Music Reviews



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Artist: ThouShaltNot (@)
Title: You'll Wake Up Yesterday
Format: CD
Label: ADSR Musicwerks (@)


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This is a limited CD collection of live outtakes, remixes, covers, acoustic versions, and unreleased tracks by ThouShaltNot, known mainly for their unorthodox combinations of Noise, Darkwave, and Classical musical structures. The first track is a poundingly noise heavy version of “Without Faith”. This is followed by a dark industrial version of “Cracked”. Unfortunately I have not yet had the pleasure of hearing their debut self-titled release that this track comes from so I can’t make much of a comparison. The same applies for the other tracks from the same release; “Polarity” and “Crash”. The “Polarity” acoustic version is a guitar and vocal version. “We’re In This Together” is a cover of a Nine Inch Nails song from the The Fragile release. Their version is hard and heavy at times and very electronic while at other times softer and containing female vocals in the chorus. It even ends with an interesting acoustic guitar bit. My favorite parts of this are the female vocals and the acoustic ending however I don’t find this sounds anything like the original at all. I love the way they begin “The Weakness of Words” with acoustic guitar, almost Xymox-like, and seamlessly drop in the electronic beats. The version of “Crash” here is rather ambient with some electronic blips and bleeps and a touch of Noise influence in the distorted beats. This track drops right into a piano version of “In Hopes of Flight”. This is a very interesting acoustic performance. “Dying Boy” is a previously unreleased track and while it’s not a bad song it’s not one of my favorites on the album and one of two in which you can hear Alexx’s voice a bit more raw and with no effects. What I do really like about this track is the beat box part of it. The live version of “Without Faith” is actually ‘very’ raw and the track is sung to a somewhat different rhythm scheme than the original. I don’t really like this version much at all. Blackwater is a rather poetic interlude sort of track with more than a little effects on the vocals and heavy Noise beats but is only about a minute and a half long. This is followed by “Trench Warfare” which sounds like some old-school industrial rhythms mixed with orchestral pieces and hard vocals. Strangely “Scales On Scales” sounds familiar in regards to the vocal melody but I can’t figure why. Anyway the music for this piece is actually lounge-like and very nearly comical sounding. “Icepaper” is a 40 second track of a very mild ambient effect. This is followed by the David Bowie cover of “Within You” from the Labyrinth Soundtrack. ThouShaltNot’s version is actually darker than Bowie’s and more somber. It sounds almost like The Clan of Xymox in it’s general music structure complete with Cure-like guitar, electronic rhythms, electronic ambience and even a slight touch of what sounded like choral backing and moves into some hard and quick beat electronics. This is a very interesting and unique interpretation of this classic piece. What follows is a version of “S0ren Grey” which begins a bit simplistically; rim taps, backing ambience, and soft vocals. This changes as it becomes almost a hallow and somewhat haunting electronic ambient bit. “Pillbox Tales” begins with some electronic sounds much like mechanized hydraulics followed by a soft marching snare and soft bell-like tones. The beat slowly hardens but remains somber, a skill ThouShaltNot has perfected it seems. As with many of their songs they add short noise effects in this overall quiet track which somehow works to make the piece more contemplative. This track later drops into a very moving drum-n-bass rhythm. It seems this is actually a cover of a song by The Cure. Strangely I don’t remember this one as it seems to be a very limited release track from the 1986 version of Boy’s Don’t Cry and was featured only as a B-Side. At least that is as much as I’ve been able to find out about it so far. Thanks for making me do my homework on this one. It’s stuff like that that makes this industry more interesting at times. The next track is also one I like quite a bit, it’s an acoustic guitar version of “The Sting” originally from The Holiness of Now. The coda of “Cracked” is much harder, faster and heavier than the other version on this release. Now, nearing the end of the CD we have a cover of the Rolling Stones song “Paint It Black”. This is actually a live version with no overdubs and is really quite dark and actually used live drums instead of electronics and seems to have a minimum of electronics only as ambience. This version is sung with much passion. Lastly, and probably most amusingly, is a song called “If I Only Were A Goth” which is set to the music from The Wizard of Oz’s “If I Only Had A Heart”. This version however has lyrics like, “I’d be fitter, I’d be taller, go clubbing in my collar with skin pale as a moth. Dressed in black I’d go creeping when the normal folk are sleeping, if I only were a Goth. With my hair up I’d look fancy like Souixsie and the Banshees with silk or velvet cloth. Dressed in boots never sandals and the room would be lit with candles if I only were a Goth. Yes I’d want to die from the bottom of my heart impure. Would I like another clove well sure and after that we’ll go listen to The Cure.”