Music Reviews



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Artist: Militia (@)
Title: Eco-Anarchic Manifesto
Format: CD
Label: Tactical Recordings + Malignant Records (@)
After the completion of "the Statement Trilogy" the statement wasn't actually been clearly made yet, so this release serves that purpose, also providing you with a live recording of the band's performance at Deadly Actions IV festival on November 3rd 2000 in Lille (France). The "Eco-Anarchic Manifesto" comes as a nice A5-sized book made of heavy paper with a black cardboard front and read cover. Like the band Militia and their relation to music, this release is more of a political one than a musical one. The CD is meant to accompany the reading of the eight chapters of the manifesto. In 50 pages Militia explains what eco-anarchism is, why the respect of nature and being in balance with the environment is so important, how its society can be structured, co-managed and defended and how it is designed to educate its peoples and provide for the community. The book itself is a very interesting reading. Not too long, not too short and straight to the point. While on stage Militia is banging and hammering their way through the set of tribal and post-war-like percussive mayhem, Militia's critical views of other anarchist movements reflect in the book and prove their point with a well thought-out plan and with intelligent arguments. It sports a more practical approach, which certainly makes it more appreciable, and does not oversee important aspects of the issue or let go to the usual tempting but unrealistic anarchic utopia. Of course, even though communes built in similar manners already exist around the world, we will never live to see the society envisioned by this manifesto to be a large scale one because too many variables are left up to the faith in people in the fact that they actually will care and will respect each other. On the other hand we cannot expect the manifesto to have all the answers. So, while disturbing and visuals-evoking background sounds, experimental electronic noise and words of change come out of my capitalist stereo system, in spite of the manifesto's more realistic and practicable ideas, plainly put, it is ambitious and a little out of touch with the reality at hands, but even more so, this is a very good example of people thinking globally and acting locally, and if only there were more people like Militia the world would be a better place (excuse the rhetorics) and we would be a lot closer to the common goal.
Artist: Militia (@)
Title: The Black Flag Hoisted
Format: CD
Label: Tactical Recordings (@)
If you are sick of all these bands that call themselves "industrial" without having a clue about where the term comes from, what the term stands for, what the true original industrial sound was and what message it carried along, then you wanna check out Militia (what a simply great name that is, by the way). The Belgian collective (5 players + audio engineer + visual crew) will let you go back to the roots of industrial with their politically-loaded thought-provoking blend of self-built percussive instruments, murky rumbling and droning electronics, screaming anarchist propaganda lyrics, revived historical audio documents, samples of rallies and court interviews and revolutions, didgeridoo improvisations, occasional standard drum set parts, electrical tension and other random noises. If you are still reading then I could probably avoid comparing Militia to any of the historical industrial bands, but since lots of people are confused about what industrial really is (or originally was) I should maybe mention that SPK, Throbbing Gristle, Test Dept, Einsturzende and maybe a little bit Laibach have probably all influenced Militia to some extent."The Black Flag Hoisted" is the third release in the Militia Statement Trilogy. Following their 3xLP set "New European Order" and a 2CD box called "Nature Revealed" (which was also a performance in some Belgium theaters/museums), this new release comes in a spectacular packaging, compliments of Militia's graphical crew and of German Tactical recordings, who's been taking care of business (a word I should probably not use in conjunction with Militia ;-)) since the early days. This amazing release comes to you in a big A4-shaped strictly black un-folding hard-paper package with pictures of anarchists and notes referring to the Animal Liberation Front (the A.L.F. group is an international network of animal activists that break into vivisection laboratories to free puppies, cats and other animals from cruel, un-human and un-scientific experiments made for the sake of money), the Extreme Left Party Rostock and the pictured anarchists and philosophers Bakunin, Durutti, Kropotkin and Proudhon. But that's not all! Besides the two CDs (in simple cardboard sleeves) there is also a poster with more texts and credits on the back and a real anarchic fabric flag! Just plain delicious!Another important thing to mention is that this double-CD also features guests and collaborations including Militia's close friend Mike R.Dando (aka Con-Dom) from the UK, Azure Mortal, Rudi Pinsaert, Nas Dom / Slomsek Choir (all from Belgium), Mark Kerkhofs and Cor Gout / Trespassers W (from the Netherlands), Bastard Noise and Wastematrix (from the US), IDPA (from Germany) and Robert Fic from the Tsjech Republic.
