Music Reviews



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Artist: Visions of Excess (@)
Title: Sensitive Disruption
Format: CD
Label: Tone Casualities (@)
Distributor: Shellshock (UK), Dark Vinyl GMBH (Germany)
Even though this was originally released on the Italian Minus Habens label in 2001 we gladly and warmly welcome the american version of the first album by Visions of Excess, the newest mutant deviant of electronic morphing coming from our loved Hollywoodian outlet Tone Casualties (who finally have a new site - check it out!). It is brought into existence by the skilled minds of Paul Browse (Clock DVA, the AntiGroup, System 01, Effective Force, 030 feat. Dr. Motte, Holy Language and Sub D.) and Nirto Karsten Fischer (Forced Media Prod.), with additional inspiration supplied by Brooklynite visionary poet Robert Anton Wilson. The audio-poetry of sonic manipulation that beams at you when listening to what all the synthesis, re-synthesis, granular synthesis, acoustic modelling and other sound generation techniques create, is but the proof of the abilities of the individual minds and of what they envisioned in "Sensitive Disruption", single-handedly delivered to you in the form of a staggering electronic music mix that makes of drum'n'bass' articulate break-ability its corridor and of experimental-noise sample-dome collage its runner. Truly hi-tech and astonishingly polished and gentle is the offering of these two researchers and their wisdom pal. The beats of this album are just incredible and connote the minimal music passages with a groovy feel of alien intervention. The recited parts give it that extra tense vibe which adds up with the dark atmospheres of some of the pieces and of the overall mood to make up for a giant example of terrific dark-experimental-electronics. It's probably hard for you to understand what I am wabbling about and it's hard for me to describe such an unconventional and yet spectacular work. It's like if everything makes sense but it's still so hard to explain...
Artist: Manasseh meets The Equalizer
Title: Step Like Pepper
Format: CD
Label: Select Cuts (@)
Distributor: EFA / Caroline
Considering our average readership we might be pushing it a little with this release, since it's walking that fine line between dub and reggae, wabbling between the electronica feel and the Jamaican grooves... Nick Manasseh (whose records have seen the light on at least seven labels and counting, among which of course his own Riz) has recently remixed Speed, Super Discount and Lamb, among others. In "Step Like Pepper" he meets his old brother Jeremy The Equalizer to rock the house (or should I say 'dub the house'?) with fourteen tracks of roots-soundsystem-friendly electronique plastique. All the classical elements of the dub universe are there of course, with quick splashes of jazzy flavors and drum'n'bass-line deepness (don't get me wrong, it's not the beats I am talking about). Female vocals, MC's, Jamaican brothers, speeches, samples, male voices all gather for the happening. It's like a red-green-yellow submarine ride calling at (just to borrow a few stations from the info sheet map) Brixton Town in London and Kingston Jamaica... ;-)The album is put by Hamburg's Select Cuts (a division of Echobeach.de) as a CD and a 2xLP and features a long list of guest artists and a great 'digipackaging' with manipulated pictures of an airplane window. Album hits the street March 25th, until then: Trust, belief, love, respect!
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Artist: Project Pitchfork
Title: Inferno
Format: CD
Label: Metropolis Records
Distributor: Metropolis Records
Project Pitchfork for some time has been one of my all time favorite bands, with their powerful mixture of gothic, industrial, electro and classical rhythms intertwined, and their powerful Nietzchian lyrics ala Thus Spoke Zarathustra". Add to that Peter Spille’s dynamic voice and complete control over the muse, and you have a band that is destined for greatness. And has achieved in the process excellence. Every release around my house from PP is a holy event, as friends of mine found out. And this is the one group who gave me strength in their lyrics when I first moved out on my own and had some incredible struggles, inner and external.
This is a part of a trilogy, covering the whole cache of their complex philosophy. I am yet to sit and read the text on the meaning (and it’s all in German), so I’ll let you figure that one yourself later if I don’t put it up in the upcoming translation forum. Whereas CDs like "Chakra Red" tend to divert from philosophy to go into other areas like sex, this whole trilogy delves in it. And whereas "Eon Eon" tended to lack cohesion (though none the less a perfect CD to me), this CD flows, often without pause. And the classical playing shines through, both in the synth and electronic piano lines, along with Spille’s flowing stream of conscious Nietzchian lyrics coming along like a leaf in a crystal river. And even a bit of the occasional guitar on some tracks, which is most apparent on "I Am (A Thought In Slow Motion)" where the crunching guitar riff ascends into a short, Testament style power chord fest. My favorites on here are "(Mehr Als) Der Absprung" with it’s dreamy, plinking synth and piano lines back to back, with Spille’s enticing Hamburg German (the softest spoken of all the dialects), "Lead And Feather", "Souls In Ice" and "I Am". And no filler here as usual, nor is there any on any PP Cds I’ve seen thus far.
An absolute crowning achievement, to me their best since "Chakra Red" and their deepest one to date. With age they only get better, as their formula is based on experience and knowledge from eyes that constantly see and think. This is the band that shows us why we were given the gift of music in the first place, and are magical beyond words. And I can tell you this from experience, this group can easily help you in finding your purpose in life and show you a world with new eyes.

Rating: Project Pitchfork. That is all the rating it needs!

Also recommended are REC (hard as hell to find Spille’s project), Sun God, and Aurora/Aurora Sutra,esp. "Dimension Gate". All are PP side projects.
Artist: Artica
Title: Ombras E Luce
Format: CD
Label: Decadance Records
Distributor: Decadance Records
Artica-"Ombra E Luce"Debut CD from this legendary Italian goth rock group, though I understand not one word they are saying since it’s all Italian. But the sound is tight though. The atmosphere of slowed chainsaw guitars and lower C chord riffing, with rolling Italian lyrics and a vocalist who sings every bit as sepulchral as Carl McCoy (though he sounds dead in a good way), this CD is both creepy and melancholy at the same time. And I read a little bit of the translated lyrics the band sent me, and they are quite poetic. They build up a atmosphere of WHY they adore that person so much in poetic detail and then both condemn and beg to them on the first song. That versus many bands who just whine with no particular target or reason, like they are just filling in song space. The CD as a whole has that classic goth rock type roll we all know and love so much, yet these guys seem to have a healthy deathrock influence as well, giving back to Joy Division as much as they do Christian Death. Easily one of the best goth rock CD’s I’ve seen in quite a while, bringing back the old school style of it minus any electronic baggage. These guys don’t need keyboards to make their atmospheres, believe me. Rating:10
Artist: Poisonblack
Title: Escapexstacy
Format: CD
Label: Century Media
Distributor: Century Media
Poisonblack-"Escapexstacy"Goth metal/rock project from the vocalist of Sentenced (who in turn has a good bit of heavy goth sound to them), running a line between early Paradise Lost ala Icon’ and early Type O Negative a bit ala "Origins Of The Feces" (and women go gaga for Peter Steel after a title like that. Go fig!). The vocalist sounds very classically trained and quite bassy, singing along with dark organ lines and goth rock guitars alongside. My favorite track would be "The Exciter" with it’s smooth combo of groovy goth metal and cleverly placed synth lines contrasting it. The CD could stand to be a bit longer but it does stand pretty solid, especially in a field of cookie cutter Norwegian goth metal bands. Rating: 9.
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