Music Reviews



Mar 01 2003
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anymore
Artist: XP8 (@)
Title: Forgive
Format: CD
Label: selfreleased (mp3.com)
Distributor: MP3.com
How about some powerful old-school ebm-industrial music for you dancing folks out there? XP8 (featuring members of Cat Fud) is a new band from Rome, Italy, that displays great talent on a number of levels. The trio is into the whole dancefloor-friendly hammering EBM thing with hovering synth string pads, nice sequencing backbone and English lyrics (the singer -whose vocals are not constantly distorted for a change- is actually an English transplant and is also a booking agent, a Dj and a radio host on his show "Futureshock"). If you are still "hungry" for description you might like to hear that they enjoy describing themselves as «passing from electro to goth, whilst stopping at the side of the road and eating a techno sandwich looking at an industrial landscape». Even though XP8 are a pretty new outlet in the scene they do have their act straight and cut right to the chase to strike you with a dense, energizing and bodily blend. After two demos and collaborations with Assemblage 23 (who remixed the last track of this album as well), "Forgive" is their first full length album and comes in the ever more popular mp3 format (it is NOT a CD of mp3 files, it is a normal audio CD, but it is manufactured and distributed by the mp3.com website, a service that a lot of bands are taking advantage of lately).The group also displays their skills when it comes to art work (their CD is very nicely illustrated), web presence (both their own site and their Italian hosting Cure fan site www.the-cure.it have a quite sleek design) and recording (their newest member is also a project studio owner/sound engineer). This definitely would be the complete package that you might be looking for and that I know labels out there are in search of, so step forward and get in touch with XP8, 'cause they've got a lot to bring to the table!
Feb 28 2003
Artist: TACTICAL SEKT
Title: Geneticide
Format: CD
Label: Noitekk (@)
Distributor: Nova Media
Tactical Sekt is Anthony Mather (vocals, keyboards, programming) and Beam (drums & noise creation). I think that somebody in the duo is also member of Aslan Faction; by the way, in the thank list you can find names like Suicide Commando, Feindflug, Davantage, Hocico, Grendel, Morgenstern... so I guess you're starting to have a clue... Indeed, Tactical Sekt play heavy EBM with crushing mid-tempo rhythms, dark minimal programmings and very harsh filtered vocals, which sound totally black metal (plus bonus distortion) to me. The atmosphere is quite gloomy and oppressive, and I'd say this project is quite close to the above mentioned Aslan Faction, Grendel or some Davantage. Lyrics should be political. Good stuff if you're into the darker side of EBM.
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Artist: ACHERONTIA STYX (@)
Title: Changing Perspectives - We Walk Beyond
Format: CD
Label: Butcher's House/Eye of Kephra/Bunker Prod. (@)
A sulphureous magma of desolate dark ambient and ear-piercing industrial frequencies for this relatively young Italian project. This cd-r, co-released by AS's own Eye of Kephra together with Butcher's House (run by Adriano of Macelleria Mobile di Mezzanotte/Cronaca Nera fame) and Bunker, collects 2 brand new tracks, two from "Enter the Kingdom Pupas Fell" (2000), one from "Secrets Revealed Darkness Shall Be" (2001), and one from "Xenomorph" (2002) - six tracks, 44 minutes. Acherontia Styx skillfully blends cold ambiences with sudden bursts of white noise, building monstrous tracks which could be suitable soundtracks for Lovecraftian nightmares, obscure S/M mating rituals or nihilistic meditations (or for all of them in one, of course). I really dug the first and last track, totally bleak death ambient evoking pitch-black environments and ghost presences. But also the more physical incursions are well-balanced between hypnotic drones and all-out bruitisme. Particularly well-done packaging, with A5 cardboard sleeve and elegant bio-cosmic imagery.
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Artist: FOR A SPACE
Title: Secrets Behind
Format: CD
Label: Funkwelten/Black Rain
Distributor: Nova Media
Second release on Funkwelten, the new Black Rain sub-label devoted to electronica/ambient/chillout sounds, after EchoRausch who, by the way, mastered this cd. "Secrets Behind" is the re-release of the debut limited edition cd-r issued in 1998, followed by "Welcome 4000" released by Daniel "HauJobb" Myer's Basic Unit Productions. The press-sheet informs me that "this project has inspired a lot of musicians", which made me smile, aaw come on! But anyway this is good stuff. Nostalgic electronica combining soundtrack influences, polished soft beats and romantic melodies. Part Boards of Canada, part Kraftwerk, meditative and sort of lost in some kinder time zone. This is the kind of electronica you could put on while doing something else, unobtrusive but never letting your attention slip away. Good.
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Artist: LOVELIESCRUSHING
Title: Voirshn
Format: CD
Label: Projekt Records
Distributor: Projekt Records
Very mellow journey drawing the line between Gridlock’s synthy atmospheres, Cocteau Twins ambience (though the vocals are quite different) ala "Victorialand" and a tad bit like Frolic if Matt Chin got into some major tape experimentation. Aka a nice little mix! From the opening Atari reverb trancing along like a digital Alice In Wonderland theme (it kind of reminds me of some of the Atari usage in Gridlock’s "Further"), to the intricately placed sparse vocals seeping out like a rose vine climbing a plateau, the constraint is perfect. Everything is placed like a chef puts together gourmet deserts, with every detail placed just enough in the right places with nothing overdone. The drums are soft throbs and even at their hardest they are just plain trance-sounding, if not a tad danceable. I’d say my favorite tracks would have to be 5 and 6, "Ckaif" and "Juhl". Exactly what language is this though? It is Polish? Romanian?Though not one for moshing out and dancing to, it is a perfect relaxation CD and one great for reading to or just chilling to, like I’m doing now! Rating: 10.Also recommended are their appearance on the Projekt 100 compilation (Oh memories! Sob sob).
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