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Artist: Foetal Void (@)
Title: Know ep
Format: CD EP
Label: Geska Records (@)
Foetal Void is a Belgian combo leaded by Tom Cornille. I don't know much about their history as a band or their previous releases, if any, and their website doesn't fill in the gaps.What I can tell you is that they milk together electro body music, adding a litle pop on the rocks and definitely sipping their cocktail while looking back at the past decades of electronic music and post-punk/darkwave.The "Know" EP features the title track, "Sense of All" and "Forged Senses". The title track is also presented in three different remix versions by Snuff Pop International and Pedro Alexandre of Nature Morte.Among the batch of latest Geska releases, this wouldn't be my favourite, but if you are into the lighter, poppier synth music with melancholic melodies and retrospective darkish flavors, it's probably your cup of tea.The CD comes in a nice transparent disc, not (yet) very popular but definitely cool looking...
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Zombiet Commandos From Hell! Sonic Assault! (An Electronic Soundtrack to Humanity's Final Conflict)
Format: CD
Label: Geska, Optikon, Boneyard Press
Apparently while that warhead monkey of G.W. Bush is gearing up for the oil war that is gonna make him richer and probably leading a nation partly destroyed by nuclear retaliation, somewhere else somebody else is already scoring the soundtrack for those terrible events as they unfold. Geska recordings, together with BoneyardPress.com who published this CD's very fine designer and compiler Steph Dumais' comic series "Zombie Commandos from Hell!" (www.raisinlove.com/zombies) and Optikon records, have dropped this electronic nuke into the battlefield triggering musical burst of impressive firepower and ammunitions of samples and sequences shooting off from all over the world. This zombie war's combat team is composed by Milligramme, Headscan, Implant, Mimetic Data, Cage Decay, Empusae, Negative Format, Tarmvred, Mlada Fronta, PTSMC, SMP, Mind COnfusion, Andraculoid, Flint Glass, Babel-17. Readers of Chain D.L.K. should be familiar with at least half of these names and thus should also know that the type of sonic explosions involved range from industrial/power noise to electronic/dark-electro all the way through dance/techno tunes. The nice thing is that most bands followed the topic and contributed war-themed tunes and some were able to actually draw a picture of it that goes beyond simply the use of speech sampling from war movies. This one is standing out of the crowd, that is if there will be a crowd left after Bush destroys all evil in the world except for himself. By the way check out Steph Dumais's art work, really cool guy, really great work!
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Artist: Echo
Title: Echo
Format: CD
Label: New Line Records (@)
Distributor: Giant Steps


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Echo is a new revelation and one of the most exciting, seductive and high quality jazz-electronic ensembles that I have recently come across, if not ever... A perfectly balanced fusion of lounge electronics, soundscaping origami, jazz progressions, occasional drum'n'bass grooves, pop flavors, Brazilian vibes and experimental sparkles delivered with minimal instrumentation but extremely effective results and loaded with emotional intensity. Opening with a stunning version of the ever green classic "I've got You under my Skin" and sporting highlights such as the relaxing chill-out "Sparks from a Wheel", the cryptic and lullaby-ish "Night and Day", the enchanting Brit-ish "Everytime we say Goodbye" (she sounds just like Annie Lennox), the rupturing and moody live-drum'n'bass "Can't walk Away", the experimental and popping "Secret Life", the deep-bass "Love for Sale", the smoothly jazzy and vaguely latin "The Girl from Ipanema", the easy and latin-groovy "Surrender" and the chill-out joint "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning"... Originals and standards define the blurry balance between jazz and electronica in a way that only a NYC-based duo (even though Joy is originally from the UK and Takuya is Japanese) can achieve: with a simply magical synergy! And since I practically mentioned every song of the record you should have understood the caliber of "Echo", as one of the best and most promising newcomers out there. Of course the term newcomer does not apply to the individuals themselves involved in the Echo project. Eclectic singer Joy Askew (www.joyaskew.com) and her beautiful and dynamic voice boasts a crowded discography with credits including Peter Gabriel, Laurie Anderson and more; Trumpet/Keyboard player & programmer Takuya Nakamura has a history of collaborations in the electronic scene (Nerve, Organic Grooves) as well as in the jazz scene (Clark Terry, Bob Moses, Ravi Coltrane); Mark Wood softly strums his Brazilian guitar strings in a Romero-ish style without ever getting intrusive on Takuya's downtempo grooves; the amazing Swiss d'n'b drummer Yojo bangs the skins on one of the tracks too; and the mixing is left to the magic hands and ears of Roli Mosimann (whose credits include the Young Gods, Faith No More, Smashin' Pumpkins among others and who mixed Echo at my good friend and partner Fran Cathcart's recording studio Severe Sound).Echo has followed me everywhere, in my car, in planes, on intercontinental trips and home... I can listen to this over and over without ever getting tired of it. I have listened to this record a million times already and love each and every tune... Whether you've been good or bad, you just owe it to yourself to get this record, because I can guarantee you are gonna fall in love with it! Absolutely amazing and wonderful!
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