Music Reviews



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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Munk Presents Teutonik Disaster
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
In this 8 track compilation, Munk & Kapote have unearthed a variety of very rare early 80’s German new wave funk and disco punk records- or, more pedantically, they’ve unearthed a 2003 Gomma Records compilation called “Teutonik Disaster” which they themselves curated. They’ve given the tracks some faithful, Greg Wilson-esque re-edits, added a few drum machines, polished them up a bit and the result is a collection of high quality, near-authentic-sounding 1980’s style extended mixes.

Despite the flamboyant name, instrumental opener “Monogamie, Kannibalismus unserer Zeit” by Die Heteros sets the laidback tone rather well. Long, organic, disco-pop music, a true fore-runner of house in its structure and grooves but with the sonics of funk-rock. We stay mostly in 120bpm territory, never getting too dynamic or dramatic, and keeping everything very mid-set and DJ friendly.

Tracks like Carmen’s “Schlaraffenland” (a slightly cheeky take on The Archie’s “Sugar, Sugar”) don’t sound too far away from tracks DFA, Soulwax or LCD Soundsystem might have written in the mid 2000’s, which is to their credit, while the Prince-style (but pre-Prince) funk guitar work on BBB’s “Alltag” glues it thickly into the 80’s as a decade. The squeaky synths on “Mit Der Allein” by Roter Mund and the bendy bass and pitched-up vocals of Camilla Motor’s “Gefahr Im Tovoli” are two of the compilation’s more fun, possibly tongue-in-cheek moments.

It’s a chilled out hour long listen that allows you revel nicely in old-fashioned extended mixes of tracks that may not be familiar, but which are certainly enjoyable, in an unchallenging way. A nice set for giving your leisurely house sets something a little different in character.
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Artist: The Star Pillow
Title: Music For Sad Headbangers
Format: CD + Download
Label: Midira Records
Although the tongue-in-cheek title might lead you to expect distorted slow guitar drone and electric noise, and the opening chord of the Slayer-referencing first track “Bruno Martino is my Tom Araya” seems at first to confirm the presumption, over the course of 37 minutes this relatively short album does prove to be broader and more detailed than that. Admittedly the opener does escalate into slow, heavily processed thrash guitar hammering, but inbetween the grunge, such as the climax of “Moving Grey” and the inevitable finale in final track “Sad Headbanger”, in many parts this has a more thoughtful level of detail and introspection that tempers it very well.

Longest track “Departures” is a soft, appropriately pillow-like sonic wash of gentle pads and warm hums, with small guitar-sonic details that give it a live, leisurely improvised feel.

“Circle Of Events” stands out as slightly odder, with a more overt guitar melody line that sounds quite twangy, almost corny pseudo-Americana that doesn’t quite work, but “Quiet Cooper, we’ll not die today” pulls off a slightly similar arrangement more successfully.

It’s a result that builds a well-measured touch of class and introspective thoughtfulness around its gritty core, to mostly strong effect.
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Artist: Sound Synthesis
Title: Soul Of The Droids EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Ukonx Recordings
Rated: *****
Two months have passed from the Kretz release and it's time for a new EP coming from the Ukonx Recordings headquarters: this time the French label is releasing four new tracks by the Maltese project Sound Synthesis.
Keith Farrugia started producing music with this moniker in 2009 on the Paul Blackford’s label Militant Science and after a seven years hiatus, he started again in 2018 releasing the "Acid Drive" single on Wirebox.
Listening to the EP a couple of times gave me the impression that Keith had in mind a sort of theme and under this influence, he wrote tracks that have a similar structure: a thing which isn't bad per se but it popped out to my attention.
The EP opens with "Soul Of The Droids", a nice instrumental which mix dark atmospheres and 808 robotic beats.
The following "Neurolink Cyborg" and "Electronic Slave" recall me a little a 2011 track made by Embryonik ‎titled "Space Cadet" and I like a lot the menacing detuned/filtered vocals mixed with the synth stabs that sound like coming from the deep space.
For "Modulation", Sound Synthesis is teamed up by Datawave (Mechatronica, Crobot Muzik ) and the result is a bass synth driven powerful dark electro tune with a dance twist.
Deemphasis' remix of "Neurolink Cyborg" closes the EP giving to the track a less dark and more robotic flavor.
A nice EP which is available as digital format on the UKONX Bandcamp and on the major digital channels, such as iTunes, JunoDownload, Spotify, Amazon and Google Play.
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Artist: Labreque / Barakat
Title: Terminal Desert
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Karlrecords
Paul LaBrecque, of Sunburned Hand Of The Man, and Ghazi Barakat, of Pharoah Chromium, have collaborated here to offer up two seventeen-minute pieces of nicely tripped-out post rock atmospheres that successfully sit somewhere between ambient and prog.

First piece “Jajouka Pipe Dream” has, as the title may suggest, a slightly more Moroccan flavour, with ambling flutes and organic percussion. Everything ebbs and floats like a chaotic dream over a near-permanent grumbling percussive base.

Second piece “Planet R-101”, again aptly titled, mostly foregoes these elements in favour of much more sci-fi waves of pulses and noises, over which there’s a gentle layer of occasional guitar plucking that’s just about the right amount of indulgence. Twelve minutes in there’s the return of a Moroccan-sounding melodic instrument which feels like a nice throwback to the first piece and ties it together well.

It’s a deftly handled and nicely immersive short album that is marvellous to relax to.
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Artist: Hans Castrup
Title: Heterogeneous Cell Information
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Karlrecords
Hans Castrup’s third album for Karlrecords is, for the most part, a fairly familiar sounding landscape of dystopian and sinister drones and processed electro-acoustic noises that gives us a compact thirty-six minute ride of unsettling tones, dark sci-fi suspense and fear noises. It’s sonically diverse, melding together a variety of sources thoughtfully and very professionally, but from the opener “Cell Information” onwards, there is a niggling feeling of experimental-music-by-numbers that never quite shakes itself off.

However the star element, that lifts it above the norm and gives it a more distinct character, is the introduction of Carla Worgull, who adds a variety of melodic vocalisations that span a variety of styles and moods. It’s sometimes operatic, sometimes theatrical, sometimes throat singing, sometimes a spontaneous exercise in small croaking (“Secret Of Fragmented Control”), and on the highlight track “Perfect Present” it sounds akin to a vocal impersonation of a 1950’s theremin (unless that actually is a theremin? I’m left not totally sure!).

It’s a tightly woven collection of short pieces that works as a nicely structured abstract soundtrack, transporting you to alien environments, but for my personal taste I found myself wishing it had been more adventurous.
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