Music Reviews

Nov 12 2002
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Artist: Mimetic (@)
Title: Data Sensitive
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Parametric (@)
Apparently Parametric is getting a real kick out of releasing double CDs with Mlada Fronta (whose mastermind Remy Pelleschi mastered this very 2CD) and Von Magnet drummer's band Mimetic. The formula is the same: great art-work, great electro-industrial-experimental music, great line up of musicians. Particularly in the all new "Data Sensitive" prolific Mimetic's main body is Alma Munteanu, Lais Foulc, Nikkho, Def, Dirk Ivens & Sonar, Somantic Responses, Roger Rotor, Fast Forward... Besides my surprise in learning that Dive mastermind was involved too, the line-up is getting better with every record! I am not even gonna mention all the people who participated in this record 'cause that would take up this entire page (just to mention a few: Von Magnet, Remy & Stella, the Methods, Franz Treichler of Young Gods, Frederic Chaplain & Prikosnovenie, Ralf.E.Friel & Moloko+, Ras al Ghul, Phil Von, Frederic Lacomte, Benny Braaten & Origami Galaktika, Norscq, Jolanda Kempers and many many many more). I really feel for Mimetic because they are doing what we have been trying to do with Chain D.L.K.: joining efforts to achieve greater results!Anyway, back to the music: Mimetic's new baby is a little more ambient-experimental in nature than the previous work and overall tends into a more noisy and and more eclectic direction. There is a lot more sample work going on (movies and stuff, I could recognize several sources) and more non square beats in favor of a rougher but more challenging approach. The whole picture is that of a mature collective of sound magicians who know what they are doing and offer us a valuable intersection of their experiences and their influences. The heterogeneous material contained in the new album simply mirrors the true nature of the group, one that is quickly becoming a major player in the field and one whose sound is pretty much unique and so original it is almost unequivocally recognizable. "Data Sensitive"'s first CD contains 14 tracks of which the last four are remixes by Swiss Roger Rotor, UK Somatic Responses, Belgian Sonar and French Fast Forward while the second CD (called "be-at_sound_a") contains songs of a more experimental nature and a hidden track recorded live in San Francisco. Mimetic is part of The Methods of Survive Network System and supports MACOS (Musicians Against Copyright Of Sounds) which is great (I haven't seen many bands supporting MACOS in a long time).
Artist: Staalplaat SoundSystem (@)
Title: Sweet Sissy & the Ballroom Hiss
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Staalplaat (@)
Distributor: Staalplaat (NL), Soleilmoon (US), Demos (It), These Records (UK), Target (De) and more...
Coincidentally with Staalplaat headquarters' big move from Amsterdam to Berlin, Staalplaat founder and master of ceremonies Geert-Jan Hobijn releases his very own music after releasing, co-producing or otherwise influencing the work of hundred of artists that appeared on his challenging record factory in the past twenty years. Inspired by the big concert hall of the Centre Vooruit, Staalplaat Soundsystem created a surreal choreographed scenario of dancing and noise-making machines including 12 industrial floor polishers in the middle of the hall and a stage hosting various assorted machinery such as coffee machines, kitchen mixers, matrix printers, saws, four arm turntables, washing machines, refrigerators whose inside are transformed into light and sound installations, the VW bus-shaped toy record players and fm tuner called Vinyl Killers etc.... You can probably think of it as sort of a down-scaled version of a Survival Research Laboratory performance using every day appliances instead. The interesting part here is that all the above mentioned tools and utensils are not only used to create sound but they are also controlled by sound itself. If you can't quite understand how all this is possible it might help to watch the short Quick Time movie prepared by Carlo Crovato included in the cute little 3". The CD opens with an out take that doesn't have the machine sounds and instead has a very soft Dive-like electro-industrial texture, submarine-like sonar/morse sounds, classical music from some movie in the background and speeches of German leaders (mostly in German) about the city of Berlin, the pride of being a Berliner in West Berlin, freedom and the like. The other three tracks deliver the sound of the actual Vooruit installation/performance, backed by orchestral tunes and lots of other bells & whistles.
