Music Reviews



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Artist: CECCONELLO/SIGURTA' (@)
Title: Terre
Format: CD EP
Label: Prospettiva Nevskij/Eelsforfun
When I reviewed Sigurtà's latest solo work, I felt it was like a soundtrack for imaginary movies. There was a peculiar "visual" quality in the soundmaker's concrete mixes. Now it's a pleasure to review Luca's collaboration with director Manuele Cecconello (m.cecconello@libero.it) in a very well done cd-rom (limited to 100 hand-numbered copies) featuring a video (visible through Windows Media Player or a DVD viewer) and two .wav tracks. "Terre" ("Earths" - 4'30" long, more or less) is made of two main parts; images were filmed on super8, then digitally manipulated and mixed. The first section features natural shots (fallen leaves, the muddy bottom of a river, running water, possibly fire) often filtered and made unrecognizable, pure games of light and colour or ghostly images. The soundtrack is so peculiar of Sigurtà's abilities: it's mostly cracking noises with distant whistles, and it could be anything from concrete field recordings (fire, again?) to a manipulated ethnic song - the effect, associated with the beauty of the images, could only be labelled as "ritual" for the sacred feelings it conveys. The second part presents fast-revolving shots of a naked human body - again, it's almost always a game of lights, shadows and colours (mostly violet and black) since it's often hard to recognize what we're seeing at a first glance. Sounds here are even more abstract and alien, like minimal electronic pulses. The only negative thing is that the video is so short, because it's a very rewarding experience. Cecconello writes: "TERRE is the latest stage of an esthetic route through which I try to transfer the glimmering of the unconscious and the colour of desires on film, tending to remove as many "narrative" and conventional mediations as possible from the final form". Sigurta's .wav tracks are a remix of the soundtrack (sounds have been filtered and the result is a bit louder and more full-sounding) and a piece called "Fireworks" - more minimal indecipherable sounds, first like a looped feedback (or is it a keyboard? Or radio frequencies?), then rumbling echoed noises. Well, this is one of my longest reviews and I'm talking of, like, 10 minutes of material, so let's say this is a brilliant, inspired synthesis of different - but complementary - languages and tecniques... Highly recommended!
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Artist: SPEED TRIBE (Front 242)
Title: SpeedTribe - 24 Hours De Le Mans
Format: CD
Label: Dance.com (@)


BUY from  HERE   or   BUY from  HERE
After pretty much coining the term "ebm" and selling several million albums worldwide, belgian electronic music pioneering producers Daniel Bressanutti & Patrick Codenys, aka Front 242, are back under the moniker Speed Tribe with their first 5.1 surround release and also what seems to be one of the first immersive entertainment products that combine DVD, CD and the internet to ever hit the streets. Speed Tribe, released by US based label/portal Dance.com, breaks new ground in cross-media integration, or convergent entertainment, or multimedia production, if you prefer to use this (too) commonly abused and mistaken mass-terminology. This good looking and stylish DVD/CD set is packaged into a folding digipack DVD case. The theme is, of course, speed, and in particular the Le Mans 24 hour endurance race and its fast cars.
"Fear, what is fear? False expectations appearing real..". Starting with the stereo music of the CD, the first thing any person familiar with F242 would notice, is that it ain't F242's EBM anymore. And if you are afraid you are missing out on Bressanutti/Codenys' new direction, then be, because there is much to talk about but even more to listen to and discover. The two dope producer dudes have evolved along with the rest of the world and, as much as the 242 were absolutely super cool, after the initial surprise/displacement, I was glad to find out they are "different"... You may read "different" as in much more trance, techno, ambient, experimental, minimal and even almost tribal at times... You may read "different" as in not what you would commonly refer to as EBM! The experimental trance aspect is definitely the first thing that hits you... Repetitions, dronings, rumbles covering the full spectrum of frequency, occasional sweeping and swiping through with filtered rezo sounds and other techno-like gems, Speed Tribe is amazing and when you reach track 24 (oops, here's the number again!) you wonder how that happened so fast. The roaring engines of the phat-ass cars in track 23 remind you that if you started with the CD, like I did, there is more to come when you'll pop in the DVD!