. There are the usual vampire references and they manage to fit in the names of other well known people in the scene as well. This song reminds of something you’d expect by Voltaire and is quite hilarious. This album is an amazing collection of works by this rather new band to hit the scene and displays quite a bit more of their acoustic side as well. ThouShaltNot is a band with amazing versatility although there are a few times on this release where the vocals aren’t the cleanest but that’s because they were not studio productions so that fans and others can actually get a feel of what the band is capable of without all the electronics. They continue to astound me with their unique combinations of acoustic and electronic elements as well as both underground and classical forms of music. This is not the type of release I’d recommend for someone who is not at least a little familiar with the band or who are not sort of fans as there are many raw elements which would only cause others to become ‘very’ critical of them. Those people should stick to the studio releases like The Holiness of Now instead but for everyone else this is a very interesting bit of work with a few interesting surprises as well.

© Copyright 8/2001 TG Mondalf. All Rights Reserved
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Artist: Artemiy Artemiev & Christopher De Laurenti (@)
Title: 57 Minutes to Silence
Format: CD
Label: Electroshock (@)
It is surprising how Artemiy Artemiev manages to release so many records and how many of them represent collaborations with artist he knows, respects or released music by in the past, like in the case of properly titled "57 Minutes to Silence", one of the latest collaboration albums on his Electroshock records (which by the way could very well have been released on Staalplaat), involving the great American composer Christopher De Laurenti and presenting you with eight tracks of claustrophobic experimental industrial "music". Definitely one of the most out of the ordinary and challenging of Artemiev's collaborations, these 57 minutes escape his usual style made up of a classical synthetic and analog synth sound library to bring you nightmarish deceptive repetitive loops, painful harsh noises, sharp and hi pitched whistling buzzes, cold stellar found sounds, random field recordings and more... Musical structures, in the common meaning of the word, are discarded, a new path is followed, randomness and noise seem to be dominating, but in the same way there is an order in chaos, there is one here too, plus it's definitely less extreme and more organized than some brutal Japanese noise we know so well. It is decidedly less of a musical record, but a very remarkable one indeed. Unpredictable noises, differing in source, frequency range, loudness make for an awfully dynamic tracklist where soundtracks for madness are interrupted by quite yet disquieting longer suites that take a dive into the cosmic dimension that seems to be the theme here, at least judging from the titles of the compositions. A special flower in the Electroshock garden for those who don't fear to dare to test their limits with some very interesting audio material.
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Artist: Artemiy Artemiev & Peter Frohmader
Title: TransFiguration
Format: CD
Label: Electroshock (@)
When I found out that Artemiev and Frohmader were working together I wasn't surprised at all, it all made perfectly sense to me! Peter Frohmader is known for playing his guitars and basses over layers of keyboards, long lush synth chords and sequences but never throwing away the beat. This is what happened in this case too, but it sounds like the german composer has also added more keyboards, to those already laid down by his Russian companion, thus widening the rich sound palette that "TransFiguration" is based by and originated from. Considering that it took the couple almost an entire year to achieve this, it sounds like they never met and instead mailed each other the tracks some way until done. This is their second collaborative work (after "Space Icon", from two years ago). The five tracks are numbered and vary in length, ranging from a little over five minutes and a half to almost half an hour. Detailed and outlined beat structures and sytnh/synth-bass lines make for an easier approach to Artemiev's musical art. A pleasing experience that combines electronics, atmospherics, rock, ambient, fusion, experimental music and more, all nicely driven by rhythms and sound sequences. Considering how many genres converge in "TransFiguration" it is probably safer to just say that it represents a very good example of what electro-acoustic avant-garde, two terms often used to describe Electroshock releases, is or can be.
