Music Reviews



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Artist: NOWAK
Title: I Am / / Love
Format: CD
Label: Rodeo Gay (@)
Coming from Chambéry, Nowak is the personal project of a misterious guy. Since he was a kid he played with sounds and a guitar with his friend Dj André Citroën (Nora Louise Kusma). He played guitar with different bands since he discovered at the end of the 90's bands like Aphex Twins and Squarepusher. I AM / / LOVE is his first record (as far as I know. The informations are not so clear about this point...) and he likes to describe it as "crazy jungle acid punk". Well, punk must be his attitude, because here it isn't any... The twelve tracks of the CD convinced me since the first listening as Nowak is able to mix skillfully so many influences: 70's disco, jungle, hip hop, pop music, 80's experimental music, etc. For example into "The Mother House" he mix jungle multi rhythmical rhythms with synths, dramatic strings parts and vocals that remember me of Sid Barret. The result is really charming. Instead into "Turbo Slug" certain parts recalled me the Coil of the "Love Secret Domain" era. Each track is different from the others and you can't really guess what's next. A good thing is also that Nowak don't forget to use melody, you know, stuff like Autechre is amazing, but after so many records based on pure rhythm, bleeps and desctuctured noise you lose the sense (if there is any...). This CD is highly recommended!
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Artist: CAP (Controlled Audio Programming)
Title: Statement
Format: CD
Label: Life Is Painful Records
Distributor: Novatek
Tried and true electro-industrial in the vein of older Informatik and Funker Vogt (be it a lot less technofied), lined to the brim with sharp electronic MIDI sequences and straight ahead stomp beats. The vocals also stay rather harsh throughout it, much like the aforementioned Informatik; dancey but still with a sense of harshness and drive. If you’re looking for something completely innovative, you’d probably want to look elsewhere. But if you’re like me and just want to get your rivet stomp on (haha) and just have some old school energetic industrial to slam to, this one is right up your alley. Rating: 8.
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Artist: TEX LA HOMA (@)
Title: Dazzle Me With Transience
Format: CD
Label: Superglider (@)
Tex La Homa hails from England bringing us echoes of Jesus & Mary Chain and Velvet Underground with a touch of electronic arrangements for how the vocals and instruments are sometimes treated. Try to imagine a slow version of Lotus Eaters performed by an indie band that uses also electro arrangements along with acoustic instruments. Formed in May 2000 by Matt Shaw, the project soon began to compose tunes. Soon after Tex La Homa released the first four songs EP. That record was released by Kamikaze Records as last release. The label was set up by Matt and Griff with the help of their friend Kerry. After this first record Matt has been joined by Mal, Richard and Griff to form together Superglider Records. The first release has been a Tex La Homa EP and soon after, joined also by Mooro, they released music by True Swamp Neglect, Sancho Panza, Betika, Seemonster, Robot Dog, Factotum and TLH. Talking about DAZZLE ME WITH TRANSIENCE I can say that for sure it's an intimate record but not melancholic. The soft atmospheres aren't self celebrating (you know how that "how miserable I am" attitude of some bands is) and songs like "Feel Tied Down" or "Launch" (oh my... The Jesus & Mary Chain distortions are still making school... hehehe) could make your day. Certainly you have to listen to albums like this being in the right mood because if you are in need of an energy's injection to shake your bones this could be harmful :)
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Artist: Opeth
Title: Damnation
Format: CD
Label: Music For Nations,Koch Records
Distributor: Music For Nations,Koch Records
OK, imagine if you got a goth, a folk lover, and a metalhead all to write down their dream group that they could agree on, and Opeth would very well be the result. Already hailed in many metal circles as the best metal band out there, not many Goths have yet caught onto their fragile, delicate music yet. Also, being considered the best metal band in the world, there is one catch to them: they are not completely metal either, nor are they all that brutal as they are just dark and moody. They often go from slow, doomy death metal right smack dab into very dark, accoustic folk, not unlike a more technical Death In June.
Yet on this CD, the sound takes a full circle swing, as it is the softer companion to the bombastic and brooding "Deliverance". Gone are any traces of death metal, replaced by acoustics and a melancholy sense of progressive rock. The CD opens with the violin and acoustic laden track "Windowpane", whose slow riffs on top of gently plucked strings give additional warmth to the marvelous voice of Mikael Akerfeldt. All of it is like a musical version of a French cuisine, where all the ingredients work in rhythm with one another, never overpowering in the least. In the back lies trained and true jazz drumming, patient and again never overpowering. Add to that the violin lines in the back and you quickly see how this band has even gotten the hardest metal elitists into it’s spell. This is music that universally speaks past genres, and often probably doesn’t even notice them as much as they just simply put emotion to music.
Then comes the track "In My Time Of Need", following as a seeming flow to "Windowpane", where the two songs never seem to conflict. Much of this whole CD stands as one whole, not as a song to song format. "Closure" flows along in this manner, yet injects more of their signature melancholy riffs as well, and then pumps up the notches on the technicality. Put onto that the energetic but controlled, meticulous drumming in the middle of the song, along with a haunting chorus in the back.


