Music Reviews



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Artist: BETIKA
Title: Heads Smashed In By The Boy/Girl Thing
Format: CD
Label: Superglider (@)
When I was sixteen my brother used to listen to bands such as Pastels, Yeah Yeah Noh, Shop Assistants, Soup Dragons and there was an interesting compilation released by Cherry Red titled "Pillow And Prayers" which gathered bands like: Marine Girls (the first Tracey Thorn's band), Ben Watt (who at the same time teamed with Tracey to form Everything But The Girls), The Nightingales, etc. At that time there were labels like Subway or Creation that were exploring the ground of indie pop or pop wave. It seemed that new wave was dismissing his punk origins just to explore the pop fields, bringing his dark and intimistic vein to new sounds. The acoustic songs of Betika bring me back to those sounds being kinda sad and warm at the same time. At first the band sound included alternative rock textures, samples and other stuff, but due the difficulty of bringing all this on their live shows, they opted for a minimal approach and stripped the music down to a bare skeleton. After the debut as a duo, Dave Purse and Carolyn Evans, met on their path Matt Shaw of Tex La Homa and Chris Reed who shortly decided to join the band. With this line up they recorded the tracks of HEADS SMASHED IN BY THE BOY/GIRL THING, record that saw the light on 2001. Superglider decided to reissue it adding two new songs "Which Way Will I Go" and "Hunting With Dogs". For those of you that already own the six tracks MLP these songs are available to download from the labels website as mp3 files. For those of you who'd like to get the reissue, you won't wait that long, because it will be released at the end of April.
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Artist: BEEFCAKE
Title: 003 + 024 + 2X = 727
Format: CD
Label: Hymen (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe


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Six years after the destabilizing debut of Beefcake, Hymen has decided to gather on CD the first two vinyl records of the duo formed by Gabor Schablitzki and Volker Kahl. The MLP "Spontaenous Human Combustion" has been released in 1997 and contains some of the tracks contained on the homonymous demo tape received by the label the same year. The label started the same year and they thought that the mixture of drum and bass, distorted breakbeats and soundtrack-ish atmospheres of the band was perfect for their third release. The following four tracks, instead, are coming from "In Medias Res", 12" that followed the release of the album 'Coincidentia Oppositorum', released on May 2000. The first two tracks present a similar sound texture respect the old recordings but the structure is more "nervous" and the sounds used to form the rhythmic part seem to be increased. Also the ambient layer is more delayed and this gives the effect of a schizophrenic dream. The two tracks contained on "In Medias Res"' B side are the opposite respect the fist two: less dark and kinda weird if we talk about "Y024 B2" as it seems a perverted lullaby for problematic children. The last two tracks "Gabor's p.s.y.c.-Hosen" and "Volker´s T.raum-ata" are a perfect mixture of the above but released expecially for this CD. I must to admit that I really enjoyed this release!
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Artist: Frou Frou (@)
Title: Details
Format: CD
Label: MCA Records
Newcomers Frou Frou, from France, are an energetic group with lots to offer. Made up of Imogen Heap and Guy Sigsworth, two veterans in the industry, they first collaborated on Imogen's 1998 album "I Megaphone". Guy had worked on other records for other artists before, but was unsatisfied with the results. Therefore, he called up Imogen to sing some tracks for him, and before they knew it they had an album going.From songs such as "Shh" to "Must Be Dreaming", the entire album is reminiscent of days gone by with nostalgic, bouncy beats. The debut album, entitled "Details" is a great mix of modern beats mixed with east Asian and East Indian stylings, and 'Maddening Shroud' is a perfect example of this. Frou Frou does hit the slow-paced road every once in a while though with songs like 'The Dumbing Down Of Love' & 'Old Piano'.If you're looking for an album that can offer you some music that has the ability to get you going in the morning or even relax you at night, Frou Frou has got what you need. Nothing is left to be desired after listening to this album. The wide array of sounds is a tribute to the talent Imogen & Guy posess. Imogen's voice is a perfect fit for the music that Guy produces, and I sincerely hope that there is a follow up album to "Details".
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Artist: GOR & JACK OR JIVE (@)
Title: Soleil
Format: CD
Label: Prikosnovenie (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe


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Quite interesting result and collaboration which sees Gor and Jack Or Jive working together to create eight tracks balanced between Oriental and Western mysticism. SOLEIL is the first release of a label project which aim is to mix different cultures and musical tradition. Francesco Banchini brings his Parthenopean touch made of ancient litanies and percussive sounds (see tracks like "Shofar" or "Zeloun" where his distinctive sound is in evidence) while the Japanese duo delineate the synthetic layers and sing different songs. In my opinion the most interesting songs are the ones where Francesco takes care of the atmosphere, playing percussions and other instruments (as on "Hammiqdash", "Gulgatha" or "Blue Curtain") because his style is too peculiar to be affected by other kinds of music and this gives the effect of a Gor record with guests. Instead, the interesting thing about this project is the capacity of creating a new sound out of two different bands. If you don't know how it could sounds like, I can tell you that the forty four minutes of this CD are full of intimate sounds and passion but if you are searching for rhythm and energy give it a listen first. Instead if you like the atmospheres of the David Sylvian's instrumental tracks, give to this release a try.