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Artist: Artemiy Artemiev & Phillip B. Klingler
Title: A Moment of Infinity
Format: CD
Label: Electroshock (@)
The prolific Russian musician, composer and producer Artemiy Artemiev continues his collaborations with other musicians from all over the world. "A Moment of Infinity" showcases five long experimental and artsy suites with e-orchestral backgrounds and noises worked out with Phillip B. Klingler, whom we are used to refer to as P.B.K.. This is Artemiev's second collaboration with him (the first one being "Dreams in Moving Space", 2000) but the overall sound differs from the first one as it is more atmospheric and less "noir". There are practically no electronic beats and actually no definite rhythmical structures are to be found (except for a short percussive pattern in the last and darker composition), yet there are a number of weird tribal sampled percussions that give it a truly native and distant appeal. The Russian coldness of deserted landscapes covered in snow is only one of the virtual places you will visit when travelling this musical journey... On the other hand percussive (mainly metallic percussion) sounds sometimes almost recall African shores, like a warmer wind blowing through the snow and melting the snow... Clearly, it is a very visionary album. Industrial drones interwove with ritual field sounds, atmospheres of stillness and infinity are the playground for spacey and drifting experimentalisms that remind me of a bunch of releases from Extreme records I once reviewed, which included Skuli Sverrison's all-bass "Seremonie" album and a Shinjuku Thief work. Almost 70 minutes of glacial and noble avant-garde sounds for the true lovers of envelope-pushing.
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Artist: Butt Boy (@)
Title: Visions
Format: CD
Label: Butt Boy Music (@)
This 2002 release of Butt Boy seems to have a general theme of fairie bondage. The first track "Walz of the Imps" is supposed to be an obscene night forest dance of imps. Given this you can easily see how the music fits this as it is visual music much like "Night of Bald Mountain" is. This album already shares certain trademark sounds like the usual 'ahs' found on previous albums and various purcussion instruments such as xylephone and various bells and woods. "Riding Centaurs" slowly builds a pace until you are virtually 'galloping' musically.
"The Ritual of the Whip" takes on a wholey different pace and atmosphere and seems a bit more suspenseful with some minor bit of bass beats. There is one sound that travels the speakers so that you feel it is passing or circling you. Tension slowly builds in this track as does the overall composition. The fourth track also begins at a much calmer pace but then builds into a bizarre combination of thumps and growls. It's interesting at the least.
Track five uses some interesting sounds to begin with and the composition is a bit unorthodox but the following bassline is very casio-box to me. The concepts behind the music display the artists creative thinking - unfortunately the synth sounds used detract from the overall sound of the compositions. The best part I like on this track is the nearly orchestrated sound it builds into.
Hmmm, Succubi on a gay man's album? Okay if you say so! Personally I feel this composition is too light and floating to fit the presence of the succubi. Also, the militant snares don't fit the atmosphere either. The concept is interesting, the music track is okay but the two do not seem to match in this case, at least not to me. I think the ritual dance of the Satyrs may be something this artist would more likely associate with and the musical composition tends to imply the same in that I can feel more passion of the artist put into this one. Personally I think this is the best composition on this particular release.
The only thing I can say to the artist is invest in some new equipment. The compositions and concepts are very interesting but sometimes get lost in the nearly 'video-game-like' sounds which many of the currently used synths for these compositions have. I also like the 'Conundrum' release better than this one as this one has too much of what I would consider standard 'factory' keyboard style, technique and sound to it.
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