Listening to the music, one cannot help but notice the beautiful artwork on the CD. Every Opeth CD has exceptional artwork, such as the art for "Still Life" and "Blackwater Park". This is a band that seems to have no weak areas at all. The lyrics may not be as complex this time as "Still Life" but the lyrics seem to fit the mold for the music to a tee. It still borders on sheer poetry, reflecting isolation and various morose feelings, not mention it’s sung by some incredibly beautiful vocals. Metal fans looking for some of Opeth’s more heavy material should look elsewhere, but for those into their constantly evolving style, it’s highly advised. I recommend this group in general for those who are willing to take a view into a band that dares to march forward in so many directions at once! Many have said they have changed the way metal can be played, but I argue that. I say they have well changed the way music as a whole can be played! Folk singers are taking note, metal bands are taking note, maybe even goth and death folkers are taking note. I can smell the copycats starting up to try following in their footsteps already.

Rating: 10. Also recommended is anything from Opeth, especially "Orchid" (haha good luck finding this little gem) and "Still Life". Also, if you can find Moonspell’s acoustic performances, that would be a nice addition.
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Talking to Harald, the mastermind of Chandeen, on my messenger last week, he told me this CD would be a good bit more organic than "Bikes And Pyramids". So naturally, I didn’t expect another pop journey, given that and Harald’s massive palate of musical skills (hence my nickname for him, "Der PopMusikMeister"). The CD takes a much more classical approach to the Chandeen formula, yet still has that same beautiful kind of wave undertone. And Antje’s vocals are solo this time, no longer accompanied by Stephanie’s harmonious pipes. But that also helps give this CD it’s emotional edge, as the music would not quite mix in with dual vocals. It would simply overwhelm such delicate and fragile melodies, which are to be the full cast of actors, not hiding behind a curtain of vocals. Many ethereal groups make that mistake, yet Chandeen did their homework not to fall into it. Antje’s vocals have also improved, as if there was much more improvement needed! The more laid back tone of this music gives her more power to show off her real vocal talent, which is an effortless flow from key to key. It’s as if she sings scales on a wavelength rather than having to divide notes and separate them. And not one crack in her voice to be heard! Her voice is perfection, like a wine aged through centuries and centuries.Much of the keyboard work of "Bikes And Pyramids" you’ll notice has been replaced by piano and guitar, with the subtle keyboard-aided backdrop breezing on by like a playful ember on a cool spring wind. It could be safe to say Harald has learned his fair share of instruments through the years, and has perfected the one man band style (well one man if you take out vocals). The style reminds me of his Lowy/Javelin project gone through a classical filter, with a touch of Opeth’s folk moments. Literary fans will notice a song version of Edgar Allen Poe’s "A Dream Within A Dream" (oh if only Poe were alive he’d be a happy 160 year old man hearing this haha), as well as song versions of William Blake and Oscar Wilde. Could this get any better??!?! Well, if Anne Sexton poems were on there, but eh you can’t ask for the world you know ;-). Plus her poems would be a bit gruesome for this. Pretty solid CD throughout, as well as any of Lowy’s works.Rating: 10.
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