpop (like on "Stummes wort") including also parts of ambient electronic (see the use of long synth pads on their songs). The songs have got always a certain danceable approach without being too commercial. Melodies and rhythm are the backbone of their music and WELTENKLANG is a good beginning.
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Artist: BURCH RENDERS & REDUCERS MAMA
Title: Theatermusik
Format: CD
Label: Domizil (@)
Rated: *****
I don't know if you'll agree with me but it isn't possible to find any weak point about this second Burch Renders & Reducers Mama release. Since the first listening I found their electronic compositions absolutely irresistible. Their light melodies mixed with the synthetic analog sounds create a sort of dark spatial lounge music which is free from the fashion aspect of that scene and this will make you appreciate so much their music. The CD gathers the music for the plays "Die Stelle im Park" and "Migranenstadl" by Tim Zulauf as well as new compositions for Brillowska's Show "Hotel Supernova" (guest appearance in "Bad Hotel", Gessneralle, Zurich). The Songs 'Bühnenarbeiter', 'Sneaker', 'Recycling', 'Autoerotik' and 'Heimatgold', (all taken from the Play "Migrantenstadl") are interpreted and sung by the actors / actresses themselves: Ingo Heise, Felix von Hugo, Agnes Lampkin and Wanda Vyslouzilova. The lyrics of these songs were written by Zulauf. If you are asking yourself how do they sound like: "Turbopolka" seems a soundtrack for neurotic video games, while "Living room", "Hold on", "Sneaker" and "Halo" deal with pop, lounge and electro ambient music in a way so delicate that they are perfect that way. The most particular tracks are "Sickerheit & Kontrolle" (almost an e.b.m. track), "Gruppengefuhl" (a martial experimental electronic track), "Amalgam" (a perfect soundtrack for a noir movies with its dark and melancholic melody). Record of the week!
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Artist: DIELECTRIC MINIMALIST ALL-STARS
Title: [i!]
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Dielectric Records (@)
Rated: *****
Second part of a trilogy, after the great Drone double disc (search archive), and preceding a Field recordings chapter, "[i!]" is again a brilliant collective work of the Dielectric family, which is quickly becoming one of the most interesting labels in the field of indie electronica. The 2-disc set comes in a classy design with text in silver and orange ink on vellum. The Minimalist All-Stars playing on disc 1 are Loren Chasse (Id Battery, Thuja, the Blithe Sons, Jewelled Antler collective) at piano, stones, microphones, bells, electronic devices, hand-held tape decks, emanations, breath; Drew Webster aka Die Elektrischen (also Dielectric mastermind) at prepared turntables and mixing; and Bay Are jazz/improv drummer Jason Levis, at drums, cymbals, sticks, medium mallets, wire brushes, bow and fingers. With a very well curated and effective mixing/editing job, the 7 tracks on disc 1 are a mesmerizing flow of crystalline drones, sparse but at times ominous drumming, and concrete sounds. "Forth-Reich" is a stunning beginning, with the melodic pulse of (what resembles) an organ and a swaying of feedbacks; "Cocaine lovin' Orange County kids" is all played on a persistent ticking and low-volume drones; "Bellicose asshole in charge" features quiet drumming and menacing gong-like throbs; "Cruising deep space with Hendrix' ghost and a handful of green globe blotter" is an apt title for the final psychedelic ambient-drone galore. A great disc, full of mystery, emotion and melancholia, a trademark for Chasse's works, and this is surely one of his best. Disc 2 features remixes of raw recordings by a series of producers: Chris Palmatier (of brian_and_chris), Sonic Death Monkies (featuring Sote), Carson Day, Aemae and Arastoo. The result is nice, but not as brilliant as the studio part. Palmatier offers a great electroacoustic/glitch piece, Arastoo is effective with his isolationist ambient, and in general, the style is - predictably - a mix of electroacoustics, minimal ambiences and post-industrial obsessions. The only one who in my opinion doesn't fit is Carson Day, as his rhythmic electronica is a bit jarring in this context. But anyway, a great release.
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