Music Reviews



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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Tel Aviv Aftermath
Format: CD
Label: Topheth Prophet (@)
An interesting compilation of various artists coming from Israel, which inevitably signs the peculiarity of this record in some of its manifestations; track 10 features no artists but "One minute of silence - for the memory of all those who violently lost their lives in the middle east conflict, except those who took other lives while losing theirs". Scars are manifest. The sampler, superbly packaged in a stylish layout with an informative full-colour booklet, ranges from various forms of electronica (Grundik-Slava, Screening, Forma, VectorScope) to rhythmic industrial (New Jerusalem Defense Forces), from ambient (Chaos as Shelter) to avantgarde and electroacoustics (Igor18, HU) to proto-apocalyptic folk (Agnivolok) and a mix of jazz, ethnic music and electronics (the final 17' jam by The Crossfishes). I think it'd be pointless to go into details about personal tastes - all tracks are good in their fields, with a few excellent ones. I'd quote Chaos as Shelter, good as always, and HU as being particularly inspiring - the latter with an amazing concrete track obtained by playing a metal helmet! Both projects are actually manifestations of Vadim Gusis, also in NJDF, Agnivolok (new album just released by Stateart!) and The Crossfishes, and the man who mastered the compilation itself. I'd say, check this release out, the Israeli experimental scene seems to be incredibly healthy and propositive. The cd is also distributed by Stateart.
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Artist: CHAOS AS SHELTER (@)
Title: Maelstrom
Format: CD EP
Label: Fleshmadeword (@)
Issued by the UK label Fleshmadeword in a ltd edition of 200 copies, "Maelstrom" is a 20' cd-r featuring one single track by the prolific Israeli artist Vadim Gusis, well known for a series of releases on labels like Crowd Control Activities, Drone, Stateart, and The Rectrix. Minimally packaged in a folded brown paper sheet, the cd-ep is a long, powerful ambient drone, with a kind of reverberated organ sound, quite different from other recordings of Chaos As Shelter's I've listened to - probably closer to a minimal approach, and actually not that dark, while maintaining a peculiar intensity in its monolithic repetitiveness.
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Artist: NORDVARGR
Title: Awaken
Format: CD
Label: Code 666/Eibon (@)
Nordvargr (the mind behind MZ.412, the now defunct Folkstorm, Toroidh, Hydra Head 9 and the eponymous project, plus probably a few more) has been particularly prolific over the last few months. I really can't count all the recent releases of his, considering the several different projects, an anthology ("Enter Nordvargr") and a massive ltd boxset containing I can't recall how many cds... crazy. "Awaken" has just been released - in a limited edition - by Eibon, this time teaming up with Code666 (www.code666.net), an Italian label mostly active in the post-black metal field (Aborym, Void of Silence, Thee Maldoror Collective, Ephel Duath...); one more sign of the rising connection between extreme metal and some forms of industrial and electronics. "Awaken" (8 tracks, 55 minutes) plunges you deep in a pit of anguish and despair. Obsessive dark ambient drones with a Lustmord feel, but pushed to even more extreme territories; cold and oppressive, powerful and obstinate in its solipsistic nightmares, dissolving and absorbing filtered voices, painful samples of screams and rattling noises, sparse orchestral parts and military drummings. Closer to the brutal approach of industrial noise and power electronics rather than academical ambient music, "Awaken" is a realistic representation of a total absence of light.
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Artist: Android Lust
Title: The Dividing
Format: CD
Label: Dark Vision Media
Distributor: Dark Vision Media
The latest from Shikhee and her band of merry men dives, as you could tell from my interview with her (my first ever!), into more organic territory versus the infamously cold and desolate world of AL. At times compared to Oneiroid Psychosis, this can be quite misleading, as her atmosphere is not as dense or as desolate as that of Oneiroid, but more danceable. Live drumming is the most obvious addition to the sound as well as untreated vocals this time around (I actually found her distorted vocals quite charming! uuurrrgh). I’m still bigger on the older work of AL, but this is not a bad choice, though. If you complained before about them being too cold (which I love about them), then this is a good start to converting you over to their sound. My favorite on here is "Another Void" which is the darkest track on here, following with Shikhee’s innocent sounding screams of pain. Rating: 9.
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Artist: MIRIAM
Title: Scents
Format: CD
Label: Decadance Records
Distributor: Decadance Records
Hehe I always love data tracks, esp. when they have videos on them, as is the case with this one (do download a Quicktime Player if you don’t have one though). Add to that it being a video with yet another deadly gorgeous Italian lead singer (they’re everywhere around me nowadays. I’m not one to complain though ;-) ! ), all set to a gorgeous black and white Euro style video, and I am a happy man. Their sound to me is akin to La Floa Maldita, which is no small compliment considering that LFM is one of my fave groups. The classical style of playing though in this is just as apparent, if not totally by sound. And the lead singer’s voice has a cool, relaxed tone to it, not trying the harpy call of a lot off ethereal style singers. Track 4,"Space White Roses" is my favorite on the CD, with a laid back ambient feel to it, ala Chandeen, and it’s whispered and reverbed vocals. Even some sax in this already healthy mix. Track 5, "Daphne" has more of the same cool night ambience, with some sax and sensual vocals layered on top of it. Pretty good CD,overall. Rating:8.
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