Music Reviews



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Artist: Darren Emerson + Tim Deluxe (@)
Title: Underwater: Episode 1
Format: 2 x CD (double CD)
Label: Thrive
In the tough and controversial business of Dj-ing there are two characters who started in their early age (way to go!) and whose tracks became lucky chart-favourites quite quickly once they went solo: both Darren Emerson and Tim Deluxe have gained local and international recognition in the early millennium after they have both set up their own labels, Underwater and Ice Cream records, respectively. Before focusing on being a Dj full time Darren Emerson spent many years with Underworld, but in particular it was Tim Deluxe and his two top selling singles "Sirens / We All Love Sax" and "It Just Won't Do" (featuring Sam Obernik on vocals and whose video clip with skinny sexy volleyball playing chicks I actually remember seeing played on the infamous MTV while I was in Europe last summer) who made Emerson's label really take off. So here you have them both together, working the turntables mixing a lot of club best sellers which you might have actually heard even outside the club scene... Besides the above mentioned songs you'll find tracks by Mutiny, Medicine, Alex Gopher, Ian Pooley, Steve Mac, Jay J, Chris Lum, GusGus, T World, Dj Vitamin D feat. Miss Audry, D'Julz, Lay & Bushwacka!, Loose Headz and more...
The record has been released a couple of weeks ago in the US on Thrive records, which started in 1997 releasing original motion picture "Pi"'s soundtrack and is known in these days for another soundtrack ("Memento") and for having signed Paul Oakenfold exclusively for all Dj mix albums in the US.
Keep nodding!
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Artist: ONNYK
Title: Private Idioms
Format: CD
Label: Public Eyesore (@)
Two half-hour long improvised pieces by Japanese guitarist Kinno Yoshiaki a.k.a. Onnyk, dating October 1995 and February 1997 (played respectively in a gallery and in his living room), released last year by Bryan Day's Public Eyesore (with an excellent cover art, as always). An extreme cd, not in the sense of harsh or noisy (the electric sound is crystal-clear, no feedback is involved), but very rigorous and sometimes hermetic in its sound research. Clusters of jazz scales, possibly some blues, are fragmented and reassembled in fast, frenetic passages which leave you dizzy. "Abstract" would be the key word for these improvisations - there's an undisputable display of tecnique, fantasy and research, resulting in a severe and demanding release. Talking of subjective feedback, and falling into the "personal tastes" field, I'd say I've been interested but not particularly captivated by these "Private Idioms". Much like with most abstract art, I just feel the lack of something to lean on, be it a noise, a melody or an overall atmosphere. But probably, if you're even remotely interested in improvisation or avantgarde guitar playing, this will probably be your cup of tea.
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: 15id
Format: CD
Label: Raving Records (@)
Distributor: Wide
"15id" stands for "15 Italian dishes", an appropriate name for this quality 15-track/78-minute sampler; its main characteristic is the fact that it mostly gathers groups from the Tuscanian cities of Livorno and Pisa (for non-Italian readers: the two cities are sorts of "historical enemies"), with a few "external guests" like Vonneumann, One Dimensional Man and Zero Tolerance for Silence. The standard is absolutely high throughout the whole cd, instrumental post-rock/indie noise being a sort of trait d'union of the various projects. Caboto open the cd with an incredible song which reminded me of Italian groups like Perigeo or Goblin in a modernized version... jazz-rock with a few prog hints and a peculiar cinematic dimension. Brilliant! A perfect incipit, but the following tracks are remarkable as well. To name but a few, Vonneumann, Zero Tolerance for Silence and Comfort (see review of their excellent cdr), in their own personal ways, mix free form experimentation and electric structures; Autobam and 8brr are fine examples of electronica (more structured the former, the latter reminding of Noto or Ikeda); Abarthjour Floreale have a softer melancholic approach in between My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth, while One Dimensional Man close the cd with a blast of Jesus Lizard/Shellac styled noise rock. But again, the strength of the cd is its sense of coherence and high quality within different approaches and influences. Absolutely recommended, and courageous in its choice of collaborative DIY release and distribution.
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anymore
Artist: XERO G
Title: Are You Weightless?
Format: CD
Label: Ninthwave Records (@)
Xero G are a duo from N.Y. formed by Victoria Angell (vocals) and Seth Questor (synths, programming and vocals). ARE YOU WEIGHTLESS is the first album of the duo and contains eleven original tunes along with a cover of Who's "Baba O' Reiley" and a Sigma 7's remix of the opening song "Run". The first thing I noticed is that the album seems to miss a real hit single even if "Carry On" with its "Pet Shop Boys goes goth" atmospheres can be a possible one. This has been a particular CD for me because the songs started to catch me only after the second listening and this isn't a usual thing. The album has got dark and light atmospheres with energetic tracks and good tunes (like "Too Much" or the instrumental "Uranium"). The tracks I preferred were the ones from fifth to eleventh, because they have got a certain dark vein which make them more interesting for my tastes. Only sometimes I lost my concentration but this is because on the first tracks Victoria's singing is a little more melancholic and mellow. It takes time to appreciate this one but it's worth it.
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Artist: Testify
Title: Triviality Beyond Acceptance
Format: CD
Label: Van Richter
Distributor: Van Richter
Good old fashioned aggro metal in the trash vein as usual here, kind of along the lines of Ministry, but not as heavy. They could have stepped up the electronics a bit, but the mix between the electronics and the guitars is purposely the scope of miniamlism, so it works out fine. For those more into the pure electronic sound go for The Fair Sex,their side project. My favorite track on this one is "White Skinned Heroin" the opening track to the CD. Good CD for those longing for the days of old school aggro-industrial before the onslaught of NIN clones took over the scene. Rating: 8.
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