Music Reviews



Artist: Girls Under Glass
Title: Frozen
Format: CD
Label: Van Richter
Distributor: van richter
This is the latest CD from Girls Under Glass, with, you guessed it, a cover of the Madonna song "Frozen" and some other goodies, working out more as an EP than a single. I hate the original Madonna song, as it marks a period where she gave up daring music and style and gave in to corporate radio-friendly music safe for her aging yuppy fanbase of the 80’s. But this seems to breathe life into a otherwise pointless song. My favorite on this would be "Wings" with it’s ethereal vocals and gliding whistles and dance tracks. Also the Das Ich remix of "The Bitter End" and Peter Heppner on "Grey On Grey" (he’s everywhere nowadays!) definitely don’t hurt either. This one got a few rotations in my CD player. Rating: 10.
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Artist: VENUS FLY TRAP (@)
Title: Mars, Totem, Pandoras Box, Luna Tide, Dark Amour
Format: CD
Label: SPV Poland


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I know the Venus Fly Trap since the early days as Alex Novak has been a member of Attrition and my older brother was into them. I listened only to their live album and few other things but this time I had the possibility to span through their whole discography as this five CDs gather almost all the songs the band produced during the 1987/1997 period.
Let's get into the details:

- MARS contains "Morphine", "Desolation Railway" and the MLP "Mars". Listening to these releases I heard echoes of Teardrop Explodes, Three Jones and various influences that go from post punk to psychobilly. This CD contains also the original versions of "Morphine", "Catalyst", "Desolation Railway" and a live version of "Step Inside"

- TOTEM (like the following PANDORAS BOX) has got the tracks coming from the Danceteria label period and includes "Rocket USA" 12" (1989), "Totem" (1990) and "Europa" 12" (1990) along with the "Europa" remix and the live versions of "Shadowplay" and "Rocket USA" plus the "Rocket USA" video clip. With this the atmosphere goes darker with echoes of Bauhaus and Red Lorry Yellow Lorry. If you thought that "Rocket USA" is a cover of the Suicide song, you got it... Last note: on production we have got Kevin Haskins

- PANDORAS BOX contains "Pandoras Box" LP and selections from "Achilles Heel" 12" and the live album "Jewel". Always with Haskins on production the single and the album sligtly move away from the previous one leaving goth influences and starting exploring psychedelic rock with punk/funk tiny influences (as Gang Of Four did) but without missing their dark vein. Here you can also find the video of "Europa"

- LUNA TIDE includes "Shedding Another Skin" (1992) and the "Luna Tide" album (1994). To be precise I don't see any tracks from the first one as being a compilation of singles all the tracks are already on the other releases. Anyway, with this the new Venus Fly Trap's sound comes out and we can say that the dark period is definitively over. The tracks have got mainly rock and punk influences and the songs are guitar oriented. Sometimes (like on "Urban Sprawl Pt.1) the old influences come out. To be honest this is the album I enjoyed less

- DARK AMOUR is the last one and contains the album with the same title along with a song titled "13 o'clock". Luckily dark atmospheres are back along with some electronic arrangements and a sort of dark tension is noticeable. Songs like "Passport To Dark Amour" and "Pulp Sister" are direct and catchy and I prefer the band to sound this way: less rock or psychedelic and more direct and twisted

Wow... it has been difficult but I hope you got the picture. If you want my advice, I'd pick up TOTEM and DARK AMOUR... Enough said. ;-)
Nov 20 2002
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Artist: ANGELS & AGONY (@)
Title: Forever
Format: CD EP
Label: Out of Line
Distributor: Audioglobe
7 tracks for this 35-minute CDep by the Dutch trio Angels & Agony. The layout is not really captivating, and I still wonder about the sense of cramming 4 not-so-different versions of a song on one ep, but anyway, enough bitching: the music is good, melodic electro-EBM with lots of wave influences (i.e. melancholic, slightly retro atmospheres), with competent song composition and an equilibrium between catchiness and good taste, which prevents them from slipping into radio-friendly kitsch crap. The title track is especially well done, but the other songs ("Stormhead", "Lost" and "Ohm") manage to stand on their own without passing for mere fillers.
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Artist: REGIVAR (@)
Title: Colonna sonora per un film immaginario
Format: CD
Label: S'Agita Recordings (@)
"Colonna sonora per un film immaginario" ("Soundtrack for an imaginary movie") is Raffaella Graziosi's debut as Regivar. With a background in photography, Raffaella has been one of the main promoters of the brilliant Oltre il Suono webpage and forum (http://web.tiscali.it/oltreilsuono/); now her 1999 recordings see the light on Logoplasm's S'Agita Recordings, with the usual care for visual presentation (this time it's a minimal layout on cream marbled carboard) and a limited edition on 150 copies. "Colonna sonora..." is a fascinating work mainly based on synth waves and loops, with a kind of free-flowing stream of different fragments and atmospheres; at times concrete sounds (a rewound tape, drops of water...) crawl in, contributing to the feel of mystery... I like to think of this cd as a kind of intimistic sci-fi soundscape: the sense of wonder, subtle bewilderment or trascendental peace is all there, but moving within an inner universe... Sharing some "poetic" similarities with her label-mate AAL, especially in his more "cosmic" side, and I'll repeat myself for the 100th time by quoting Tarkovskij as an ideal counterpart for these dream-like sounds...
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Artist: PANKOW
Title: Life Is Offensive And Refuses To Apologise
Format: CD
Label: Minus Habens (@)
Distributor: Audioglobe
It's five years that we had no news from Maurizio Fasolo and Pankow. Since their early years he's been the main person responsible of the band's sound and direction, since the post punk years (see for example the recordings of the "Gathered" and "Free" compilations) and the early electronic experiments as a duo with Massimo Michelotti (Neon's singer older brother) arriving to the electronic incarnation you all well know with Alex Spalk as singer. After years of silence (the last self titled album which had Limbo's Gianluca Beccuzzi on lead vocals has been released on 1997), the terrific news came: at the end of November 2002 a new album will be released by Minus Habens (which released years ago their "Walpurgisnacht" 12") and it sees Alex Spalck on vocals and lyrics again! I'm holding the promo in my hands and I assure you that the fourteen tracks of LIFE IS OFFENSIVE AND REFUSES TO APOLOGISE will make you forgive them for their long period of silence. Violent, nihilist and minimal this new album sees the band (which sees two new members along with Alex and Maurizio) dealing with industrial influences, working in this way on their own roots and sounds re-assembling them into fifty three minutes of absolute tension. Lyrics are in English and German (as usual for Alex) and mixes no sense with everyday life. Melody is mainly given by vocals as the other elements are rhythmical ones: treated noises or distorted synth sounds with ambient background sound sometimes. We can say that Pankow are back to their distinctive sound of the "Freinheit Fuer Die Sklaven"'s days for a perfect come back that will make you realize who the masters are.
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