Music Reviews



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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: First
Format: CD
Label: Operative Records (@)
An excellent debut for this London-based label, run by people behind Knifeladder and Shining Vril. The cd is quite varied, but with a constant high quality throughout and a kind of underlying cohesion – which is rare in a compilation. Antichild League (featuring Gaya Donadio of London's premiere industrial venue Hinoeuma) and Antivalium respectively open and close the cd with their abrasive power electronics/industrial. Along with Muffpunch (ear-crushing harsh electronics) they're the noisiest projects here. Leisurehive offer an ok dark-wave track, while Naevus are a noir-folk duo in the vein of Death In June and Sawns; nothing new from both bands, but they're good at what they're doing. Knifeladder impressed me with a menacing mix of tribal drumming, free-jazz sax and bleak vocals/noises disturbances. John Murphy (SPK, Death In June etc.) at drums is a warranty of good quality. Knives present an interesting improvised instrumental, leading to the core of the cd, which is more or less isolationist ambient with remarkable soundscapes by Ruse, Shining Vril (Murphy's solo project) and Andrew Liles. Emblem's "Azazel", instead, is recited lyrics over a tranquil electronic background leading to an orchestral crescendo, which reminded me of some Current 93 or Coil moments. All in all, a very pleasant selection – I'm now curious of listening to some full-length releases by these acts...
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Artist: DJ FACCIA DI MERDA (@)
Title: Body Language
Format: CD
Label: Mah, Boh, Ohib˛ (@)
DJ Faccia di Merda (DJ Shitface for non-Italians) is Jacopo Andreini, one of Italy's most relevant independent musicians and tireless cultural agitator; you can hear him, mostly as a drummer and sax/trumpet player, in Nando Meet Corrosion, Bz Bz Ueu, L'Enfance Rouge, Arryngton de Dionyso Quartet, Ovo, NEM, Bron y Aur and literally dozens of other projects. This is his solo dj/electronic creature and another witness of his visceral approach to sound. Tons of samples, lots of black music (freejazz on top), cheap dialogues and impossible rhythms all mixed in a crazed melting pot. Some tracks make you sweat just by listening to them (Getting excited, Mantilla), some seem to be frozen in a perpetual wait (Wait, of course) – some have no beat at all and play with rhythm on a different level (Classics, Contemporary Beat). I put this cd in the "rhythmic" section, but bear in mind that this is highly toxic and experimental material: it can shake alternatively your butt or your guts, or both at the same time, with arbitrary whim.
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Artist: The Young Gods (@)
Title: Second Nature
Format: CD
Label: IntoXygene (@)
Distributor: IntoXygene
It's been out for a while but I just bought it couple of days ago myself. I have been following them since their early days, as they were one of my favorite bands, we came from the same country, my estimated friend Roli was their producer for years and they got their great "Only Heaven" album done at my dear pal Lou Holtzman's East Side Sounds Studios in New York, where I have worked for a long time too: it's the latest Young Gods work of love, ladies and gentlemen, their first album that isn't actually produced by capable mastermind Mr. Mosimann. Universally recognizable singer Franz Treichler took over the entire production and made it into an all-Swiss project that introduces you to a changed version of the Young Gods, where the great in-the-pocket drumming and the mysterious and poetic multi-language minimal singing and the awesome sound manipulation and music programming remain the main focus but became the mean for an evolution that has reached a new stand point. The result is not bad at all. The sound is different from previous albums. It further developed into a more alienating experience, driven by harsher sounds, more industrial and less (traditional) electronic feel, and the overall sound has drifted to less rocky shores. I wouldn't wanna throw in names at random as the Young Gods really are one of the few bands that have been well able to preserve a very very own and truly unique sound, but I can't deny that comparisons such as Dive, Aphex Twin and Kraftwerk were occasionally suggested by a couple of tunes in my mind... I don't mean to throw you off though: definitely less noisy than Dirk Iven's bursts, only close to Richard James' more distorted experiments, and much more modern and powerful than the three older german dude's sound; this is something that you have to experience by yourself, in its entire and all new complexity and its overall renewed shape. The beauty of it all is probably in the contrast of Franz's harmonious poems (even more when they are in french), clashing with the rawness of some spiking sounds and the from-pulsating-to-hammering body of the compositions. The CD opens with "Lucidogen" and "Supersonic", maybe the most aggressive tunes (like in the old days of "Kissing the Sun" or "Skinflowers"), while the rest is changing more and more from what we used to know and is taking a new course. Maybe it is a transition, maybe it is a new stop, but it definitely is very interesting and sounds damn cool, so get your hands on a copy of "Second Nature" (minimal but awesome looking packaging, with no booklet and a front cover consisting of a colored transparent film) or look it up on the internet, where the three Swiss pioneers set up an awesome flash website where you can listen to some tracks and do other interesting explorations. Keep rocking the free sampling memory!!!
Apr 02 2002
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Artist: HOCICO
Title: Signos De Aberracion
Format: CD
Label: Out Of Line
Distributor: Audioglobe
This is the best Hocico's album to date. SIGNOS DE ABERRACION contains all the elements that made of the band a successful one into the ebm realm but this time the two cousins fixed the right things (they also bought new gears).
The album has got more melodies, more catchy sounds and one hundred percent more compression/power. Don't expect nothing revolutionary, we are always talking about ebm, you know, but the eleven tracks are really pumping and the distorted vocals are well mixed and you can also understand the lyrics (I'm not joking... you know, when you've got a lot of distorted or compressed sounds it's difficult to have a good mix). The instrumental tracks "Pandemonium", "Child's Eternity", "Un Alma Y El Vacio" and the final "Callate El Hocico" aren't a blast but they're functional because they keep the audience waiting for the explosive ones. Of the album there's also a boxed version that along with some merchandising contains a bonus mcd "Silent Wrath" with the following tracks: "Silent Wrath", "Final resource (therapy version)", "Poltergeist (slave version)" and "Instantes de perfección".
Apr 02 2002
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Artist: CESIUM 137
Title: Advanced/Decay
Format: CD
Label: Tonedeaf Records (@)
As I was thinking by listening to their first release "The Fall E.P.", this first Cesium 137's album is a killer one. The seven new tracks (seven new ones, because there's also "The Fall" as opening track and two remixed version of "Effigy", remixed by J. Singer and Lost Signal) are the sum of all the 80's ebm music and by listening to this album you'll have forty nine minutes of electronic music that won't loose its bite. I mean, each track has got catchy sounds and rhythms and during the listening I've got the feeling that someone is chasing me and this keeps me wanting for some more. You know what this means, don't you? It means that this music has guts and energy and because of ADVANCED/DECAY Cesium 137 will gather a lot of consideration within the electronic scene.
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