Music Reviews



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Artist: FR/ACTION
Title: Crimes Of The Future
Format: CD
Label: Cohaagen (@)


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I listened to this CD a month ago when I received it and I liked it even if I wasn't totally thrilled. It was a particular thing to listen synthpop and e.b.m. matching together and I didn't figure why people from Ganymede and Nukleon got involved into such a thing. Well, at this moment while I'm writing this review, I'm listening to it again and I assure you that I'm bloody digging this stuff! The album is a sort of concept album with lyrics that talk about vigilantism, street crime, and nocturnal urban decay. It's strange to imagine Charles Bronson as an electro addicted but a thing is for sure: tracks like "Vigilante" or "Guardian" are a blast. The rhythms are always pumping and the melodic lines are well built and never too simple. FR/ACTION took away from e.b.m. evil vocals and replaced them with synthpop finest tunes adding also bleeping synth lines and everything in need to make of this album a must for your days that need a "musical booze". "Walking alone, city lights at my back / My senses are sharp as theyíre under attack / 44 Magnum is close by my side / A feeling of hate and a feeling of pride"...
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Artist: Layo & Bushwacka!
Title: Night Works
Format: CD
Label: XL recordings / Beggars Banquet
The day "Night Works" hit the street, Sept 10th 2002, I was in London, the very city where Layo Paskin and Matthew Benjamin (aka you figure out who!) are based and launch their worldwide sonic attacks from. The End, Layo's legendary club and also their record label, is home base and you can go see them spin when they are not touring the world or working as residents in Ibiza or in Brazil. These two talented young men have totally different backgrounds: Layo grew up in a liberal and wealthy North London family and started organizing parties even before he turned 18 - Matthew studied music and studio engineering in West London and toured Italy at age 13 eventually becoming a Dj for the Rat Pack club and the Radio Rental pirate station Sunrise FM. They served London's and Europe's underground scene with loyal devotion and with the right spirit and are rewarded today with thousands of fans who highly acclaim them and who once even sit down instead of dancing as a mark of respect.
Unfortunately I never had the pleasure to listen to their 1998 debut "Low Life", so their nicknames made me think of some Jamaican motor-mouth speaker blasting rhymes over techno tunes crossfaded by some other wild dude (which I would have nothing against), but I must say what I found was different than what I expected, yet even more rewarding! I rarely listened to a quite delicious blend of acid house, techno, jazz, acid-jazz, breakbeat, blues, electro, dub and trip-hop... Transparently segueing lucid and well thought-out sets of killer tunes and crossfading the shit out of it, the array of sonorities give life to well-painted soundscapes that live a life of their own according to a higher design made of cutting-edge technological music with a real vibe to it, a vibe you can feel even without the 2000 watts subwoofer (of course that would help the experience...).
The eclectic sound sculptures portrayed in "Night Works" make me wanna fly over there right now, but I guess I'll have to wait for my next London immersion to get down to business. The fourteen tracks went by so quickly that I had to re-listen to write a detailed review cause I was so entranced by the complex distillation. This is a truly great album indeed and I suggest ya all get down the dancefloor and break it down!
Oct 08 2002
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Artist: CriBabi
Title: Volume
Format: CD
Label: Fidela (@)
In a time where the British wave is not catching up in the US anymore (thank god for that!) somebody did make it all the way over here (strangely enough, apparently without the help of some major record company pushing it some way), and as far as I can tell, this time it's because they deserved it, as opposed to just because they dress like losers, don't shave for a couple of days in a row and plagiarize Oasis and Blur. All the way from UK and Japan, here comes Cribabi (pronounced Cry Baby): well known producer/musician Andy Cox (formerly with Fine Young Cannibals and The Beat) and Yukari Fujiu (formerly with The Groopies, besides releasing two solo records on Pony Canyon records), who, let me tell you, is nothing like your average Japanese front-girl!
Although "Volume" is not your average Chain D.L.K. material either, it is an innovative piece of art, where genre-bending eclectic funky mixtures of pop, rock, electronica, ambient, blues, trip-hop convey with the eccentricity of a great female vocalist that sings totally catchy tunes ranging from hypnotic and moody to melodic and sophisticated and that can sound like Garbage, Imbruglia, Bjork, Etheridge, Portishead and so much more... you wouldn't tell she is a Tokyo's underground gem for that matter... She went to London to work with Eurythmics' Dave Stewart and ended up eating and drinking fish and chips in a pub, studying Cockney rhyming slang and getting sonically involved with Cox in his lo-fi Studio Zero (somewhere around Covent Garden's market, where the all street artists are...). Things like that only happen in London and in New York City...
