Music Reviews



Sep 02 2002
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Artist: COLONY 5 (@)
Title: Lifeline
Format: CD
Label: Memento Materia (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Founded in 1999 by P-O Svensson and Magnus Löfdahlafter, Colony 5 release their debut album LIFELINE after their self-titled EP and a few line-up changes. Moving between synthpop and rhythmic/melodic based electronic music (touching sometimes the e.b.m. fields) P-O Svensson and Johan Nilsson bring us twelve tracks which move between upbeat songs ("Colony 5", "Liquid Love" or "Friends") to ballads ("The Bottle") passing through mid tempos ("Freedom" and "Heal Me"). To be honest I liked the sounds and most of the songs but some melodies to me sounded a little naive. Nothing that important and maybe I could sound paranoid but it's a characteristic of German synthpop and I've got to cope with that... Anyway my favourites are: "Colony 5", "Liquid Love", "Be My Slave" and "Crackhead". Soon the band will release a new E.P. titled "Follow your heart" and this summer they welcomed a new band member: Mgnus Kalnins.
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Artist: CHAMBER
Title: L'Orchestre de Chambre Noir
Format: CD
Label: Sad Eyes/Trisol (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Seven regular players (plus two guests) for this German "Black Chamber Orchestra", out with a surprisingly good 11-track cd. Acoustic guitars and strings provide a rich background for Marcus Testory's theatrical, tortured voice, at times really reminiscent of Nick Cave or even Mark Lanegan. There's a great care for arrangements and, at the same time, a sober, folkish quality in these ballads. There are wild and dramatic moments ("Ceremony after a Fire Raid", a Wedding Anniversary cover with words by Dylan Thomas, and the narrated "The Ballad of the Half Brained Man"), but also incredibly catchy tunes ("Pleasure and Pain", "Mistakes", "Toscana", and the traditional "Another Conversation", again with lyrics by Thomas) which could receive intensive airplay and sell thousand of copies since they really stick into your brain after the first listen. Sounds and production are very good, too, and the booklet is well done. It's not my favourite kind of folk music, but this work has a very high quality, and those into dark, melancholic ballads should purchase this without further delay.
Aug 23 2002
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Artist: LOST SIGNAL (@)
Title: Catharsis
Format: CD
Label: Matrix Cube/Trisol (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Lost Signal is Charles Rehill at vocals, lyrics, programming and composition; this cd also features Tom Shear (Assemblage 23) at production, mixing and additional programming, and Mads Fogt (Arzt+Pfusch) at digital mastering. The production is actually very well done, with clear and powerful sounds. Lost Signal plays a blend of pounding and aggressive (but not monotonous) electro beats, some ethereal synth/keyboards layer and clear, unfiltered vocals delivering some personal, existentialist lyrics. There's a constant presence of multi-layered beats and catchy melancholic tunes, like in "Apathy", which sort of draws a line between Lost Signal and the tons of heavier, but rougher electro acts.
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Artist: THIS VALE OF TEARS
Title: Exceed
Format: CD
Label: Black Rain (@)
Distributor: Triton
Third record (11 tracks, 48 minutes) for this Belgian trio, formed by Johan Peeters (guitards and vocals), Erik Duffeler (lead vocals) and Tom Simons (synths, programming and vocals). TVOT's tracks are a blend of typical gothic rock songs and an electro backbone with upbeat programmed drumming. Some tracks lean more on the dark side of their spectrum, some others on the rhythmic/dance one - "Alone in the Shower" is even closer to flat out techno than to electro/EBM. The opening track, "Exceed", has also some Indian melodies thrown in which are then developed in the instrumental ethno trip-hop remix which closes the work. Pretty standard layout without much fantasy, Reinlender 1977 has done much better in other works.

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Artist: BOSHETUNMAY (@)
Title: Signal
Format: CD
Label: Dercho Music
Boshetunmay is the project of two Siberian brothers, Harry (vocals, lyrics) and Witali Dercho (guitar and piano-player, music writer, producer) who have been living in West Germany since 1993 and formed the band two years later. They released an eponymous demo-tape in 1998, a debut cd-ep ("Useless Life", 2000), a promo cd single ("Vote for the Black", 2001), and then this second full length (11 songs, 48'). Their press sheet defines their music "electro-rock with gothic, wave, dance and metal influences", which sums it up pretty well. Let's say there's a heavy dose of gothic and darkwave ("The Shame", "Lullaby", "Is anyone?", "Corporation of dreams"), often mixed with lighter "rock" parts, and a prominent electronic background in the programmed beats - these give an upbeat rhythm to the tracks, sometime verging on electro ("Vote for the Black") or dance ("A clod in your throat").
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