Music Reviews



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Artist: Can
Title: Out of Reach
Format: CD
Label: EFA Medien / Margina Talent (@)
Distributor: Caroline
Cologne-based Can is one of the most important and most influential bands ever and most certainly among the pioneers of what was called "kraut rock", the electronic and progressive musical scene originating in Germany in the seventies, in answer to the american prog-rock production and the british punk and post-punk explosion.All of Can's albums, except for this very one, have since been re-release on Can's own label Spoon records, therefore "Out Of Reach" had always been harder to get and to this day is still not available on CD in th US. Mixed by Conny Planck (Kraftwerk) and digitally re-mastered by Hofheim-based Dirk Buro of DB Ton-Studio in 2001, their 1978 "Out Of Reach" album (with Rosko Gee on vocals, replacing Holger Czukay, who had just left the band) has now been re-released by EFA Medien and Marginal Talents and is distributed by Caroline. It is available as a CD and a coloured vinyl LP and hit the street on August 12th. The CD also comes with extensive liner notes by guitarist/singer Geoff "Mad Dog" Horgan of Why Not that will give you some background info and his own personal review of the seven original tracks included in this record. The original artwork has also been maintained so whether you want to start to get to know Can or you are a fan and lover of their great progessive music, you should definitely consider buying this CD, or maybe even better get the color vinyl. For those of you heavily into rarities, check this out, the first pressing of the CD comes pressed on blue plastic and there's also a limited edition transparent vinyl LP with gold and blue printing on transparent rice-paper cover. That outta feel right to owe!
Artist: Dj Garon
Title: Mesh It Up
Format: 12"
Label: Urban Earth records
East Coast Dj Garon is one of those people who make of spinning drum'n'bass the art and the mission of their lives. His latest 12" vinyl features a remix of a Bukue One's track called "Mash It Up" and besides the classic drum'n'bass rhythmical drive, the frequency sweeps and all of that good stuff, it features MC-style rappin' vocals.Look for this powerful vinyl on the Urban Earth records shelves.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Enter
Format: CD
Label: Unschooled records (@)
An IT expert, a senior executive of various networking companies and a speaker and author on several aspects of the integration of technology and society; it's not a trick question, but the background of Howard Hecht, who after a life of doing all of the above has established a record label called Unschooled records and based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. "Enter" is the first release and a sampler of what is about to come, but it also represents a chance to put together some 12 talents from 5 countries and take a snapshot of what is happening in the world of experimental avant-garde found-sound glitch-music sonics. It really sounds like a sampler from Mute with some incursions from the people at Staalplaat but I'll let you decide when you dive in the wonderfully fancy world of "Enter". Much talked about American Aphex sounding "Doofgoblin" open the compilation with their track "Frazed" and soon Canadian Decomposure take over with their hot music made uniquely from sounds of wooden matches burning, scratchihg, falling etc (there's some real genius and sound manipulation chops there!). Other projects that will see the light on Unschooled quite soon include Howard's own project 1st Class Lounge and Scottish Plan 29. Also Canadian Cloudscapes (with their glitchy guitar muzak); American Shank (with their deep hammering power-electro industrial track), Carbon Based Life Form, Sonic Wallpaper (Boards of Canada meet Autechre), Mercurial (more dreamy ambient that meets franticly light beats and rave sounds), (Lost Within the Curves) Turbogeek (with their early morning spinning and syncopated tablas-enriched freak-jungle track) and Natu Visu (with their droning re-processed field recordings); Dutch Naton Rozenburg (with his minimal cheap-synth generated sleepy ambient textures) and A Bit Crusher (with their fantasticly frenetic Aphex Twin inspired anarco-drunk drum'n'bass) and last but not least British Powdermonkey (with their proto-drum'n'bass with more bass than drum) all contribute their crazy sounds to a compilation that has more than one memorable moment and certainly brings along high hopes for this label.
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Artist: Frank Gingeleit (@)
Title: Nightmare & Escapades + Megalopolis + Toy Island
Format: CD
Label: self-released
German composer, musician and journalist Frank Gingeleit has been dealing with music for quite some time already (he's got a long beard too ;-)) and recently he's transferred his knowledge and his emotions in a trilogy of two CD-R's and one CD that quite well represent the spectrum of sonorities he messes around with as well as the wide array of sounds and timbres that his palette reveals throughout this three-folded experience."Nightmares & Escapades" is the most percussive in nature of the three and contains experiments with beats, percussion sounds of differing origin and of course electronic sound layers hovering over the rhythmical structures. It also sparks a lot of guitar sounds, which is obvious especially if you consider that Frank exclusively uses both regular guitar and synth guitar on this album."Megalopolis" sounds more like a Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, Can record with lots of spacey synth sounds (it's all a virual analog synth) and seven tracks of pure cosmic electronika. Any reference to a beat has been reduced to a mere hint here and there and mostly the album evolves and revolves around slow motion layers of relaxing pads and entrancing oscillations.The third CD of this trilogy is "Toy Island" uses both the instruments used to create the previous two albums and continues the tradition of not using a computer or a sequencer to arrange sounds, instead Frank prefers to use the toys of his own fantasy island, including filters, modulators and arpeggiators. This CD might be interpreted as the most "modern" of the three, even though I think all of Frank's material has that somehow retrospective look to the great german electronic music of the past decades. In spite of this old-fashioned approach the analog synth sounds in "Toy Island" entwine with the very light beats and give birth to intricated textures where bass lines and mid to hi end disco rhythms (do not mistake that word for techno) are the web on which creative knob tweaking, LFO oscilator sweeping, improvisation, and slow-attack chords bounce around with harmonious lightness.If you are in the world of avant-garde and experimental music pioneers such as Justin Bennet, Peter Frohmader, Skuli Sverisson or if you are more into the old-style Germaniac electro-sound (Kraftwerk and the names mentioned above) and other fine folks like them, you should go ahead and give Frank's stuff a listen.
Artist: Echoes In the Dark (@)
Title: Bleu Days
Format: Tape
Label: self-released
You gotta give this guy credit for how pro-active he is. Birmingham-based Donovan Tate writes about electronic music, gothic and some hip hop for B*live newsletter and LoMo Magazine and has now decided to produce some of his very own stuff together with his sister Demetra. Unfortunately the result is not as good as his intentions and his dedication to music. Besides a bad final mix that puts way too much weight on vocals and keeps the music in the background, the music is thin and lacks of personality. The rhythmical structures are minimal, almost absent, and the amateur sounds are those of who just discovered a synth and wants to use them all, no matter how good they are and how well they match. Unfortunately, as much as I try, unless I were to lie to our readers, I can't even tell you that he sings well (altough his sister definitely does a better job). The demo tape comes with a well printed color cover and features fifteen songs with explicit lyrics about love, passion, anti-abortion etc. Maybe it's because I am not into synthpop too much, maybe I didn't catch the true meaning and spirit if Echoes in the Dark, but I think it is imperative that, within the subjectiveness of a review, we as writers stay true to our readers.
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