Music Reviews



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Artist: Speedy J
Title: Loudboxer+
Format: CD
Label: Mute Liberation Technologies (@)


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This much anticipated follow-up to the 2000 release A Shocking Hobby is a trance heavy Tresor-styled electronica release with Industrial and Noise influences like only Speedy J can mix them. Loudboxer takes you from one track to the next smoothly like a DJ mix disc with no breaks. Lots of hard beats and heavy trance. In fact to be honest at first I began asking when is it going to 'do' something when I listened for the first time only to realize that Speedy J had already created such a trance-heavy mix that I was listening to the most subtle intricacies he had incorporated into the themes. "Inter Zil" is the first track you'll hear any voice on and it is a heavily synthed vocal speaking about these effects of how subtle tones can create mental 'shapes and patterns' and sounds like something from a Plastikman disc but the thought is very much what this album is all about. This track is also the first actual 'break' in the beats and is instantly followed by the heavy pound of "Kreck". One thing is for sure, Speedy J does not follow normal patterns or song structures and creates some highly innovative and original electronica that is mind boggling at times to say the least. As for this album just when you think it is becoming rather repetitious Speedy throws you a 'loop'. His musical form is not about the obvious but about subtleties and the intricate structures they can create on their own without following standard formats or methods. Very subteranean while maintaining an aire of industrial harshness. The live track is rather unusual and displays just how chaotic he can be at times as well. Personally I think this album should come with a warning stating, "Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while listening to this CD".
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Artist: SECOND VIOLIN (@)
Title: Hospital Fugue of Mad Nurse + Victoria
Format: CD
Label: Zeromoon
Two cd-rs, both dated 2001, from this experimental noise trio also responsible for many other projects (like V.) and collaborations spawning from the active Zeromoon headquarters. Second Violin is Adam Bohman (voice), Zan Hoffman (tapes, sampler) and Jeff Surak (prepared violin, the neck), aided on "Victoria" by Rinus Van Alebeek (probably responsible for the spoken parts in German). Both works share certain basic characteristics, though "Hospital Fugue..." is in my opinion more coherent and better assembled. SV have a quite original sound which is a blend of chaotic industrial noise, minimalism, ambient, impro and eclectic experimentation, sided by spoken/recited tracks. Manipulated string sounds and electronic loops often manage to create minimal, but well crafted pieces like the two "Dinner music on an empty stomach" ("First course" and "Second helping") on "Hospital Fugue..." - there's an hallucinated feel of gratuitous dada craziness throughout, which could remind (as a spirit, not as a precise sound) of some Nurse With Wound record. Sometimes the improvised parts become a bit tedious, though, as in "Victoria"'s last track, really really long and exceedingly solipsistic.
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Artist: EX NIHILO
Title: L'ARGENT EST L'ART DES GENS DE SATAN
Format: CD
Label: EX NIHILO SUISA+
The Laine Gebel's one-mand band "Ex Nihilo" has a total retrospective conception, completely focused on the electro-goth fisrt school born between the half and end of the 80's from the wedding of the Christian Death's macabre perversion with the DAF and Nitzer Ebb's first synthetic pulsations. So you will find grandiose keyboards cascades, possessed and wicked voices, deacadent melodic bass lines and all other classic ingredients that made the history of this genre.It's a pity that the production has a poor quality, because although the album is not original and fossilized on old ideas however it sounds enjoyable, funny and sufficiently various.I prefere when Ex Nihilo hit on the accelerator, reaching the emphasis of the furious EBM and approaching the Hocico's devilish attitude. Surely i think this cd is more appreciable and honest than several releases of idolized and famous EBM bands that make up a perfect hit single for the charts and then repeat the same versus for ten songs!
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Artist: GARDEN OF DELIGHT
Title: Psychonomicon 1991-2001
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Sad Eyes/Trisol (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
An anthologic double cd from the Garden, featuring singles and bonus tracks on cd1 and a live recording (Castle Rabenstein, Germany, 28-09-2001) on cd2. The latter has a perfect, crystal-clear sound, so it's probably the best way to listen to the band's blend of gothic and melodic rock - sort of Paradise Lost meets The Cult, with an emphasys on energy and catchy tunes. Comes with the usual esoteric layout, and information about the tracks.
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Artist: COMFORT (@)
Title: S/T
Format: CD
Label: Self-released
An extremely mature and challenging cd-r from this Italian post-jazz-rock quartet (guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards). Comfort's instrumental tracks seem to strive between a solid, almost mathematic structure and liquid free-form detours, and the whole work benefits from this demanding and slightly cerebral quest for variation. Possible spiritual references (but bear in mind that Comfort actually sound like none of them) could be DK3, Don Caballero, Lounge Lizards, early Tortoise or Miles Davis in his electric period, and lots of soundtracks. "Cadillac" would be a perfect soundtrack for a noir movie, with its cinematic incipit, but also has impalpable atmospheric breaks, while "Lo spazio vellica" collapses its quasi-caraibic and reggae rhythms to an aggressive rock crescendo, then again to post-rock guitar dilutions. "Privilegio" is a melancholic bridge between silences and organ laments, re-building themselves in a jazzy melody; "Miriam Raving" starts with gentle impro guitar pickings but evolves into a square rhythm. "Lidia" is gloomy and obsessive, crossed by electronic shivers and lost in a paranoid solipsism. But these are mostly partial and impressionistic descriptions, since every track is more of a microcosm with often sudden - though well balanced - changes of tempos, styles and moods; it would take pages to describe the entire work with accuracy. Really one of the best Italian projects in this field, and I do hope that some label officially releases these tracks, because they're excellent.
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