Music Reviews



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Artist: SIMULATOR (@)
Title: Enter The Unknown
Format: CD
Label: Cohaagen (@)
Is three years that Ross W. Beall creates is own music so it was time for him to reach the "maturity" of the first album release. ENTER THE UNKNOWN is a particular release, mainly because for the peculiarity of the project (Ross creates instrumental dark synthpop tracks)and also because the emotions his music made me feel. As a composer he has got many influences: 80's synthpop (if you listen to the only two sung tracks "Divided" and "The Ghost Of You" they'll make you remember Depeche Mode of the "Speak And Spell" era), ebm and late 70's early 80's electronic music. Sometimes his tracks made me recall Jean Michel Jarre's music but with a darker vein. You know releasing an instrumental album based on melody and electronic sounds isn't that simple and the risk is to annoy the audience. Fortunately this isn't the case! As bonus tracks you can find the sung versions of "Revelation" and "Regression" (the first one with Frank J. Freda of Brand New Idol as guest vocals as for the previous ones and the second one has got Rachel Cicci on vocals and has been produced by George and Rachel Cicci of Evaluna) Last note: just to underline the value of Simulator's music please note that both the instrumental and vocal version of the tracks are catchy and are complete on their own, you won't feel something missing even if "it's just" instrumental music... Got it? ;)
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Artist: N.
Title: Asphyxiating
Format: CD
Label: Slaughter Productions (@)
After a series of tapes and a massive 3-hour tape-box, N. comes back with its first cd, collecting recordings from '97 to 2000. What immediately puzzled me is the cover with a simple, abstract design – could be the sleeve for an emo-rock band or whatever. I suppose it's a choice. The back cover and inlay, on the contrary, delve into the medical/biological field, which seems more appropriate to the titles and samples used. Unfortunately, no further graphics are used in the cd, which is a sort of lost opportunity in my opinion. As for the sounds, N. stays true to his old-fashioned, nihilistic approach to industrial/power electronics anti-music: equipment is a Korg Poly 800, tape decks, memory man electro harmonix and a big muff pedal. As you can guess, tracks are mostly repetitive synth patterns with layers of washing distortion. Think of Atrax Morgue's "Cut my throat" cd to have a clue. What I really think is missing is a plus of sonic violence, as lots of the tracks seem static without being really obsessive. Some titles work better with the pathological samples, and the last track ("It's better don't exist" coherently being unexisting!), "Valeria", is a long sampled child song with underlaying noise, which does have a disquieting effect. I think that with the new recordings N. will have either to push the violent approach or to develop the more subtle and morbid side of his sonic pathology.
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Artist: JORGE CASTRO (@)
Title: The Joys and Rewards of Repetition
Format: CD
Label: Public Eyesore (@)
Over the last few years, Puertorican musician Jorge Castro has offered, as part of the Cornucopia duo, some of the most brutal and intense harsh noise in the (overcrowded?) international scene. But he has also developed a very interesting solo project of ambient guitar sounds. This cd-r (which must have been issued in early 2001) features four long and homogeneous tracks of drones and gulfs of sound which manage to be both abstract and emotional, constantly shifting (the title is indicative, but there IS change within the pieces as well) from lighter, serene atmospheres to hypnotizing echoes and darker moments. If you've had the chance of listening to Steve Roach's recent "Strems & Currents", you can find a similar style here, only even more pushed towards abstractness and impalpability. Definitely worth listening to many times. As usual, Public Eyesore design and packaging are minimal but very elegant and eye-catching, and fit well with the contents of the record. The label has also issued a more recent collection of Castro's works, I'll try to talk about that in the next future.
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Artist: SOPHIA (@)
Title: Spite
Format: CD
Label: Cold Meat Industry (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Sophia is, with Arcana, one of Peter Pettersson's projects and while the second one is more concentrated on classical atmospheres, Arcana has a "industrial/military" sound structure and I assure you that SPITE is really powerful! The eight tracks of the CD (the seventh, "Stained", and the eight, which is an hidden track, have been recorded live in Bochum on December 2001) have got as main structure powerful percussive sounds along brass or strings and are capable of overloading your nervous system because they are: tense, hypnotic and sick. If you have not idea of what it could sound, try to imagine an evil version of the first Laibach: the ones which were shouting songs like "Brat Moj". As reported on the label presentation: "Evolving the theme of spite certainly spawns anger. Here the rhythmical pounding, a bit more tasty clinical than before, spews forth a scary atmosphere and the oppressive walls of heavy string arrangements fuels the picture of an imaginary, personal hell". Really amazing...
Artist: davaNtage
Title: No Candle Light
Format: CD EP
Label: Black Rain (@)
A cd-ep (5 tracks, 22') featuring exclusive songs and remixes as an advance of the forthcoming new album "Global badlands". I recall listening to davaNtage's previous work, but I can't trace the review right now, so I hope my memory doesn't betray me... I think davaNtage's electro/EBM has become a bit lighter – while "The Warming" has that slow, darker groove, "No candle light" (remixed by Future Trail) and "Defense" (normal version and remix by Future Trail) opt for a relatively fast-paced rhythm and ear-catching refrains, while maintaining a kind of sullen mood. Ok, then there's "Switch Off", a track featuring Cyborg Attack's Sandro F. on vocals – I haven't liked C.A.'s cd and I don't like this one, I think the gruffy death-metal vocals are really dull and over-the-top.
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