This is an extremely multifaceted and changing album where dynamism and crossovers are an every-song occurrence. You really have it all here, lots of electronics, distorted guitars, acoustic guitars, Hawaiian guitar, bass, trumpet, sitar, harmonica, gamelan, metallic and wood percussions. Of course many of these acoustic instruments may happen to be sampled, but you get the picture! Of course Cox's presence makes sure that the rhythmical body of the opera is solid, consistent and un-compromised, even when it just comes down to a shaker, an egg and a splash... Of course the most thrilling and coolest beats to me remain the dirty r'n'b-vibe samples or the fast pace drum'n'bass-driven break-beatz...
The seventish-psychedelic folding cover comes in a never before seen plastic case that looks like a wallet plus the CD comes with an appetizing Macromedia/QuickTime PC/Mac presentation of the band, also including 2 video-clips (of which one in both English and French version), a bio, pictures and a taste of other Fidela releases.
The song "I'm the One", backed with "Beautiful Mistake" (which has also been garage-remixed by Dj Bad Cop), have been choosen as Cribabi's single, also available on Fidela records.
Next time you are in London and you are walking by a lake, be on the look out for a short Jap girl with a blue-white walking toy dog that responds to the name Oishi (I know a piano player from Tokyo with the same name!)...
This is global pop for the future (hopefully! ...'cause personally I am sick of the Manchester crap of the past years!)...
PS: Look out for a Cribabi givaway on Chain D.L.K. for your chance to get a free CriBabi CD!!!
Oct 07 2002
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Artist: Negative Format
Title: Static
Format: CD
Label: Sector 9 Studios (@)
To those of you who remember their "Distant Pulses" (that we reviewed on an earlier issue), NF's new album will come as a pleasant surprise. Although it is not my preferred sound, I have to admit (and it is pretty damn obvious) that there is talent involved here. You can hear it from the composition of the pieces to the manipulation of the sounds. Definitely a club-goers' favourite, "Static" goes for obsessively hammering dance beats, groovy and sharp rave sounds ("Downfall"), electronic textures backing the structure, sporadic space-ambient scenarios with Kraftwerk-like vocoding ("Genocide mix"), cinematic soundscapes with a techno-driving force ("Gateway"), more Kraftwerkian electro-dance-pop in the catchy title track, volcanic lava cascades of bubbling analogue electro-industrial-techno - sort of FLA meet Jeff Mills (like in the amazing Aiboforcen remix - I got to hear this band cause this song is my kicker!), experimental-textured techno with ebm vocals ("Impant mix") and ambience d'n'b breakbeats (the sloppy but nice "End of Transmission" outro)...The three remixes of the title track by Informatik, Headscan and Implant plus one mind-blowing remix of "N.E.A.R." (from "Distant Pulses") by Aiboforcen spice up the sizzling sup and make it into a plate that has a lot to offer to the bouncing dance-hungy handbangers out there. All tracks between 126bmp and 140bpm, so be prepared! The madness goes on for 50 minutes, intro and outro included... if only CDs came with stroboscopic and laser lights! If you don't mind too much dance in your soup, this CD is a total blast!
Oct 07 2002
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Artist: God Module
Title: Perception
Format: CD EP
Label: Sector 9 Studios (@)
Released just a little over a month ago on Session 9 Studios (the same label that did the new Negative Format album, of which you can read in these very pages), God Module's "Perception" EP follows their debut "Artificial" and presents only three new songs backed with eight remixes, totalling eleven tracks.God Module is dance-ebm that in my opinion lacks a little in originality when it hangs in the same old cliches of punching filtered synth lines and sequences, distorted whispering vocals and steady beats.Following is a list of the bands who provided remixes along with what flavor they gave the remix and with their web url for more info: Infekktion (stomping industrial - infektion.de), Culture Kulture (rave-industrial - culturkultur.com), Dismantled (dark/ambient - dismantled.org), Parallel (techno/electro - another Sector 9 band), Cut.Rate.Box (ebm - cutratebox.com), L'Ame Immortelle (ebm-dance - lameimmortelle.com), Stomkern (ebm - stomkern.com), Grendel (industrial - industrialnation.nl/grendel).Indeed the remix war formula is an interesting way to get an EP together, especially when remixers get way personal about the outcome, but in this case it just didn't click for me... But then again, let's not forget it's always a matter of taste.
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