Even more exhilarating, the cutting edge music you heard on the CD now is right on the money with the artistical footage directed by Rod Chong and Sharon Matarazzo (Marilyn Manson, JXL). The focus is on a tight synchronisation between audio and visuals that really delivers. Futuristic rave-like graphics and lettering, cinematic but very original style, lots of experimentation with pixelling, simulated 3D effects, slicing, looping and simple but effective and quick camera feed movements and flickering that are made to be in the pocket with the noises, the beats and the sounds in the audio concept. There are two 24 minute edits of the video for you, the first representing the original version while the second being an audio/video remix with different cuts and a more experimental and ambient experience... "There is stillness in the speed, there is silence in the sound": these two sentences describe what the music does when it reaches that climax where, despite full speed, you feel like you are floating in open space, still; and when the hard-hitting techno becomes one with the luscious ambience and the atmospheric soundscapes, when the source textures escape the beats and rapture you in a rumbling and primitive ecstasy on the wings of power and harmony and the anarchist noise bits and engine noises. If you listen to the DVD on a Dolby Digital 5.1 or a DTS 5.1 Surround Sound system it really takes you to whole other level indeed!!! And if you are still hungry for speed, you can use the special access code that comes in the package to enter the member-only area of the Speed Tribe website where you are granted access to another 24 minutes of unreleased music, a third 6-minute audio/video remix, a flash trailer, desktop images and other downloads. The DVD finally also includes interviews which are quite disappointing because they are audio only (while you expect them to be video too, since they are on a DVD ultimately) and because they only include interviews with drivers and not with people involved in this project and Daniel/Patrick in particular. And because the DVD was lacking an interview with them I think I'll get in touch with them right away and try to arrange an interview for Chain D.L.K. immediately.
Check out this release 'cause its really well done and interesting! I strongly recommend it and please note that if you buy from the link above you will get a $5 discount and you'll be able to get it for just $19, which is not too bad for a CD+DVD.
"Fuel your senses [...] when you are at speed there is no fear". Just don't drive after listening to this 'cause you could hurt yourself or someone else! And if you are still wondering whether the couple can still "im rhythmus bleiben": yes they can!
Aug 22 2002
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Alfa Matrix 001
Format: CD
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
Alfa Matrix is a relative new label which is linked to the well known electro magazine Side Line. This compilation starts a new concept of gathering four different CD singles together and sell them at a normal CD price. In this way you get sixteen tracks, you've got a deeper idea of the label's bands and you save some money. I liked the idea which I think is also useful to present to the audience new bands just to test them. On this first issue we find Aibforcen, Epsilon Minus, Plastic Noise Experience and Hungry Lucy. The first two bands play a mixture of e.b.m., synthpop with techno inserts and female vocals (personally I don't like that much the effect because it's too dancey and lolita voices tend to annoy me). Plastic Noise Experience is powerful as always and "Clean Head" (here present in three versions alon with "Mechanical Beatz") is a good tense industrial track which confirms the value of this project. A note: better the original version respect the Implant and Pzycho Bitch even if this last created something really interesting slowing down a little the rhythm and exceeding with the distorted rhythms. Hungry Lucy are more mellow respect the first two bands, a little more synthpop and the tracks are catchy but, I'm sorry, I don't really dig these fairy female voices: they tend to sound the same while a personal voice could improve a lot a band's sound.
Aug 20 2002
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Artist: TERMINAL CHOICE
Title: Buried A- Live
Format: CD
Label: Out Of Line
Distributor: Audioglobe
Active since 1995 Terminal Choice passed through different phases from the early industrial e.b.m. of "Totes Fleish", "In The Shadow Of Death" and "Khaosgott" 'til the late nineties club friendly guitar e.m.b. A lot of fans didn't dig how Terminal Choice's music changed. Personally I think that "Navigator" and "Venus" are good records even if the last E.P. "Collective Suicide" disappointed me. Anyway, let's talk about this live CD. BURIED A-LIVE is a collection of eleven tracks recorded directly from the mixer (or at least the sound is that one) during 2001/2002 live gigs. If you love the later sounds of the band you won't disappointed even if the recording doesn't catch the power of the gig indeed. Along with a video of "Der Schwarze Mann" live in Leipzig you can find eleven tracks: "Armageddon", "Collective Suicide", "Time", "Sons Of Doom", "The Saviour", "Castles In The Sky", "Der Schwarze Mann", "New World", "Deathfuck", "Someone" and "Dämonen".
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Artist: Spellgate (@)
Title: Legends of Ardigm
Format: CD
Spellgate is a project whose sole aim seems to be to create music of fantasy and imagination. Every song is based on a storyline which they claim will span through subsequent releases. All the music is synthesized and they claim it has the speed and power of metal music and is called synth metal but I personally don’t see this at all really. To me it sounds like epic styled synth works and there are no metal sounds, styles or anything in my opinion at all. It seems that their previous works were known under the name Chivalra, at least the musical aspects by Darynlard. Dosashlia is the vocalist and the two entities seem rather well matched. Both artists have been composing for at least five years before they came together it seems. Vocally the only comparable similarity I can think of is Kate Bush. Musically there is a bit of range just from the first to the second track. The first track is very epic sounding and the second very dark and the supposed metal’ elements I can almost’ see but only in the rolling drumlins and the grinding synth pieces. The last piece is just plain happy synth music sort of like the pop-like New Age stuff that has dance beats and sing-songy melodies and rhythms. With only three tracks to judge from I’m not sure what I think of this project. I like the concept but since there are no lyrics in the inlay it will take some time for me to figure out the story scenarios. Also in all honesty the vocal style is not personally appealing to me, style-wise, however the singer does have a talented voice. While I’m curious to find out how this project progresses, especially to figure the story as it develops, I don’t think this is something that would be in my normal listening stack.
*NOTE: You can view the lyrics at the band’s website.
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