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Artist: UMEK
Title: Neuro
Format: CD
Label: TehNika (@)
Distributor: Caroline
Wow! Most certainly one of best ambient-techno-electronica albums I have listened to in the past six to twelve months! Uros Umek is an internationally acclaimed and well respected Slovenian Dj whose credits include remixes for Speedy J, DJ Rush and Depoche Mode among others. "Neuro" is his first album as a "playing musician", rather than simply a spinner/mixer, and, even though I am not familiar with his former releases (somebody should punish me for that, considering he's released about sixty records on labels such as Tortured, Primate, Audio, Prime-Evil, Consumer Recreation, CLR, Monoid, Absence, Recycled Loops, Nova Mute etc), I am told that he took quite a radical turn towards electro that might confuse his straight forward techno fans (that is if they are less open minded than they should be)... Personally, I am down with Umek's new direction, all the way, and I can really appreciate the hard word he put into "Neuro". The techno element is still there of course, but twisted, treated, distorted and blended in with minimal electronic textures and ambient soundscapes... If you like Aphex Twin you must give the new Umek a shot! He too uses non-straight-up rhythmical patterns made of saturated and powerfully pounding kick drum beats. Everything's enriched by either fast high-pitched synth patterns or sweet, flowery and charming loops and retro' musical parts of intense melodic substance, exactly like Richard James likes doing. Colourful, rich, powerful, relaxing, hammering, hard and soft, all at the same time, with a mastery that is truly rare to be found!As a surprise grand finale for what is quickly becoming one of my favourite 'technolectro' albums of this year, "Neuro"'s last track "Neuropa Humbug" features guest appearance by the legendary Slovene Laibach, which by itself could be a reason to buy this for many die hard Laibach fans out there complaining that the band hasn't done much lately... Umek's collaboration with Laibach dares his party-going technoid fans with a totally EBM composition matched up with distorted ogreish vocal parts of obvious industrial roots. Just plain fucking great!The CD comes packaged nicely in a jewel case that slides inside a transparent plastic shell that has many converging circles printed. Go out and get your copy now (the CD is also available as a double LP)! At the time of writing the label's official website seems to be unavailable, so in case the disservice persists you may check this address:
Artist: Boole (@)
Title: Pheromones
Format: CD
Label: Dancing Bull Productions
When I was listening to the two opening songs of this album I thought I was dealing with an EBM musician who was converting to dance music or trying to achieve some better-selling un-probable blend of house-EBM (which is pretty original and uncharted as of yet and could even have a commercial potential, but of course sounds cheesy at times, especially to those not to keen on commercial house/techno), but it turned out that the Washington DC based trio Boole (ex The Apologizers) make their real appearance on track 3 and get a whole lot more interesting all of a sudden! The music is still in search of the right balance between pounding dance floor beats and electronic music, but less of those cheap dance synth lines that I can't stand (which unfortunately sometimes come back to haunt me later in the record) and unusual (for this genre) new elements such as pop vocals, smart sampling and great lyrics populate the rest of the record, transforming it into a challenging work and a continuing discovery...
"America Inline (American Grandstand)" is a fucking awesome and hilarious piece of work that uses AOL sounds ('you've got mail', 'welcome', 'goodbye' and the like) and cuts, pastes, rearranges and repeats them constantly along with other sampled words, achieving super smart associations like 'you've got Ashcroft, goodbye freedom', 'welcome Mc Carthy, goodbye safety, you've got jail', 'Aamerica inline, goodbye east, goodbye world', 'you've got nazi history, you've got deja vu', 'welcome bush, goodbye east, welcome disaster, goodbye freedom, welcome dinasty, goodbye life', ''fuck nationalism, fuck bush', 'you've got choice - temporarily - worship life', 'you've got truth': how about that?... Other sometimes equivocal songs of course make use of the ever more used Sept 11th aftermath samples of political speeches and the like... The lyrics save this record and really bring this record to a whole new level! Finally some creativity and intelligence at work!
"Pheromones" also includes a live track and a remix by Assemblage 23.
Artist: Butterfly Messiah
Title: It's Time EP
Format: CD EP
Label: The Fossil Dungeon

This EP features brand new tracks not previously released called "It's Time" and "Monument" as well as "Machines" from the early demo Synthesis. What fans will first notice is the harder club beat and elektro styling of "It's Time" that has a sort of darkwave-EBM sound to it that the band never previously had. Ah, when I see bands I love improve this much I just love it. Shannon's ethereal vocals and Robert's industrial interests were meant for this type of structure. Butterfly Messiah never sounded so good. Both the first mix and the Dance mix are great for DJ club play so I'm hoping they will not be timid and take a risk on these guys, they are well worth it! "Monument" contains the somber dark synth orchestral and ethereal vocal style the band is more readily associated with. This is great for those unfamiliar with the band to check out to get a bit of a taste of what some of their other music generally sounds like, however this track has it's own unique aspects as well. Butterfly Messiah are the only band that deftly combines ethereal elements with hard industrial and mechanical elements. The man-machine concept is one that has been done many times in cyber-industrial but Butterfly Messiah take a more spirit-machine angle on the perspective created with their own unique combination of sound. If anyone is curious about what a younger Butterfly Messiah sounded like this EP gives them the opportunity with "Machines". However this mix is not the original version so there is something here for fans too. They've cleaned this one up a bit and added some overall effects to it that give it quite a bit more body and ambience. The original is dry in comparison to this version (Nice job Robert!). Lastly, is an instrumental of the title track. Without the vocals it sounds much more EBM oriented and may be why it was included. I hope this is a good idea of what is to come from the band in the future!
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