Music Reviews



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Artist: THE FOCUS QUINTET
Title: 1-8 IN 1
Format: CD
Label: Sachimay (@)
Distributor: Pax Recordings
The Focus Quintet is Anita DeChellis (voice), Don DeChellis (piano, keyboard), Ernesto Diaz-Infante (acoustic guitar & voice), Chris Forsyth (electric guitar) and Jeff Arnal (percussion) - five friends who have performed together under various forms (duets, tours, etc.), now gathered to offer this 8-track, 56-minute work. Now, you've read the line-up's instrumentation, but try to forget it. Because this is very radical, flowing improvisation with a droning quality, close to electroacoustic or minimalistic ensembles (memories of Olivia Block, the Deep Listening Band or Osso Exótico have come to my mind); if you think of "jazz", try to think of its most daring and informal manifestations. The listening experience is very demanding, but equally rewarding: there's a mesmeric quality in these clusters of sparse notes, rumblings, scrapes and ecstatic vocal melodies; actually, Anita DeChellis' performance (Pauline Oliveros and Bjork have been quoted, to give you a hint) is one of the strongest points of this cd.
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anymore
Artist: SINO (RE-BUILD PROJECTS) (@)
Title: Promote 00 + Promote 01
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: Self Released
A couple of years ago Sino sent me his first demo and I was surprised by listening to that amount of compressed sounds coming from various music influences. These two new MCDs see Sino dealing with six tracks on the first MCD PROMOTE 00 and four ones plus other four live ones on PROMOTE 01. Some of the tracks are re-arrangements of old ones ("Junk Me", "Sadistic Hyper Love" or "M(A)D") and with the new one define better the sound of the project. In fact it seems that Sino wants to underline (writing it also on the band's name) that this is a project and not only a musical band. On his website is reported that: "Words aren't so important for SINO's description. This sound is the construction of SINO's brain and also of the insanity sound in his heart". Musically as I wrote the first time Sino is a multi layered kind of music which blend different musical styles tearing them until they turn and find a place into the distorted sounds of the music of this project. Guitar is the main instrument that you can easily hear on all the tracks the other sources are distorted samples and synthesizers. You know that over the years alternative Japanese music has been famous for being an extremization of Western one. Well for Sino try to imagine a version of Nine Inch Nails mixed with Ant Zen's bands. Sometimes the instrumental tracks have got a weak structure because they seem to be based on the effect given by the guitar assault but the final result isn't that bad . I was quite curious of listening to the live tracks where Sino (guitar) is helped out by T. Makino (synth and noise) and Masahiro (bass guitar). Well, the gig recorded at Shimokitazawa Shelter in Tokio sounds really powerful and keeps intact the sound's impact they have on CD and probably it has been an experience to remember for their audience. Try some mp3 on their website and give a look to their live photos.
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Artist: Darling Kandie
Title: People Next Door
Format: CD
Label: Underground, Inc.


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This is one psychotic yet hard hitting head trip collaboration between TKK's Groovie Mann and William Tucker known mostly for his work with Ministry but also worked with KMFDM and Pigface. Groovie Mann's photography is featured in the CD and as Underground, Inc. puts it, "instantly underlines him as a twisted agent provocateur. The photos form a crispy creme kocktail party of lust, decadence & indulgence.". This album musically is a strange mix of lounge, swing, industrial, rock, and psychedelica. Vocally it is somewhere in between TKK and RevCo with a taste of Daniel Ash at times. Big synth heavy bass carries many of the tunes and you'll hear lot of the horn interludes similar to what you might hear in TKK only bigger and less 'sampled' sounding. This is a very dark album with a psychotic and sexual twist. Imagine several individuals an alone in their respective apartment rooms - lonely and half insane, not to mention likely a bit sex crazed. That might give you taste of the psychological tone of the album. Take that and amplify it to a Big Swing beat and Industrial technique and you might get an idea of the sound. No TKK fan's collection should be without this. Amazing, I've always like Groovie Mann live and wondered what he'd do on his own and we finally have a taste of his own twisted toxic cocktail concoction. A huge twist on this release begins when you get to "Secret Ceremony" which is more of a 70's psychedelic rock tune with some Indian belly dance to it. I especially love the hysterical sample at the end, "This is no dream, this is really happening." With this and the title track especially you can hear the Underground, Inc. influence with the Indian drumming and other sound structures combined with industrial experimentation. The title track vocally is nothing but samples which when combined create a practically mystical perspective - things like, "Open your mind to me", "one spirit", "come to me now", "they have one mind", "one will", "you are the one", "I am the way", "I'm you and you're me", "the dark side", "this is your eternity". All of these come from a wide array of places like different movies and such - and are all chopped together and looped. Very cool!! I have to remember that for one of my next pagan broadcasts. "Randy Road" is a hilarious track because it's all female samples saying stuff like "will do me a favor and eat my pussy for me please". Oh and "Younglam" sounds like it is VERY T-Rex inspired - fuck yeah. This is just a fraction of the album. The whole thing is one crazy mind fuck!! You'll love it and the last track will likely give you chills.
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anymore
Artist: REbRO (@)
Title: Naked
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: CD Baby


