Music Reviews



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Artist: Dark Muse (@)
Title: Sounds from Beyond the Silver Wheel
Format: CD
Label: The Fossil Dungeon (@)
The Dark Muse is an American female one-(wo)man-band project. Her name is Phyll Smith and she's been releasing many CD-R's through mp3.com for quite a long time. The Fossil Dungeon (a new label owned by members of the band The Soil Bleeds Black) has filled the gap by releasing her first "real" CD (a beautiful folding multi-panel digipack) so everybody can taste her graceful, enchanting and ethereal music. Voice is used as the primary instrument, in addition to guitar, russian piano, bells, coils, synths, drum machine and other found sounds. The seven pieces are hardly rhythmical though, most part of "Sounds from Beyond the Silver Wheel" are a wash of long and wide hall reverbs moving in slow motion from one verse to the next (whenever there is a vocal part at all), drawing circles of relaxing and rapturing soundscapes, reaching beyond the known into a whole new world of sounds... Cold Meet Industry, Vidna Obmana, Jeff Greinke, Roedelius... Oniric trance, ethereal alchemy, sounds for haunted spaces... call it whatever you please, but it sure is quite beautiful.
PS: She also has her own line of gothic/victorian jewelry (stones, crystals, steel, glass etc).
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Artist: Lecanoscope (@)
Title: Comparing Notes
Format: CD
Label: Metabolic Music
After many compilation appearances and several tapes released in the underground scene over the last decade, Californian Lecanoscope also have been hit by the new digital home-recording revolution and have finally given the entire world an opportunity to taste their beautiful, sophisticated and relaxing sound. Enchanting and bewildering, entrancing and capturing, their 5 tracks musical and meditative rapture entitled "Comparing Notes" is described by them as "ethereal ritual trance audio excursions through fields of pulsating luminescence"... now I don't need to tell you there is something more to this than just beautiful electronic-ethno-trance with tablas, distant vocal samples, transe-inducing repetitive patterns, dub grooves, layers of fluctuating synthetic pads and other stuff that might sporadically remind you of Bill Laswell, Asian Dub Foundation, Adrian Sherwood, Ustad Sultan Khan, Zakir Hussain, Psychic Warriors of Gaya, Karsh Kale, Talvin Singh, other indian music but also much more experimental, dark and electronic artists... Their metabolic music is «designed to open your third eye. "...you can let go"».
PS The CD came packaged in a standard jewel case contained in one of those CD-sized cardboard box used to ship CDs with their logo marked on it, which is a cool idea I thought...
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Artist: Infrastructure (@)
Title: Ancient Thrones
Format: CD
Finally another cute girl in the male-dominated industrial scene! It's about time! After a demo and a CD called "The Wasteland", the Massachussets-based one-(wo)man-band Infrastructure is back with this well-packaged 6 tracks CDR EP (limited to 300 copies, so hurry up!) for sale at her cool flash website for just five bucks + cheap shipping. Stacia Tucker's seducing slightly-distorted but calmly sung (instead of screamed, like usually; thank you!) vocals, positively match with the well-programmed mixture of electronic and industrial music she (or somebody else in the same band, I am not sure about that) performs. Strong industrial beats that remind of Autechre in an odd and distant way (when the "grace" notes emulate that particular experimental techno approach), elaborated and sometimes quite sophisticated electronic textures (sometimes recalling Delerium/FLA/Haujobb) with zapping sounds, punching synth-lines, blobbing bass-lines and some other classical old-fashioned "germaniac" ebm sounds... I dig her work 'cause she tries very hard not to necessarily fall back into the obvious footsteps of what so many have already done, re-done and over-done... Her fresh approach to the electro-industrial formula is truly inspiring and gives her lots of credibility in my book!
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Artist: Toini
Title: Electronic Biscuits
Format: CD
Label: Mital-U (@)
Swiss female electronic artist Raffaela F. (previously with rock-wave band Micro Kids), aka Toini, is back with a remix cd following her full length album "Amble". "Electronic Busicuits" contains 6 remixes by skillful producer/remixer/Dj Marco Repetto. I don't remember whether he's swiss or italian (I might have met him once) but he is the guy behind the Axodya and Inzec labels, who also performs with Terra Cava Soundsystem and formerly with punk (and beyond) bands Glueams, Grauzone (check this out, it means "gray area"!), Eigernordwand, Suonatori. He's got records out on acid/techno/house/trance labels from all over the world, including Generator (US), Rephlex, T&B Vinyl (UK), Spacefrogs, Trigger, Superstition, Deli-Rium, Essex (Germany), Kromode and Minus Habens' sub-label Disturbance (Italy), El Buho (Switzerland) and of course his own two Swiss labels. He is also part of the Paris-based international TNC network (www.tnc.net), a new-media event label dedicated to digital culture & lifestyle who was also behind the worldwide internet/tv y2k Hacking Millennium Party... Anyway, after spinning at loooots of raves (I remember his name on many of bills from the time I lived in Switzerland), playing with bands, releasing and producing music, this talented musician had to do the remix thing and he sure did good. "Electronic Biscuits" is experimental electronic mixed with minimal techno and hi-pass filtered vocals in the style of Kirlian Camera's recent techno journeys (but less apocalyptic and claustrophobic) and with influences that range from the Detroit style and stuff like Jeff Mills to the more experimental, freaky, weird and wired things out there... Vocal loops and far-away hi-freq vocal parts, drum machine sounds and driving kicks, vocoder sounds, synthetic pads etc, it's all there, all you need is the lights and a heavy-duty amp! ;-) Unfortunately I don't have "Amble" here with me and I can't remember how it sounded, but I think this is totally different stuff, proof that a good remixer is able to give songs a whole new life by turning them into autonomous compositions, which is what I think should be the goal of every remix (not like some other producers who think they can just sync a 4/4 tekkno kick sample and the remix is well and done!).
PS For those of you who're into dadaism/situationism, I found out with great surprise and pleasure that Mital-U has some interesting information on their site about that.
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Artist: Muslimgauze (@)
Title: Hamas Cinema Gaza Strip
Format: CD
Label: Staalplaat (@)
Distributor: Staalplaat (NL), Soleilmoon (US), Demos (It), These Records (UK), Target (De) and more...
Look who's back... From the never-ending stream of old Muslimgauze recordings (these are from 1998) a new CD has been put together. Quite minimal percussion tracks with kick and snare in addition to traditional percussions, arab/indian-sounding string instruments, up-front voices in arabic language, some man speaking in english about freedom fighters, other every-day-life speaking, women singing and laughing and some nice delay plays with the beat that give it sort of a dub vibe at times. But don't worry his usual overdriven slightly distorted percussive sounds with sitar-like instruments in the back are still to be found on this one too. Occasionally the songs get a little more obscure and mysterious, with an electronic drive to it, like a low frequency bass line, whispered vocals, electronic sounds or stuff like that... That makes it more interesting an appealing!
It's also interesting to know that in a time like this, when the world seems to collectively and indistinctly hate the muslims, Sony DADC (the pressing plant who manufactures pretty much all the CDs you ever owned) refused to print the art work of "Hamas Cinema Gaza Strip" because of the image and text on it and because they didn't want to be related to political propaganda (as if if they don't publish other political propaganda CDs already!!!). I don't find anything offensive in the artwork and there is no text except for titles and credits, go figure what these big-ass corporations are afraid of...
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