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American photographer and musician Feel-x recently released his third record as REbRO, in which he distances himself from the earlier material's song structure in order to approach the spheres of ambient-electronica. Occasional guitars and bass (like in the opening track) give it that very nice and smooth jazzy lounge music feel but even when it's just electronic music without the guitars, the wavy beats and the sonic curves have that particular chill-out warmth that makes it enjoyable and relaxing. Sparse elements of other musical genres (experimental noises mainly, an apple mac voice, distant orchestrations, but also trance music and hints of musique concrete) offer the musical blend that passport to eclecticism that turns "Naked" into a spicier and adventurous musical journey. I haven't heard his previous two CD releases but I like this one a lot indeed. And guess what? Proof of the fact that nude photography must be paying well, Feel-X (www.feel-x-art.com) hired two times Grammy Award winner Marcelo Anez to mix and master this beautiful record, whose sounds are deep, well-balanced and lovely. Last but not least if a great recording, great musicianship, great songwriting are not enough for you, you also get great black and white photography (nudes and outdoors, seem to be his main thing), so definitely check this out. It's for sale at CD Baby for 12 bucks (you can click on the BUY IT link above).
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Artist: cut.rate.box (@)
Title: dataseed
Format: CD
Label: WTII Records (@)


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Originating from Florida and currently residing in party city of New Orleans, this American duo takes influences from everything, as the band claims, between the bizarre and powerful atmospheres of Coil to the dancefloor rhythms of Front 242 not to mention lots of newe influences as well. This latest release is heavily loaded with body rockin' EBM and a bit of Synthpop influences as well. The last three tracks are remixes by the such EBM greats as Assemblage 23 and the hard hitting Stromkern. "Enigma" features the vocals of Victoria Lloyd of Claire Voyant. cut.rate.box is the type of band that both heavy EBM lovers and fans of high-energy Synthpop can enjoy. Their style ranges from the harder Industrial and technological soundscapes of artists like Front Line Assembly built into heavy EBM dance rhythms like what you'd expect from more recent artists like Icon of Coil. Their sound is highly modernized and always energetic. Vocally they have a bit of a strange range that utilizes bizarre harmonies. Lyrically intelligent and emotionally vibrant cut.rate.box utilize every trick in the book from the gutteral/static industrial vocal and themes to the more soothing and emotional synthpop styles. "Brittle" is probably the most 'static' track on the album which fittingly also features a remix by Stromkern of the same giving it even more of an edge. I think the standout tracks on the release are "Brittle", "Zionsank", and "Leave This World" probably because of the stark contrast of style format of each track when compared to each to each other. "Leave This World" has what is probably the most synthpop melody for the chorus and I love the lyrics too, "I'm gonna take you for a ride and we can leave this world behind and everyone that's so unkind gets swallowed by the tide", a sentiment I'm sure many can relate to. This is an album that I'm pretty sure will simply continue to become more an more addictive the more I listen to it.
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